healthy weight loss

Stop Dieting!

I came across a post recently by Christie about falling off the wagon. She’s an intuitive eating coach. She recently went on a binge, eating her feelings, and struggling with her intuitive eating vs. dieting outlook. It’s worth a read. And it inspired me to write this post.

Spending a good chunk of my younger years obese, eventually tipping the scales at 250+ pounds, I was done. I had body pain, I was developing diabetes and I had high blood pressure that made me dizzy. There were YEARS that lead up to that moment that I hated myself. I hated my body. I was at war with my body. I want to torture my body for being fat. It was time. Time for a change. Time to lose 110 pounds.

But the realization that helped me stay on track was that I WAS NOT GOING ON A DIET. I never once uttered the words “I’m on a diet.” I changed my lifestyle. I changed my life. I think if people STOPPED using the word “diet” they would be much more successful in their weight loss journey. There is nothing wrong with losing weight to be healthy and happy. But it shouldn’t be a diet. Diet implies it’s a short term fix for a lifetime problem.

Losing weight should be a long-term goal, a lifestyle change.

My lifestyle has changed completely from “the old days.” The old days were me on the couch with a carton of ice cream, or eating an entire pizza by myself.

The new days? I count my calories that I eat, I follow the 90/10 Rule, I enjoy exercise and fitness, I rarely spend much time on that couch anymore and I’m happier for it.

I never think of myself as in “losing” mode anymore. I’m maintaining what I’ve lost in a healthy, balanced way and if a few more pounds disappear, so be it.

Enjoy your food.

2011 has been an interesting year for me food-wise: I’m eating a simpler diet, a Caveman Diet if you will, of simple, unprocessed foods. We started a garden and most meals come from that garden. Simple. Organic. Homemade. I’m learning to cook and trying new recipes.

But like I mentioned above, I follow the 90/10 Rule. I eat healthy, stay within my calories 90% of the time and 10% of the time I splurge and I don’t beat myself up for it. It all balances out because of the exercise I do. I’m definitely not perfect and I’ve had many, many “slip ups” but every day is a new day to make better choices.

I’ve learned tricks to enjoy my food without breaking the calorie bank. When Michael and I go to restaurants we sometimes split entrees. I’ll order a salad instead of fries. If we get dessert we ALWAYS split it–I can’t eat it all by myself.

Do what works.

There’s no perfect plan for everyone. Do what works for you. If counting calories works, do it. If points are easier to manage, do that. If Intuitive Eating works, do it. It doesn’t matter as long as you are accountable to yourself, or if you need it–other people.

Intuitive Eating does not work for me. The reason? Because as a former obese person, intuitively I want to overeat all the time. I have to be very careful about that. I tried intuitive eating for almost a year after reaching goal weight. Eating Intuitively, not counting calories and adding medication to the mix = 15 pounds packed on in 10 months.

Weight Watchers wouldn’t work for me because I don’t want to go to a meeting. I don’t want to weigh in with a group. One of the things I hated about school was the actual process of going to class. I loved learning, I was a good student with good grades, but hated the process. WW meetings felt just like that. No thanks. (Same reason I hate going to fitness classes like yoga.)

Think of food as Fuel.

Think of food as fuel for a machine. Remember Susan Powter? She was a diet-guru in the 90’s that I mainly ignored but I remember she had a good message: think of your body as a car. You’re going on a road trip and you need to fill the tank with gas to get your car moving down the road. You have to have enough fuel in the car to do so, and you have to refuel when the tank gets low. The body is the same way.

I’ve noticed this “food as fuel” phenomenon with the long training rides I’ve been doing. Finding the perfect food pre-ride and post-ride, as well as during the ride, has been a challenge but it makes a difference when I eat “junk.”

Nutrition and exercise are choices. Choose to be healthy and fit.

QUESTION: What healthy choices have you made recently? Are you “dieting”?