weight loss

Take Aways

Thank you all for the comments and feedback on my Diet Culture post. I think it resonated with a lot of people and more and more I am seeing things on social media about people kind of being “over it.” Over the constant “THINKING” about food and calories and portions and dieting. An instagram friend I’ve followed for years posted recently that she was burned out on it and has been doing Weight Watchers since like the 5th grade. One comment on my post, from Beth, said keto “consumed a lot of brain space” and that is exactly how it felt.

What have I been doing since I quit? A lot of stuff actually. I’m back to just counting calories and watching my portions but not going crazy. I’m not tracking carbs, not worrying about carbs too much. Just doing what worked before.

One thing I did, was I un-synched my Garmin to MyFitnessPal. I think part of my problem has been *thinking* I was doing good creating a deficit but not really doing it. I’d see that I had all these “Extra” calories in my app for the day and I’d think, It’s okay to eat a little bit more. So unpairing the two apps means I don’t see the calories I burn. And now my focus is just on keeping in my range (1400-1500 calories a day).

This has helped me a lot. When I reach that number for the day, I’m done. There are days I eat more. But I don’t worry about it. I’m not hungry. I do not feel like I am starving myself. I do not have intense cravings because I am depriving myself any foods. On days I AM a little extra hungry, I just eat a snack! And it’s ok.

The other thing that has happened is that I no longer associate exercise with “I need to work off ___ food”. Not that I thought of exercise as punishment. I love exercising, it’s a good stress reliever for me and makes me feel good. But there are definitely days when I am not feeling it but did anyways because of eating ____. I think we’ve all been there. Anyways, now I just exercise because I want to, when I want to.

One of the other take aways from doing keto, that is NOT negative, is that Fat Is Good. Eating healthy fats like avocado, nuts (my favorites are cashews, macadamia nuts and walnuts), olive and avocado oil, olives, etc. That stuff is good for your body, good for your brain AND makes you feel fuller.

But the more I think about it, the older I get, the more stressful life gets in general, the more 2020 throws at us…the less mental space I have for all of that stuff. Is it important? I don’t know. I am trying to be healthy. I am trying to keep my portions in control. I am still exercising. I just don’t want my entire LIFE consumed by how many calories I can eat, how many carbs I’ve had, calculating NET CARBS all day long. It is just not healthy for my mental health.

Am I happy with my current weight and body? Nope. But I am trying to make peace with it, work on it, keep doing what I am doing.

I’ve been following a lot of body positive, positive eating, sustainability, eco-positive people on Instagram recently and it’s been giving me a lot to think about. (If you guys are interested, I can provide links and names for some of my favorites.)

It’s really made me wonder how much of my journey was healthy? I lost weight in the healthiest way possible. I didn’t crash diet, I changed my lifestyle, I retrained my brain and eating habits and chose healthier options. I maintained my weight for over 10 years doing healthy things. But was it 100% healthy? Or were there things that were a little questionable? Like being so strict with my workout schedule, never deviating, feeling stressed if I was injured or sick and had to take time off. Was I healthy if I was doing keto and being super restrictive? Did I mess up metabolism for good by limiting my calories for so long? I have a lot of questions. Lots and lots of questions…

Diet Culture

I’ve been thinking a lot about diets, weight loss, body image, body acceptance and diet culture lately.

I have to admit, I have not been very happy in my skin for a long time now. Pregnancy and post-partum bodies can do a number on your mental health. Struggling to lose the weight after I lost so much weight before, getting close to pre-pregnancy weight and then having that reverse due to medications was a mindfuck.

I tried keto, like many readers know. I lost 10+ pounds, was feeling really good, feeling motivated, then it stopped working. And the next year and a half of keto, low-carb, and some kind of diet cycle like that made me gain and lose the same 10 pounds with no real success.

What did it do? Instead, it made me feel sad, depressed, deprived, frustrated. I felt like I was at CONSTANT WAR with my body, with my weight, with FOOD. Food was the ENEMY.

I didn’t like how I was mentally feeling. Looking at healthy foods like sweet potatoes, carrots, grapes, watermelon and thinking “I CAN’T EAT THAT — it’s BAD FOOD”. Bad food?! What? Since when is fruit and vegetables bad? It really is a hard shift in the brain.

While I do still think high numbers of carbs are not healthy and not what MY body likes…that does not mean I need to be severely restricting my carb intake to 20 carbs a day. That’s extreme. And is it healthy? I just don’t know. I do know that your body needs some carbs for your brain–for serotonin levels. Your body needs carbs for fuel and energy. Carbs feed your kidneys, brain, muscles, and central nervous system. Does that mean eat a donut? Not really. But maybe IT’S OK TO EAT A SWEET POTATO.

What is Diet Culture?

I unfollowed a lot of the “old” bloggers who are perpetuating this lifestyle. You know the ones, I don’t need to say. But they encourage severe restriction, macro counting, cleanses, living on smoothies instead of eating real food.

I unfollowed a bunch of Keto Instagrams I’ve followed for a long time now. They were becoming redundant and I was honestly sick of the constant before and after photos: the morbidly obese picture next to the gauntly skinny picture with a “I lost 200 pounds in a year on keto!” It was not a healthy space for me.

I felt like I was punishing my body, not seeing results, and living in a cycle of unhealthy behavior. Was it an eating disorder? I don’t know. But it wasn’t good. I decided to change it. No more keto. No more “Bad Foods.” I eat carbs in moderation. I eat everything in moderation. Am I still counting calories? Yes. (Some anti-diet culture stuff says not to do that.) Am I still exercising 5 days a week? Yes. It’s not as punishment for eating “bad” foods but because I feel better when I exercise in some way.

I’ve contributed to diet culture. With this blog. With my story. I don’t necessary think that’s bad, but I did contribute. My story was inspiring to a lot of people and I’m glad. I was not healthy at 255 pounds. But that does not mean I need to KEEP DIETING and keep getting skinnier…the whole “I’ll stop when I get to XXX weight” is not a good cycle to be in. Because, XXX weight, is never good enough.

How to Change Diet Culture

Limit Your Social Media Exposure: Do you follow a lot of diet accounts? Whether it’s keto, weight watchers, intermittent fasting, etc. If the entire focus is on weight loss, being SMALLER, severely restricting calories….is it mentally healthy for you? How do you feel seeing those images all the time? Are they triggering? Unfollow.

Think About What Really Matters. Is it sharing that ice cream cone on a hot summer day with your kids? Creating happy memories and traditions? Or do you deny yourself the ice cream because it’s “Bad” and feel miserable, or deny your kids the experience because you are triggered by sugar, or trying to keep your kids from having sugar? (Sure, sugar is not great, but once in awhile, a treat is ok! And I am very serious when I say I do not want to raise my child to have food issues/body image issues like I had my whole life.)

Don’t Try Fad Diets. I still advocate eating in moderation and exercising and weight loss is part of that. But maybe the fad diets, the severity, the demonizing of food is not.

Hide Your Scale. Some websites recommend throwing it out. I am not throwing out my scale. But I am going to limit the usage to once a month. A check in. But I am not going to obsessively weigh myself.

Follow Body Positive People/Social Media. I found a bunch the last few months that have really helped me mentally.

Freeing

Mentally, I feel better. Right now I am 20 pounds over the weight I want to be. I am a size 12, instead of the 10 I was for a decade (pre pregnancy of course). I catch my reflection in a window or mirror and I still feel deflated and wish I was 20 pounds lighter. But, overall I am coming to peace with all of it.

We have family pizza night now, once or twice a month. We get pizza from a local restaurant that has been hit hard by the pandemic and we want to support them. And it’s fun to have a family pizza night. Logan loves it! We are going to get sushi this weekend and see if Logan will try it. πŸ˜‰

I made zucchini bread last week. I used 1/2 the sugar the recipe called for because I still feel like sugar is not a good thing…but the bread turned out great and it was a nice, healthy dessert. And I didn’t feel guilty eating it.

So that is where I am at these days.