Hey boys and girls =)
How is life treating you today? It’s been (the usual) busy day for me and I’m catching a few moments to type out this post.
I see my title, and find myself ironically amused that I’m camped in Starbucks drinking coffee and nibbling M&M’s while I write this.
Haha…. blogging in a coffee shop. Have I arrived yet? 😉
The diet thing…. or as I think of it… the diet trap….. that often has no end in sight. Let me tell you, I have had my experience with “diets” over the years and what I remember most about them is counting down the days till it ended, much like someone waiting to finish their prison time.
Is it coincidental the first three letters of the word spell….. D…I…E ?
I’ve certainly been on a few that left me feeling so hungry I thought I might. Worse yet, diets were often deprivation of the worst kind. You might as well have had a Scarlet Letter on your chest at family get togethers as you dutifully nibbled celery sticks and drank water enviously watching everyone else eating “the good stuff”. And having to watch them eat chocolate cake…while you had none… or worse yet you had some and then felt like a failure for doing so, or had the usual questions leveled at you…
“But aren’t you…. on a diet ??”
You counted off the weeks till things got back to “normal” again. Food was the only thing you thought about. You were on the scale every single day looking for validation from the damn thing.
Oh let’s not forget when you made the decision that “tomorrow was the day”. You got rid of the stuff you loved by eating it all the night before and prepared to never see it again.
You stocked up on celery. You pondered if you’d ever get to really experience chocolate in the rest of your lifetime.
Then one day I changed the game up.
I realized after one diet venture, that food, has a lot of power. It speaks to us in many ways.
It feeds our bodies and our emotions. It often comforts us. But it can be a mean task master too, controlling and manipulating you to lose sight of your goals of good health and carrying a comfortable body weight. I realized if I removed the power from food and quit playing “good food/bad food” games, and taking away everything I loved, and told myself it was there if I wanted it, that maybe I’d get the upper hand.
I decided to try my theory. I told myself nothing was off limit.
My goals were simple: begin to make overall better food choices each and every day. Eat enough to satisfy my hunger but not over eat. If I really, really wanted ( fill in the blank here) I’d allow myself to have a little. Note, not go on a binge, just enough to satisfy the craving.
I remember about a month into my experiment the fam went out to get burgers. Did I order a salad and stare longingly at their fries ? No…. I had my own. And I just moved right on with my goals in sight. I didn’t have the attitude I ate fries I might as well throw the towel in. Oh, I certainly wasn’t perfect. There were days I felt like were a total bomb. I just picked up and kept moving forward.
Every single day.
Let me tell you….. there was complete and total freedom of feeling…… in control…. of my food choices. I hadn’t gone off the wagon with my “nothing is off limits” approach.
Time marched on. There were holidays. Family birthdays. Events. And I enjoyed each one. I learned to sample. I learned to be very selective and eat only what I truly enjoyed and that it didn’t take lots of food to manage my hunger. I paid attention to my natural body signals and started obeying them.
I learned there was freedom in saying “no” to things.
And something crazy started happening…… I was losing weight! How could that be? No suffering? No doing without good foods I loved ? Yet somehow, steadily, week by week I was diminishing.
I’ll tell you what I’ve learned these past few years:
I now WANT to eat “healthy” foods. I often have salads simply because I love them. I love veggies and don’t think of them as something I have to eat. I actually crave that stuff.
The more I ventured into running the more aware I became that food is “fuel” for my body to perform and that it was important what I put into it. Endurance running has definitely made me understand the necessity of it.
So yeah….. I don’t “do” diets… and neither should you. Embrace life. Trust you are smart enough to make good choices for yourself and you will lose weight.
Slow and steady, the way you should, while you live life.
Oh and those M&M’s I mentioned in the beginning?
I didn’t even eat them all…
Tell me your success stories…. or the diet traps you escaped from…. in the comments section =)