After years of dieting, I got fed up and stopped dieting. Why? Because diets will make you crazy. All diets work… And then don’t. It was only when I stopped dieting and starting getting healthy that I saw lasting results.
Where Dieting Got Me
I spent about 10 years on a diet. From Weight Watchers to the Keto diet, I tried most of them. I counted calories, cut out fat, cut out carbs… You name it. I logged everything I did, ate, and drank,
You know where it got me? Fatter and crazier.
I’d be 100 percent committed and lose 20 pounds. Then, I’d break down and eat a chocolate cake. (Yes… A whole cake. My husband and daughter might get slice.)
Let the guilt and self-loathing commence followed by meals of epic SAD (Standard American Diet) proportions.
After gaining back the 20 pounds plus 5 more, I would jump into the next diet that was absolutely going to work this time.
Any of this sound familiar?
If you’re laughing, don’t worry. I am too. If you’re crying, I’ve been there and am sending you a hug.
What Happened When I Stopped Dieting
A few years ago, I decided I was DONE. I wasn’t logging or counting anything else. No more weight loss. No more restrictions.
If I had to chose between weight loss and sanity, I was going with sanity. I’d rather be happy and fat than skinny and miserable.
Except I didn’t have to chose.
I wasn’t really happy being fat. Fat came with chronic pain, low energy, and high cholesterol. I didn’t like the side effects of my meds, and I wanted to be healthy. Healthy didn’t mean skinny, but it did mean I had to lose the belly fat.
Instead of dieting, I started taking a look at my relationship with food. What foods did I love? What foods made my feel good? When did I eat? How did I eat? How did my meals make me feel?
I traded food logs for a food journal and started loving my meals again. I made a commitment to a few simple principles:
- Only eat when I’m hungry
- Eat until I’m satisfied (not full)
- Enjoy each and every meal
- Eat whole foods
- Eat 5-7 servings of fruits and veggies every day
Funny thing happened. Not only did mindful eating help me identify foods I can’t eat (dairy, sugar, meat), but I also started losing weight. More importantly, I started losing inches. 8 inches around my waist! I actually had a waist again!
Diets vs. Healthy Habits
The biggest problem with diets is us. We see them as a silver bullet to fix our relationship with food. But a diet is just how we eat… habitually. It’s really about habits.
Another problem? The zealotry around diets. For some, their diet or “way of eating” is like a religion. Hard and fast rules only to be broken upon pain of being ostracized from the dieting community. Go to a keto Facebook group and tell them you ate a banana. Go to a vegan group and tell them you had farm fresh eggs. You’ll see what I mean.
Diet: the kinds of food that a person, animal,Dictionary.com
or community habitually eats.
Who wants to live with that much rigidity? That much guilt? Not me!
I want to be free to chose what I eat and when I eat and enjoy every bite free from guilt, stress, or self-loathing. I want to feel strong and lean and energized. Don’t you?
The key is to wake up every day and chose to move forward. Don’t worry about losing weight or being healthy. Make a choice to be healthier. Make healthier choices today than you did yesterday.
LOVE your body. And by that I mean love it enough to fuel it with great-tasting, nutrients-dense meals that make you feel fabulous. Isn’t feeling fabulous more fun that making yourself crazy with the latest diet?
What do you struggle with the most? How can I help you?