It's the beginning of a new year. Have you decided on a diet yet? I think it's in the air we breathe. The ball drops, and we decide what we're going to do, or not do, about food. What did you decide?
I have been overweight almost all of my life. And I have probably tried almost all the diets out there. Even the 4-day weird one with the hot dogs, cottage cheese, beets and the weekend of pleasure eating.
For a long time, I thought each new diet, sometimes started by a three-day detox of fruit and vegetables, would be the last one.
I remember my favorite one. I joined the business opportunity and then, could not wait to get my hands on the diet program.
You took two supplements, twice a day and ate whatever you wanted. It worked because those supplements had cocoa beans and something else I can't remember. It was the answer to ephedra - it took away your appetite, but was much less likely to kill you.
Those supplements not only took away your appetite, but somehow, they also ate your fat. I lost the most I ever had at one time, and for the first time I could remember, I could buy shirts in medium sizes.
This was it, and maybe I would even keep going and lose even more.
Unfortunately, I got pregnant, and by the time I was ready to start again, that program no longer existed. Did I get out just in time?
I've tried a lot of diets during my son's life, too, and it took a while to realize that no matter what, I was always going to gain the weight back. Plus, more.
So I don't diet anymore. Even though my appetite increases every winter, just as the sunlight I need says goodbye until spring. Even though I crave carbohydrates, and sometimes gain weight as a result.
Because guess what! I don't gain as much weight when I don't diet. Last year, I actually lost weight while not dieting.
To eat or to diet? I find that eating works better!
2 Ways to Change What You're Eating that Work Better than Dieting
The Brewing Happiness website calls it the Self-Kindness Anti-Diet. And it starts with giving yourself back all those foods you think of as forbidden.
For me, it was cookies. And pizza. I often found myself eating far more of them than I intended, when they were available. So I thought it would be better to never eat them at home.
Maybe if I was out with friends, and everyone else wanted to order a pizza, or if I went to party and those cookies were just lying there on the table, I'd eat them. Because in my mind, their ability to harm me was limited.
But years ago, I heard about this thing called Intuitive Eating. What I read and heard suggested that if you stop thinking of a food you wanted as forbidden, you'd eat less of it. That thinking of it as forbidden meant you'd probably eat even more, because you'd tell yourself it was going to be the last time before that diet you planned to start.
The advice was to buy far more than you could eat in one sitting, so there would be visible evidence that there was more, if you wanted more. I tried that back then, but I was so immersed in diet culture that it felt wrong. Sure, I ate less of whatever it was, but I really shouldn't have it in the house in the first place, right?
In order to really give Intuitive Eating a try, you have to be willing to let go of the idea that you are one good diet away from the life you've dreamed of, and become convinced that dieting is the path to weight gain. Then, you have to work toward the belief that you can have whatever you want (you know, unless you're deathly allergic to it or it will cause your insides to explode.)
The intuitive part means trusting your body to find its way to your healthiest weight without dieting. And making it okay to eat the cookies whenever you want until that moment when you think, "wait a minute, these don't even taste good!" Or, it's fantastic, but it just stops whispering you name the way it used to do, telling you it would have you sooner or later.
The oomph goes out of the fight because you step aside.
I think I am gaining on it. I lost weight without trying this summer, and I don't feel the call of the wild anymore when it comes to food.
I still sometimes eat more cookies than my doctor would be happy with, but I'm not gaining weight. And I think my weight will take care of itself. Soon would be nice, but, whatever.
I'm in a Facebook support group for Intuitive Eating beginners. I've been at it for a year, but I still relate to a lot of what we talk about there. Here's the link, if you want more information:Intuitive Eating for Beginners.
Intuitive eating (or as I’d rather rename it – The Self Kindness Anti-Diet) is the state in which you are in tune enough with your body’s signals that you can understand what/when/how much your body needs to eat. This means you’re in touch with your signals for hunger and fullness (but not obsessively). It means that your body is telling you what it needs to eat in order to function best (and you are trusting it.) It means you find what is “normal eating” for your body. - Brewing Happiness
Add Healthier Food without Restricting
In the group I mentioned above, we often talk about how once the spell is broken, we get interested in healthier food. Especially if we have health conditions that inspire us.
And the same is true of me. I'm actually getting bored with eating the same things all the time, and decided I wanted to try some new recipes. I'd like to add more vegetables and soups to my meal plan, too, so would like recipes for them, as well.
My son loves to cook and does a lot of our cooking for dinner, but I love it best when we're in the kitchen together, working on a meal.
And I just found this healthy meal planning bundle the other day and bought it yesterday. It has over a 1000 recipes, so I doubt I will be bored for a while.
I became an affiliate for it, and if you're interested, you can check it out here.
The thing is, I want to think of eating healthier as kind of a fun adventure that I add to what I am eating already. Doing a complete switch and trying to get rid of anything that isn't considered healthy would not work for me.
But adding it on and having fun with it makes it easier. I think I'll attack the slow cooker soup recipe ebook first. My son is not so fond of soups, so we'll have to turn his into stews.
Okay, I'll admit I will be ignoring the salad recipes, because I just don't like them. The only way I have ever liked salads is if they were covered with meat, like chicken. And now that I am mostly vegetarian, there's no help for them. :)
Can't wait to check out the vegetarian recipes, though! They have all different kinds - paleo, whole30, keto, etc. Not for me, but there for anyone else who wants to try them. They also have a bunch of cookbooks, meal planners, among other things.
It's called the Healthy Meal Planning Bundle.
What kind of recipes would you like to try this year? And how do you handle all the diet info that pops up all around you at this time of year?
See you tomorrow!