That four letter word.
I used to consider a diet a temporary state of being, a restriction of all the foods that I love, specifically with the goal of losing weight. Which, let’s face it, was more about looking better in a bathing suit than the actual number on the scale or my health.
One of the many flaws with my previous thinking was this: if it is a temporary state of being (one that I cannot wait to get out of), then how would the weight loss ever be permanent? So if permanent weight loss needs permanent changes in diet, how would this be feasible while restricting ALL the foods I love? And if the goal is specifically to lose weight, is this really enough of a motivating factor? What about when times get tough, meaning weight loss gets slow? What will pull me through at these points?
I have been up and down with my weight for as many years as I’ve been alive. Up when I was young and eating 4-6 mini microwavable burritos or whole boxes of cheez-its at a time. Down in Junior High when I had an eating disorder and was puiking in diet coke cans in my room so my mom wouldn’t find out. Up when I hit high school and stopped all of the dance/cheerleading programs I had been doing, and picked up sitting around like a sloth and sleeping all day instead. Down when I joined weightwatchers after a tough break up and really kicked the weight to the curb with the point tracking diet and a gym membership (48 pounds down). Then back up when I turned 21, moved in with three other young ladies, and partied like a rockstar (which included lots of alcohol and 2nd dinners at 2 AM, as if my calorie counts hadn’t already been enough those days).
I am heading back down, 55 down so far (eh about 40 more to go), but things are much different this time. It is all about life long changes, like learning to cook, trying new foods so that I learn to love new foods (not just learn to restrict), and playing around with different ‘lifestyle diets’ to see what works best for me. My goal, specifically, is stellar health. Nothing more, nothing less. I threw the scale away months ago.
‘Lifestyle diets’ are what I am considering to be the opposite of Fad diets. They get at the core of what is truly healthiest for you. Though, there are different ideas or theories about what is healthiest. What I know, for sure, is that focusing on calories alone is not the answer. It may lead to temporary weight loss but that is not the same as health.
I am still trying to sort out what makes me feel the most alive, what gives me the most energy in life, and what is truly sustainable for the rest of my life. It’s been trial and error so far, but I am getting closer to the answer. And as with anything in science, even when I have found the answer there will be new developments to come. I am so excited to be interested in my own nutrition and health for the first time in my life. Not just the number on the scale.