Diets. I’m not a fan.
It seems to me that living in a way that you’re always telling yourself “no” or “I can’t” is just no way to live.
However, my determination to avoid denying myself, coupled with an ever-slowing metabolism, means that I’ve got (more than) a few pounds to lose. And sadly, it’s not going to be as easy as simply packing a salad for my lunch for a few days.
Me, being me, the first thing I did was copious amounts of research. After all, maybe, if I spend enough time reading about weight loss, some of it might rub off, right?
The thing is: I don’t want to “be on a diet.” I’m a grown adult, and I don’t want some set of arbitrary rules telling me what I can and can’t eat. I want to eat what I want, as much as I want, and when I want to.
Spoiler alert: this is how I got to this point in the first place.
I finally realized that what I need isn’t a “diet,” exactly. It’s a change of habits. Somehow, I’d gotten into the habit of eating, not just until I’m satisfied, but until I am stuffed. I would use the fact that I’ll walk the dog twice a day, go to the gym daily, then happily eat a healthy salad for lunch, then come home and enjoy kale and rice with my grilled fish to justify extra fresh bread with melty butter alongside my meal. Or a second glass of wine. Or a dish of premium ice cream. Or a giant bowl of pasta for breakfast the next day.
Or all of that. And then I wonder why I keep NOT losing weight!
Obviously, this won’t do. So I found myself looking for something sensible – something sustainable. None of that Atkins nonsense where you eat all the bacon, butter and sour cream you want. That’s just nuts. Except you can’t eat nuts.
I saw this thing called the “three-hour diet” – you keep your “metabolism working” by eating something every three hours. So basically, you graze all day.
The problem is that I don’t want to be thinking about and worrying about and obsessing about food all the time. I don’t want to be planning for my next meal, or longing for my next treat.
I just want it to be a non-issue. I want to live my eat to live, not live to eat.
Eventually, I’ve settled on the South Beach Diet. It seems to be something I can live with – and not just until I drop the too-many pounds I’ve collected over the past decade.
Do I miss fresh, warm bread? Sure. Do I need it every evening? No.
Is there any reason not to switch in brown rice, hulled barley, or some other grain for the white rice or mashed potatoes that have been such a big part of my diet for so long? At least most of the time? No reason at all.
Can I live with that? I think so.
And while I’m not quite “there” yet – I haven’t reached my goal weight, but also, I haven’t gotten to the point where I can just not think about it. But I’m confident that I will.
I’m building the habit of preparing for the week – individually portioned healthy breakfasts and snacks, salads for lunch made in advance, time built into my schedule every morning for the gym – and keeping potential pitfalls out of the way. No fresh, warm bread!
I’ve realized that when I cheat, the only person I’m cheating is myself.
And I’m finding that the more I can create good habits, the less I have to think about them. Funny how that works.