Is this you? Eat...Repent...Repeat...
Now that we are a month and a half from New Year's resolutions, I wonder if your resolve has lost steam. Are you going back to your old habits? Did you ever really change them? Let's ask ourselves a few questions to check our current status in this arena:
1. I have a friend who is always thinking about his next meal, while he's still eating! Do you think about food more often than you think you should?
2. Do you struggle to pass up tempting food items, even when you aren't hungry?
3. Do you often feel too full when you are finished eating? Many of my friends are so stuffed, they can barely move after a meal...is this you? Is Thanksgiving every day?
4. Do you find yourself reaching for food when you are sad, lonely, mad, frustrated?
5. Do you fluctuate between dieting, and eating too much? (This one is a classic!)
If you said "yes" to any of these, you are probably realizing that losing weight isn't that easy, and dieting isn't necessarily the answer. The problem with the word "diet" is that it carries the connotation of finality. In other words, you do this for a short time, and then you can go back to "normal".
Many of you know that I've lost a lot of weight. Some of you have only known me during the last 40 pound loss. Prior to that, however, I was as high as 296#. I know. When my daughter was born, 17 years ago, I weighed in at 296. On my 5'6 medium sized frame, this was not good, and my knees hurt, my back hurt, and I was so sad.
But I didn't go on a diet. I began to exercise, and log my food (an incredibly useful tool!). When you look at this as a change in lifestyle, then you can begin to change permanently. You begin to change one bad habit, incorporate that, and then tackle another. So with that in mind, let's examine the following points:
1. Let go of the word "diet". It's temporary. The answer to change lies within YOU.
2. Whenever you find yourself wanting food, key in to the physical feeling of HUNGER. Are you truly hungry? Or are you just craving...something...
3. Try not to think of foods as "good" and "bad". When I want something, I look it up-Lose It, My Fitness Pal, Calorie Count, are all great ways to check your facts on food. Can you have half of your favorite food? How can you fit it in to your day and still enjoy?
4. Think about how the foods you eat make you feel. Certain foods taste good, but make you feel physically ill. I try to eat mindfully, thinking about what those foods are fueling. Your body creates billions of new cells each day from the foods you eat. What do you want to create those building blocks from? Are you enjoying the texture and tastes of the food? I'll give you a quick example. I love cheese. But, it's high in fat and calories. Bummer. So I went to the "cheese lady" over at the store, and tried some very flavorful cheeses: strong sharp cheddar, grass fed pungent gouda, etc. So now, I get more flavor in each bite, and I am able to enjoy a smaller portion!
5. Stop eating when you feel full. Save some money, and have a second meal from the leftovers. You do NOT...I repeat...You do NOT have to clean your plate. This is about feeling good about eating and feeling good after you eat, and fueling your body, not about shoving every possible mouthful in that you can fit. Let it go.
6. Distract yourself. If you are finding yourself grabbing every food in sight, and not stopping, ask yourself why. Did something trigger this? Distract yourself by walking away, take a walk outside, make a cup of tea, fold some laundry. What's eating YOU, that's making you want to eat?
7. Perfect does not belong in your vocabulary. There is no such thing as a perfect diet, or a perfect person. We are all flawed, and we all struggle. Try to balance your mistakes. Eat more sparingly at your next meal, go workout, go for a walk. Don't beat yourself up.
But get OFF the roller coaster!
Weakness is not a reason, it's an excuse.