Here’s the thing about food. I like it. I like eating food. I like thinking about food. I like cooking food and then I like looking at the food I cooked. I smell it. I take pictures of it. I enjoy it.
I have never been one of those people who “forgets to eat”. I mean seriously. Who ARE those people!? The down side of this, of course, is that I have always had to watch my weight. If I ever appear “thin” to you, it is not my magical natural state. I have to work for it, constantly. Whenever I can fit into a single digit size (which is almost never lower than an 8) I do a happy dance. I have to count calories or points or whatever and be aware of every single bite I take or poof, I am right back in double digits as I am always dangling right on the edge. Basically, it’s an insanely frustrating 24 hour lesson in discipline to stay at the TOP of my normal BMI. I’m telling you this because I know I am not alone.
In the past 5 years I gained 60lbs with my pregnancy with Oscar, lost about 40 and then gained it back when I was pregnant with Calvin. Since his birth, I have slowly but surely lost all 60 of those stupid pounds and I am not looking to find them ever again.
like love to eat!
I’m no expert. But because I consider myself to be a real person who didn’t just magically wake up one day deciding that “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” (which is a load of crap because there are PLENTY of things that taste that good) I thought I would share some of the tricks I have learned along the way.
They are probably the ones you (and I) have been rolling your eyes at for YEARS. But dangit if they don’t work.
1. Getting Healthy Takes TIME
Ugh. If there is one thing I hate, it’s waiting. I want things now. Yesterday. Move. Come on already. Let’s GOOOO. I have tried some of the fad diets but I always knew I didn’t want to yo-yo diet my life away. What I do want is to learn how to eat really good and satisfying food that I will still want to eat when the weight finally comes off.
Last summer I was 3-4 sizes(depending on the store) larger than I am this summer. If you told me last summer that in one year I would be 3-4 sizes smaller, I would have said whatever! I’m gonna be FIVE sizes smaller by then! That’s a whole year from now! But the truth is, I lose a little and gain a little and lose a little and gain a little and as long as the trend is getting me back to healthy, I am ok with this. Add in exercise and things shift again as the body feels hungrier and has to relearn some limits to compensate for that, which can be tricky.
But here I am wearing shorts for the first time in years and feeling pretty comfortable too. I’ll take it.
2. Food is still good
Because of my propensity for immediate results, you can imagine that my life is full of convenience foods. There was a time when this felt necessary. I was on the go in school or working full time and I didn’t spend a lot of time in my kitchen. I had lunch breaks and classes and schedules.
However, now that I stay home with my boys, I am re-training myself on the value of a home cooked meal. We always eat a family dinner in the evenings but I am trying to have more whole foods and less processed stuff. In essence, I am trying to cheat the system. If I want blueberry muffins for instance, I don’t have to go overboard. I just have to find a recipe that includes oats and fresh blueberries and honey instead of buying the mix off the shelf. I’m flipping through cookbooks and bookmarking websites like crazy.
The added bonus to this is that I still get to “feed” my obsession with food by thinking and planning the healthy meals. Then when I finally get to enjoy the meal it’s like I am having seconds. The cost is my time, but right now I am willing and able to pay that price.
3. It’s ok to be boring
One thing that struck me sometime in the past few months was that for the most part I eat exactly what I want, exactly when I want it. I mean of course I don’t get sushi and steak every day, but I have a lot of choices. If I want a latte I can have it right now. If I want pizza, there is a drive-thru literally 1 mile from my house. I do all the grocery shopping so if I want ice cream sandwiches, guess what? I buy them. One day Oscar was complaining about the FIVE choices of snack options he had and all of a sudden I was that mom telling him about starving kids who only eat rice all day.
But as the words came out of my mouth, I realized that I am no different than my 4 year old, kicking and screaming because I just don’t WANT an apple. It was an interesting AHA moment for me. Now if I am grumpy because I am eating salad again or because I need to have a lean day after a night out with the girls, I just remind myself that it really isn’t my RIGHT to just feast on delicious stuff all the time. It’s ok to have a boring lunch. A little self-control never hurt anyone.
4. It’s ok to succeed.
There is one side dish I have with almost every meal. It’s disgusting and I never like it, yet I have it almost every single day. I’m guessing you do too if you struggle with your weight. Can you guess what it is? It’s called self-sabotage and there is a seemingly never ending supply inside of me. The closer I get to my goals the slower I succeed. I begin to rock back and think, I am close now. I can relax.
The problem is, this usually leads to that bit of “gaining” I referred to earlier. The part where I hover so close to my goal but never really get there. It’s the comfort zone where I feel healthy “enough” without really having accomplished what I set out to do. And to be clear, this doesn’t have to be about weight. It can be about anything I am trying to achieve from weight loss to exercising to cleaning or finishing a project. Someone recently asked me, “what’s so bad about success?” And I’ve been asking myself the same question ever since.
I’m going to stop here. But I want to know what you think. Do you struggle with weight-loss or meeting your goals or self-control or all of the above? Do you have tricks to share that contribute to the lifelong re-organization of our habits? Or do you think I am full of it?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments! Later this week I’ll take a more practical look at some of the changes I am making personally (like meal planning!) Stay tuned!