It is getting towards the end of January, and I am guessing all those New Year resolutions on dieting and losing weight are not as appealing as they once were. I am one of those people that shy away from dieting resolutions. You might wonder why that is. You see...I feel it sets me up for failure. About 4 years ago, I weighed an extra 40 plus pounds. I would go on diets and lose the weight. I would then lose my resolve (especially when the food tasted so good) and gain the weight back quickly. Honestly, my weight has fluctuated a lot in my adult life. It is a struggle, even today!
A few years ago, I decided no more diets. So what did I decide to do instead? I focused on good clean eating, portion control, and most important, persistence. By persistence, I mean that even when you indulge once in a while (and believe me, I do indulge occasionally), you still work towards your goal. For instance, I might decide to have a junk food day, but after I indulge, I go right back to eating smaller portions and clean food. Another example is that during the holidays, I tend to gain weight. Over this last holiday (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Eve), I gained ten pounds. Fall baking and yummy food will do that to a person! I have learned that I don't need to panic over gaining weight as I will just keep to my normal eating habits after the special occasion. It starts with persistence and then turns to habit. I will lose the weight gradually. This ties into my mantra - keep on, keeping on. I use this mantra to remind me that I need persistence and self-control in keeping my eating habits. This is my philosophy for life, not just for healthy eating!
I tried not to talk about losing weight through this process, instead I just did it! No pesky diets. I just ate what I wanted (which usually ended up being good clean food), but controlled the portion size. I have a passion for good food, and I didn't want to stop eating the food I enjoy cooking. That's not fun at all! If you're reading this article, you probably know all about my love for cooking. It would not be very good for this blog if I couldn't eat what I cook!
Let's talk a little bit more about what I mean by 'clean eating'. I try to focus on good quality ingredients, and I stay away from chemically laden, over processed food. I drink a lot of water throughout the day. I usually try to drink 8 glasses of water, but I also drink tea and coffee too. I do not have any food allergies or intolerances, so I do not exclude any food groups from my cooking (or stomach). I love all food groups and that includes grains! I do not refer to certain foods as bad, because nutrition is changing all the time. I am not a scientist, so I can't give hard research about the nutritional value of one food versus another.
If I want a piece of bread, I will have a piece of bread. For me, the bread has to be nutritionally sound. I want it to be good for my body. I avoid the mass produced bread and enjoy the higher quality, pure ingredient whole grain bread. I find that I like the taste better than the regular processed store bought bread. I find looking at the ingredients of what you're buying in the store very helpful! Though, I now rarely buy bread anymore, because I love making it. I enjoy being able to control what I put in my bread. That way I know what I am eating. So I focus on wanting to eat good nutritional food that my body needs and will benefit from rather than focus on what I might be missing when I don't eat junk food.
I think I should expand on the topics of portion control and self discipline (persistence). When I eat, I try to focus on the act of eating (not mindless eating). I take my time and enjoy the food before me. I try not to over indulge by keeping to a small serving of the meal. All of this allows me to taste my meal and digest it. Portion control and self discipline do matter in weight management! Now back to the bread analogy in the previous paragraph. When I say that I avoid mass produced bread that does not mean I never eat plain white bread. I certainly do! What I am saying is that the majority of the time when I eat bread, it will be whole grain. Eating to nourish your body takes self discipline (just as with portion control). There are times I am lacking in self control in both portion size and nutritional value, but I find that when I over indulge, I do pay for it. Not just in weight gain, but in the way I feel after I eat badly - I find I have a food hangover the next day! I hope this all makes sense so far.
You may be frustrated with this posting, because I am not giving you any specifics. I am intentionally avoiding the 'follow this plan and you will lose weight' diet. For me, finding my own way was the key for losing weight and keeping it off (mostly). If you need a specific diet to lose weight, then that is great. I am glad you found what works best for you. If you are like me however and have trouble with following a specific plan or are frustrated with being boxed in by a program, I hope this will be encouragement to you to keep on keeping on, regardless of failed diets and guilt. Perhaps, I can be an example of out of the box dieting/lifestyle. There is hope that you can eat and enjoy food without being burdened with negative or guilty thoughts on eating. So I end with a resounding, bon appetit!
(edited by Anna Weicht)