Eat whatever you want. Eat whatever I want. Eat whatever I want?
How on earth will I ever take off this weight? I’ll always want to eat three bowls of granola for breakfast.
Then something happened in November. Instead of choosing granola for breakfast, I decided to have a bowl of Wheetabix. Wow - didn’t see that coming. Once I let go of what I could eat and couldn’t eat, the cravings for unhealthy foods declined.
“I’m ready to choose healthier foods,” I said to my therapist in January after two months of feeling liberated from the cravings, the confusion, and the struggle. “Great!” she answered enthusiastically. She must have known that I would eventually come to this conclusion.
I was surprised by her reply. I thought that in order to keep cravings and food obsession to a minimum that I would need to eat all the junk food in binge quantities that I desired. This, of course, would mean that I would always be overweight.
When I asked her how I actually lose weight, she said that many of her clients lose weight naturally since they eat smaller quantities and choose better foods. So from January until May, I started making healthier choices. But, from my clothes (and later confirmed when I actually weighed myself in March) I could tell that my weight was fluctuating, but not really go down (or up).
It took me eight months of thinking to figure it out.
Before therapy, I believed that in order to lose weight, I must be on a structured diet with strict rules and guidelines. I must count every calorie or point, meticulously plan every spoonful of food that went into my mouth and write everything down in order to control my eating. But I knew that this approach didn’t work (weight loss was never permanent) and is a big reason why food and weight is such an issue for me now.
I need to diet without a diet.
However, it’s not a diet. It’s a concept, a philosophy: eat healthy and if possible in smaller quantities. Vague, I know. Like something a doctor or a well-intended friend would say. It may not be a quick way to lose weight, but I think this is the only way to stay sane. And with 110 pounds to lose, I have to be in it for the long run.
MB, a like-minded blogger posted on her blog this morning her reasons for joining an online Slimmer this Summer challenge. One of the coordinating bloggers was curious as to why MB (as a no rule dieter) would choose to join a weight loss challenge with a set of rules. Her response sums up how I’m feeling right now about a structured diet.
After a few weeks of actively attempting to lose weight and reading MB’s posting, I realize that there are some rules that I’m following:
- No food journaling
- Flexible meal planning is helpful; meticulous meal planning is not
- Drink water as much as possible
- No food is considered off-limits, no quantity is too much
- Eat three balanced meals a day with reasonable portion sizes
- Eat three healthy snacks in between meals
- Eat every three hours
- Indulge in the occasional unhealthier food choice
- Choose the healthier food option as much as possible
- Choose smaller portions when possible
- Tackle cravings using the distract and delay technique
- Sign up for, train and complete 5K run
- Blog as much as possible
In any case, with or without Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig, you have to do what works for you.