I’ve given up being a lifelong dieter, which has gotten me nowhere as I currently weigh more than 200 pounds. I’ve lost the weight and then have gained it back every time and then some. There are some diets that seem to work for a time, like Weight Watchers, but for me, there is always a downfall. I would do well for a few weeks, even a few months, but then WW Brownie A La Mode desserts would start to feel like a reward and I’d eat both in the box instead of just one. Dieting for me has always been a struggle between feeling better about myself and feeling like I was cheating myself out of something I really wanted. Ring Dings never taste as good as when you are on a diet.
That’s why this time, I’m not dieting. I’m walking. I’m exercising. I’m looking to be a healthier, stronger version of who I am right at this moment. I kind of like me, even if I’m not a perfect size 8.
I’ve walked every day (except one) for the past 10 days now and I’m up to a mile and a half. That’s an accomplishment. I’ve also added an ab routine back into my day from years ago, when I worked with a trainer to get fit. And I’m feeling better.
I’m noticing a strange side effect too. While I haven’t changed my eating habits at all, I’m finding that I am gravitating toward some healthier choices, like strawberries instead of candy or cookies. Not that I’m still not eating candy or cookies, but I’m not craving it the way I was even a week ago. It’s more of a habit thing I think. Of course, this could change, but I’m going to try to listen to my body instead of just shoveling in what I’m used to or what is being triggered by some emotion, be it boredom, anxiety, whatever. I know I’m an emotional eater, and when I eat emotionally, I’m not reaching for string beans or strawberries.
I read an article in Good Housekeeping magazine this month that touches on this subject. The author, Geneen Roth, writes “what, when and how I eat come from an inner sense of what would feel good in my body at any given moment, of what kind of energy I need to get me through the day, of how I want to feel when I finish eating.” Because she eats this way, she said, even though she eats healthfully most of the time (based on what her body needs), “I am not frightened that, after one day of overeating, all hell will break loose and I will gain 50 pounds. If someone hands me a piece of chocolate cake and I feel like eating it, I will.”
The key, according to Roth, is being able to make the choice. If you aren’t denying yourself anything, it’s easier to choose not to eat something if you are satisfied because it’s not a restriction. It’s a choice.
All of my young adult life, I was told I needed to lose 15 pounds. That, coupled with growing up in a very large family (if you didn’t get to the goodies first, you didn’t get any) created eating habits based on restriction and deprivation. Even when I was eating a piece of cake, I felt guilty about it. But if you didn’t eat that piece of cake when it was offered, it wouldn’t be there in an hour when you really wanted it. I don’t have those restrictions anymore if I choose not to have them. So I’m going to listen to my body a little more, and to the voices from my past a little less. And the next time I eat a piece of cake, I’m going to enjoy it with no guilt.
Geneen Roth has written a couple of books on the subject and has workshops too. You can find out more about her at geneenroth.com. I’m going to check her out myself.