(This was a post I wrote as a guest blogger awhile back; I wanted to share it here)
It’s true! Let me explain.
When I was a kid, I longed to be thinner. I wasn’t obese. I wasn’t thin. I was a normal, active child that could possible be considered “chubby” in comparison to “skinny” people. I had a father who was preoccupied with the weight of his daughter and it was pointed out to me more than a few times I could “afford to lose” a few pounds.
Around the age of 12, I began to diet. I would be aware of what I was eating, sometimes even depriving myself of lunch at school. This, of course, backfired. I would allow myself to get too hungry and then overeat at my next meal. This very normal dieting cycle (eat less, feel deprived, eat more) continued for me until my late 20s.
Throughout high school and college, I would have done anything to be thin. Everything except what I needed to do. I needed to learn how to eat and have a healthy relationship with food. I needed to move more. I needed to stop DIETING! Sounds weird I know, but it’s true: dieting made me fat.
Once I stopped dieting and learned how to live. I found success.
So you are asking yourself now, “how did she do it? How did she stop dieting?” Well my program of choice was Weight Watchers. Weight Watchers was like school for me. I went to “class” once a week to earn my 3 credits in “Eating and Living Healthy”. Some may call it a diet — I disagree. It was a strategy, a starting point, for me. I needed to be taught how to eat. Rather, I needed to unlearn how to diet. You could treat Weight Watchers like a diet, sure, but I approached it as a lifestyle change (SO cliche, I know.)
Do you need to run out and join Weight Watchers to find success?
No, I don’t think so. It won’t hurt, but it can be done with a few simple strategies.
- Include more healthy, whole foods in your diet. Fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean meats. If you don’t eat enough of them now start slowly. Replace a snack a day with a fruit. Add a side of veggies to your dinner plate. After a few weeks, you may start to surprise yourself as your tastes begin to change.
- Learn what a portion is. I was shocked to see what one serving of pasta was! And I almost cried when I weighed out one serving of my favorite cereal. At first you may feel like it’s not enough but again, if you listen to your body you may be surprised that one serving is more then enough to satisfy you until your next snack or meal.
- Scrap the concept of 3 meals a day. I eat now when I’m hungry not because it’s noon or 5 p.m.
- Get active. I didn’t hit the gym hard to lose 65 pounds but I moved more. Daily walks with the family after dinner and shutting the TV off on weekends is a great start!
- Get support any way you can. A walking buddy, an online message board, your significant other, anyone who will listen! Share your success and your failures. Weigh in with that person once a week to be accountable if you need to.
- Keep a journal. Jot down what you eat during the day. Even writing out your thoughts at the end of the day will help you reflect and come up with a strategy for tomorrow.
- Celebrate every good choice and learn from the bad ones. Just because you slipped doesn’t mean you should scrap everything. Weight loss is a journey, a process. If you don’t mess up how will you learn how to deal with everyday challenges? No matter what you do today, tomorrow is coming so you might as well do what you can to better yourself. Don’t give up just because you had a piece of cake after lunch. Just eat a little less at dinner to account for it!
Honestly, I did/do all those things. I didn’t say it would be easy, did I? I still haven’t mastered each one but I work on them daily. Now that I think about it, I don’t think I’ll ever master them all but just by trying I’ve come a long way.