I quit. I’m done. That’s it. No more.
Dieting, that is.
You see, I have been on some sort of diet for the past 15 years. The result? A consistent healthy baseline weight for 10 years, then a steady weight gain for five years. What happened to cause my body to gain weight? A combination of hormones and stress.
I hit the big 5-0 and the hormone issues started. Let’s just say it has not been the most enjoyable period of my life!
Then stress. Lots of stress from various fronts. Life, death, finances, and everything in between. Stress causes our bodies to secrete more cortisol, which causes weight gain. At times I was swimming in a pool of cortisol!
I’ve always been interested in health and healthy eating. I am a jump in the deep end kind of person, so I’ve jumped into many, many, MANY health trends over the years. Low fat. High fat. Low carb. High carb. Low protein. High protein. You name it, I’ve pretty much done a combination of all of the above on my quest for THE PERFECT HUMAN DIET.
I’ve done my share of exercise as well. Walking, running (I’ve done a marathon), swimming, biking (and a triathlon) and weight training. I love all of them. Well, except running. My right knee tends to let me know when I’ve run too much.
What has been the end result of all of my reading and researching and obsessing about food and exercise? I am at the highest weight I have ever been as a non-pregnant/non-postpartum adult.
So I quit. I quit reading every new diet theory. I quit researching the pros and cons of dairy, gluten, grains, legumes, Atkins, Paleo, Pritikin, Ornish, Raw, Vegan, Vegetarian, blah, blah, blah………
I quit obsessing.
Instead I simply gave myself permission to enjoy food again. Such a relief and such a revelation! I had vilified so many foods and food groups that eating had become a chore. I know I frustrated my husband and confused my mother due to my ever-changing food plans.
Now I allow myself to eat anything I want. No restrictions. The only caveat is that I make sure to eat at least 51% raw, unprocessed, preferably organic vegetables and fruits at every meal. It’s that simple.
What is a typical day for me?
For breakfast I may juice a combination of fruits and vegetables and drink that first. Then, if I want a piece of cinnamon toast or a waffle I will eat that too. Although I confess I haven’t wanted toast or waffles after drinking a large juice. I may also make a smoothie with whole fruits and vegetables. I find smoothies to be more filling because the fiber is included. Again, if I then want something else I will eat it. Some days I don’t feel like making a juice or smoothie so I’ve cooked up eggs or oatmeal. I just make sure I also eat fresh fruit with those eggs or oatmeal. Easy peasy. Breakfast done!
Lunch usually means leftover vegetables from the previous night’s dinner or leftover salad. I may or may not add protein, just depends on what appeals to me at the moment and what is in the refrigerator. I’ve perfected the art of hummus making. I love to eat raw veggies and hummus at lunch. Lots of satisfying crunching and I’m eating more than 51% of my meal raw. I might also snack on a piece of bread with peanut butter or, better yet, a piece of toast with avocado with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
Dinner has been some type of meat – whatever has been requested by my husband or whatever sounds good to me. Tacos, fried chicken, lamb chops, pork roast are recent meals. Plus I have a big salad filled with lots and lots of fresh veggies and fruit and a cooked veg. I may also have some sweet potato or even white potato. Nothing is off limits as long as I make sure I’m still eating 51% raw.
I’ve stopped demonizing any kind of food. If I tell myself I can’t have it, then that’s all I can think about! If I tell myself I can have it, any time I want it and as much of it as I want, then the allure of the forbidden is gone and I no longer crave it. Sounds crazy, but that’s how my mind works. Bet yours does too.
For Mother’s Day my husband took me, my sister, and my mom to The Cheesecake Factory. I knew before walking in the door that I was going to have cheesecake for dessert. My sister and I decided to split a large salad with lots of raw veggies, goat cheese, and candied pecans. We then split Vietnamese spring rolls. We decided that if we were still hungry after eating those we would order the artichoke crab dip. We were too full and satisfied so we stopped after the spring rolls. For dessert we split a piece of white chocolate macadamia nut cheesecake. Three or four bites were all I could handle. It was too sweet. Yummy, but too sweet. My belly was satisfied. Better yet, my head was satisfied. I didn’t deny myself anything I really wanted to eat and I left the restaurant happy and fulfilled because I’d allowed myself to eat whatever I wanted. I’d even had some bread and butter before the meal! I chose mostly good foods with a special treat thrown in. No sense of denial. No emotional binge eating the next few days.
Have I lost weight? I don’t know. I’m no longer worried about that either. Worrying about my weight and the size of my jeans was stressing me out! I’m trying not to do stress anymore. I quit weighing myself when I quit dieting. I can report that my clothes are fitting better and my energy is high. My attitude is positive as well. I now feel like walking more. I now wake up raring to go. Maybe it is our warm sunny weather. Maybe it is the fact that we bought a new bed. Maybe it is the fact that I have less stress in my life because my food choices are no longer a big deal that take too much of my attention.
Whatever the reason, I’m happy I quit. I think my health is, and will continue to be better because I decided to quit jumping on the latest craziest diet trend. I still care about the kinds of foods I put in my mouth. I want the healthiest possible, which means organic when I can get it, non-GMO, and unprocessed. I’ll never change that. I think eating food the way God made it is the smartest way to go. Plus it just tastes better. But, I will no longer journal about calories, fat, carb and protein grams. Food will just be, well…..food. For energy. For nourishment. For pleasure.
Now I’m hungry again. Think I’ll go try the roasted red pepper/sun-dried tomato hummus I made yesterday.