- Are your choices extreme?
- Do you get lost in the details?
- Does the word natural help you make decisions?
After 10 years of losing a few pounds and then gaining them back, again and again, I opened up about my preoccupation with weight. I was so lost and frustrated. I just wanted my life to be normal again. For the first time being healthy was more important than being thin. To my surprise, that’s when I lost weight.
When I look back at that difficult time and think of my major turning points, all the advice I received was actually about being healthy.
When I focused on being healthy instead of being thin I lost weight.
Is being healthy your top priority? Here’s 3 questions that help you find out.
Being Healthy Test #1:
Are your choices extreme?
When I was trying to lose weight my eating and exercise choices were extreme. If I read you should eat low-fat, I went one better and aimed to eat no-fat foods. In hindsight restricting what I ate always lead to being so hungry that I’d end up eating too much. Then I’d try to compensate by overexercising or skipping a meal. I was always jerking my body around with wild fluctuations.
When I look back, everything I did was inconsistent. But our bodies thrive on dependable routines. All living things function best when they have predictable patterns.
When you put your body through extremes it’s a shock to your system. It confuses your metabolism and slows it down. A slow metabolism means your body can hold onto extra energy longer in case you don’t eat for a while. Putting your body through extremes makes it easy to gain weight.
Being Healthy Test #2:
Are you getting lost in the details?
I thought losing weight was about counting calories. I heard you shouldn’t eat after 8pm. Somewhere I read you need to chew your food 10 times before swallowing. Someone told me to only eat boiled chicken. And I was advised to eat no more than half a banana. I also weighed myself all the time. And I’d cover a frying pan with low-fat spray rather than using butter.
Every food I ate had some kind of rule.
Eating was incredibly complicated.
Pretty soon after I started dieting (and in the process gaining more weight), I worried about every choice I made. And I over-analyzed each decision before, during and after I ate. Soon I became completely preoccupied by trying to lose weight.
By the time I asked for help I was so confused about what, when and how much to eat that I was willing to take instructions. That’s when I went back to the basics and started eating 3 balanced meals a day. I picked something from every food group and put it on my plate. I just eye-balled the amount so it looked roughly like the Eatwell Guide.
Eating 3 balanced meals a day, instead of trying to follow diet rules, tips and tricks, had unexpected results. I lost weight and eating became easy. Being flexible about my food choices and eating more consistently normalized my relationship with food. I learned that eating isn’t so exact. Rough estimates will do. Stop overthinking your choices. Keep eating simple!
Being Healthy Test #3:
Are your choices natural?
I liked eating food that came in a package. It made it easy to count calories because they’d be written right there in front of me. Opening a crinkly bag that had fat-free splashed all over the wrapping made me feel good about my decisions.
Now I know processed foods usually have all the fiber stripped out and sugar and salt is added. Our bodies operate the best when we eat whole foods. Whole foods are foods found in their most natural state.
Being healthy is all about eating natural food instead of factory food. For example, try frying a fish in some butter and herbs, then squeezing on some lemon… rather than sprinkling it with artificial seasoning that’s low fat. Or put oil and vinegar on your salad instead of low-calorie, store-bought salad dressing that’s full of preservatives. And don’t be afraid of fat. Just make sure it’s from a natural source.
Keep in mind, if you eat lots of processed foods don’t take extremes by suddenly eating all natural foods. Make small changes to what you’re already doing. Then you can get used to eating balanced meals made of whole foods.
Losing weight is simply about being healthy
Once I understood I needed to have a consistent routine, eat roughly balanced meals and choose natural food, it was easy to make healthy decisions and lose weight.
Next time you find yourself at a crossroads, ask yourself “Which choice is more about being healthy?”
Stop blaming yourself. Blame your weight-loss method. Focus on being healthy!
This song feeds into the myth that trying to lose weight requires extremes, sacrifice and willpower rather than being healthy.
Diet Song, by Bobby Bare
Sharing what I learned makes the 10 years I STRUGGLED worth it
What choices do you make that are more about being thin than being healthy?