Friday, March 26, 2021

Eating All the Stuff


“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

--Steve Jobs


Two years ago, I started my weight loss journey with WW (formerly known as Weight Watchers) with these goals in mind:

Walk without pain in my knees and hips

Fit in an airline seat without a seatbelt extender 

Fit in any seat

Not be over the weight limit for activities, outdoor chairs, inexpensive treadmills, etc.

No high blood pressure medication needed

Buy clothes in any store

Feel confident in my body

Lose 130 pounds

During this crazy past year, I reached a weight-loss total of -84 pounds. And then, I started to struggle. My weight had reached the lowest it had been in 30-plus years, which was unknown territory for me and a little scary because I didn’t quite know how to feel about myself. Also, I got tired of trying to adjust every recipe to be more WW point-friendly. (Sometimes you just want a cookie to be a cookie!) But, most of all, I was tired of feeling good or bad about myself based on what the scale said or how many points I did or didn’t eat in a day.

Old habits started to return. Instead of only eating a cookie or two, I was eating the whole box. A couple of scoops of ice cream became the whole container. Most of all, I was back to mindless eating—putting food in my mouth without actually tasting it or enjoying it, and doing it a fast as I could so I wouldn’t think about it. The pounds started to return and I started to panic. I’d watched many WW people I admired on social media gain back all the weight they lost…and then some. It reminded me that 95 percent of people who lose weight gain it back. That’s always been my story in the past.

There has to be a better way!

I have accomplished all my goals except for one. My weight.

Do I have to reach a certain number on the scale to be successful in my wellness journey?

Is it possible this is where my body is meant to be? 

About 6 months ago, I remembered the concept of intuitive eating. The focus is on letting your body eat what it wants, and learning to trust that it will tell you what it needs. I’d first heard of this idea back in the 1980s through the writings of Geneen Roth, primarily her book Breaking Free from Emotional Eating and When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair. I also recently came across Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, and The F*ck It Diet by Caroline Dooner. 

The key components to intuitive eating are listening to what your body wants and no food is off-limits. When I first started eating this way, I was binging. It was like my body was saying, “So, I can have anything I want? Prove it!”

Still, I continued to allow myself to eat what I wanted. Sweets after dinner…or any time, and anything off the take-out menu. I kept jars full of chocolates, cookies in the pantry, and the freezer well-stocked with ice cream. 

Over time, I noticed I was happy with just a small bowl of ice cream. Or 2-3 cookies. Or 2-4 pieces of chocolate. Not all of the above all the time

One evening, as I was watching TV, my tummy full and happy after dinner, I didn’t even think of eating anything sweet. The thought didn’t enter my mind until it was almost bedtime! No trying to talk myself out of it. I didn’t have to! Wow.

I’ve also stopped gaining weight. As of today, I’ve regained 15-20 pounds from my lowest weight, and I’m okay with that. I’ve decided to write my own well-being story. I would like to drop about 10 pounds, and then stay put. But I’m not going to count points or calories. No food is off-limits. I actually believe as the weather gets warmer, and I’m more active and inclined to eat fruits and veg, some of the weight I’ve gained will drop off naturally. 

Let me say, I’m grateful to WW for helping me get this far. I don’t know if I could have lost this much weight without the program. Most of all, the best gift I received during these past 2 years is the knowledge that self-care is not selfish. It’s necessary for achieving any other goals in life.


Now, speaking of goals, my new ones are:

Keep walking—and doing 5Ks—because I like it! 

Practice yoga twice a week

Find ways to add other movements into my life—golf, hiking, etc.

Trust my body to tell me what it needs.

Pay attention to how my body feels about certain foods

No food is off-limits

Balance

Enjoy life!

If you’d like to follow along with me while I blaze my new path, you can find me on Instagram and Facebook. I promise to be real with you, no matter what happens. Plus, I’ll post longer updates here from time to time, along with more tasty recipes!

“Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.”

--Mark Twain 


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