Like many, I took the 2023 New Year as an opportunity to set health goals for myself and embark on trying to make my health and wellness and feeling comfortable in my own skin a top priority. Between school, starting to work part-time as a substitute and normal mom/wife duties, and limited self-care time my body has taken a toll these last couple of years. And while I do not feel pressure to change myself for anyone, I do realize that most of the time I am uncomfortable in my own skin and for my own mental health I would like to do something about it. But this time I am taking a totally different approach, I have deleted the calorie-counting apps off of my phone, and I am ready to not only get healthy but heal my relationship with food and “diets”.
I feel like for much of my adult life “dieting” has been a HUGE portion and has taken up a lot of space in my mind. If you can name a fad diet I have probably tried it. I am a sucker for the fad diet. Whatever food plan is all the rage and making the rounds on social media. Cut out carbs. You got it! Eat nothing but meat. OK, Pass the steak! Nothing but vegetables. Bring on the salads! Drink nothing but shakes all day. Warm up the blender! If you can name some MLM supplement company that promises fat loss, weight loss, ECT. I have probably bought it. I would cringe if anyone actually ever totaled the amount of money I have spent on shakes, pills, and drinks.
Apparently, I am the perfect consumer for those ever-present influencers because I am so easily influenced.
But let’s face it these super-restrictive diets never last long term. They are meant for people to lose a lot of weight really quickly, which is nice but, once you try to work your way back into normal life it’s almost inevitable that you gain a lot of weight back. At least this is how it has always worked for me. The problem is when I go on super restrictive diets there is something in my brain that gets triggered.
I will start off ok, but eventually, my brain starts to tell me I can live with more and more restrictions. Then I am not just restricting whole food groups but I am trying to see how little I can eat too. I am smart enough to realize THIS thinking is very disordered and unhealthy. The problem is when you are in the midst of it and you are losing weight and people are telling you how good you look it’s hard to stop. For example, this picture of myself was from 2019. I had lost a crap ton of weight, but inside I was dying! My marriage was on the rocks and I was basically drinking my calories in 1-2 protein shakes a day. If you’re doing the math that was VERY LITTLE calories. Of course the instant I started eating normally again I started packing on the pounds! (But hey marriage and my health was saved)
This process of Yo-Yo dieting has gone on for years. That is why in the last two years I have not made any big moves in regard to my weight. I’m ready to break this cycle! I want to teach myself and my kids a better way to live. But I have been stuck not really knowing how to do this without triggering this restrictive part of my brain.
In 2023 I have chosen to stay away from diets or calorie counting and anything that is “diet culture” instead I am taking a different approach.
It is called intuitive eating. Nothing is off limits, I am instead listening to my body more. When I am hungry I eat, but I try to slow down, and when I feel full stop. I have become more active and I am drinking more water! My family and I eat the same foods, with no special dinner for mom this go-round, now I am paying more attention to portion sizes and how foods make me feel. The only “rules” I have given myself so far this year are no alcohol, no eating out (this is for the budget), and currently, I am trying not to eat sweets like cake, candy, ETC. I am not cutting these things out for good, just to jump-start the year and then within moderation.