You know what disgusts me?
The fact that I lost 50 pounds in 2011 simply by changing the way I ate (exercise and supplements came later to help me reach my ultimate weight loss goal).
It’s not losing the weight that disgusted me — that was freaking awesomesauce! It’s the fact that I was eating so terribly that, once I changed my eating habits and choices, the weight fell off! The first 40 pounds in just six months!
So what did I do? How did I finally get the control I’d always wanted but didn’t have the willpower to manage (or so it seemed)? After three years of resisting the suggestion from a friend, I joined Weight Watchers. However, I signed up for the online program only, which meant it was all on me. I had no weigh-ins or meetings and no “coach.” But it was the points system that I needed — guidelines to keep me on track for my goals.
What it taught me was less about what I ate, and more about my relationship with food. I began to see how I often ate something out of boredom, always looking for something to be doing with my hands, even when relaxing. And, of course, the common emotional eating.
Substitutions became my new normal. When I’d go out to eat, whether a sit down restaurant or fast food, I would still get something hearty like a burger, but would substitute a salad for fries. And only used vinaigrette dressings (the flavors available are so amazing!). I worked to replace those high fat and calorie snacks with foods that satisfied my desire to eat something crunchy, but kept me on track for my goals (i.e. baby carrots instead of chips). And when I was emotional, I tried to journal or something similar rather than eat my feelings.
It also meant finding new ways to cook foods that were healthier for me. Spaghetti squash instead of spaghetti noodles means I can actually have seconds on spaghetti night! #goodfooddoesnthavetotastebad Cooking with olive oil instead of vegetable oil meant less fat and better health. And loading up on healthy proteins paired with fruits and veggies and far less carbs helped to curb my cravings.
I learned quickly that deprivation was not the answer, portion control was. I started measuring carbs and sweets to their exact recommended portion size. Ice cream was and continues to be a vice for me, so I was still able to enjoy it, just in smaller portions. And I began to find myself satisfied with those smaller amounts in a lot of things, such as cereal and chips. Tricks of the trade found that one square of 70% cocoa chocolate was far more satisfying to my palate than a handful of M&Ms or even a cookie (which is much higher in calories).
Counting calories and carbs on my own never worked; I just found myself overwhelmed and discouraged. Utilizing a fully integrated system that set my parameters and daily goals for me made all the difference in my ability to hold myself accountable. Afterall, lying to myself was an entirely pointless endeavor.
Whatever you choose to do, accountability is the key to success. If you are your own accountability partner, then find a way to set clear daily parameters for yourself to attain your goals (whether you do it on your own or use a system like Weight Watchers). If you need an actual person holding you accountable, make sure it’s someone that will reliably check on you and will ask you the hard questions. You know, those questions you don’t really want to answer (such as how many of Lorie’s homemade cookies you gorged on at work today).
Physical abundance starts with a desire for change that cannot be quenched by a daily ritual of scarfing down a brownie sundae, with ice cream, whipped cream and a cherry. It’s got to be such a strong desire that you’re willing to forego all the fixin’s and enjoy half a brownie every few days instead. As cliche as this sounds, if I can do it, anyone can.