If you just love being on a diet, raise your hand…
As I sit here waiting for nobody to raise their hands, let me finish my fat free cottage cheese and mandarin oranges! I have serious love for this stuff! I’d almost take it instead of ice cream…almost! Seriously! I’m fighting the urge to go grab another bowl of curdly cheesy orange love. Cottage cheese was once the food of my dieting nightmares. Now I crave it like it was ice cream! Oh my word!! Who am I??
Truth is, if someone caught me eating cottage cheese they’d probably ask me if I was on a diet. Oh how I hate that word! Honestly, when someone talks about “going on a diet”, I just wanna cringe! I. HATE. DIETS !!! I’ve been on dozens of them throughout my life. And in spite of the fact that many of these diets helped me lose weight, not one of them was successful. Every single time I’ve gone on a diet, I’ve ended up overweight again. Every single time was just progressively worse than the time before.
I think I’ve found a “sweet spot” though that will keep me from ever having to “diet” again. I’ve pinpointed five things I’m doing that I’m certain will keep me from boomeranging back to where I was in this before picture. And because I like to share , I’ve written these things down for any of my “dieting” friends who may need a boost.
Picture on the left was a year ago. The snazzy dressing room selfie was a few weeks ago . I hate dressing room selfies by the way. But I couldn’t help myself because I was a bit stunned at the “smaller than I’ve been in 16 years” size jeans I was comfortable wearing. I waited until I was back in my car before I allowed the tears of joy to begin dripping from my eyes.
(Side note…I’m not a weight loss expert even though I did work as a Weight Watchers leader many years ago. I’m not even a nutrition specialist. I’m just someone who’s walked this road a time or two and learned a few things along the way. )
1. Find your proper motivation…
Honestly, if your motivation is to lose some weight and get to a certain number, that’s not enough! I’ve been there done that. When all I wanted was to be several pounds under 200, this motivation alone failed me in the end. Because once I got to that elusive number, I celebrated the “end of the road”. And you know what happened? I got lazy again. I got a bit cocky thinking I no longer needed to do all the things I had been doing that got me to this point. I had arrived and now I could relax. That worked for me for a while. But Picture One up there is the proof of my failure in making a number my motivation.
That “getting to xxx-pounds” can be a good start, but a better lifelong motivator needs to go deeper than that. EVERY DAY I want to feel amazing. EVERY DAY I want to be able to get up and move and groove and enjoy life with my family and friends and not ache because of sugar induced inflammation. I want to be able get up off the floor without needing help. I want to be able to cross my legs and bend over to tie my shoes. I want good numbers at EVERY yearly physical as a result of my good health choices. These goals motivate me more to a lifetime of good choices than simply reaching that number well under 200!
2.Give yourself a fair chance to create new habits…
How many times have you started a “diet” and given up within a couple weeks? I’ve done this too many times to count. When I think about why I gave up so many times it usually boils down to a huge lack of patience with myself. Those first few days of exercising were hard and I didn’t like getting sweaty or being out of breath and really? Who has time for such things? Then it was hard to drink enough water or to cook more and eat out less or to simply keep track of what I put in my mouth all day long. Those times I gave up too soon were also the times I didn’t give myself enough time to break my old bad habits and create new healthy ones.
The “researchers” ….whoever they are…say it takes 21 days to bust out of a bad habit and create a new one. But I say be patient even beyond 21 days. That new habit may be created but in my own experience it’s gonna take a bit longer to make sure it sticks..to get to the point where drinking water and exercising and picking up an apple instead of a brownie is just second nature. Once all the good habits become second nature, your chances of ever having to be on a diet again diminish greatly!
3.Believe you can do this…
From the day I had a “weight loss expert” tell me losing weight was just harder for women in their 50’s, I stopped believing I was even able. I filled my head with all the lies of “I can’t”. And I was totally right. As long as I believed I was unable to lose weight, I was doomed to a life of being overweight. I could start with a decent attitude but the second I allowed doubt to slip in , it was all over. Such a vicious , ugly cycle that lead to a “diet mentality”. Yuck!!
If you want to stop that vicious cycle, you MUST get the words “I can’t” out of your vocab!! You CAN eat vegetables. You CAN skip dessert. You CAN exercise every day. You CAN do every single thing it takes to get healthy. You CAN do all the hard things AND live to tell about them! Believe all these “I can” statements. Write them on sticky notes and put them where you can see them . Fill your sweet head with the truth that you can do this . BELIEVE IT! It’s true after all! This simple change in believing in yourself will be a big part of stopping the diet yo yo.
4.Be willing to do things differently…
Are you a creature of habit like I am? I can certainly get set in my ways. And I was pretty darn set on ice cream every night after dinner… and don’t you dare offer me the no sugar added variety! Yuck! Three cups of coffee every morning with enough Extra Extra creamer to make my black coffee the color of my favorite white sandy beach. Resting every day during the kids nap time…do not make me get up off the couch for anything please! I had some pretty solid, not very healthy habits. For so long,the thought of changing any of my routines made me cringe. But the day came when I knew I had to.
And seven months into this new journey of healthy disciplines, I’ve come to realize I still need to be open to doing things differently every so often. Why? Because my weight loss stalls from time to time. This happens mostly when I get in a rut of eating the same foods, doing the same workouts and basically fall into a bit of boredom with all the things. When I start to feel even a smidge of the ho-hum, I’m far more likely to fall into that “diet mentality”. I’m far more likely to skip the workout, eat bigger portions, run for the full sugar ice cream! Left unchecked,this leads to finding a seat on a roller coaster you will get very few thrills from!!
5.Don’t put time limits on your goals…
“I must lose 50 lbs by Christmas”
“Losing ten pounds a month is necessary for me to be successful.”
I can’t count on both hands the number of times I’ve put limits on myself. Some were realistic. Most were not. A few of my self made limits were met. And when they weren’t? Well, cue the wah-wah music. Utter defeat. Failure. Feelings of worthlessness and weakness set in. And most of the time, those unmet timed goals lead to gigantic steps in the wrong direction.
Being healthy, eating right and losing weight isn’t a sprint with a big old fancy finish line at the end. Treat it as such and B A M!! You’ve arrived. You’ve achieved your goal. You’re done. And now you don’t have to worry about that stinking old “diet” anymore. Surely we all know what happens next.
As long as you have a heart that’s beating and breath in your lungs, that journey to your healthiest self isn’t over. There are no time limits to your healthy goals. Eating right and exercising isn’t a punishment we must endure as penance for being overweight. It’s a reward for a life well lived.
Set goals for yourself. Goals are good. But time restraints on a plan to lose weight could backfire. Make it a LIFETIME goal to do all the right things, to eat well and move more. If that’s your lifetime goal, the weight will come off and stay off.
And you’ll never have to go on another “diet”again. Ever.
I’ll end with a prayer for you from my favorite encouraging book…the Bible.
“Dear Friends, I pray that you may enjoy GOOD HEALTH and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. Lord help these friends show discipline in their bodies and keep them under control. Whatever they eat or drink, whatever they do, may they do it all for the glory of God.”From 3 John 1:2, 1 Corinthians 9:27 , 10:31
Until next time, keep joyfully clamoring…