I love it when people tell me, “You’re so lucky. You’ve never had a weight problem.”
Ha! Little do they know!
I struggled with diets and weight gain for YEARS! I’ve been on Weight Watchers, Nutri-system, Jenny Craig, the Hotdog diet, the Grapefruit diet, the Cabbage diet … to name a FEW! Some of them worked … for a while. Most of them made me crazy!
Although I’ll never be a “skinny minny,” I have grown to respect my body (most of the time). And even though I am not a “diet and nutrition expert,” I’ve discovered six non-obsessive ways to feel great and maintain a comfortable body weight.
I call it the “Love Life” Diet.
1. Throw Away Your Scale
Your weight is a useless piece of data. Muscle weighs more than fat anyway. And just because you’re “skinnier” doesn’t mean you’re “healthier.”
Now … the thought of tossing your scale may freak you out! (It did me at first.)
I’d been slave to that flat piece of metal since my adolescence. (One Christmas I came home from college after gaining thirty pounds my first semester freshman year. My father threw me on the bathroom scale so I could “put my weight before me.” Talk about horrifying!) (And embarrassing!)
But still … throwing away my scale was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. How would I hold myself accountable? I didn’t trust my body. I worried that I’d blow up to be the size of the Goodyear Blimp.
But I did it. I took the risk. I tossed that bloody scale. And I’ve never looked back. (In fact, when I go to the doctor’s office, I turn my back when getting on the scale and WARN the assistant not to utter my tonnage, lest risk my wrath!)
I don’t know my weight and I don’t care. My clothes tell me when I’m puffy or thin. And I’ve stopped the insanity of “weighing in” on the almighty scale.
2. Express Your Feelings, Don’t Stuff Them Down
Learning how to communicate your feelings in a logical rational way may be the best “Love Life” diet tip. When you’re able to express your feelings, you’re less likely to stuff down your emotions with food (or other substances).
It’s soooooo important to be able to say what you want or what you think. Or express what you don’t want or feel uncomfortable with. Even at the risk of making someone upset with you.
If you can’t risk hurting someone else’s feelings, you risk hurting yourself.
What your mind can’t assimilate (understand) and your mouth can’t articulate (say), your body will demonstrate (gaining weight).
And weight gain isn’t the only price tag. Your physical, mental, and emotional health will pay dearly too.
3. Listen to Your Body
Eat when you’re hungry. Stop when you’re full. Your body will let you know what it wants and how much.
Your body will tell you when it needs to relax or needs to move. It will tell you when it feels well and when it doesn’t.
Your body knows what it craves, but often your head argues. Your “old habits” get in the way by telling you what you “should” do.
Does this sound familiar?
Body: “Ice cream.”
Head: “You can’t have ice cream.”
Head: “You’re too fat.”
And on and on and on …
If your body craves ice cream, eat it. Enjoy it. Stop the madness and deprivation in your head. It’s just ice cream! One scoop isn’t going to make you fat. (The whole carton might.)
I appreciate it takes a huge leap of faith to listen to your body over what your head thinks. (Or what someone else thinks.) But once you REALLY start paying attention to Your Body and eating what It wants, you’ll never go back to “dieting” again.
4. Eat “WOW” Foods
I have two categories for food: “WOW” Food and “Filler” Food.
“WOW” food is great food! (1) Your body craves it and is so satisfied when it eats it or (2) the food is SOOOOO good that it doesn’t matter if you eat more. It’s worth paying the price!
“Filler” food is just that. It’s food that fills you up when you’re hungry. “Filler” food is fuel. It gives you energy. “Filler” food is easier to say “no” to when you’re full.
I do my best to eat “WOW” food … because I hate wasting stomach space with “filler” food. When I satisfy my cravings, I feel better. I don’t obsess and I’m not deprived.
It cracks me up when a friend comments on the dessert tray … “Oh, that looks so good, but I can’t eat it. It’s too fattening.”
Well …yes. And no. Who says you have to eat the whole thing? Personally, I’d rather have a few bites of a fabulous “WOW” than a whole lot of “low fat filler” that tastes like crap.
I don’t know how it works, but eating real “WOW” food … no matter how “fattening” it is … fills me up quicker and satisfies me more without the weight gain.
5. Don’t Panic If You Gain a Few Pounds
Like tides of the sea, weight comes and goes. DON’T PANIC if you start to feel yourself getting a little heavier!
Years ago, I beat myself up if I gained weight. I punished my body by starving or eating yucky “health” food that I hated. I gave myself mental bashings about how unworthy I was or undisciplined or fat.
The result: I gained more weight.
Not any more!
Now, when I notice myself eating more … and my clothes are getting tighter … and I feel that extra “pudge” around my waist … I say to myself, “Cherry, you’re eating too much. What’s going on? Is there something stressing you out? Something you need to say? Or do you just need to control your portion size (or stop drinking wine for a while)? Do you really WANT that second piece of pie? How’s it going to feel after you eat it?”
If I reeeaaaalllly want it, I eat it. But I’m used to my body telling me when it’s full and I can always have it LATER if I don’t eat it now.
That’s a big key … knowing you aren’t depriving yourself. That you can have ANYTHING you want … as long as your body tells you it’s hungry.
6. Move Your Butt!
If you think “exercise is boring” or “don’t have time,” you haven’t found the “WOW” of exercise.
Getting in the habit of moving your body is one of the best things you’ll ever do for yourself.
Good Morning America recently said, “If you walk thirty minutes, five days a week, you will extend your life. (I forget for how many years.) (Sorry.) Walking is easy and cheap and the payoffs are enormous!
Like any habit, starting to exercise can take a couple months to integrate into your routine. I don’t need to preach to you about the benefits of exercise. You already know it helps your heart, gives you a glowing complexion, and decreases your appetite.
For me, exercise feels great. I’m not one of those “gotta get results” people (although I do look better by doing it). If I don’t feel high energy during my workout or walk, I don’t push it. Just showing up and doing it is good enough for me. I listen to my body and it tells me how hard it wants to work.
So get up and move! Believe me, your butt will thank you!