I, myself have been guilty of trying most diets on and off for years. Every time I want to go on a diet it isn’t because I want to do something positive for myself it is because I feel negative about myself. Either my pants feel tight, the scale went up, or I just feel puffy. The diet industry feeds off negative emotions and insecurities.
The diet industry makes billions of dollars off women like me feeling like the don’t measure up at a given time. However, most of these women, like me, start off full of pep and then slowly lose motivation, feel guilty for having something off the plan, binge after feeling deprived, and then drop off all together. Then that $14.95 book goes back on the shelf with the other diet books or that online subscription keeps charging your credit card $30 dollars a month until you eventually get up the guts and call customer service to quit, feeling defeated and sometimes even a little hopeless.
I have tried Atkins, South Beach, The Kind Diet, The Mediterranean Diet, Skinny Bitch, Paleo Diet, Sugar Busters and more, each start of with initial success but never add up to anything long term.
I am not going to claim that there aren’t great programs out there to help people eat better. Weight Watchers, for example, is the number one rated diet program and helped me lose about 60 pounds after I gave birth to Cooper last year. The reason why I think it is one of the most successful programs is because it does not limit your choices and although it is classified as a “diet” it borders more on a lifestyle change. It helps people make good decisions like having fruit and veggies to balance out an ice cream, instead of cutting out that ice cream all together. It is reasonable, manageable, and not fueled off of “good” vs. “evil” foods. It help keeps you in check but can be time consuming. I personally found it very time consuming, especially since I did mine online and the back in forth to a computer was annoying. I stayed on the plan for a good six months until I decided to go it alone.
On my own, I decided to count calories. I personally like the app MyFitnessPal to help. I still log every day like a compulsion, but counting calories can vary so much from person to person it is hard to find a “perfect” number even with many different types of calculators out there. I lost more and stabilized my weight better when I went from 1200 calories a day to 1600. Go figure. There is a fine line between a calorie deficit for weight loss and starving your body. Myself, I found it hard not to get into a competitive numbers game trying to eat less and less everyday, which, in reality does nothing more than slow your metabolism, which is not only opposite of the goal but also downright unhealthy. However, in order to keep myself from obsessing over numbers and focus more on quality, I decided to set a different type of goal.
I decided to get strong, not skinny. I knew there was no real end point to being skinny enough and it is a very self-defeating goal, so I had to change my way of thinking. To get strong I would need to fuel my body to build muscle and I would have to eat healthy to provide enough energy for my workouts.
What I do to try to keep my weight in check now is very simple. I make sure I eat 4-5 servings of fruits or veggies a day and make sure I get in around 130 grams of protein everyday (1 gram per pound to try to gain muscle) everything else just seems to fall in place around that. Could it really be that simple? Yes. It could. My body naturally feels full off this amount of produce and protein which helps stop cravings for mindless snacking throughout the day (which is my hardest problem). I cut out nothing but strive for moderation. It is my happy point.
Great protein sources I personally love and eat ALL the time:
Jay Robb Chocolate Protein: 25 Grams Per Scoop (110 cal)
Premier Protein Vanilla: 30 Grams Per Shake (160 cal)
Hard Boiled Eggs: 26 grams for 2 Eggs (140 cal)
Chicken Breast: 30 grams per 3.5 oz (around 120 cal)
Peanut Butter: 8 grams per 2 tbs (190 cal)
Cheddar Cheese: 8 grams per ounce (120 cal)
Tuna: 13 grams per 2 ounce pouch (70 cal)
Greek Yogurt: (varies with brand) 16 grams per container (120 cal) ( I do not love this but do force myself to eat it)
At every snack and meal I make sure I have some type of protein to help myself feel full and my metabolism up. Since I have been eating this way, I find the I have more energy, ward off cravings, and those late night peanut butter and cracker snack fests. I feel healthy and fit into the smallest size pants I ever have. I have learned to trust body and focus on improving my health on the inside and not focus on how my pants fit on the outside, that is just a bonus!
Finally my last piece of advice and probably the most important- if I feel hungry, I eat. Your body knows what it needs best. Not the best selling diet book.
I know it isn’t always easy to listen to your body. But it really probably isn’t asking for that second helping of ice cream. But what if you do have it? Oh well. Move on. Don’t give up. It is important to remember each day is made up of millions of little choices. It is your job to make as many good separate choices each day to create a healthy you. One decision will not make or break you and neither should a diet plan.
Question: Do you focus on a certain diet plan? What works for you?