Awhile back, I said I was done with dieting, and I still mean that. I will not go another diet as long as I live…I just won’t. I’ve experimented lately with some habit changes, which are great in and of themselves, but I ended up turning them into a diet of their own and making myself crazy with “why can’t I just do this right???” and that right there was my signal that this particular plan wasn’t a good fit for me. So even if it isn’t called a “diet”…if it makes me have crazy diet thoughts…I won’t dip my toe into it.
I am, however, still way overweight for my 5’3” frame (I figure I’m anywhere from 50-85 pounds overweight depending on which “healthy weight” model you choose) so what am I going to do? I started thinking back…way back…to how I used to keep my weight in check. See, I never had a weight problem until I was an adult and started having kids in my mid-twenties, but up until then I kept myself at a very healthy weight and had no problem maintaining it. I can remember being in high school and staying at around 115 pounds – that was my go-to weight, the weight that I knew I needed to be at. I didn’t do any sports but I was busy with school and a part time job and being with friends on the weekend and it wasn’t a big deal to maintain that weight. I would only weigh myself periodically, just to sort of check in with myself, and if I was a few pounds over 115, I would just simply back off of how much I was eating for a few days until my weight was back down to 115. Easy peasy, no big deal. I didn’t stress over it…I didn’t obsess about it…I just did what was necessary and went on with my life. I continued to do this all the way through college (I think I gained about ten pounds between the ages of 15 and 22 because I was still growing and also because of the ubiquitous beer and pizza I consumed on weekends because COLLEGE) but even then, I knew that 125 pounds was my red-line weight. If I started to go over that line, I just ate a little less until I was back under 125. Again, it was nothing I stressed out about – I just did it.
When I met my husband the year after I graduated college (I had moved in with my parents in June and spent that entire fall/winter holed up in my room reading romance novels – I felt a little lost and maybe a touch depressed), I was up to 135 pounds and I felt like I was WAY OVERWEIGHT (if I only knew then just how overweight I would eventually become I wouldn’t have been so mortified). But even at 135, I was still very healthy and looked slender and fit.
Enter pregnancy #1 and a 45 pound weight gain – YIKES. After I had my son, I was still able to lose 30 pounds on my own by eating less and keeping busy (I was working full time as a retail assistant manager) – I didn’t follow any special diet, I just knew instinctively what to do.
And then I screwed it all up. I went on my first diet at the age of 27 in an effort to lose those last 15 pounds. And gained 5 pounds. Then I went on another diet, and another diet and another diet and over the last 17 years I have managed to diet my way up to 200 pounds.
So, I am going back to the beginning…before all the diets and work out plans that promised I would lose weight if I only did xyz and jumped through the hoops…before I felt horrible about my body…before I naively put my trust in external sources. I am going back to my instincts and what I have always known would work for me. Very simply put, that means backing off of the food and eating in a way that will get me back down to a manageable weight. I am not starving myself or cutting anything in a drastic measure, but I know when/what I need to eat less of and I’m doing that. I may not make it back down to 125, but I know I can make it to a healthier weight. I will continue to work out regularly (currently I’m doing zumba twice a week and strength training twice a week and the rest of the time I just try to keep moving and staying busy) as well.
I started this last week and have seen a 3 pound decrease on the scale, so I know that I’m on the right track. For the first time in a long time, I’m trusting myself. I’m doing what I need to do for my body and doing it without any drama or hype. My mindset is in the right place and I feel good about it. I realize it’s going to take several months to get to a healthier weight and I’m okay with that – it took me 17 years to put it on, so taking 17 months to get it all off is not unreasonable.
Sometimes, to get to the end, you have to start back at the beginning.