Warning....long post ahead.
While talking with a friend a couple of months ago, I realized that I have been dieting on and off for the past 20 years! That just amazed me and saddened me. I'm not that old for Pete's sake.
Low carb has been the diet of choice in recent years, but I have also done low calorie, low fat (during college one time I ate baked potatoes with grape jelly, frozen yogurt, and pretzels), the "Cleveland Clinic diet", and the "The last minute 12 pound crash diet" or something to that effect. While all of them helped me lose weight, all of them felt rigid, full of rules, and restrictive.
Because those diets were full of rules, when I "broke a rule", I felt guilty. I felt like a failure. And you know what? I tend to be an emotional eater. So what do I do when I feel bad? Eat. I'm also a binger. Most people would probably be shocked (and disgusted) to see how much food I can put away in a sitting. I'm also partial to doing whatever I want to do. So when someone tells me I "can't" do something (like eat chocolate), it just makes me want to do it. I'm also a stress eater. Diets seem to cause me a lot of stress. Kind of sounds like I'm working against myself doesn't it?
After a few days or weeks on those diets (without cheating), I start to gain a false sense of control. I would wonder who that over eater was. Certainly I have enough control and mindset to know what I can eat. So I would go have something that was not on the list, which would lead to two things not on the list, and then I had all out binge on things that were "not allowed" because I had "already blown it".
So....I start reading this book called "Lose it for Life". I'm somewhat leery only because I fear that it's another diet book that will tell me what to eat... I'll try it... and eventually fail under it's overly high expectations. However, I knew just from skimming it, that this book was different. There were Bible verses posted throughout the book. That had to count for something, right?
Well, it turns out that it does. This book is helping me to heal my mind of all the dieting crap that the world has sold me over the years. In all honesty, I'm only 79 pages into the book. However, I've learned some interesting things which are shaping how I think about food, dieting, and my relationship with God. I will share some of the interesting things and things that are helping me. I'm pretty sure that none of them will appear to be life changing. Some of them may be things you've heard before.
One of the interesting things the book talked about was the first temptation. You know what? It dealt with food. A forbidden food. A food that the devil was trying to get Eve to eat. Can you see the correlation with dieting?
We want to have it all (all the food we can eat, all the chocolate, all the junk). We don't want to practice any restraint. You can eat off of all the trees but one...
We don't appreciate what God has given us. I mean truly appreciate. I have noticed this week that almost all of the eating I have done up until now has been very mindless. Sure I have had some good food, food that tasted good, but I never really appreciated, savored, and thanked God for it. I'm not talking about the pre-dinner thank you, but a heartfelt expression of gratitude.
We listen to the "snake". "You're a failure at dieting", "You'll never be thin", "Just eat it, you deserve it", and on and on and on.
We give in. We "eat the apple" and then pay for the consequences of disobedience.
The other "temptation" in the Bible? Jesus in the wilderness. Again, tempted by the devil....again with food. When it says that Jesus understands our struggles, it's true!
What I'm Doing
- I'm eating serving sizes of foods. I'm not measuring things, but I do have a pretty good idea of what a serving size is (and if I don't, I check the box or bag).
-I eat one helping at meals.
-I drink as much water as I think to during the day. I'm not counting them.
-I usually have only one diet Coke a day.
-I'm not snacking much. If I do, it's usually some cashews and a large drink of water. I know that doesn't sound like much, but honestly 98% of the time I have not been hungry. It's 9:30 am and I'm not hungry yet. Strange, but true.
-I know just by eating one serving of things that I have probably cut my calorie consumption in half or more. I'm sure that is the cause of my weight loss so far.
-I'm not exercising....yet, but I will get there.
-I'm not restricting what I eat. I eat bread (gasp), some sugar (gasp gasp), etc. "There are no forbidden foods". That is from the book. It is an amazingly freeing concept!! In the past week I've enjoyed pizza, spaghetti, cookies, a Buckeye, hard candy, french onion soup, bratwurst....
It is hard to change your thinking about dieting. It is especially hard if you have dieted for any amount of time. Some of those dieting "do's and don'ts" are very ingrained in our thinking.
I will continue to post some things I'm learning as the weeks go on, but I can't really recommend this book enough. I challenge you to check it out of your library or go sit at Barnes and Noble and just read the first 8-9 page introduction.
Oh and you want to know how much I've lost since last Friday? 11 pounds!!! As excited as I am about that, I am more excited to have found a way of living that I can live with. There is not a thing that I am "not allowed" to eat, and nothing I "have to do", so how can I fail? The only way I can fail is to return to my former way of eating. By the grace of God, I hope that will soon be a distant memory.