Posts Tagged ‘healthy’
Now that we’re further into January (AKA a most popular month for dieting), I’m reminded of a disturbing trend in the billion dollar diet industry—albeit one that has been pervasive for years. I refer to it as the “Light Switch Mentality” that’s being sold by many organizations, programs, books and so-called experts who proclaim that to lose excess weight, you (we) should be on a diet. But this kind of thinking often leads to the opposite of being on… Being off.
Certainly being on or off has become part of the dieting vernacular. But in my humble opinion, it’s a way of thinking that can potentially lead to more weight gain than weight loss. In fact, it’s while many of us with a dieter’s mentality are on our diets that we’re focused on when we plan on going off. It’s a mindset we’ve been sold as the way to success, when in reality, it can be the way to put on extra pounds.
As someone who started gaining excess weight around first grade, and whose parents immediately took me to a doctor who put me on a strict diet (yes, even at a very young age), I can attest to the fact that the on/off cycle contributed to my continuing to gain weight throughout my youth. Sure, I would take off a few pounds (when I was on). But then I would gain even more weight back (when I was off). By the time I graduated from college, I was clocking in at over 450 pounds. And this was after years and years of constant dieting—the very thing that was supposed to be helping me was actually doing more harm than good.
Thankfully, I was able to remove myself from this cycle after my home electronic scale started reading “ERR” (its internal code for error, since it was not programmed to register any weight above 400 pounds). It’s when I stopped thinking of “dieting” (and being on and off of one) and started embracing healthy eating that I began to make some real headway. Within a year’s time I had dropped most of my excess weight. And sure, I yo-yoed up and down the scale for a couple years after that. I was, after all, recovering from a lifetime of “on and off” behavior. But once I nailed it (reaching a healthy weight for my height and body frame), I’ve stayed at this weight for well over a decade.
But this is where I quickly bring up that damned light switch thinking again. Because many people who see my before pictures want to know my secret to losing over 250 pounds of excess weight without any kind of surgery or medication. They’re not too thrilled when I tell them the secrets are eating less, moving more, getting plenty of sleep and drinking enough water (AKA common sense). And they sometimes go onto register abject horror when I tell them I have to keep all of these mandates in mind even today (otherwise right back up the scale I’d go).
Successfully losing excess weight has nothing to do with a light switch. There’s never a time that we should be on or off. If we’re prone to gaining weight or if we choose to lose excess weight to benefit our mental and physical health, then it’s going to take some work. This doesn’t mean food plans can’t be extremely helpful. But whether we choose to have a salad for lunch or even if we opt to have some ice cream for dessert, we’ve got to always think about portion size and ingredient content (yes, even when it comes to the salad).
This doesn’t have to mean we are always on and never off. Instead, we can adopt new mindsets and start living life as healthy minded individuals. You know—like those those fantastical types who can eat half a donut and then declare they’re full. (Yes, even I’m dumbfounded by this kind of behavior to this day.) But what these people know that we do not, is that they can have another donut (or whatever) in due time. But those of us on the endless on/off cycle of dieting often think, “I will be on my diet tomorrow (or Monday or come January 1st),” so I better have eighteen donuts today.
On. Off. Not always helpful.
Healthy thinking. A move in the right direction.
And healthy thinking can include well made (meaning clean ingredient) treats that can be easily and moderately worked into our eating plans—whether we’re taking off excess pounds or simply maintaining a healthy body weight.
Although somewhat baffling, this can be triumphant news if we allow it to be. Thinking less of on and off can mean reduced shame and self-punishment (also part of many dieting cycles, mentally speaking). Fact is, you are beautiful at your current weight (inside and out). If you choose to get healthier and drop some of the excess weight, then do so in a fashion that embraces all that life has to offer and try leaving the on/off Light Switch Mentality behind.
At the risk of an eye roll or two, what do you have to lose?
Photo Source: Zazzle
I’m generally not a fan of diet-related fasting of any kind. However, when I read this quote from Yoko Ono, I was suddenly very much in favor of this kind of fast. A fast from negativity about our own selves.
Doing this might seem easy at first. But try getting through even just one hour without being negative about yourself or your body (in your own head). It’s surprising how often I’m reminded that my most “vocal” critic is actually that little voice inside my head. Can anyone else relate to this? I imagine the answer is, “Yes.”
So why not try and ignore that little voice? The one that tells you your body’s not perfect? Or the one that tells you you’re not lovable? Or the one that says you should be further ahead in your career? Whatever kind of negativity your mind is offering about yourself, ignore it. Try to shut that voice down. And this includes shutting down actual talking out loud about ourselves (in a negative fashion). I can’t tell you how many times I’ve complained about my body or my so-called “failures” to friends and family (often making myself a punchline).
What we say to and about ourselves matters. We hear it. We feel it. It becomes part of our psychological makeup on every level. So it only make sense that changing that “voice” from negative-speak to positive-speak would have a healthy (and happy) impact on our lives.
So why not join me in taking Yoko Ono’s good advice? If doing it for three days seems like too much, try doing it for just an hour, and then build upon it from there. The psyche you save may be your own.
(And remember: no matter what your health-minded goals are, you are beautiful and perfect in this very moment! The sooner you recognize this, the sooner any kind of goals can be achieved!)
Photo Source: Pinterest
I love treating myself at restaurants that use clean, organic ingredients and serve even decedent foods in healthy portion sizes (along with fresh fruit or vegetables). Pictured here is one of my recent breakfast meals: A Belgian Waffle with Berries and Cream at Le Pain Quotidien. (And no, this is not a paid endorsement!)
Bonus round when I can walk to and from the restaurant (in addition to other exercise I’ve already done or will do on the same day). This quick tip is proof that even those of us watching our (or trying to lose some) weight can live life to the fullest even when working toward our best selves!
Photo Source: @GreggMcBride/Instagram
Sometimes the smallest changes can bring about the biggest rewards. Recently, I put this to the test by adding chia seeds to my all-natural peanut butter. Although many people soak their chia seeds first, I added mine raw. I like the crunch factor. And the added calories are minimal. It really gives peanut butter a twist… And makes a healthy breakfast (like the one seen here) brand new again. After all, variety is the spice of life.
So what’s one of your regular, go-to healthy-eating meals that you can add a twist or a changeup to? Think about, then do it. While relying on the tried-and-true can be a stable way to keep the excess calories at bay, it’s still important to prevent food boredom from creeping into not just our palate, but our psyche.
If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen this picture of a recent lunch that I prepared. It’s pretty simple… A tunafish sandwich made with organic mayonnaise and a little pepper. I served it on reasonably-sized wholegrain bread with sliced organic tomato and avocado. I mention organic and whole grain because I do my best to stick to the tenants of clean eating.
A lot of people who’ve put themselves on strict diets at this time of year are often surprised at the use of mayonnaise or even bread for this lunch. But the fact is, you can take off excess weight while enjoying delicious foods in reasonable portions. Too often, those of us with diet mentalities are nibbling on rice cakes and baby carrots (neither of which is probably in their most natural states, freshness- or additive-wise) and complaining that we’re miserable while doing so.
But guess what? The less miserable we are when eating healthy and getting rid of excess weight, the more likely we are to stick to the plan and not only take the excess weight off, but keep it off. That’s the key, right? We’ve all started diets at this time of year. We’ve all even lost weight at this time of year. But at a certain point we have to ask ourselves, why has this become an annual occurrence?
Why not make this the last time you begin a weight loss plan and, instead, think of it as clean, healthy eating (AKA a food plan you’re never going to have to go off of). And you don’t have to want to go off of it when you allow yourself the simple pleasures of tasty, wholesome, nutritious food. Add exercise, sleeping well and enough water to the mix and you can even enjoy the occasional food-related treats (even the richer ones, just the way “people who don’t have to diet” do).
Balance. Moderation. Satisfaction. Sounds so crazy, it just might work.