I don’t diet. It is true. Ask my friends. Diet implies you have to give some specific foods or meal up, eat less, count calories, generally be miserable. I have never met anyone who was happy on a diet. Or who lived their diet plan for the rest of their life. At some point you fall off it. And then you start another one. And another one. And another one. It is a vicious cycle in which I do not wish to participate.
Now, I won’t say I have NEVER dieted, because that would be untrue. I have done the Six Week Body Makeover. I have done eDiets. Both times I got results. Both times results did not last. Sounds like loads of fun, right? Yo-yos are great toys but not a way of life for me.
So when my friend Suzi decided to make me her project, I was intrigued. Suzi is in great shape, especially for having had four kids. I only have two and am no where near her level of fitness. Yes, she is a workout buff (and I am decidedly not), but she loves doing it. It is her passion. However, she is also passionate about healthy eating. After a couple months of arguing back and forth, I let Suzi convince me to start eating cleaner and healthier.
I will start off by reiterating, this is not a diet. It is meant to be a lifestyle change for me. Suzi has taught me to eat 5-6 meals a day, lots of protein, healthy carbs and fats, and veggies. I get to eat a lot and some of the food is surprising. One of my favorite snacks, High Octane Bars, tastes like dessert. Yes, there are foods I don’t eat now, but the reason to stop eating them makes sense due to low nutritional content or their highly processed nature. The foods I eat are actually doing something FOR me, versus doing something TO me.
So what are these foods doing for me? Well, I don’t have food cravings anymore and I don’t get hungry often because I eat so much. I have lost weight and it has stayed off and I usually feel pretty good. Now when presented with food options, I am more aware of my choices and their effects. Also, I don’t worry about calories. There is no need to when you are eating healthy, making good choices.
When I slip and eat something less than healthy (and believe me it DOES happen. Indulged in some Twinkies this morning!), I can feel it. Eating bad makes me feel like crap. Do I beat myself up over it? Nope. I just go back to eating healthy and get myself feeling better again. Maintaining the food choices long term, making the lifestyle change instead of a temporary change.
Sure, eating right is more work. It requires more planning and preparation. You can’t swing through the local drive through and pick up something fast. Healthy foods usually require grocery shopping and effort to cook them. But the effort behind the food is worth it in the long run for the benefits I get from it.
I would also be remiss if I did not tell you there are some things that no matter how hard Suzi tries, I refuse to give them up, like my daily Diet Coke. I love it. It will take something HUGE to get me to give it up. However, limiting to one a day is a good compromise. Also, wine and beer are on my more restricted list, only 1-2 times per week. Usually…sometimes….er…. stuff happens.
Eating healthy myself has gotten me thinking about what I feed my kids. I am guilty like everyone else of taking my kids to fast food restaurants for dinner (even though they are becoming more and more disgusting to me). I give them sugary cereals, let them pick out gelatinous fruit snacks, and eat processed quick serve foods for dinner. So if I am focusing so much on what I eat, why am I not teaching them better habits? Well, now that I am aware, I am working on it. Introducing new, healthy foods. Trying “no thank you” bites of different foods. Hiding healthy inside yummy. Getting my kids on board with eating right, one bite at a time.
***I am not a doctor or registered dietician. Neither is my friend Suzi. I am just sharing my own experience with eating healthy.***