The following list was inspired by a Facebook group I’m a part of, that focuses on women and strength training. One member of the group posted this really fabulous list (of which I’ve taken and altered slightly to fit my reality), because it just freakin’ hit home for me in just a few bullet points. It’s literally my timeline as a reformed dieter. It’s actually so simple, and I thought I’d share it because I know there are people out there that can totally identify with this.
So here goes (and thanks to the lovely individual who posted this original concept. I don’t know you, and I’m not going to post your name to credit this to you here because, duh, privacy, but I very much appreciate your clear, concise way of laying this whole business out).
1.) Magic pills! Shakes! Supplements! I MUST follow this really specific weight loss plan that includes me spending a boatload of cash on supplements for the next 12 weeks (or 15 pounds, or until I’m a certain size). Do one day perfectly, wait….maybe even a week. Soon realize, EFF, I’m hungry and cranky, this shit is expensive, and I can’t, I just can’t swallow one more pill or drink one more chalky ass shake. That’s fine, no more supplements, but I will just watch what I eat, and vow to myself to not eat more than 1200 calories (or 1300/1500/1800, depending on which magazine article I read was best, or what year it was).
2.) Enter Primal eating!! I must eat like a caveman and ignore modern agriculture. I’m awesome and………….eating clean……and you know I’m totally judging what’s in your shopping cart, Miss I-Buy-Pop-Tarts!! (I literally want to throw up thinking about my judgey, clean eating self). The only carbs I eat are fruit and sweet potatoes. I’m awesome!! I feel great. Wait, six months have gone by and I’m really tired, cold all the time, and my workouts suck. Why is that?
3.) Wait, what? You need to eat more to build muscle? OMG, I must eat all the food every where!! Just got done lifting….quick, eat something NOW. FEED THE MUSCLE. I must eat at least 4,000 calories a day in order to build muscle.
4.) Wow, have I gained weight. What the hell happened? I was eating to build muscle. I think I have more muscle? But my jeans also don’t button the way they used to. But that’s muscle, right? I learned that low-fat was a lie. I embraced full fat, healthy fat, and I eat lots of it. You mean, I can’t eat whatever I want whenever I want and blame it on my need to build muscle?
5.) Wait, I need more CARBS? Okay, now I’m looking at Eat to Perform. What I eat should depend on how it makes me feel and how it impacts my workouts. I need to be mindful of my food choices, but life is short, no need to be insane and weigh, measure, and track everything that goes into my mouth. Don’t sabotage my hard work, but stop freaking out about everything I eat.
6.) Unchartered Territory (and loving it)! I’ve taken something from every stage and incorporated into my life and I think this might work. 1.) I need to be mindful of the number of calories I consume, not neurotic. 2.) Yes, eat more, but moderation and eat more protein too. 3.) Full fat is good, but still calorie dense. Don’t be an idiot. 4.) Primal eating taught me one huge lesson (and a lot of neurotic shit but oh well)- I really enjoy taking whole food ingredients and creating a meal. 5.) Potatoes and rice are not the devil, lighten up already. 6.) Your daughter is watching, and she does NOT need a mom who is neurotic about food. 7.) You actually are the only one that knows what works for YOU. 8.) Pay attention.
I want to scream to people…..”DON’T DO WHAT I DID, SKIP #1 through #5, and go straight to #6!” But I can’t, because everyone needs to learn their own path at their own pace or the lessons don’t mean anything to them.
I get asked frequently why I don’t sell supplements in my tiny, lovely little gym. I actually do get approached, and to be honest, I’d probably pay all my fixed expenses and then some by selling supplements. But I can’t do that with a good conscience. It will only prolong someone else’s journey who might not understand the concept of eating FOOD first, and with a healthy mindset, and supplementing only after that, and only when necessary (if ever it is necessary). It will only keep them in step #1. They might not get out of that mindset, you know? And I don’t want that on my shoulders….that I told them they should drink this really amazing shake that will help them lose weight fast/reach their ideal bodyweight/help detox their system/reset/recharge/energize them/make all their troubles go away/turn them into magical unicorns. I will not be that person.
I know you can identify with at least some of what I’m laying down here. Remember, YOU know what works best for YOU. YOU can eat food WITHOUT going crazy off the rails. YOU can eat literally anything you want, and even without guilt! YOU have choices at all times. YOU have to decide that YOU CAN.
Here, after many years of dieting, reading, researching, getting certifications, observing, learning more, are what I can give you on food wisdom:
- Eat enough food but don’t overeat (and you will play around with this to find YOUR right equation because there isn’t a one size fits all plan…..and most online calorie calculators are waaaayyyyyyyy toooooooooooo lowwwwwwww)
- Protein is important
- So are veggies (you know, vitamins, minerals, fiber……that old chestnut)
- Get plenty of sleep (because I don’t know about you, but when I’m tired or chronically tired….I’m dealing with the urge to speed eat feel good foods ALL THE TIME)
- If it sounds too good to be true, it is, ESPECIALLY IN THE MAGICAL DIET LAND
- Food is just food, don’t get neurotic
- If you are emotional eater, GET TO THE ROOT of what makes you emotionally eat
- Eat food you enjoy (including cupcakes), don’t eat food you don’t enjoy (if this includes cupcakes for you….get your head checked)
- If you have a sensitivity, don’t eat something that makes you feel icky. If you don’t have a sensitivity, don’t freaking tell me going gluten free can cure cancer…..because…..well, you’re an idiot
There are millions of things in this world that need attention right now, and dieting is just not one of them.