When I stopped dieting I finally lost weight and kept it off.
When I stopped dieting I finally started to feel free around food. This is a raw and personal post to share. I feel vulnerable putting this out there, but typically when I talk about this I get messages from readers telling me they understand. Messages come in from others who either know what it’s like to diet their whole lives or from people who even took dieting too far, resulting in eating disorders.
I can relate to both scenarios.
Although I’m smiling in all 3 pictures below, I was not in a happy place physically or mentally in the first 2 pictures.
About the pics:
I’ve never put all 3 of these pictures side-by-side before, but I’m doing so today to share how stopping my diets was the step I needed to take to finally reach my physique and health goals.
I bought the flowered dress (second picture – a size 12), after being a size 0 only months earlier. In fact, I looked up the dates on the first 2 photos and they were only about 1 year apart.
The harder I would diet, the more rebound weight gain and binge eating would follow.
Wait – dieting could make us heavier?
If you’ve experienced rebound weight gain after a diet, you’ve already experienced how this works. What would happen if you stopped dieting?
HOW DIETING MADE ME HEAVIER, UNHAPPY & UNHEALTHY
When I first started trying to lose weight, I was all about the latest diets. High protein, low carbs, low calorie. The other thing I was all about: speed of weight loss. How fast could I lose the weight, how much cardio I could add to make me lose faster?
If I heard experts say a safe rate of weight loss was 0.5 to 2 lbs per week, I felt like a failure if I didn’t at least get 2 lbs or more, and even THAT was not fast enough for me. I mean, if we can get the fat off faster – why not?
I started doing cleanses, living off supplements, researching diets, how many carbs and calories I should be eating (and then eating less than that to ‘be safe’). I’d spend hours on cardio machines to exceed what was considered “normal” weight loss per week. I felt rotten (lack of energy, cravings, etc), but I was proud. I lost lots of weight this way. Unfortunately, then I gained it back twice as fast when I no longer could rely on my willpower to stick to those programs.
WHAT ABOUT YOUR DIETING HISTORY?
Even if you didn’t take things quite to the extremes I did, it’s likely you have spent some time on a diet in the past. I ran across a survey stating by the age 45, the average woman has been on 61 diets in her lifetime. Dieting is a part of our culture, yet as a society, we are heavier than ever. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.
WHY WE NEED A FAT-LOSS LIFESTYLE INSTEAD OF ANOTHER DIET
I used to hear people say the secret to weight loss was to make it a “lifestyle” instead of a diet. But, honestly, I was unsure what that meant.
Back then I thought “lifestyle” must have meant 1 of 2 things:
- 1) You make what you are doing a “lifestyle” by being compliant enough to follow your program everyday. Pretty much meaning – you have to stop cheating on your diet and stop your excuses. You have to give into the fact that, “this is your new life.” Well, that sounds like a life of deprivation ;( and heck, I had been trying to do that, but it never worked long term.
- 2) “Lifestyle” meant boring, not like the latest weight loss trends, slow weight loss, not as exciting… not motivating… NOT interested!
WHAT EXACTLY IS A FAT-LOSS LIFESTYLE & WHY IT WAS THE MOST EXCITING CHANGE I EVER MADE
After years of running as far away from the word, “lifestyle,” as I could, I stopped dieting and created my forever-fat loss lifestyle – ON ACCIDENT!
Ok, it wasn’t on accident, but I didn’t wake-up one day and say, “I am going to start my fat-loss lifestyle today.”
My journey took over 14 years of trial and error, and most of the major changes, which made me the most balanced ever occurred in the last 3 years. It took me finally being fed up with constantly trying and failing at the “old way” and being open to trying something different. Don’t let that time frame discourage you. I’m stubborn and thick-headed. I’ll give you the deets, so it doesn’t have to take you THAT long.
First, the TRUE definition of “lifestyle,” to clear up confusion. Source: Dictionary.reference.com
Notice the first part of the definition: HABITS
For the purpose of fitness, it’s logical to say a fat-loss lifestyle is a series of habits that become our way of living. The habits promote fat loss, lean muscle gain and good health.
FAT-LOSS LIFESTYLE HABITS
What finally worked for me (instead of dieting) was figuring out which HABITS from previous weight loss attempts actually WORKED for me and (most important) made me feel SATISFIED and not overwhelmed, so I could continue doing them long term.
Then I started to build those “habits” into my daily life as much as possible. I worked on one habit at a time, so it didn’t feel overwhelming.
MY #CONSISTENCYHABITS WERE BORN – THE 5 THINGS I DO WEEKLY
It was only this year I put a name on what I was doing (and a #hashtag) around those things. My #ConsistencyHabits
My #ConsistencyHabits are the 5 strategies (habits I can do with consistency), that I aim to incorporate in my life. Some days they don’t happen perfectly (strive for progress – never perfection), but I know if I do these 5 things as consistently as possible, my fitness becomes easily automated. I can also pair these habits with foods I previously used to ban from my diet (sweets, Italian goodies, etc from last week’s email), but since I allow those in moderation and still focus on these 5 habits, those foods no longer derail me.
BEST OF ALL: Since I stopped dieting and focused on these habits, I actually got BETTER results with my physique, more muscle tone and looked better than before. Ironically, I finally achieved the results I couldn’t reach by doing something that felt easier to me than dieting.
My 5 #ConsistencyHabits:
WHERE DO YOU START?
Start to develop YOUR consistency habits. Yours may be different than mine (and that’s good!). Base these on your personality and lifestyle. Maybe it’s having a special smoothie you love to start your day off strong. Or it’s eating a huge salad at least once per day to get your veggies. Maybe it’s carrying a bottle of water with you to increase your water consumption. The key is to start with one or two habits that do NOT feel overwhelming, but do slightly push you towards a healthier lifestyle.
What consistency habits would you choose? What do you already do now that works for you? That could be your first consistency habit.