Monday, January 7, 2013

Why I Won't Be Going on a Diet in 2013

I'm overweight. That's a fact. I'm not one of those skinny girls who says 'Oh I'm so fat' but is actually stick thin...I need to lose close to a hundred pounds to be a healthy weight for my height and age. I've struggled with my weight my entire life. I know how to lose weight - I know all about eating right and exercising and burning more calories than you consume and the foods you stay away from, etc, etc, etc. I know all that, it's just putting it into practice that's my downfall. 

Three years ago, I lost about 25 pounds - the most I've ever lost. I looked better and I felt better, but then I fell back into old habits and gained weight, lost weight, gained wait, and on and on. Right now I'm 15 pounds lighter than my heaviest adult weight, which means I gained 10 of the 25 pounds back.

I've tried so many different things, but what it comes down to is a simple equation: healthy eating + exercise = weight loss. And of course, if you've ever tried to lose weight, whether it was 5 pounds or 100 pounds, you'll know that by 'simple' I actually mean 'one of the hardest things in the world'. You have to make up your mind that you want it, otherwise it's not going to work and it's not going to be simple, which is why there's an obesity epidemic in North America.

So, to the title of this blog post: the reason I won't be going on a diet in 2013. I hate diets. Diets are about being hungry, depriving yourself, and basically going crazy. Diets are temporary. You eat healthy for a certain amount of time, you might lose weight, but then if you go back to your old habits, you're just going to gain the weight back. What good does that do? It's frustrating and degrading and futile. People need to stop 'going on diets' and learn that the solution is not a temporary one - it's about healthy eating for the rest of your life. Does that mean you can't indulge? Hell no. Everything in moderation. If you want a cookie, have a cookie, just don't eat the whole bag. And realize that treats are just that - treats. They're not meant for every day, or sometimes even every week. Depriving yourself will usually just lead to binge eating, and then you're right back where you started.

As for exercise, the 25 pounds I lost three years ago was from walking. That's it. I walked outside when I could, and I marched on the spot when I couldn't go outside. And you don't even have to do it all at once if that seems daunting, or if for some reason you can't walk for long periods. Break it up throughout the day, because it all adds up. It doesn't matter how you do it, it just matters that you do it.

I'd been eating a ton of junk the last month between my birthday, Christmas, and New Year's, so on January 1st, I decided to go on a 2-day cleanse. It was just a short one to see how I did; I didn't follow any specific cleanse, I just sort of made it up as I went along. This is what I did: lots of water, no coffee, limited sugar and fat, no alcohol, no pop, tons of fruits and veggies, lean meats, reduced carbs. Pretty simple right? When I got on the scale the 3rd day, I'd lost two and a half pounds, and the best part was I didn't have to starve myself to do it. 

Here's a break down in case anyone would like to try something similar: 
Breakfast: smoothie (frozen berries, an individual-sized container of yogurt, a medium-sized banana)
Lunch: homemade turkey and vegetable soup, minus the turkey (I boiled the bones from our Christmas turkey and was left with a ton of stock, to which I added peas, corn, and broccoli, but no turkey because I'd already frozen the leftovers), and raw veggies on the side
Dinner, Day 1: baked haddock (it was BlueWater Simply Bake frozen fish that you cook in a steamer bag - 130 calories, 2.5 grams of fat - it was delicious!), brown rice cooked with onions, garlic, and peas, and steamed broccoli. 
Dinner, Day 2: braised pineapple chicken (a chicken breast braised in chicken stock and pineapple juice with pineapple tidbits thrown in), leftover onion-garlic-pea rice, steamed mixed veggies (carrots, water chestnuts, peas in the pod, broccoli)
Snacks: fruit, raw veggies, whole grain crackers

Eating healthy doesn't mean sacrificing flavour - I added less salt than usual (not that I add that much to begin with, and I always use sea salt) and no butter to anything, and the meals were delicious and filling. You just need to get creative!

I say this every year, but I'm going to do my best to stick with it in 2013: this year I'm going to get healthy. I'm not going to do anything radical, and I'm not going to make it my main focus (that's been my problem before - I obsess and then burn out), but I'm going to do this. I have to do this - for my health, for my self-esteem, for my future.

Do you have health-related goals for 2013? Have you struggled with your weight the way I have?


1 comment:

Jessica S. said...

I agree with you fully on diets--you deprive yourself of all the foods you enjoy by eating just foods you don't like and then you end up binging on the ones you like when you can't take it anymore. Diets are dumb. And walking--very yes! Even if a person would just walk for 5 or 10 minutes a day, it would benefit them dramatically.

I'm glad you're making this choice this year! It's going to be a great thing for you and I know that you'll be able to do it. Why? because you're awesome. :)

I had gained like 20 pounds when I became manager at my old store. When I started at the new one, with the stress finally gone, I lost like 15 pounds. I'm relatively content with where my weight is now, but I still would like to try and exercise more at the very least, and try to eat somewhat healthier. :P