I keep reading about not only letting go of material things to make way for experiences, joy, etc., but also about letting go of old habits or thoughts or attitudes. Each time I’d read it I thought that sounded kind of fluffy and, well, weird. Good grief, don’t make me “get in touch with myself.” Ick. Don’t make me be “self aware.” I might die.
And then I was reading about diet and being conscious of what we are eating, as in, am I really hungry? Am I just satisfying some other need with food? Am I really thirsty? Tired? Bored? Etc.. I know. It’s getting touchy feely but hang in there! Then I was reading about different diet approaches like I have been doing for, like, ever, and the research that keeps popping up is that a Mediterranean diet is probably your best bet. This diet is inherently not super low carb, nor is it gluten free or embrace bacon as a food group (sad that), yet study after study showed it to be the most healthful all around. I also read some evidence that a paleo diet might be helpful for some but that it might also burn out a woman’s thyroid and cause weight gain. I also read that women’s metabolisms are probably different and that we shouldn’t follow the same exact advice as our male counterparts. (at some point I will dig out these articles and link to them but for now, be satisfied to know that I found these on reliable sources, not on “I made up this diet dot com”)
So what does this mean? It means that I’ve been listening to a little too much hype and a little too little common sense. And I need to let it go.
For a while I was on the paleo bandwagon but I didn’t find it sustainable although I kept trying. I also tried Trim Healthy Mama and couldn’t sustain that either. I continued to keep trying low carb in general and wasn’t getting anywhere with my weight. (disclaimer-I am still not. But that ‘s because I haven’t actually been wholeheartedly doing anything different at the moment. Same old thing. Same old result…) Really, I feel kind of stupid admitting this but I’ve been on many bandwagons over the years as far as food is concerned. Lets start in college: Vegetarian (hard). Macrobiotics(harder). Lactose free (but that really did help for a while). High protein. Low fat. Vegan(impossible). Daniel Diet. Nourishing traditions(time consuming. fermenting takes FOREVER). Paleo (I just want a donut). Trim Healthy Mama (I just want a donut not made without stevia). Low Carb (see donut). Leek fasts (yes, seriously). Weight Watchers, both in person and online. Intermittent fasting (isn’t that what sleep is for?) I told you it was a lot.
If you’ve known me for more than about 10 minutes you probably know that the one diet I always follow is gluten free. That’s because I have celiac (which you will also know after 10 minutes) and I absolutely must follow. Not a fad. Not a choice. This is medical necessity. Life or death. (Like, it can give you cancer if you don’t follow your diet my fellow celiacs! Follow your diet! Got it? )
Beyond that, has anything worked? Yes. Eating less and exercising. Fancy that. (I also once lost a ton of weight subsisting on coffee, cheerios, ice cream and wine for a month. But that was after a really bad break up and I lived on my friends couch for a month because I was sad. She is a great friend but I do not recommend this diet. Unless you too are temporarily sad and have just broken up. Then I totally get you. After a month though, you must get off the couch and move on…) (I use a lot of parentheses) (sorry) Eat more? Gain weight. No exercise? Gain weight. #livingproof
Now, I am readjusting my thinking about food once again. I realize that I have been trying to get rid of physical clutter yet hanging onto old ideas that aren’t serving me. Oh man, now I sound like those other blogs I’ve been reading. Don’t fret. That’s as mushy as I get. I have restarted my food log since that has been shown to be helpful. That’s why Weight Watchers has you keep a journal. I am reading more about the Mediterranean diet. I am trying to not get so hung up on carbs. I am trying to eat less and <gasp!> drink less. I am also reading about mindful eating (I know for a fact that you can eat a heck of a lot when you aren’t paying attention and not even realize it. Hello 2 lb bags of peanut M&Ms :/ ) I am ditching most of my paleo books and other diet books although I did get one on following vegetarian/gluten free Mediterranean diet with some recipes for inspiration (because, uh, research. I believe in real research) I will keep my favorite cook books and recipes I love. I am once again embracing the potato. I am unsubscribing to many of the paleo and other blogs that limit food choices. I am looking for simple recipe ideas and am keeping a lost of meals/foods that we all eat regularly to decrease decision making about food and make it easier to make good decisions when we are hungry, like having easy to grab veggies in the fridge that the kids like). I am also contemplating a “one bowl” challenge (more on this later).
The conclusion? I am letting go of making food complicated. There is no magic diet that will give me my 30 year old body back. In fact, I am also trying to embrace my 42 year old body as it is and stop beating myself up about the fact that it doesn’t really look 30 anymore. (I miss 30…) I am working on being boring and following science. You know. That mundane old fact of life that says that your weight really is a matter of how many calories you eat minus how many you burn and that this is affected by your level of activity? It is sadly true. No unicorn weight loss plans. Just sensible meals made of real food you (mostly) cooked yourself. So boring yet so effective. That could be my motto. “Boring yet effective.” Yep, that’s me.
Do you have food hang ups? Follow an amazing diet that’s worked for you? Followed ten thousand diets that didn’t? Do you have ideas you need to let go of or change? Just let it go. (Just don’t sing that song!…you totally are, aren’t you??? Sigh.)
Just keep swimming!
You hit the nail on the head when you wrote eating less and exercise. (Boo!) I too have been on WW (multiple times-even made life member)and have been at goal weight 3 or 4 times-once there, I (wrongly) assumed that I could stop following what had worked and go back to my ‘normal’ (i.e. NOT cooking 2 separate meals, one for me & one for them) which explains my clothes not fitting AGAIN. I tried Paleo and LOVED it. I was never hungry, lost 15 pounds the first few weeks and continued to lose slowly after that. I would spend 3-4 hours shopping and prepping on Sunday so I could just throw meals together during the week. My husband was onboard, he liked the food (missed his beer during the first 30 days but survived), saw some weight loss as well. What happened you ask? The Boy came back from college and he is a carbohydrate freak. As in can’t.live.without.__________(name your favorite carb here). And his father makes his lunch for him almost every day. So there are breads, cookies, chips, etc. here. And, as much as I try not to, I eat them. They are cheap, fast and easy; and I am cheap, fat and lazy. Why spend 10 minutes cutting up the bag of carrots to munch on when I can tear into a bag of salty, delicious (and decidedly unhealthy) Doritos?
I know that I must hold myself accountable, no one puts the food in my mouth but me. But lifestyle changes are so much more doable when there is actual support (family/friends may say they are supportive but if their actions aren’t supportive; well,then they aren’t.) or if you live alone. Now there’s a thought…………
Well I can totally relate. And my 37 year old body is having the same problem… I miss 30 dearly. I hear all of this recent talk and articles about embracing yourself, embracing your weight, your body just the way you are and I have to be honest…it makes me want to vomit. Talk about just giving up on yourself. I know in my heart that diets won’t work and there are no magic pills even though I desperately want there to be. I write this as a lay on the couch at 6:54pm, the first I have sat down in a relaxing environment all day after a crazy work day. Where does one find the motivation to get up and move anyway?? Dinner? At this hour? Aren’t I supposed to be cutting off my food intake by this time of night???
Keep me posted on your diet research for middle aged women.
Learning a ton from these neat arlectis.