Rethinking Diets

Like so many people today who want to be thinner I have dieted.  I have had some success with Weight Watchers and no real success or tolerance for Atkins.  As I continue to get older my metabolism has also slowed a bit.  I have lived with Hashimoto’s disease for years so my thyroid is checked regularly which means sadly it’s just aging.  Yesterday I turned 40 and for the last two months I have been on a quest.  It all started when I realized WW wasn’t working for me anymore.  I was in a rut and my scale wasn’t budging.  I tried limiting myself to only the points I was given (no flex points), I tried adding in some Atkins principles and limiting my carbs and nothing was really helping.  Because of Lupus, I hadn’t been as active and even experienced pancreatitis which definitely knocked me down.   I knew this was definitely not helping my metabolism problem.

An epiphany

I started searching for motivation and help.  I was reading several success stories on Beachbody’s website and realized that so many of the extremely fit people, the ones with the best results were Vegan and ate a good percentage of their daily food raw.  I had tried to not eat meat (except fish) once and had a serious deficiency in my iron.  Other than that I knew that vegans did not eat any animal products and that was the extent of my knowledge and experience with this lifestyle.  To me (an avid steak and cheese lover) this diet seemed overwhelming.  How and what do you eat to make sure you get enough protein?  Will I get enough nutrients?  Last time I gave eliminating meat a go I had read the kind diet by Alicia Silverstone.  She described the state I was in as flirting.  I liked that as I had not fully committed myself to the way of life at the time and was just trying some new things.  I liked many of the recipes within her book but I didn’t feel that it was right for me.  I didn’t have everything else figured out in the nutrition department.  Fast forward a year and here I am faced with all of these champion vegans.  Healthy, fit and eating clean.  I had done some of the same programs as they had but I did not have the same results.  Was the key to success the food?  One other statement I see repeatedly when I am reading about ripped abs or low body fat percentages – to get to this level of fitness you have to rethink what you eat.

Change that voice in your head

Turbo Fire is amazing!

I find Chalene Johnson (Turbo Jam, Turbo Fire, Chalene Extreme) to be highly motivating.  Her workouts tell you to change that voice inside your head and tell yourself positive things.  I had done her workouts here and there to supplement P90X in the past but recently decided to give the whole 90 days a go.  As I am now in week three I have learned some things about myself.  That voice in my head is not always positive.  Outwardly I am extremely positive towards others and helping others reach their goals BUT I am highly critical of myself.

I wasn’t aware until I started hearing Chalene’s voice alongside my own during her workouts.  What an eye opener.  I truly believe how we feel about ourselves and our ability to be successful has a direct impact on our success.  Therefore I am my own obstacle.  Now that I know I have been able to be much more positive and helpful when making choices and when I am faced with a tough workout.  It’s great!

Next time you are thinking about working out or are exercising stay aware of that voice in your head.  Is it telling you – you can do this!  Get to it you will be happy you did! Or Stick with it you are doing great? OR is it saying things like you can’t do it.  You can’t do a program like Turbofire or P90x.  You aren’t good enough!  SHUT THAT VOICE UP!  You CAN do it!  You DESERVE to be healthy!  Find the time for yourself… let that voice know that there is a new positive influence in your life and it’s you!

The End of the Diet

Through all of this I have done some soul-searching.  There is no quick fix for health or fitness.  Dieting or doing a program here or there does not change you permanently.  It may yield some short-lived results but it does not equate to being healthy and fit.  Many of us know this and yet we go on and off diets try a couple of weeks of a new workout only to blame the diet and workout for our lack of success.  It’s not the diet people.. It’s us.  Realizing this I knew I needed to make a bigger change and if I truly had a goal of being not just thin but fit I knew that a diet and a program wasn’t going to do it.  Beyond that I am also tired of “dieting”.  It’s highly unsatisfying.  I feel deprived, often hungry and always frustrated.

So these are the things I am adamant about going forward:

I don’t want to be on a diet anymore!  There I said it.  How many people feel like me but feel there is no other choice to lose the weight they have left?

I don’t want to focus on the number on my scale anymore!  How many of you weigh yourself every day?  I am going to measure my “number” as to how I feel?  How my clothes fit?  Do I have energy?

I don’t want to constantly feel deprived from food!  I just want to make healthier choices, think healthier and be healthier.  Not focus on what I can’t have but really explore new foods and find things I love.

Have you ever told yourself.. I’ve been good all week or I did something great so I deserve that dessert?  When I think about it now I realize, I decided I deserved to add unnecessary calories and absorb unhealthy levels of sugar in my daily dose of nutrients to give my body something to deal with.  How is that a treat?  Yes.. it tasted good but that only lasts as you are eating it.  What happens later?  Do you have guilt?  Eaters’ remorse?  Do you feel good or bad?  How long does that last?

It’s a terrible cycle and a dieting rollercoaster.  I want off!

So what does that all mean?  I needed to learn more about food, nutrition and start working towards a different kind of mentality towards food.

Research!

Healthy Eating Research
Getting started learning about eating both healthy and for fitness

I searched online, read articles and started to identify a number of books that could not only help me learn about the nutritional factors in a vegan or vegetarian diet but also learn raw foods and how it helps the body.  All of these books are from the library including the one showing on my iPad.  The library even ordered some of these at my request!  Thanks to them I have a great start at learning about living a new lifestyle.

After reading through most of these (still a work in progress) I have realized why I often feel sluggish after meals.  I proved during my week without meat that eating a good percentage of my food raw really boosted my energy and how I felt!  I was definitely on to something here.

Since that week, I have been operating as a Flexitarian.  Looking for a vegan option, if none exists, looking for a vegetarian one and if I really am craving meat (which is becoming less and less every day) I eat it.  Over the last couple weeks I have tried a lot of new recipes, have seen my waistline slim and for the first time in months really experienced a healthy maintainable weight loss.  This is not a diet, this is living well.  I am not a vegan yet and I may never get that clean in my diet but based on how I feel I am so encouraged to keep going on this journey.

One thing that helps me greatly is Vegan Tropical Strawberry Shakeology.  I drink this every morning for breakfast and it really gives me so much in the way of nutrition and vitamins I feel great going into the day.  I am working out 6 days a week doing Turbo Fire and running with Taylor (my oldest son) 3 days a week doing couch to 5 k.  Some days I feel bad but I have lupus.  If I sat out every time I felt a little bad I wouldn’t do things most days.  I feel the food helping though… I notice a difference in my digestion, my energy and my ability to stay active.

Along the way I have spoken to others who have also started down this path and failed miserably.  They were also overwhelmed by these changes.  They tried a week without meat and didn’t make it.  What did I do differently that allowed me to finish the week?  I planned!  Plan out every meal and snack for just a week.  Make what you can in advance and post your menu on the refrigerator.  How does this help?  When you go for your food, your snack etc.. there is no wondering what should I eat?  The decision has been made.  You’re wiggle room is swapping within your week not going off plan.  This gives you a little flexibility but still allows you to be successful.  It makes a huge difference if you have planned your meals.  See my week without meat for suggestions!

Big accomplishment this week

My fat jeans that I bought earlier this year that were snug on me can now be pulled down without unsnapping them.  They are falling off of me!  Those are results I can be excited about!

There are still things I need to cut out and I am working on them.  For example,  I still have one coke zero a day – slowly being replaced by water and green tea but not yet gone.  I still have a lot of dairy in my diet.  That one is going to be tough but I know I can do it.  I can convert to vegan options and give it a try to see how I feel.  As long as my three things above are still true; I don’t feel like I am on a diet, I feel great, my clothes are fitting better and I have energy and I am not deprived all the time.  I will adopt these healthier choices.  Every week I work on ONE of the things I am trying to improve.  I come up with my strategy for the week and then just execute and evaluate.

What is one thing you would like to improve on in your diet?  Do you need to eliminate something?  Add something in?  How is that voice in your head?  I’d love to hear from you!

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