It seems we are pummeled day after day with diets and eating plans dished out with overwhelming servings of guilt and implied remorse.
You know the kind of headings “7 foods you must never eat,” “7 foods that are essential for weight loss.” Usually, you have to end up scrolling to the bottom of a mile long list of prompts to finally get you to enter your credit card information for something free, but you will be billed if you don’t unsubscribe! Yikes!
Over the years I have eaten just about everything that’s edible, within reason, so I think there isn’t anything you must never eat unless it is uncooked chicken or poison of some sort. My point being that the stress around the apparent mystery of food and what not to eat is enough to make anyone gain weight.
In my early days, I tried hard to eat well, in fact too hard. I stressed about calories, as a dancer, and didn’t know much else about nutrition. I’d fast, try to spot reduce love handles, then desperately binge on bacon and carrot cake. All the while not in a very good frame of mind.
Over the years I’ve found that subtle tweaks to my diet have produced the best results. If I suspect that a big bowl of yogurt at bedtime isn’t working for me, I’ll back off. I’ve eaten what I want throughout the day and I can just as easily have a glass of water at 9pm. If dessert during weekdays is causing me to wake in the morning with an uncomfortable feeling of fullness, well, I can wait until Friday or Saturday to have my dessert.
I refer to these adjustments as tweaks, and they have always garnered a more “aerodynamic” feeling around my waist upon waking. I feel a little more lean, a little more looking forward to my whole grain toast with almond butter.
I’ve been lucky in that I enjoy exercise, so my day is fairly active and enjoyable. I’ve been on the other end of the activity scale, and I understand that being in a sedentary job, and one that isn’t particularly stimulating can lead to looking forward to that coffee/ cinnamon bun/ cigarette break a little too frequently. What’s a body to do? Go on, don’t go cold turkey, but maybe replace the 3 o’clock chocolate bar with an apple and some walnuts. It’s way more nutritious, and it costs just about the same and will leave you feeling just a smidgen fresher and even a bit virtuous about your efforts. You might even decide to take the stairs (with a friend). And you just might have that glass of water, maybe two, to rehydrate when you get home, before diving into the deli drawer for something to satisfy that appetite before you get around to making dinner.
I’m posting a picture of myself. I eat a fairly broad spectrum of foods, and this is how I look. I don’t diet, I do tweak. Some whey powder in my morning smoothy is the most radical supplement. So the big mystery behind food is getting your carbs, protein, and healthy fats. You need it all. And to be honest I do fall off the wagon occasionally, but my body let me know loud and clear.
I’m all about being good to yourself and being realistic. Go on, be gentle, think of something you can tweak. I gave up a third night of “birthday pie,” tonight for a few spoonfuls of yogurt. I lived! I’ll make a date with dessert this weekend… or not. I can play hard to get.