Over the last several months I have lost around 15 pounds. And I feel very content with where I’m at now. Actually, I feel great. I have more energy, run faster, and love my body (with the exception of that pesky hip).
Let me tell you how I did it. I did not go on a diet. I did not count calories. I did not cut out all “bad” foods. In fact, I give myself one dessert everyday. At one point I baked a chocolate cappuccino cheesecake, with the intent of eating one piece and unleashing the rest on my co-workers. But then I decided I’d eat just one more piece before taking it into work. I did this for a few days before I said to myself, “Face it Laura, you’re just going to eat this whole thing yourself.” And that’s what I did, at the rate of one slice per day.
I did cut out foods I knew I could live without. Like potato chips, fast food and that near-daily Starbucks white chocolate mocha. I also made a point to listen to my body. If I’m hungry, I eat. If I’m not hungry, I don’t eat. If I’m full, I stop eating. Without consciously choosing to do so, I began eating less.
My objective all along was not to go on a diet that I would one day go off. Instead, I wanted to make a sustainable lifestyle change. I know I cannot part with sweets so I don’t pretend that I will. This helped me kill the food angel and devil sitting on opposite shoulders. You know the ones that sound like this:
“Oh! Those french fries smell so much better than the salads!”
“No, you cannot eat french fries again today.”
“What’s the big deal? You know you want them.”
I don’t even think about it now because I already made the decision. Fries? No. Brownie? Yes. Second brownie? No. Piece of wedding cake, even though I already ate a brownie? Of course. I never pass on wedding cake.
On the exercise front, I vowed to run 1 mile a day. It’s hard to make excuses to get out of 1 mile. Too tired? Please. It will take 10 minutes. Of course, my running has taken off a bit since this initial vow. But not for the purpose of burning calories. I have always been one to say, “I can’t run 30 minutes a day, just to run 30 minutes a day.” I like setting goals, putting together my training plans and the feeling of accomplishment that comes along with meeting those goals.
So that’s what I did. Losing the 15 pounds or so (I say “or so” because I didn’t actually get a good start weight) was actually easy. I lost it at a very reasonable rate of about 1 pound/week and then I stopped. I took this to mean I had reached my ideal weight. Interestingly (or perhaps not so interestingly, but rather logically), I am now at the weight that I was at through much of high school and college. I have weighed less and (obviously) more, but it all probably averages out to my current weight. Beautiful.\
You would think that’s a good end to this post. But it goes on…
When I was back in Colorado the other week I had this conversation with my mom:
“You look like you’ve lost a lot of weight.”
“I have lost weight.”
“How much weight have you lost?”
“Around 15 pounds or so.”
“You’re not going to become anorexic, are you?!”
“Mom! I’m eating RIGHT NOW.” (I was eating lunch when we had this conversation.)
“I know. That’s why I said, ‘You’re not going to become anorexic, are you?'”
While this conversation makes me laugh, I sometimes feel there is a societal double standard. If I eat a burger and fries for lunch and watch TV all evening, I’m overweight and unhealthy. If I eat a salad and go for a run, I’m anorexic. This is an exaggeration of course, but highlights the issue.
I bring this up after reading this article, basically describing healthy living bloggers as promoters of eating disorders. Needless to say, I find it infuriating. If I were a better person perhaps I would value it for initiating a discussion on balance. For me balance means (among other things) trading french fries in for brownies.
What defines balance in your life?