Wednesday, October 28, 2009
I've read several posts in my groups lately from people who want to scrap whatever plan they are using because some small part of it doesn't work for them. If it's something big--you are doing Weight Watchers but you don't want to count points, you might want to consider a different plan. But, if something small isn't working for you, stop doing that particular something and see what happens. You don't always have to throw out the baby with the bathwater.
I've seen a lot of different diet plans. Some are just plain terrible, or worse, dangerous. But many others work well for different people. The trick is to find the one that works for you. Virtually all programs will say or imply that you must follow the plan exactly as written. Here's a secret: you don't! Make the changes you want to make and give it a few weeks. Are you losing weight in a healthy way? Great; keep doing what you are doing. No? Time to rethink.
I use information I've gotten from a number of different diet plans. I've taken ideas from The Eat Clean Diet, the McDougall Plan, Eat to Live, and Spark People and cobbled together a plan that works for me.
All of these diets, except Spark*, recommend a whole food diet. I eat a whole food diet with the exception of white rice. I don't like brown rice. I'm not going to eat it because I don't ever eat things I don't like. Nor am I going to give up white rice because I love sushi. Not gonna happen. However, I am thrilled to eat any other whole grain.
All of these diets, except Spark, do not recommend counting calories. And I don't. I don't want a "diet", I want to develop sustainable healthy eating habits that will regulate my weight automatically. I am not going to do anything while losing weight that I am not willing to do for the rest of my life: I'm not going to obsessively count calories (or points or whatever) every day for the rest of my life, so I'm not going to do it now either.
The Eat Clean diet recommends eating five small meals a day each containing both protein and complex carbohydrates. I love this idea and have found it much easier to make good food choices because I don't wait until I am starving to eat.
Spark gives me great support, tools for goal setting, and a place to track my fruit/veggie and fluid intake, as well as my daily exercise minutes.
Obviously there is much more to each of these plans, but it would take far too long to detail everything I use (or don't use) from each plan. And, it's unnecessary. I think my point is clear.
Find what works for you and use that. Don't be afraid to ignore recommendations that simply aren't going to work for you. Don't set yourself up for failure by choosing a plan that doesn't fit your lifestyle. Find what works for you and have faith in your ability to know what's best for your body and your life.
*To clarify: Spark does encourage the consumption of whole foods, but generally I find the recommendation in most articles dealing with this subject is to eat "more" whole foods, not to eat "only" whole foods. The other plans I mentioned recommend eating "only" whole foods.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
I've been thinking today about the issue of commenting on others' weight loss. I started thinking about this after reading a blog post by a friend, and part of what I am posting here is also what I posted as a comment on her blog.
Complimenting people on weight loss is a sticky situation. I personally don't ever comment on anyone's weight (loss or gain) outside the setting of a weight loss support group (like Spark), because I feel the implication of those kinds of comments is that being thinner is inherently better and that simply isn't true. Our worth comes from what's inside, not what's outside. Additionally, our society is full of people who have eating disorders and body image dysmorphia. Commenting on weight (even positive comments) only makes those problems worse. I really strive to be body positive in all my interactions. I don't put down my own body, or anyone else's. And, I try to avoid ever engaging in diet talk--again, outside the context of a weight loss support group. I think it is far more important, and healthy, to celebrate what our bodies can do instead of what we wished they looked like.
When I am within the confines of a weight loss group I do congratulate people on achieving their goals, because when we join weight loss support groups we are specifically looking for support and encouragement. However, I have to admit it does still make me vaguely uneasy because I don't want to contribute to "thin is better" mindset. I prefer the message: "healthy is better". But I also know we want a quantifiable way to show we are achieving our goals. And weight loss is much easier to quantify in pounds and inches than it is in health benefits, so those numbers become our benchmarks for lack of a better option. It's a complicated issue.
I do think making our bodies as healthy as they can be is a very positive goal. And, for some of us weight loss is part of that goal. There's nothing inherently wrong with that as long as we are losing weight by adopting healthier lifestyle habits and not by participating in dangerous diet fads.
I have to wonder though, am I being hypocritical to make the distinction between how I conduct myself in day to day life and how I conduct myself within a weight loss support group? Is it ethical to make that kind of distinction? Or am I doing a disservice to my online friends that I wouldn't do to a friend in person?
I'd love to hear your thoughts...
ADDED LATER: I've been thinking about this some more and I think I know why I behave one way in a social context and a different way in a weight loss support context. I think it probably has to do with how I receive compliments. When I am on Spark or in some other weight loss support atmosphere I appreciate weight loss compliments because I feel like I am being complimented on making progress towards my goals. When I receive weight-related compliments outside that setting it bothers me a bit because I feel like that person is saying that I wasn't ok the way I was. That may or may not be the person's intent in either setting, but since I perceive it that way, I use that as a guide toward interacting with others.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I hate those weight loss drug commercials on tv where they show several overweight people talking about why they want to lose weight. They want to play soccer with their kids or kiss their husband under the Eiffel Tower or whatever. The problem I have with this is there is no reason not to do those things right now. You don't have to wait until you are certain size to travel abroad, nor do you have to wait until you are a certain size to run around outside with your kids.
While I think weight loss can be a great goal (it's a goal I am working toward myself), the fact remains that diets frequently don't work. Most of the people who lose weight are going to gain it back and many more will give up before they reach their goals. We are all striving to be one of the few who succeed, which is a good thing. But, let's be realistic; it may never happen for some of us. If there are things you want to do, do them now. Love the life you have right now.
I started thinking about this because I went ice skating today with my son. Most of the other moms just sat and watched their kids skate. I'm sure some of them simply weren't interested in ice skating, but I am equally sure some of them lacked the self-confidence to try. One of them told me she was too old to skate anymore. She didn't look much older than me. I am a very large woman and I haven't ice skated since I was a teenager. I looked ridiculous flailing around hugging the wall, but I didn't care. I was having a great time and my son got a chance to try something new. I doubt anyone else even gave me a second thought.
I see this all the time: parents who won't swim with their kids, people who hold off on things like new hairstyles or manicures until they lose weight, people who miss countless opportunities to try something new because they don't think they deserve it now. Stop that thinking!
Whatever it is your heart desires, do it now. Live your life now like you would if you had already achieved your weight loss goals. You are worth it now!
Monday, October 19, 2009
I was very happy to see a post on the Spark blog about ending fat talk. www.dailyspark.com/blog.asp?post=thi
I absolutely hate it when I get stuck in a situation where I am forced to listen to other people's fat talk or diet talk. I'm not talking about a heart to heart conversation with someone about weight concerns. I'm talking about listening to co-workers or casual acquaintances go on and on about how fat they are or what diets they are on this week. Even worse, most of the people doing the loudest complaining are far from fat. It is incredibly annoying to me that so many women think this is the only topic on which they can relate to each other. I absolutely detest it. So please, read the abovementioned post and sign the pledge. Then, find something positive to talk about over lunch that doesn't have anything to do with weight or diets.
Get An Email Alert Each Time PAPERARTSY Posts