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Unlearning How You Eat

Thursday, March 28, 2013

No one just gets fat overnight. Neither do we wake up one day and go, "Oh, darn it, I wish I were overweight/obese!" Most of us find ourselves growing day by day, dreading it, trying desperately to stop the tide, but not seeming to get anywhere.

Then one day, we gird ourselves for the fight against food. We join Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, a gym. We clean out our fridges. We stop eating at fast food restaurants. And finally we see the scale go down.

The problem almost inevitably happens after we get to goal weight - or sooner. We get to our goal weight or we get tired of counting calories and start getting sloppy. We pull out the Oreos and ice cream. We stop at a fast food joint for lunch. Until we wake up one morning and go, "How did I get so fat?"

I'm a big Star Wars nerd. I've seen all the movies (including prequels) multiple times, have read the books in the "Expanded Universe", and have even read some of the comics.

Yoda, the wise old Jedi Master, has the best advice for those of us in the "How did we get so fat?":

The reason I got fat in the first place was my warped idea of eating. I thought cake and cookies were A-OK, as long as you had some carrots with it. I thought pizza and burgers were fine with some apple slices on the side. My portion sizes were way too big. I didn't drink enough water. I didn't prioritize sleep.

All of these things led to my being fat not once, but twice. After losing a bunch of weight, slowly, I returned back to my old habits. Slacking off on fruits and vegetables. Eating indulgences nearly every day. Drinking water when I thought of it.

THIS unhealthy pattern made me fat. THIS unhealthy thought process made me fat.

This time around, it ain't happenin'. This time around, I ain't gainin' this weight back. It is staying off FOR GOOD. And I'm going to do this by following Yoda's advice: "Unlearning what I have learned".

+ Drinking 64oz minimum of water is a must. No negotiations.

+ Getting 7 hours of sleep at night (my body seems to work well with this).

+ Ensuring I am eating correct portions of my foods.

+ Keeping "treats" or "one-time indulgences" as that - ONE TIME. Not daily. Maybe not even weekly. Once in a while.

+ Integrating fruits and veggies into my meals DAILY.

+ Not buying and bringing home my temptation foods. This would be half gallons of cookies and creme ice cream and Hawaii's Barbecue potato chips. Yes, they are fun occasional snacks, but I need to make an effort that they don't turn up in my house, where I am likely to eat an entire bag/half gallon.

+ Turning up the dial on exercise. I want to making walking a regular past-time and get into biking or hiking (or maybe even running!).

One of the things my health coach said before I started was, "If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten." And it's the truth. Unless I change the way I eat and approach food, I will always end up overweight. And that isn't me being healthy and responsible, enjoying life to its fullest.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I agree with THERIN52! "Do or do not, there is no try" is another great Yoda quote that all Sparkies should use :)

    I've had the most success when I changed up the concept of "diet" with "lifestyle." I know it sounds cliché, but it really boils down to the lifestyle of eating healthfully and exercising regularly. Basically, living the life our grandparents, great greatparents, and the cavemen did. Now I eat paleolithic foods about 90% of the time and I do A LOT more exercise. Actually, I'm trying to find other ways to diminish even more sedentary time, such as saving up money for a "standing desk."

    The secret is to find things that you enjoy. I'm a big believer that there are healthy foods that even the most fast food addicted junkie would love, and a form of exercise that even the most sedentary person would enjoy. Of course, it's important to realize the flipside. For instance, I don't love running nor do I like exercising by myself because it can be a bit boring. There a certain healthy foods I hate (okra, I'm talking to you!). So why force myself to run and eat okra 24/7 when there are so many other choices? I love, LOVE zumba and could eat homemade chili, fritatas, tea with almond milk all day long. Lifestyle should be something of choice and a way of life you enjoy!

    Good luck :D emoticon
    1817 days ago
    Thanks for the lecture. . . I needed that! I get so disgusted with myself at times but that doesn't change things unless I change my mind and my attitude. Have to hang onto my goal!

    Good luck!

    1820 days ago
    One thing that really surprises me is what correct portions look like. I used to just fill up my plate...once...twice... Now I use my measuring cups and really try to use proper portions at all times. We are actually saving money as meat goes a lot further and there are always leftovers that I portion and freeze. Great Blog!
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    1820 days ago
    Perfect! Unlearning those bad habits is the name of the game. And replacing them with good ones. Maybe try and come up with positive correlations to all those "don'ts". For instance, not just avoiding the trigger foods at the market, but also making an affirmative effort to choose a new healthy item each week. emoticon
    1820 days ago
  • THERIN52
    Another wise Yoda quote "Do or do not, there is no try" I say this to myself every time I start to get a little discouraged or lax on things or when I start to doubt myself. It really does come down to do or do not. The relationship with food is such a tough one, I too grew up thinking it's ok to eat whatever you want as long as you have a veggie or fruit with it the down side was my portions were crazy! I can't tell you how many times I have left a meal overly stuffed but ok with it. Now I hate the feeling of being full as weird as that sounds it is uncomfortable and I don't feel like moving. Your mind set and goals are in the right place and I know this time is your time, you can and will accomplish it.

    May the force be with you my friend emoticon
    1820 days ago
    Great blog. I've lost the weight a few times and gained it back. I'm right there with you that I have to make what I am doing now my way of life. I'm really enjoying the way I eat now and I'm enjoying the exercise. I used to fight the diets, seeing what I could get away with while still losing weight. This time is really more about being healthier and I'm in a much better mind set.
    1820 days ago
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    1820 days ago
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