Monday, May 4, 2009

Food is NOT the Problem

This week's "Warm-Up" before the daily lessons actually start asks us which diet methods we've used in the past, if any (like there might be some who haven't tried anything in the past!), whether or not they focus on food, and whether or not they were a success.

Here's my story:

I've really only tried two diets in the past, although one of those I tried twice, the second time with a different angle.

The first actual "diet" I tried was Atkins, way back in about 2000. I lost 11 lbs in two weeks. I was ECSTATIC ~ but incredibly sick and tired of eating only meat, cheese, eggs, and lettuce. I love all these things, but I'm definitely of the belief that there really IS such a thing as TOO MUCH of a good thing! As soon as that was all I could eat, I started disliking the program. I knew I didn't want to live my life without pasta, rice, bread and potatoes, so I quit. And gained the weight right back.

After our first daughter was born in 2002, I'd actually LOST weight during the course of my pregnancy(again, 11 lbs), but that came back with a vengeance and it didn't take very long before I was back at my pre-pregnancy weight, which was frightfully close to 200 lbs. So I joined Weight Watchers at the end of October 2002, and for the four months I paid to lose weight ~ and for another two months after that ~ I lost weight successfully. I lost almost 40 lbs, but managed to keep it off for only about a month before it started creeping back on again. By the end of summer 2003, I'd gained half of it back again.

I knew our Weight Watchers group was focusing on the wrong thing, but because I didn't actually know anyone there, I never spoke up about it. The focus was never on developing healthy eating habits and active lifestyles, it was on how to reduce the fat content of our favourite foods and get the most activity points the quickest and easiet way so that we could continue to eat the same QUANTITY as before. There was no desire to train ourselves to enjoy good quality food, and just eat less of it. We were trying to cheat the system.

Sadly, almost all the women that I see from time to time now who were in that group with me, and who lost like I did, have gained all or more weight back since then. From what I've seen, we're all worse off than before we started. Proof we completely missed the point.

I didn't QUITE gain it all back ~ "only" 25 of the 40 returned, and that's where I kinda stayed put for the next 5 years, even after the birth of our second daughter, mid-2004.

Last spring, however, I decided to give Weight Watchers another try, but this time just on my own, using the materials I'd purchased when I was a paying, meeting-attending member. And this time, for whatever reason, I didn't find the counting, figuring, and planning to be nearly the hassle and frustration it had been the first time 'round. I also noticed I desired to rather eat what I wanted, specifically seeking out ways to be more active in order to "earn" my food. This approach worked wonderfully and I lost 18 lbs in 2-1/2 months.

But then summer rolled around and with camping trips, family gatherings, swimming lessons, and barbecues, points-tallying once again became a problem. So I quit. Miraculously, despite not journalling or counting, the weight stayed off for the next six months. Until December.

It's normal for me to pack on up to 5 lbs around the holidays and just as normal for me to shed it again as soon as life returns to its usual routine, except this time, I started gaining at the beginning of the month already. Before I knew it, I was basically back to where I'd been a year earlier. Not quite, but VERY close.

I was so tired of trying. So tired of temporary success. Tired of people knowing I was "workin' at it" YET AGAIN.

And then I found this study and two wonderful friends who agreed to work through it with me. It's made a huge difference. Knowing my best friends are feeling hunger pangs the same days I do, and for the same reasons, is somehow strengthening. I'm not struggling with this all by myself. Being able to share our insights and exciting discoveries in the Word of God with each other has not only been a great eye-opener and encouragement, but has brought us closer together as friends, and drawn us closer together with God.

And on top of all that, I've actually found this to be the easiest "diet" or eating plan to stick to ~ nothing is off-limits!! There's no counting, no figuring, no hours of trying to plan meals for a weekend of company that fit the program... just freedom.

At first, I was intimidated by the idea of essentially fasting 3 days a week, but once I realized that I'd never miss suppers, that made all the difference. Knowing I can thoroughly enjoy whatever foods I desire at the end of the day has made not eating during those days very manageable. And it also helps to realize that I really do enjoy food more, savouring each bite and revelling in the company around the table more than ever before because eating can't be taken for granted anymore. The entire eating experience has definitely become more valuable since denying myself solid foods three days a week!! (funny how that works!)

My prayer ~ my goal ~ is that this will indeed be the last time I'm "workin' at it" ever again. This study will end in four weeks, but the eating plan is simple enough to follow for the rest of my life. It fits into socializing, into camping weekends, into holidays at our parents' homes ~ anywhere. It's flexible and can be made to fit any lifestyle.

So there you have it. No more excuses. THIS IS IT. There. I said it. And I have YOU to keep me accountable.

No comments: