Thursday, May 9, 2013

Thoughts on Dieting...

Whether you want to get rid of 15 or 100 pounds - YOU CAN DO IT!!

This morning I stepped on the scale and my weight is moving in the right direction!  I'm feeling recharged, renewed and raring to go now that I've given myself a much-needed pep talk.

To reinforce my new resolve, I am going to post some advice and observations I've made that helped me get 120 cumbersome pounds off my body and will keep me going until I reach my final goal of 25% body fat ratio.

1. Love and accept who you are, regardless of your weight.  You've beaten yourself up enough and it hasn't gotten you very far, has it?  You are a divine, beautiful child of God.  You deserve happiness and a healthy body, so go for it!  Stop calling yourself fat!  Stop saying derrogatory stuff about yourself.  I know I've said this several times on this blog, but I can't emphasize how important it is, no matter who you are or your size, to love and appreciate yourself.  Change your mind about yourself and your abilities and you'll be amazed at what you'll be able to achieve.

2. Find a program you can believe in and become its biggest fan. A diet is just a tool.  It's not there to make you suffer or cause you unpleasantness. It is a choice you make and it is a means to an end!  So find the tool that will work best for you and fits into your lifestyle and go for it!  For me, the program was Ideal Protein.  The forumulation of the diet made sense to me, it moved the weight off my bod in a relatively short time and I think most of the IP foods are palatable.  This may not be the diet for you, but any change in lifestyle that will get you healthier is worth the effort involved.

3. Stop making excuses.  A lot of people approach me these days after witnessing my transformation and come up with all kinds of reasons why they can't do what I've done.  Let me tell you - as much as I love and respect you, I don't want to hear it!  It's not because I don't have empathy for you or don't care about you.  I don't want to hear it because I don't believe it!  I was the original poster child for excuse makers.  I had a gazillion reasons why I was fat and why I would never be fit again.  Everything from genetics to birth control pills were used as excuses for staying in my heavy, uncomfortable rut and I would still be there if I hadn't been willing to take responsibility for my condition and do something about it.  You don't have to make a drastic change in your life, just do something that gets you on the path to a healthier lifestyle and the rest will eventually fall into place.

4. Drink your water!  Take your body weight and cut it in half.  That number is the amount of water in ounces you should be drinking each day.  Trust me, the people who drink their water are the folks who drop the weight the fastest.... not only that, hydration keeps the body happy!

5. Declare your independence! This is the one I struggle with the most, because I've spent most of my life trying to please others, many times at the expense of my own happiness. When I started this diet I didn't tell anyone I was on it.  I kept it to myself, knowing that opening myself up to the opinions of others would make me subject to statements well-meaning folks make.  This is YOUR life, YOUR journey.  Do this for yourself, not for someone else's approval or to get your mom to stop nagging you about your weight.    When people give you unsolicited advice or tell you what they think you should be doing, trust yourself enough to know what's best for you. Don't let someone else's opinion make you doubt yourself. I've found that the people who are most vocal with diet advice are the most clueless. (Hint: never accept diet advice from someone who has never been fat.  They have never been in your shoes.)  I have diet coaches at the center where I weigh in who know my journey, my fat ratio and how much further I have to go.  If they think I am doing well, and I know I am doing well, then that's all I need. 

6. Use your imagination. The diet I'm on is extremely restrictive.  There is a small selection of vegetables and meats I can eat during Phase I.  I can't tell you how many times I've heard "I am so tired of eating salads" from other folks on Ideal Protein.  Think outside of the box.  Cruise the internet for recipes, use new spices, buy a vegetarian cookbook and stop boring yourself!  If I hadn't gone out there and dug around the internet I wouldn't have discovered two of my new absolute favorite foods:  riced cauliflower and zucchini noodles.  Rutabaga chips are pretty awesome, too! So what if you can't have pasta?  I've found diet-friendly ways to fix some of my old sauces and serve them over zucchini noodles or riced cauliflower.  Don't knock it 'til you've tried it!  To be honest, this may be the way I eat "noodles" from now on!  (I've served both to my husband, too - and he hasn't complained!)  There are a ton of wonderful Ideal Protein recipes available on the web.  There's even an Ideal Protein cookbook you can purchase from your diet administrator and on Amazon, so start experimenting!

10. Stop complaining!! Seriously, life is supposed to be fun.  Whether you are on a diet or not, choose to be happy and rejoice in the now.  Besides, nobody wants to listen to you moan about your miserable diet or what you're not able to eat. Enjoy the journey and have fun discovering the contours of your body as they emerge from the fat.  Celebrate being able to do things you thought you'd never be able to do again - like crossing your legs or fitting into a bathroom stall.   One of the things I do to help me stay upbeat and positive is I started a gratitude journal.  Every morning after I meditate, I write a letter to God, to give thanks for whatever happens to pop into my mind.  I've even grown to the point where I can thank God for the people who are a challenge to deal with because I know they were sent to me to teach me something valuable about myself.  I'm not going to say I'm a singing Pollyanna every day of my life, but choosing to focus on what I have or how far I've come instead of how far I still have to go has made the journey more enjoyable and a lot easier than it would have been otherwise.

11. When you deviate from the program, don't beat up on yourself.  Don't let a lapse in judgement or a "cheat" derail your progress or make you decide to quit the program.  Stay the course!  Guilt is a time waster so pick yourself up and carry on.  Yesterday there may have been a chocolate cake you couldn't resist, but today is a fresh start and you can be a successful dieter NOW!  Now is a powerful time and it's all we have.  We can't worry too much about what happened in the past because it can't be undone.  However, if we can look at our past behaviors objectively we can learn from where we've been, apply the lessons to life today and be stronger for the experience.

I think I'll stop here.  I don't want to come off TOO preachy! 

Just remember, you are a lot stronger and a lot more capable than you realize!  I have surprised myself with what I have accomplished so many times since I started dieting last June and there was a time when I saw myself as a lost cause.  By applying the ideas above to my approach to dieting I have been able to accomplish what I've never done before and I saved my own life in the process.  (I was living the slowest form of suicide around.)  Anybody with the right mindset and the willingness to change can do this, including YOU!

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