I’m adding a new category here on the Madame Zen’s cookbook because I want to start a new diet. Well… not in the sense that I’m suddenly going to severely restrict my food intake or start counting calories to the point of freaking out if I have one over whatever limit I’ve deemed acceptable. No, I think of “diets” as in changing your eating habits, not temporary visits to Starvationville. As a matter of fact, I do my best never to feel hungry when trying to lose weight. Hmm… let me explain how this works for me*.
- I don’t go hungry. Knowing the body will try to store fat after being starved for any length of time (even overnight!), one way to keep my body from packing on the pounds is to not let myself be hungry. Generally this means setting an alarm for every two hours to eat something, anything really, but healthy is obviously my intent.
- I eat first thing in the morning. This coincides with the point above because while you sleep, you are not eating obviously. Eating first thing in the morning breaks your nightly fasting (thus why it’s called “breakfast”) and allows you to kick some bad morning habits… namely the next one coming up.
- I’m dropping coffee. Coffee is a stimulate that perks the body up for a very short period of time and fools it into believing it isn’t hungry. This allows a person to eat less (usually in the mornings) and have more energy. The downside to that is, not only are you denying your body much needed fuel to keep up your energy throughout your day (thus why so many people feel sluggish by the afternoon), but you are also supplying your system with a stimulant and not giving it a chance to use your stored fat as an energy source.
- I eat at night. A popular concept of not eating after dinner because it packs on the pounds really depends on the person and what you’re eating. Yes, nothing but sugary, high calorie foods are going to have you gaining weight. But again, with the points above, you are lengthening your nightly “starving” period by not eating something in the evenings. Especially if you eat an early dinner and/or go to bed late at night.
- There is NO substitute for exercise. None. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch. If you do not use the energy your body absorbs from food it is turned to fat. End. Of. Story. That’s how it works. Use that energy and your weight remains the same. Use the fat your body has already stored and you’ll lose weight. It really is THAT simple.
- Weight is not based on height alone. Healthy weight is based on the person’s height plus frame. This means that someone who has a larger frame should weigh more than someone of a slight frame even if they are the same height.
- There isn’t an idealistic weight, but a weight range. Working with the concept above, at 5 ft. 8 in. and being of a larger frame naturally (wide shoulders, hips and rib cage), I should weigh in the range of 160 – 175 lbs. That is my goal. At that point, if I be checking in with a nutritionist/holistic practitioner and decided what is healthiest for me. If I find that my weight is still unhealthy, I’ll reevaluate my goals.
- Breakfast is a relatively small meal packed full of protein.
- Lunch is my biggest meal.
- Dinner is more than breakfast but less than lunch.
- Sweets are fine during the day.
- Nightly snacks are limited to non-sugary foods.
- There is no such thing as “messing up my diet” or “going off my diet” or any other such nonsense. So I decide one night to have a bowl of ice cream. And? Not the end of the world. I’m not suddenly going to gain all the weight back and I don’t see any reason not to indulge every once in a while.
- I don’t live in denial. That includes not denying myself something I really want to enjoy. As stated above, if I want a snack, I have it. I just don’t need to eat the whole container of ice cream just to enjoy it. I also don’t pretend to not have my weight fluctuate. It happens and that’s life. No one is perfect. I don’t berate myself for indulging, missing an exercise session or a weekend of not caring what I eat or if I work out. I just go back to what I was doing before I had a moment of being crazy.
- I don’t make excuses. My eating habits aren’t based on my mood. I don’t eat because I’m depressed, upset, sad or happy. I don’t eat because I’m bored. I eat because my body needs fuel**. I don’t make up reasons to eat nor reasons for why I’m eating what I’m eating. I don’t try to convince myself or others why I’m going off my routine nor diet. Again, I accept that life isn’t always perfect at things come up. I’d rather enjoy the experience than worry if it will somehow make me gain back ten pounds by having a donut.
- Nothing is instant. I have a long road ahead of me but I believe in what I’m doing is the best plan for overall health.
- Lastly, I’m doing this for health reasons ONLY. I don’t buy into the media’s concept of what is beautiful. I don’t think I have to be thin to be attractive. I’m not doing this so I can wear clothes that show off my body. I’m doing this because it’s healthy and because I don’t want to be in pain. That’s all.
*The above information is based on my personal diet journals; collaborations with nutritionists, holistic practitioners, and physical therapists over my lifetime, and a lot of trial and error.
**I am well aware that there are many people with eating disorders and have different reasons for eating. I’m not belittling their efforts nor implying they simply need to “get over it”. I’m merely stating MY views on MY diet.