First, I would like to thank everyone for their overwhelming support of my previous post. I hope that people who are nervous about going to the gym because they are afraid others will judge, will realize that the gym is really not that scary of a place. I am so thankful for building up my confidence and starting to go last week. Getting my ass back into gear has allowed me to lose 4 pounds this week when my goal was only 1! It feel fantastic to be back on the weight loss saddle, so to speak.
Now I would like to take some time to talk a little bit about my philosophy on permanent weight loss. A lot of people think of a diet as the absence of something, normally their favorite foods. You know what diet means? It just means what you put in your mouth. That’s it. Nothing about calories. Nothing about “no junk food.” A diet is just what you eat. Animals have diets. Reptiles have diets. We all have diets. You are not “on a diet.” You are on a journey. Next time you say you are going on a diet, a swarm of locusts will come and eat your favorite sweater! Okay, it won’t be that drastic. But I will know! And I will be disappointed.
Second, there is a difference between hunger and appetite. These are not the same things. Hunger is a physiological response. This is the rumble of your tummy saying “Feed me, you jerk! I need fuel!” Appetite is psychological. You think you are hungry because you are stressed, bored or smell something delicious. Appetite is what makes you eat dinner after you are full eating the appetizer. Appetite is what causes us to gain weight.
For permanent weight loss, you need to evaluate your relationship with food. Do you dread eating because you are afraid every little thing goes instantly to the hips? Can you absolutely not live without eating a whole bag of Oreos in a week? Do you even feel hunger? Do you know what signs to look for when you are hungry? Or do you eat because you have been told you need to eat so much at such and such a time or else you will DIE. Okay, you won’t die. But we are told to follow some strict time of eating or else we won’t lose weight.
The problem is we are not listening to our bodies. This does not help us distinguish between appetite and true hunger. I believe that a permanent plan requires figuring out our minds before figuring out our stomachs. Personally, I am an emotional eater. The reason I gained 100+ pounds is because I got comfort from food. Every time things felt a little out of control in my life I turned to Chinese. My Good Friend, Mashed Potatoes. Hello, Mr. Reese Pieces. I felt I needed food to be happy when instead it was just putting me into a cycle I could not get out of no matter how hard I tried. I needed to realize food does not provide emotional support. You know what it provides? Fuel to be active, to breathe, to keep your heart beating, your immune system healthy. That is what food provides. It does not heal the broken pieces of your heart. It does not cuddle you to sleep at night. You know what over eating does to you? Kills you. Does that seem like emotional support? No. If you are an emotional eater like myself, you need to turn to others. I know our first response is to run into a dark corner and hide in our heads in a tub of ice cream, but I have found that being social, reaching out to friends, or burning some calories at the gym makes me feel a lot better than those 20 Oreo Cookies ever did.
This does not mean I never eat “bad stuff.” I do. Just this morning, I had bacon. You know why I had bacon? Because I haven’t had bacon for about a month now. It is all about moderation. You do not have to cut things completely out of your life. Sometimes I will allow myself some dark chocolate after a stressful day. I just limit myself to how often or restrict what I eat in other areas to make up for the dark chocolate.
Sometimes, you just need to have bacon. You just cannot have it every day. Evaluate your relationship with food before you start making all these cuts and trying to tell your body what it can and cannot do. Know your terms and start thinking about the cues your body gives you. Spend a whole day asking yourself if you are hungry or if you just have an appetite for something.
This is a long process and it can only start with you getting to know yourself.