My former blog was called “Finding Freedom in Eating Under Control”? It might seem like a contradiction to have freedom when you are under control. That is the reason we abandon diets, because we want freedom, right? But eating out of control is the opposite of freedom. When I say freedom here I mean freedom from the bondage that food has had you in. I feel amazing when I can eat the food I enjoy and do it within the calories I have allotted for the day. I feel amazing when I have enough control to eat in a healthy, clean way. I feel amazing, when I have enough control to just eat one brownie and savor every bite of it when I am having a chocolate craving. That amazing feeling is freedom! So why is it so hard to eat under control and have freedom in our eating habits?
Weight loss is a lot more than a diet. And many people will tell you, diets don’t work. I agree. Really the formula is simple and many of us have heard it many ways over and over. Move more, eat less. Simple. But why don’t we do it? Why can’t we succeed? I say “we” because I am on this journey too and I am not done yet. I have truly come a long way. I have learned so much and am even a different person in many aspects in regards to the way I think about food. Seven years ago, I wouldn’t have even had this conversation with anyone. My issues with food were somewhat of a secret and they tormented me. I would have been open about wanting to lose weight or about whatever my current diet was, but the secret was my body image and the deep issues I had with food which included compulsive eating or bingeing. I felt alone and I felt like a failure because every time I started a diet with enthusiasm, it was only a matter of time before I gave up.
What I want to talk about here is a lot more than weight. I want to talk about finishing a weight loss journey. I believe being overweight is a result of more than overeating and lack of exercise. It is a symptom of other issues we may or may not even know we need to deal with. As I have slowly lost weight, I feel my lowered weight is a direct reflection of the process of healing I have gone through.
I have heard it said that any diet you could follow would work or produce results. And that must be true if in essence the diet is causing you to consume fewer calories than you need to maintain your weight. There are thousands of diets out there and really any of them could produce results, but the issue is sticking with it. Finishing it. Getting to your goal weight. So the real issue is, WHY do we abandon the diet? If you are like me, your weight might even be the thing you think about the most – even obsess over – then why do we over eat when this is the cause of our problems?
Why are there so many diets out there and why do we keep trying new ones if they don’t work? Depriving yourself of certain foods or only eating other foods will not ultimately get you to your goal weight and allow you to maintain it in most cases. It is true that if you stick to any diet you will lose some weight. But what will happen when you mess up? What happens when you walk by the bakery and smell that fresh bread? Do you fight in your mind about blowing your diet until suddenly instead of deciding to enjoy one small muffin you have eaten an entire cake! And then the diet is over, right. Forget it, you have failed! Or maybe it’s the piece of pizza or scoop of ice cream? After eating them, mentally you have blown it so you give up. Right? You might as well eat the whole pizza or whole pint of ice cream. Obviously this is not true but this is what happens in our minds. I mean you can’t live on carrots, celery and cabbage soup forever.
Click here to check out my article on yo-yo dieting
There are so many fad diets out there the cabbage soup diet is one example and low-carb or Atkins is another. I have been told by so many people that a low carb diet is a lifestyle diet. I am sorry, but I refuse to live life without occasionally enjoying a delicious pasta dinner. Or dessert. Or fresh warm bread. Or.. Ok, I don’t want to make anyone hungry here. The deal is this; wouldn’t it be great if you could eat those things and truly enjoy them? If you could eat them and savor the flavor, taste and texture without guilt? If you could have enough control to eat one cookie, or brownie or one scoop of ice cream without thinking about the next one? And yes, there is a kind of eating that I have found is best for me, but I couldn’t even go there and begin turning it into a lifestyle until I dealt with the issues that made me yo-yo, binge and self-sabotage. If you keep reading, I will be posting more on what has helped me, but my main focus is the mental stuff.)
The truth is I love food. I love cooking. I love baking. I love baking with my kids. I love entertaining and bringing my friends and neighbors food I have baked. I do not want to give this up. Food is not evil. Do you think of food as evil? Food is not evil the same way money isn’t evil. It is what we do with it that can be good or bad.
And even though it seems simple, I am trying to figure out for myself and discuss with you, the secret to finding freedom in eating under control.
I hope you will come on this journey with me. No matter where you are at, if you have issues with food, please join me. I promise I will be open and honest when I struggle and if I mess up. All you need to join me in this journey is a journal and a willingness to be honest with yourself.
Here are the questions for you to answer today. You can answer them in your personal journal or if you feel like sharing, feel free to comment below. And by the way, sharing is caring! If you think one person might benefit from reading this, please repost! I plan to post here at least once a week with “More than a Diet” posts. If you are interested in receiving these, make sure to subscribe to this blog by email or follow if you are already on WordPress.
What kind of successes and failures have you had with food and weight loss?
How long has your weight been a struggle? When did it start?
In what ways do you feel in bondage to food?
What way would your life be different if you were at your goal weight?
Why is it important for you to do the work of figuring out why you struggle with your eating?
There may be a long road ahead for you – and you might be a tortoise like me. Let me give you some hope; you may not see the finish line now, but I promise it’s there. I promise as long as you take it step by step, day by day, you will know that you are making progress and are better than when you started. That doesn’t mean you won’t mess up, it just means, you need to learn from your mistakes.