The Secret to Dieting: The Common Sense Approach

The truth is, if you are reading this you probably have tried numerous diets and failed. That is actually fantastic and it will help make this all make a lot more sense. If you haven’t tried a lot of diets but you have been thinking about losing weight, you are probably lying to yourself and you will be surprised just how many you have tried on further recollection. The best place to start at is the beginning to really explain how I got here, now I know that sounds like every other infomercial out there but I’m just sharing what I’ve learned hoping it helps someone stop wasting time feeling miserable or thinking bad thoughts about their weight and actually start to make a change. Every journey begins with a first step and I just want to help motivate people to take that first step because I finally found the motivation and what works for me but man was it a journey.

Looking back I was not a fat child and there isn’t a picture back in my younger years that I wouldn’t give money to  have that figure, even at some of my worst I was still not as fat as I saw myself. That’s where it all starts, we get concerned about our looks and we worry about what others think or we are just afraid to get fat and do everything perfect to never gain a pound or you constantly are dieting to maintain your weight or you are like me and just never cared enough. That’s how it starts, we worry about our weight and then we decide to do something or not. When you don’t do anything about it or have concern about it, it will go up and eventually one day you will look in the mirror and decide you are going to make some dramatic change and stick to all these insane diets and get that figure you always dream of. That definitely happens but I never stick with it. I just stop caring, it doesn’t bother me enough to make the change or put the effort in. This is just my personality, I have to want to do something or I have to be required to do something. Doing something for me that isn’t necessary or makes a difference to me personally, just isn’t important enough to deal with. So I kept thinking I was fat, I never did anything to change that and I actually started to get fat.

When I was growing up, I was always told physical exercise made you thin, you eat, you exercise, you burn calories, you stay healthy and thin. I was told what was good to eat and what was bad to eat. I chose not to exercise and I ate bad, but delicious food. You only live once! I wanted to enjoy it and I wasn’t going to deny myself anything. I made plans to exercise more and be more active and then I wouldn’t be as fat as I am today but I never did it. I would start but I never finished or followed through. So I knew if I just stopped being lazy and exercised I would lose weight.

I wasn’t going to exercise so I would look to diets to try and lose weight. I remember one time I was watching an infomercial, I had a lot of late nights and I love new things, anyways, they said something about trying a bunch of diets and failing. I thought I’ve never really tried anything cause I never really started or put any effort into it. Now thinking back I know that was wrong, I tried so many diets, I never even realized it. So the first diet I was on was, “The Eat Everything that Tastes Good No matter what and stuff yourself Diet.” That did wonders to get me fat, but not so much to give me a figure I was proud of. Also on that diet I learned a love for fast food, junk food and Mountain Dew. Which we all go, well there you go, the root of the problem you need to eat better and get rid of that junk. I know! But it’s so hard and tastes so good and it’s so convenient, we are great with our excuses.

I had a friend at work and she would try and get me to be her workout buddy or diet partner. She was about ten years older than me and she was in that, I’m going to make a change mode. We started working out together, that never panned out cause I hated driving there and it was early and inconvenient and I was filled with excuses. We tried Weight Watchers, I tried to like it but it just didn’t keep me motivated, the weekly weigh ins, I didn’t care too much if I didn’t lose the weight, I didn’t really like tracking points and I could still eat the bad foods, I just wasn’t eating anything else. So I knew Weight Watchers would work if I followed the program and made healthier choices but I didn’t feel like tracking food so I never stuck with it very long. Then we tried Atkins and the weight came off but I was really limited on what I ate and I would over eat sugar free chocolates cause I still wanted things that tasted good and I would make myself sick. I didn’t stick with it and continued to gain weight. I tried the South Beach Diet to see if that worked for changing my food options, I just stopped trying and going back to drinking Mountain Dew and eating out and doing the bad things that were making me fat.

So then I really started to put in effort and make a change. First I started fixing any health issues I had from being overweight. None of my Drs really said you need to lose weight like I heard others tell me stories of, so it wasn’t a problem for me and they didn’t make a big deal of it so why should I. I listened to what others said and did, I’d hear about what others would do to stay fit and healthy and I would decide if it would work for me or not. Some were actively dieting and making huge changes and being successful so I would try their diet, I tried Whole 30 and Isagenix and other forms of the same types of things but I never stuck with it. So then I decided I am just going to start eating better. I knew what was good for me and what was bad for me I just needed to stop eating the bad stuff. Well I could never quite stop myself from eating the bad stuff so I finally figured out, I should probably exercise. If I can’t control my eating at least maybe I can control my activity.

I made a New Years Resolution that I was going to work out everyday for 15 minutes a day. I was going to be more active, this was the year. I followed that pretty good, I got a gym membership that I thought would force me to go to the gym. They had a day care that got rid of the excuse of my kids in the way. It was on the way home from dropping my daughter off from school, so I didn’t have to go out of my way to go. My daughter needed interaction and I couldn’t afford to put her in real day care, it was a win win. I started going and started hiking with my family on the weekends but as in most things I don’t go as much as I wanted to or told myself to.

I am not going everyday anymore. I was doing really good and then I got hurt really bad and fell from a horse, I could barely walk so I couldn’t exercise for awhile and I got out of the habit of being active. This time though I didn’t let that dictate my life. I still went back to the gym when I felt better. Not as much but I went. We’d do more outdoor activities and walk for long periods. Even when I don’t work out I would tend to be active, making more trips around the house and going up and down the stairs more often. So anyways, I would exercise and I would see the weight come off but not as fast as I wanted so I started to make changes. First we said we’d eat better, more fruits and vegetables and such. We would go get produce from the food market and eat some and let some go bad. I’d pretty much cut out fast food and started to cut out eating out as much. I knew the big change I had to make was cutting out Mountain Dew but I wasn’t ready to give it up. However, I was still losing weight and toning up and feeling better.

Then “The Bet” happened. My husband decided he was going to do a low carb diet because that’s the only one he’s seen success with and the other diets we tried didn’t work. I agreed and agreed to follow his diet. We bet money and had a deadline date. I was like yeah we will see how long this lasts for me. I have tried contests before, I never stay motivated. There’s money involved and I still won’t stay motivated. There was a difference this time though he was going to do it with me but we’d done diets together but we were really committed or at least that’s what I told myself.

So it began, we eliminated a lot of the junk food from the house and he told me what I could eat, we were doing a Keto diet and following that. So I looked at the carbs in things and tried to eat low carb items but I didn’t track anything I ate. I already knew that never works for me for very long. So I ate the approved items and ate till I was full, pretty much how every diet starts out. This is how it always starts and then something happens and I quit. I craved my Mountain Dew, I wanted to go have pasta, I really wanted that pizza. I would try and compensate for it but it never really worked.

Now I know from experience my cravings and desires are my number one diet failures so I wasn’t going to let it happen this time. No this time I was going to stay successful. I knew I couldn’t deny myself, I would just want it more and then I’d binge on it and feel bad and eat more bad stuff and be back to square one and off my diet, it’s a slippery slope for me. So I wouldn’t deny myself things, if I wanted m and ms, I would have one fun size package and I would moderate how much I ate. Something I had been trying but still struggling with. So sometimes I would just have a bite of something. It is amazing how satisfying a bite of cake can be on a diet when you aren’t supposed to have it. For the most part I could just stop at that one bite and then continue on my diet unaffected. Sometimes I would really want pizza so I’d set a cheat meal. Now I know they say you can do cheat meals, I’ve even done cheat days but then I don’t get results as quickly and I need to change so I tried to follow it more closely. So instead of cheat days it would be cheat meals. I would space them out to try to give me something to look forward to, I tried not to think of a specific day but more following what I wanted and when I wanted it. I started creating new habits and ways of managing food that we learn but never really get put together in a working model. So I was cutting out junk food, eating low carb and losing weight quickly and I wanted to keep losing it. My cheat meals became less frequent, my snacking less and my treat portions a lot smaller.

Now don’t get me wrong I had bad days that turned to weeks that turned to months but something different happened during those times versus what happened the other times I started to stumble in a diet, I never really lost any major progress.  I still was better than what I had been doing in the past. I wasn’t drinking multiple Mountain dews a day or having fast food for every meal or eating junk food or at least not to the caliber I was. I realized I finally started to develop good eating habits. I knew everything that would make me successful in weight loss and everything that would make me fail and I needed to do more of the success and less of the failures. It makes sense, that’s what every diet tells you to do but they don’t tell you how to make that happen in the real world when your exhausted and don’t want to cook dinner and just order a pizza or when you want to sit on the couch and eat that pint of cookie dough ice cream. You can but how frequently you do these things will determine your success. Start small with changing a few habits here and there. As you become more motivated you will start to lose weight. Never get discouraged, discover that failures are determining what doesn’t work for you and try something different. Start to make changes and eventually you will see results and bad habits will be replaced with good habits and it won’t be so hard to stick with it. Diets are always successful if you stick with them, however the minute you stop following it the weight will come back. We don’t change our habits and the problems come back. Now I’m not saying you can’t eat that pint of ice cream while binge watching Netflix but start changing it from every week to once a month, or only a scoop or two each time. Limit it and eventually you start to limit the frequency and the quantity. When you do that successfully you can have bad weeks or vacations where you eat everything in sight, you’ll come back and can easily slip back into routine. If you are not losing quick enough you just become more strict. You can measure your weight loss in days, weeks, months or years but no matter what, if you make better choices most of the time and lower portions you will lose weight, how much determines how dedicated you are and what diet you want to follow that will work for you. In the end you just need to keep doing it and don’t let the stumbles overtake your progress, just keep on limiting them and eventually you will get there and you will change your habits. I drink Mountain Dew once or twice a week, I don’t like how I feel with it so I can limit it more. I rarely eat out cause it’s usually bad food. If I do, I try to make better choices or have smaller portions and I split food a lot. I still do my bad habits because it’s impossible to deny those things forever, but I don’t do them as much so no matter what diet I do, even if I don’t follow it to the letter I am still following it somewhat and getting myself out of those bad habits by not making them as bad as they were and as long as I continue to work at it and not get discouraged and stick with it for as long as I can, the old habits will be replaced and I will be able to maintain my weight, an active lifestyle and all my bad habits in moderation and not feel like I am going without anything cause who wants to deny themselves the pleasures in life. We just need to be better at waiting for them and how much.

This works for me. My husband and I started our bet at the end of August. We finished the first few weeks of February. I beat the odds and I won. I lost 46 pounds and he lost 43. I ate junk food, there were weeks at a time I didn’t stick with it but I still lost weight. Everyone says men lose the weight easier, that may be true or the diets we hold ourselves to do not work cause they are meant for men. They don’t take in consideration the female cycle and the overwhelming cravings we get. Listen to your body, make better choices and don’t let one little slip completely derail you. You will succeed if you keep it up!

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