When people find out I’ve lost over 60 pounds, I get asked what I eat–like all the time. I could be snarky and just say, “Food,” but I know the question is sincere so I keep the snark in check. Most people probably think that to have lost 60 plus pounds and kept it off, I live on rabbit food. But my answer to the question of what I eat is, “Anything I want.”
Yep. I eat anything I want. Nothing is off limits to me. The key is that I just don’t eat what I want, and as much as I want, every time I want it.
Reading the book Made to Crave was what really got me on the road to weight loss success. There are a couple of concepts author Lysa TerKeurst talks about, though, that I still think about, and practice, on a daily basis. One of them is the idea of being empowered.
I don’t know about you, but when I tried to lose weight in the past, I immediately went to “I can’t eat that…or that…or that.” Losing weight was just a long list of things I couldn’t have, and they were all the things that I couldn’t stop thinking about…and craving. I’d hold off until that moment when something would set me off, and then I’d dig into that list of forbidden foods like I’d been starving. So much for that weight loss attempt…again.
But it was always about deprivation. Not letting myself have something. Being empowered turns deprivation on its head and says, “Sure. I can have that, but I CHOOSE not to.” Paradigm shift again! It sounds so simplistic, but understanding I had a choice over what foods I ate was so freeing to me. Food does NOT control me; I control what I put in my mouth.
I used to think that I had no self-control. That was why I couldn’t lose weight. I didn’t have the will power to make healthy choices. I mean, think about it. What’s the one thing you want to do if the sign says “Don’t Touch”? If you’re like me, you want to touch it! Putting certain foods on a can-never-eat-this-again list, just made me want them all the more. Understanding that I was empowered to make healthy choices showed me that I did, in fact, have self-control.
So every day, as I set out to reach my daily meal goals, I make choices. I could have pizza if I wanted, but I choose not to. I choose to have a salad for lunch today. Those chocolate chip cookies in the cafeteria look really yummy, but I choose to have an apple instead. I know I could have the pizza or cookies if I wanted, but I’m choosing not to have them. It works for me. And the longer I make those healthy choices, the more natural, and easier, it is for me to choose healthy options.
And sometimes I do choose to have a slice of pizza or a chocolate chip cookie or some other “forbidden food”. SOMETIMES. I don’t have those bad for me things every day or even every week. They are treats for times when I’m with friends or at a birthday party, and then, they are small portions. I’m understanding now that what I eat affects how I feel, and to feel my best, pizza and cookies won’t cut it. So I choose not to have them on most days, and I choose fruits and veggies instead.
I’ll be writing more later about what I typically eat during a day, but not depriving myself of anything has been huge for me. In saying that, though, I also try to avoid temptation. I love chocolate, and sometimes a girl just needs some chocolate, but instead of buying a big bag of chocolates, I pick up one single serving packet. It calms the craving, but there’s nothing left in the house to continually call to me.
So be empowered today! You have a decision to make about what you eat. What will it be? For me, I’m going with the baked chicken breast and butternut squash soup for dinner.