Can't Diet Questions
Q: Well, it's official. My counselor told me today that it appears I have a borderline eating disorder. She says I am using food to medicate myself and that I will not be able to diet because the pull of food is too strong. I am really depressed. I know I'm a mess but I cannot be stuck with this last 10 pounds. Just curious what you think. I thought if anybody could understand this you could!
A: Well welcome to my world. :-)
- borderline eating disorder - check
- history of using food to medicate myself - check
- complete inability to diet ever again - check
Listen to your counselor. You'll NEVER lose those last 10 pounds by dieting. Diets don't work. It's a setup for misery and failure. The more rigid and restrictive the diet, the more likely it is to destroy you emotionally and make you rebound binge like a Hoover vacuum.
You need to make the mind-flip that I made a long time ago. Read this carefully like five times - You don't reach your fitness goals by dieting and scale-watching and agonizing over numbers and details to the exclusion of everything else in life. You reach them by eating healthfully, training joyfully, and living passionately.
Without the health and joy and passion, you'll lose the weight and still be miserable. You'll always find some new flaw or shortcoming to tweak over. I never hated myself more or had a lower self-esteem than I did at my leanest (25 pounds lighter than my current weight). Losing weight doesn't solve life/emotional/relationship/coping issues. It doesn't make you any happier or better. People think they'll lose weight and their problems will be solved. Actually, the process works the exact opposite of that. Get your head together first and the great abs will follow.
Start by focusing on mental and physical health - balance and wholeness - rather than dieting just to be doing it. Eat to feel good and be healthy and happy rather than to punish a particular body part. You don't have to give up your goal of looking fabulous and feeling great about yourself, you just have to approach it differently than you have been.
Q: You are so right! What messes me up is obsessing over my six meals, packing a shake to go somewhere, all the jumbo that comes with being toned. Should I ditch all that and just try to eat better? Following BFL does not seem to be my answer. I just have it in my head that the last 10-15 pounds is not going to come off by allowing myself anything. I feel like I have to follow those rigid rules. How do you go from craving Mexican food, cheeseburgers, and Dr. Peppers to learning to like a plate of grilled chicken and a salad? As an emotional eater, it's hard for me to make good choices. I get so depressed when I think about veggies and chicken.
A: You say, should I ditch all of that and just try to eat better? And the answer is:
The cravings and the healthy eating aren't an either/or thing. I was craving Mexican food today. I had a BumbleBee southwest chicken breast (the kind in a pouch). I heated it in the microwave, wrapped it in a whole wheat tortilla with red leaf lettuce, a sprinkle of grated sharp cheddar, salsa and a little real sour cream, and I ate it with a handful of Tostitos. Is it healthy? It has a chicken breast, vegetables, and a whole grain tortilla. Is it junk? It has cheddar cheese, sour cream and Tostitos. Maybe it doesn't have to be categorized as good or evil. Maybe it's just lunch. You need to quit being such a sucker for following the rules. Cheeseburgers are fine! You could have one every day of the week even if you're eating totally clean. Make it yourself. Make it deluxe. Use fresh ground sirloin and lots of seasoning. Use grass-fed bison or lean ground turkey breast. Have a soft whole grain bun, a little bit of really flavorful cheese, and all the vegetable toppings. Have it with a pile of baked oven fries, a lake of ketchup, and a big Diet Dr. Pepper (or a baby can of real Dr. Pepper). Your emotional eater is happy because you got your cheeseburger and fries. Your abs are happy because you got your lean protein, healthy carbs and veggies.
Do you understand what I'm saying? It's not a choice between a big greasy binge and a sad dry chicken breast. Your meals can be emotionally satisfying and still be good for you. If you allow yourself a few chips or a rich piece of dark chocolate every day as part of your normal meals, the cravings start to lose their hold on you. If the portions are even remotely sane, you still achieve your fitness goals, and it's permanent because you're not on some stupid diet that you'll eventually go off of. Maybe the person living on dry chicken and steamed broccoli will lose weight faster, but the faster somebody loses weight, the faster they gain it all back and then some. You see that with Body for Lifers all the time. The more rigid and fanatical people are about it, the faster they backslide when the challenge is over. As soon as they snap the "after" pictures, they quit, regain the weight, and have to repeat the process over and over again. I've seen people on their 5th, 6th, 7th challenge who are still battling the same pounds.
I did one BFL challenge seven years ago and never did another one. I didn't need to because I grasped the "for life" part of it right away. I realized that effective nutrition programs like Body for Life , Precision Nutrition and Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle share the same basic principles of small frequent meals, lean protein, whole grains, healthy fat, and lots of fruits and vegetables. I understand the concepts, but I don't make myself crazy trying to follow all the rules like a diet ninny with blinders on. I've been successful precisely because I cheat, muddle, wing portions, skip meals, make up my own rules, and have a whole lot of fun with my eating every day. Look at my What I Eat page with all of the lean protein and antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables right alongside cold pizza and Easter candy. I love that! Meanwhile the "perfect" dieters are still yo-yoing up and down, and they're still miserable because they're basing their self-worth on how well they can discipline and starve themselves.
Posted by skwigg
at 6:19 PM CDT