All or nothing mindset. If I slipped even a little it was almost an excuse to go totally off track.
Another issue I had was that all fats were taboo. Now I’ve learned that a small amount of healthy fats (like olive oil, nuts, or avocados) can be extremely beneficial in weight loss. I’ve also learned that I can curb carb cravings with healthy carbs that are nutritious and satisfying (like beans, sweet potatoes, butternut squash soup).
It always comes down Learning healthier alternatives and being willing to Change
I am another one who didn't start here by "dieting". I needed to track my foods and change my eating in order to correct some nutritional deficiencies that were caused by cancer and treatment. It was a happy surprise that highly nutritious foods that I really enjoy are satisfying to me in less calories - and the weight came off and stayed off as a "side effect".
My biggest challenge was first learning that cooking is NOT a terribly difficult task requiring very precise following of rules (I am terrible about following rules), and then learning to cook to suit my own personal tastes.
My next challenge was paying attention to what my actual likes and dislikes really are - without preconceptions based on what I "usually ate" or what is "normal". I discovered that I didn't really like pasta, but was using it as a way to move the sauce - and that I enjoyed the sauce much more over a plate of roasted veggies instead. I discovered that I truly do love wholegrain solid breads, especially rye (think Nordic or German), but have no interest in white breads. I learned that I really like to start my day with a "sweet" breakfast, but that there are lots of vegetables and fruits that are sweet enough for me. I discovered that I actually didn't want or need a "starch" with my dinner - and that I'm not really fond of rice or noodles or potatoes anyways. A simple dinner of a cooked protein with a mass of different veggies is something I always enjoy, and it is quick and easy to throw it all on a sheet pan to roast, or to wrap it all in foil and toss it on the grill.
One of the biggest preconceptions that I struggled with was learning what "sweet" really means TO ME - and accepting and enjoying the changes in that as time went on and my tastes changed. I used to love big fancy cheesecakes and pastries, but always thought of them as a rare treat (since I couldn't afford to buy them often, and certainly didn't think I could make them) --- and was crushed at one point to discover that my "special treat" now totally disgusted me after a single bite. I had to give up the idea that I could follow any typical recipe, especially for baking, and experiment to find what is a "treat" for me, both in taste and texture.
This change is what made social events difficult for me - since we have a lot of clan members who think it is a personal insult if you prefer not to partake of something that they made. There are some great cooks and bakers in the clan, but they go by "typical" recipes, and I simply do not enjoy what they make anymore. I had to learn how to enjoy the social visits with them while avoiding the food and not hurting their feelings.
Another huge challenge was learning how to deal with all of the folks who just could not accept that I was NOT "dieting", that I was NOT following a specific "plan", and that I was just having fun learning about cooking and finding new-to-me foods that were highly nutritious and that I really enjoyed. Most of our clan jumps on to various bandwagons as they wander by (keto, vegan, primal, whatever...) and then sticks strictly to it for a few months until it becomes too much effort and they go back to "normal". There are also a few who follow a strict plan because they find it helps their own health (keto / low carb), and who firmly believe that because it helps them then it MUST be "the way" that everyone should eat. They truly can not understand how I can happily enjoy a vegan meal followed by a keto meal followed by a Mediterranean meal - and mix and match purely based on what I enjoy and what gives me the nutrients I need - and feel that it is "healthy enough for me" (I focus on vitamins / minerals - macros land where they land - and I don't fuss about a few extras). It is an ongoing challenge to re-focus conversations away from the contentious "should" and "must" issues of "diets", and still enjoy sharing both ways on new-to-us foods and cooking techniques and local sources.
The most important thing for me was deciding right at the start that the only "goal" was correcting the nutritional deficiencies and feeling as good as possible. I had no timeline, no specifics, and no pressure on myself from any "program" - so I was able to focus on learning and having fun and finding what I really enjoy. It is pretty easy to change and stay with a "new normal" when you like it MORE than your "old normal" ;-) This approach allowed me to keep in old favourites until they were replaced by new favourites - meaning that I never felt like I was "missing" old tastes or portions or foods. I could always include my old faves if I felt like it, but just found that eventually desire for them disappeared and it would be a year or two or three before I even thought of them again.
I'll grant that it's an unusual way of going about things, but this is what worked for me - with really minimal "struggle", but lots of fun in learning and adapting!
Sir Terry Pratchett: "Science is not about building a body of known 'facts'. It is a method for asking awkward questions and subjecting them to a reality-check, thus avoiding the human tendency to believe whatever makes us feel good."
I have never 'dieted' in my life and don't intend to, however when I started my weight-loss journey, because I was already eating 99% healthy REAL food, all I needed to do was to slightly reduce what I ate, so no, I never struggled and never missed anything.
The one time I go overboard is for Xmas or birthday-type events, and I always allow for that anyway, and so it never made any difference to the end-result. AND those events don't happen very often for me.
Do you miss tastes, portion sizes, specific foods? No. I can still eat tasty foods, just less of them. I did not miss portion size at all.
Where is it harder? Home? Work? Social events? It is all hard, there is no ‘harder’ for me.
How about you?
"We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand." ~ Randy Pausch
"There's a difference between interest and commitment. When you're interested in doing something, you do it only when circumstance permit. When you're committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results." ~ Art Turock
"We have a saying in Tibet: If a problem can be solved, there is no use worrying about it. If it can't be solved, worrying will do no good." ~ 7 Years in T
Fitness Minutes: (356,926)
25,442 9/3/20 6:28 A
First thing I had to do is remove the stereotyped definition of "dieting". After all, one's diet is simply what one chooses to put into his or her body for nutrition purposes. It is NOT a restrictive, temporary situation.
I also learned that most things can be fit into one's diet if you have the calorie allotment for it. Putting too much off limits causes problems for me. As I learned to eat more whole food, my desires to eat the garbage has lessened.
I have eaten at the Burger King in my town exactly once in the 5 years I have lived here. That was because my parents wanted to go there. I have eaten at Wendy's maybe once a year in the last 10 years and Culver's has gotten my business once or twice a year as well.
ETA: Honestly, the nutrition plan I did to lose 80 pounds back in 2008 was actually so restrictive that I now struggle to lose weight. I have regained 40+ pounds and can't get the motivation to lose it. When I lost originally, I was only allowed 1200 calories and scolded for exercising and if I ate a cookie.
I recently met with a high school classmate and her husband. They are "health coaches" for what turns out is a MLM weight loss scheme. They wanted to put me on a 800 calorie plan and advised no exercise. Their upline boss stated my body would use the excess fat. I ran away from that plan as fast as I could. Plus, their lab created food cost over $400 a month! I don't spend that much on groceries for real food.