Monday, August 6, 2012

We Are All Different: What Works For ME

It's been nearly a year since I stopped weighing myself.  Guess what?  I haven't gained a bunch of weight - in fact, my clothes are looser now.  It helps that I was able to start running again this year, but I'm not going to pin everything on that - I think I've finally stumbled into what works for me, and I thought I'd share it with you - not to say that you should do what I've done, but rather, to give you more ideas and options to craft your own way through this weight-loss process.

For years - heck, for decades - I've thought myself to death with diets.  It's exhausting, trying to figure out what will work for me, seeing what works for someone else and trying that, tweaking every plan to make it fit into my lifestyle...spending countless waking hours thinking about what I should be doing to lose weight, and then, of course, actually doing it.  As we all know, dieting can be a never-ending process.  No wonder so many of us give up before we get to our goal!  So you might be surprised when I say this:  I pretty much eat whatever I want at this point.

It sounds irritating, I know - I'd be irritated too.  Isn't this a blog about diet and exercise and maintaining a healthy weight?  Who can eat whatever they want and not gain all of their weight back???

Well, not to be flippant about it, but I've been doing it for nearly a year now, ever since I declared myself done with dieting.    The struggle with food and all of the "shoulds" (I should eat this; I should NOT eat that) has eased tremendously.  I think that by giving myself permission to eat, I've been rewarded with learning to trust in my instincts.  I'm beginning to understand how naturally thin people do it.  You see, most of the time I want fairly healthy food - while I've gotten lazy about eating a perfectly balanced diet on a daily basis, if I add everything together for a week, it pretty much evens out.  I don't count calories, and I don't actively restrict myself from eating this or that, but I AM aware of what I'm eating and my portion sizes.  I also have been known to skip a meal if I'm not particularly hungry, or just have a little fruit instead.  In my not-too-distant past, I would have dismissed that notion as crazy.  But it's part of a balancing act that seems to work, without it being too much work, if that makes sense.

We all have to find our own way when it comes to losing weight and maintaining a new body.  For me, letting go of what was stressing me out (which was always thinking about diet and meals and the number on the scale) has given me the freedom to eat in a sensible way...and to discover that I actually prefer to stay on the side of healthy eating more than I ever realized.  One example of this is that last month while I was in California, I didn't have any See's Candies.  None.  There was ample opportunity, and I still love chocolate, but I just didn't want to get started with them.  For one thing, I know they'll be around next time I visit.  For another?  I'm really liking how my body is shaping up with all of the running I've been able to do, and the chocolate didn't entice me like it usually does.  Now that's not to say I didn't have any treats while I was there (french macaroons, anyone?), but I'm getting better and picking and choosing stuff like that, and not going overboard.

I've been so pleased with many things that have resulted from my weight loss - being able to do physical things, like running and hiking and swimming without a second thought of "can I do this?" to getting dressed every day and liking my clothes and how I look in them - sure, that's shallow, but live in an overweight body for a couple of decades, and you'd appreciate fitting into cute clothes, too.  It's been really, really nice to not struggle so much over something that we have to do everyday - eating - and I hope that you, my sweet readers, can find your way through it as well.

27 comments:

  1. YES YES YES YES YES
    we can share what we do until we are the proverbial blue in the countenance---but it probably wont work the same for anyone else...

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  2. I love this post Shelley. It is really great that you found what works for you. It sounds like you really know the balance of food and activity that helps you stay feeling healthy. I still want to see my goal weight, but I feel myself getting stronger and hopefully wiser in my journey getting there. You are definitely not shallow about liking the feeling of fitting into clothes. It is just one more of the benefits of getting healthier. I love that I can now wear many of the things I used to just look at in stores and not just buy something because it fits.

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    1. Buying something just because it fits - that was me for so long. It's wonderful to have so many choices now, right?!

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  3. Beautiful post, especially the last paragraph.

    At this moment I have the same attitude as you towards dieting and I eat what I want too. The only difference is that I make the "wrong" choices a bit too much which keeps me at the same weight for months now. But to be honest, even though I'm still not at the weight I want to be, I don't want to change things now either. I'm happy where I am and if that feeling changes I will do something about it.

    I like it that your blog isn't about dieting (anymore) but about a woman who's happy and who's feeling good and shares her healthy choices and workouts and daily life (including knitting) with us. As far as I'm concerned: keep it up!

    Je bent een groot voorbeeld voor mij (eat that Bing translation LOL )

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    1. Fran, that picture of you with the Prince? You look fantastic! I'm glad you are happy now. :)

      Thanks for the positive reinforcement, and terug en je!

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    2. Thanks for the compliment Shelley.

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  4. AWESOMENESS PERSONIFIED! Yes Yes! YES!! :-)

    I could have written this very same post...and it's been three years since I last weighed myself. I know my weight has fluctuated a bit. I know when I'm up a little and when I am down, but I haven't "regained the weight" and I know you know what I mean. I have maintained a ~50 pound loss and to me that is HUGE! I have learned so much about myself, as well, both inside and out. I wouldn't trade what I have learned for anything.

    Cheers to you!

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    1. Absolutely - maintaining a loss like that for so long is FANTASTIC!!! Nice job!

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  5. I want what you're having. Have a ways to go, but you are my ideal as far as having a peaceful relationship with food. Beautiful and inspiring post!

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  6. I want to be like you when I grow up, Shelley.

    I am still such a huge food lover that I don't quite trust myself to eat intuitively. I am okay with that, though.

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    1. Lori, I completely understand where your thoughts are coming from. I truly, truly believe that it's quite different for people who are really food lovers as opposed to those who sort of just use food for fuel. (I'm married to that person.) But like Shelley said, we're all different. Nothing wrong with doing what works for you!

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    2. I like food, and I certainly spent plenty of years proving that, lol. But I put too much work into getting this weight off, plus I really like how I look now - those combine to make food not such a thing for me (MOST of the time).

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  7. Posts like this are why you continue to inspire even those who are not quite there yet. So glad you've found your resting place.

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  8. Sounds Geneen Roth-ish! Love it.

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    1. I have actually never read any of her books...

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  9. Great post-love it. And I am just so happy for you; I know it has been quite a journey. (I'm also proud of you!)

    Thanks so much for sharing this. Very interesting, & full of hope & encouragement to those who need it, imo.

    Fondly, Chrissy :)

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  10. I think that is awesome Shelley! I wish I was there but the temptation of pizza/burgers/french fries would take over if I gave myself permission to eat anything.

    That being said - I do have my treat meals - like our dinner out on Saturday night - um, lobster bisque AND key lime cheesecake? yep!

    So proud of you!!

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  11. Totally awesome Shelley. I've been thinking about that a lot since reading Women Food and God again - if only I didn't lie to myself about what my body needs! It's a great goal to get to that point and I bet a huge sense of freedom. I'm so proud of all you have done!

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  12. I LOVE the title! I think often about your declaration that you were done with dieting, and how it seems like you don't obsess about what/when/where you are going to eat. Part of this is true for me. And part of me still believes I could spin out of control pretty easily. That said, I sure am enjoying my watermelon this summer!!

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  13. Way to go, Shelley. This kind of thinking will make this maintainable for a lifetime. I was wondering if it was Geneen Roth-ish as KiKiD suggested, but geez, I couldn't get through her book.

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  14. This is the "feel good" post of the day Shelley!!! YAY!!!!!!

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  15. This is an awesome post! I love that you have found the way to eat that is good for you. I'm still learning. I know how I can't eat that's for sure! It's true though if you watch what "naturally thin" people eat and how they eat it's different than how people that struggle with their weight eat. Good for you Shelley. :-)

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  16. Loved to hear this from you Shelley. There is a lot of pressure in the diet world and even among women in general to "try this" and "do that" and conform to the latest "right way" to eat. Good for you for doing what is in YOUR best interests.

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  17. I'm loving your posts Shelley, they always give me the boost I need. It's good to hear that other people have struggles the same way I do and knowing how to approach dieting is so useful, keep up the good work!

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  18. Good for you for finding what works best, and learning how to listen to your body. I hope to get there myself someday too! :)

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  19. Really it's excellent post. I really like it. I am looking for this kind of post. I am reducing my weight but I can't stop eating food. May I help to you? I am looking for you replied

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