Has anyone out there ever been on a diet? I’ve been on thousands. In fact, my whole life has been on and off dieting. This time, I stuck with my goal and here’s what I learned along the way.
On February 13, 2017 I started a diet. I was ready. I was tired of eating garbage and I was ready to live the life I had always imagined. I wanted a well-balanced diet, clean eating, will power and my jeans to fit again once and for all.
This diet was really, freaking hard! I learned more about myself than expected. My expectation was to learn self control and balance. I thought I could expect occasional hunger, hanger and temptation. However, I learned that these would be the easiest parts of my diet. There is a reason I put this goal off for so long.
Lesson # 1: Eating, drinking and restriction are strongly tied to my emotions. It turns out I really don’t like to tell myself “no!” I’m like that kid in the store when Mom says that one little word you don’t want to hear… “no” – But Mom I wannnnnntttttt iitttttttt! So, I’m dragged out of the store kicking and screaming because surely this tantrum will do the trick! As much as I hate to admit it, I was that kid many years ago. Sorry Mom! You’re so strong. I now see how much easier it would have been to give in and stop the scene I was causing just to have the nagging and embarrassment stop. Lesson learned, yes, it’s hard to say “no” but, it’s important so that we can get where we want to go and live the life we deserve.
Lesson # 2: I learned that a number could have so much control over my happiness, thoughts and actions. 117, a random goal weight I set for myself based off what I think I weighed in college when I was at peace with my figure. Keep in mind, I lifted less and was predominately cardio based. There is a strong chance this number “117” is now insignificant because of the muscle mass I have gained. Muscle weighs more than fat and takes up less space in our bodies than fat.
I became obsessed with this number. If I had a scheduled increase in macros (Some call this a re-feed day. Basically, it’s allowing yourself a bit more than the diet calls for on scheduled days.) I would postpone it one, two or three more days in hopes that the number on the scale would drop and then I could earn my re-feed day. This was not good. No way Jose. I was literally holding this against me and refused to give myself a “reward” of 100 extra calories and the stupid scale was the judge. I literally turned my fate over to a piece of plastic with a battery in it (I’m sure there are many more parts, but you get the idea).
I’m getting a lot better at sensing when things aren’t right. After a few weeks of this, I took a long hard look into what was going on and realized this goal weight wasn’t working and it certainly wasn’t worth it. I set out on this mission for a healthy life and my mental, emotional and social health were taking a toll. I had always been taught to finish what I started. A great lesson actually. So many kids and adults give up too quickly these days and many don’t understand the importance of commitment- thanks mom and dad you guys are just the greatest parents in the whole wide world! However, despite everything I knew about finishing what I started and never giving up I needed to make a change and I decided this goal weight was just silly. It was a real fun sucker so sayonara goal weight, I don’t need you anymore!
I know what you’re thinking, “Um, I thought this was about reaching your goal weight?” Ready for the moral of the story? I read a quote just today posted on instagram by an amazing lady and one of my inspirations Kayla Itsines. “Your best weight is whatever weight you reach when you’re living the healthiest life you actually enjoy.” What is 117? If I have to give up all other parts of my health and happiness, then 117 may not be the number for me.
I actually did end up reaching this number, the ironic thing was it was when I stopped dieting for two weeks. I still monitor my food to some extent (more of why this is necessary for me later) but I really lightened up. I stopped being so tough on myself. My boyfriend wanted to go to dinner, so I went to dinner. I wanted a cookie, so I ate a cookie. I hit my maintenance calories and I was still hungry so I had a salad with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic- something I would have refused if it went over my macros (macros is short for macro nutrients which are carbs, fats and proteins).
Does this mean that you should ditch your goals and go crazy!? Heck no! It’s just important to know when something isn’t working for you anymore. This will look and feel different for all of us.
Lesson # 3: This diet was worth it. I’m finally comfortable in my skin for the first time in a while (YAYYYY!), I renewed my passion for fitness and I learned things about myself that I would not have learned otherwise. Changing my body composition has been an on and off goal of mine for my entire life. I finally took a new approach to my diet and fitness plan that really paid off. I couldn’t be happier with my results and I’m so proud of myself for what I have accomplished. This goal has always been in the back of my mind but has been put off for so long. Now that I accomplished this I’m ready to tackle other areas of my life.