Tuesday, October 20, 2009

So many questions but the same answers

Photo courtesy of Dallas Olsen
If we know diets don’t work, why do we keep doing them?

Because we (particularly us girls) are very emotional creatures and I am yet to meet someone who doesn’t have some kind of emotional attachment to food/eating. That is, whether positive or negative emotions no one (in developed countries where food is freely available) eats purely for fuel/survival 100% of the time.

We’re also really, really impatient :P I remembering feeling overweight and uncomfortable and getting to the point where I would think “I just want this weight off NOW” which led to, thoughts such as ‘well what can I do to jumpstart this weight loss?’…. ‘I know, I won’t eat much this week and do heaps of cardio!” Does this sound familiar?

It seems that these days whenever someone (having noticed my weight loss) engages me in conversation about what I'm eating or asks me for some advice, I’m bound to hear similar things:

Firstly, the question – “what exactly do you eat in a day”? (Or, they might say “tell me what to eat”).

PLEASE use some common sense. You know that you should eat more vegetables drink more water and eat crap less often - if you concentrated only on these you would probably do quite well! Don’t pretend that this is news to you or rocket science.

Sometimes I make the mistake of going into too much detail about my own eating habits eg, even as far as I eat six small meals a day, protein at each meal. Which leads me to my second pet peeve comment – “Oh I could never be that disciplined and/or I love food too much/ I go out too much” etc.

Somehow the notions of discipline, consistency, gradual weight loss and self-control don’t seem as attractive as saying that “I drank three chocolate milkshakes a day and the weight fell off in two weeks”. I could get very sarcastic here about how much I hate tasty food and love bland fish and broccoli but there’s really no need! As for discipline, its not like you either are or you aren’t- its a case of whether you are willing to keep at it. Do you want this badly enough? If so you will find a way, even if you do go out a lot. Its not any easier for me than it is for you. Right now I would really like to dive into a jar of peanut butter or walk outside my building and into any one of the dozens of fast food outlets that are within 50m… but I choose not to, LOL. Most people aren’t wiling to do what it takes to stay in good shape and that is fine, just don’t deny it!

Lastly, there always seems to be a deadline, 10-12 weeks at most to get in the best shape of your life. I know that it can be very motivating to be working toward a specific event and its conducive to setting goals to have timeframes, be accountable etc but how is that for pressure?! And the fact that it seems to imply that you only have to eat well up until this point.. what then? Temporary changes = temporary results!

Yes, you need to have a rough plan of what you’ll eat in a typical day, be prepared and keep an eye on the amount of dining out/extras that creep in. But you don’t need to count calories and get all obsessive about everything. This just leads to a sense of failure as soon as you don’t comply with your own rules.

So when people wanting to lose weight yesterday are very interested in my calorie input, macronutrient split or how much cardio I do, I would rather advise them:

Don’t start any more diets or 12 week challenges

Don’t ask someone else what they eat and try to copy it - trying to change too many things at once doesn’t work.

Create a logical plan that reforms eating behaviours sensibly and progressively over time. Start with breakfast!

Get support/help with planning meals, staying accountable- whatever you require.

Be as positive as you can and accept that you are in this for the long haul!


Vicki said...

Great post Steph!! You have hit the nail on the head perfectly in this entire post - it's not about finding a quick fix, it's about finding the balance and forming healthy habits...as you say, not exactly rocket science lol :)

Doris's BEHAG journey said...

Amen Steph! Finally someone who says something that makes sense!

Andrea said...

Here here Steph- well put.

Chelle said...

Hi babe, you've summed it up to a tee! Weight loss is simple, but not always easy. I know i can get get all caught up in number crunching at times ( loved your last post hee hee), so really need to chill out and remember that it all comes down to choices. 1. is it a healthy option and 2. is the portion size appropriate. Thats it..simple!

Jehanne said...

hey gorgeous! Hope you can come along some time next weekend!
Can you let Ali know that I have not been ignoring him, I just cant figure out how to comment on his blog, lol - its not working for me!

Ali - MesoCorp said...

Well put :)
People know what you're going to tell them before you say it.
"eat breakfast"
"Stop going to macca's for lunch"
"less protein shakes, more food"
They just don't have the guts to go through with it. It's accountability time :) No-one has the answers but them. Well put hot pants ;) xx

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