Positive Eating

I’ve spent a lifetime yo-yo dieting. Bad thing to do, I hear, but what are ya gonna do when you gain weight by just thinking about eating? Without those periodic deprivation diets (and guilt when not dieting) clothes don’t fit and doors become narrower. Does my story sound familiar?

No one knows more about dieting and food than those of us who easily gain weight. (No, I’m not calling it a “weight problem” because I’m keeping everything to do with food and good health from now on positive ONLY.) Most of us have tried every diet, fad or otherwise, ever invented. A lot of them work for a while though I haven’t found one until now that is sustainable for various reasons. Too much time, too much effort, too costly, requiring impossible “lifestyle changes” that sound good but require us to change our basic natures. For example, if you hate exercising you just aren’t going to do it forever. Resentment builds, it becomes a negative, and you just say **** this and stop. If you love good, tasty food you aren’t going to live on dry salads and bland packaged foods for long. If you have a limited budget, limited time… you get the picture.

I’m going to share what I have discovered from my lifetime of yo-yo dieting and other life experience that led to my new approach to positive eating that has resulted in weight loss and feeling great. I have found it both sustainable and an outright pleasure because I’m not denied anything – just the opposite – and it’s easy and convenient. I know, all diets promise this, don’t they? I’m not making any guarantees or promises. Just sharing what I’ve learned to maybe assist you with a few practical tricks that may work with your lifestyle, needs, and desires as well. It’s that adaptable because it’s not A diet plan, it’s YOUR positive eating plan, entirely customized to your tastes, lifestyle, and goals. You are going to design it.

But before we get to the yums and happy belly, there’s a bit of headspace work to do. Let’s address that utterly defeating negativity, self-loathing, and guilt, shall we? I would say “Just stop it” but we know it isn’t that easy. These negative thoughts and feelings have been pounded into us by a culture that demands adherence to an idealized standard of beauty that we are punished in every compartment of our lives for not attaining. I know I don’t have to go on – you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s impossible to avoid internalizing those feelings that we’re failures, worthless, flawed, and of course lazy and weak just for having been born into biological bodies that aren’t naturally thin. Hell, even having thin genes isn’t enough today – we’re supposed to be emaciated and suffering! All while being simultaneously bombarded and sabotaged by a food industry that does not have our best interests in their profitable business plans. It’s no wonder we’re carrying around such nutso attitudes and internal scripts.

I wish there was some magic way to eliminate those pervasive, deeply ingrained negative thoughts and feelings to allow us to embrace happy lives of self-acceptance and comfort in our own skins. There isn’t. What we can do is be aware of them and address them when they sneak up on us to drag us down. We can recognize the triggers and work to disable them and their power over us. We can replace “I can’t” with “I can” by realistically adjusting what follows.

I’m going to end this post with a thought exercise to examine what it is you’re really looking for. I mean, you can’t get there unless you know where there is and why you’re going. Right? You may be surprised by what you learn when you take it all apart. Grab a piece of paper and a pen and write down your answers, ALL of them, to the following question. It’s just for you (unless you’d like to share in the comments which would be great! You are so not alone and your insights can be helpful to all of us) so don’t worry about sentences or grammar. Just make a list of words and phrases as they come to mind. Drill down deep, be specific, and be completely honest with yourself. See where it takes you.

Why do you want to lose weight?

(Great photo by bensonk42 via Flickr; creative commons license)

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