In thinking about how to sum up the previous posts to lead into this one, it occurred to me how subversive this approach is with regard to how we’ve been so trained and brainwashed by the diet industry since about the 1970s. Fashion industry plays a role too – in fact, I’d swear they were in cahoots. First, we’re trained that beauty/attractiveness only applies to one body type and an idealized one at that. Those of us who fall outside that Standard du Jour are flawed and must be fixed. So here come the fixers, the diets and drugs and exercise gimmicks, all with their price tags and further abuse of our minds and bodies; herding us into pens that we enthusiastically trot into with the hopes that maybe this one will be the one to transform us into what we aren’t so we can finally be happy. The medical industry has been delighted to cash in here as well. (One day I’ll do a proper rant on that subject.)
That’s a whole lot of bullshit right there. I say we blow it the hell up.
What does Positive Eating mean?
- Eat well, eat healthy. Love your food. Live every day.
- Accept yourself for who you are and your body for what it is. Stop listening to that negative inner voice that drives you to unwise and unrealistic thoughts and actions.
- Take control. It belongs to you. You own it.
Did you notice that I didn’t include “lose weight” there? Nope, I didn’t and it wasn’t an accident. This on-a-diet or not-on-a-diet mentality is what I’m fighting to eliminate. That’s what spins the yo-yo. By putting “lose weight” in it’s proper spot in my Life Priority list for everyday, I see that it falls far from the top of the list. It’s still on there but it falls under “eat a delicious meal and feel satisfied” and “have a glass of wine with a friend.” In other words, I ain’t suffering for this. It’s just not in my nature. The cool thing is, I don’t have to!
How? By re-adjusting my attitudes and expectations. As I’ve said, there is no magic here. Losing weight requires a deficit of calories consumed. Period. Okay, that’s a real one. What isn’t real is the belief that we have to do it fast and with severe restrictions. We don’t have to lose 2-3 pounds a week or, here’s a real subversive idea: even count the pounds at all. I’ll just leave that one there for the moment.
By taking that pressure off, it’s kind of remarkable how easily personal priorities can fall into place and live happily together. Are there some trade-offs? Sure. But that’s reality. That’s the taking control part. But it isn’t scary – in fact, it’s liberating.
NOW… now that I’ve done the question asking and honest inner lookies, I can put together a realistic positive eating plan that works for me. I understand now what I need to do to eat and live happily with a satisfying, sustainable plan that also helps me control my weight to feel better. Those essentials for me:
- Awareness of calorie count. This is easy with a few tricks.
- Keeping track of what I eat every day. Accountability. I keep it simple, just a list on my Google calendar. (There are some partying days blank. That’s okay!)
- Convenience. Prepared food ready to grab with a variety to satisfy the cravings.
- Delicious food with all the foods I enjoy.
- Economical. Mostly home-cooked.
- All positive. Those partying days were fun!
That’s my list. Again, your list will probably look different. That’s kinda the whole point. We are all different with different tastes, needs, desires, and lifestyles. There is NO one-size-fits-all. Ever.
What I bet we all have in common, though, is the need to be gentler with ourselves, reject the guilt, negativity, and self-scolding. We need to stop putting unrealistic demands on ourselves at the cost of even a single day of joy.
In the next post, we’ll get down to the nitty-gritty and talk about the practical application of the must-have list. Talk is cheap! Onward to the Chicken Cacciatore!