I was convinced that there was something wrong with me. I tried everything.
Here’s what a typical ‘diet’ day would look like. Everything I did was strict and regimented.
Breakfast: Poached egg without a trace of fat anywhere near it with exactly one serving of blueberries. On gym mornings I would also have a smoothie made from fruit, some low fat milk and low fat yogurt with some protein powder. The chalky texture of the powder made the whole thing so gross that I would have to grit my teeth and gulp.
Lunch: Baked chicken breast sliced onto a salad. The dressing would be just olive oil and lemon juice. Or sometimes I would have a serving of raw vegetables and cottage cheese – low fat. But not very often. Cottage cheese makes my throat close. I had to really gear myself up to choke it down.
Dinner: More chicken breast & steamed vegetables or sometimes fish. Never potatoes. Pasta was only for the rest of the family. Sometimes I would have a bit of rice. Cooking – I only ever used olive oil or coconut oil. No butter or cream or anything like that.
I paired this with a morning workout schedule that had me doing short bursts of intense exercise to trigger my fat burning metabolism for the rest of the day. I tried for four mornings a week but I had a minimum bar set for three. I also tried to get in some cardio on the treadmill but there was often a line up for those machines. (And full disclosure – sometimes I would skip that part because it was so intolerably BORING).
This was a compilation of all the knowledge accumulated from the various diets I had done over the years. Lean protein, minimal carbs, low fat dairy products, healthy natural fat like olive oil, only a few fruit servings and heavy on the vegetables (except no starchy ones like potatoes, corn). Get my ass to the gym regularly. From everything I had read and seen, if I could just be consistent about this I would lose weight.
It was all about having the discipline to STICK TO IT.
Something what made me REALLY feel like there was something wrong with me: Protein is supposed to give you a feeling of fullness that would last between meals. But in the afternoon, about an hour after eating my lunch (and despite however much protein I added) I always felt hungry. It was an uncomfortable feeling like the sides of my stomach walls were grinding against each other.
Generally my solution to this was to keep drinking water. I would tell myself that I wasn’t hungry – just dehydrated. I would also feel a bit pleased with this hungry feeling. If I was hungry, then that meant I was burning more calories than I was eating – and I would be losing weight.
The moment of truth would come when I stepped on the scale.
My deal was that I would only weigh-in once a week – so I wouldn’t become nut bar obsessed about it. And I had this idea that if I saved the results for this once a week weigh-in ritual – the results would be more dramatic because they were the result of a WHOLE week.
On the morning of weighing day I would wake up and think – today I get my results. I’ll find out how I did. As though the scale wasn’t an inanimate object at all but secretly made up of some impartial jury that were going to decide whether I deserved a pass or a fail.
Before I stepped on the scale I would make sure I had peed and was only wearing a thin t-shirt. No heavy pj’s messing things up! I would feel super impatient for the results but would stall when it came to actually stepping on the scale. I would pretend to myself that I was hoping for a very conservative number.
I will be so happy if I have lost just 1 pound this week.
It was like the part of me that was officially saying that was pretending that it couldn’t hear the part that was wildly excited about the incredible possibilities The part that had visions of 3 pounds (!!) dancing in my head. And would instantly be projecting and calculating into the future. If I lose 3 pounds this week, and the same again next week and the week after – I will be a whole new person in less than 2 months!
Results would fall into one of three categories:
Elation. Meeting my most optimistic expectations. I would see a different self when I looked in the mirror. I would feel a kind of glowing joy at the possibilities.
Stoic. Only a slight weight loss. I would try to positive talk myself. It’s still good. Consistency is the key. I didn’t have the same feeling of ‘Hurray I am the will power champion of the world’ but still would feel pretty good. I was starting to see the difference in the way my clothes were fitting.
Despair. No weight loss at all. Awful, awful plateau city. When I would step on the scale after a hard fought week of courage and sacrifice – there would be no change. It makes me feel pretty shallow to admit this but those moments were some of the most intensely disappointed I have ever felt in my life.
The trend for how these categories would be distributed would be pretty consistent, regardless of the diet I was on. The elation results for the first few weeks followed by weeks that were sometimes stoic but more and more often despair.
My foot would come off the pedal. My vigilance would slip. Exceptions and special occasions would become more and more the norm. Until I’d just give up all pretense of ‘being on a diet’ and just go back to trying to make pretty good choices. Kind of a relief really.
Contrast this with:
Eating until I am comfortably full at breakfast, lunch and dinner. No forcing myself to eat anything that I don’t like. No counting calories or measuring out portions. Regularly enjoying taboo things like potatoes(!), bread, pasta.
Getting active doing exercise that I genuinely enjoy – without any consideration as to whether it will help me lose weight.
No feeling of being deprived, battling cravings, gritted-teeth will power…
Eating if I feel naturally hungry – no dread, no guilt, no feeling as though the sides of my stomach are scraping against each other, no finding myself yelling at my kids for no reason because of a blood sugar crisis…
It is sweet freedom.
Stepping on the scale is an entirely different experience. At the beginning, sometimes I would think:
Really?! That’s got to be too good to be true.
You know that expression – ‘the pounds just melted off’ – that actually happened to me. When I look in the mirror now, I feel like I see my true self looking back.
Now that I am at my ideal weight – I have zero concern that it will come creeping back. I know it won’t.
I want everyone who has ever struggled on this awful diet roller coaster to have the same results I have had. I can show you how to do what I did.
I invite you to book a consultation call with me. Together we will talk through the strategy on how you can make this work in your life.
What to expect: We’ll spend 45 minutes nailing down your story – what you’ve tried and where you want to go. Then I’ll explain what I did to get the results I got. Together we will strategize on how you can make that work for you.
This consultation is free. If you are interested in participating in the Reboot Program that takes you through exactly how to make this work for you – this call is kind of like an interview – for both of us! (We need to be a good fit for each other).
To be totally clear: The call can be a stand alone and will give you a TON of valuable information. There will be absolutely no pressure to sign up for the program.
If you have gotten to the bottom of this epic post – I have a feeing that WE SHOULD DEFINITELY BE TALKING. Book your consultation here.
Footnote: This story is told from the point of view of weight loss – because that was how I started down this path. My relationship with food no longer has anything to do with weight. It has to do with health.
When I started this journey I was all, ‘Yes. Yes. Of course I want to eat healthy.’ But my attention was taken up with what really just turns out to be a perk – weight loss. And that is okay. Because eating for one thing is the same as eating for the other. Eat to optimize your health and you lose weight. How awesome is that??!
What does it feel like to be so wonderfully healthy – well that’s another post unto itself.