Many people don’t believe me when they hear I didn’t actually set out to lose 70 pounds a few years ago. They don’t believe that I don’t obsess over my daily calories, or that I’m feeling comfortable in my own skin. You’re a millennial, female in her mid-twenties, AND your a Dietitian. How is that possible?! I try to focus on being perfectly imperfect. Too bad that type of messaging doesn’t bode well for a culture that believes in deprivation, what you shouldn’t eat, and how you shouldn’t look.
I focused my efforts more on lifestyle change and creating abundance in my life. It wasn’t until I woke up one morning on my 18th birthday that I decided I was sick and tired of letting my weight dictate who I was going to be. How could I live a life that wasn’t riddled with guilt and shame? I was ready for change and to pursue the real me. Weight loss just happened to be a nice addition. Truth is, the less you focus on what you should cut back on, and the more you focus on newfound health prosperity in your life, the better the results.
Here’s my version of what I didn’t do during my 2-year lifestyle journey:
I didn’t get frustrated with myself
Changing your life starts with small steps, small changes, and is often uncomfortable. I decided to wake up every morning with intention. How would I view the day as an opportunity to succeed further? What could I learn from my actions?
Example: I felt really out of shape during that jog yesterday, maybe I started out too fast. I should probably ease into it and take fast walking breaks in between.
I didn’t feel deprived
As a dietitian, I don’t believe in meal plans. Instead, I want to help figure out what are good choices you can make no matter the situation. This mentality has a lot to do with how I found balance in my own food choices. There is not one.single.food that is somehow better than others. All foods fit in your life, from swiss chard to birthday cake. What matters most is how you treat food (not putting on a pedestal) and knowing that some foods provide more nutrients than others. Food is meant to live. You’re not meant to live for food.
Example: Halfway through my journey I met my now-husband, and we were dating. With dating comes going out to eat or making last-minute plans. I wasn’t going to NOT eat pizza if we were going to a pizza shop. Let’s be real, pizza is delicious. I’d be thinking about it all night if I didn’t have a slice, so I simply ate a friggen’ slice and enjoyed it!
I wasn’t obsessed with detail
There are many patients I’ve worked with who have become obsessed with their daily calorie target. “OMG I’m in the red! What do I do?” “I went out for breakfast and didn’t know what to do” Don’t look at the day like a bucket, think of it more like a checking account. Just like when you’re working on budgeting and saving money, you start to see results over a period of time. In a month or two, you suddenly seem to have more money! How did that happen? You worked at it everyday, but not all days were the same.
Example: I actually didn’t track calories during my two-year period. I started off by figuring out my personal calorie amount and came up with a few meals that would fit that target. Over time and as I became more confident in my food choices and portion sizes, I came up with more meals. That way, I didn’t feel paralyzed with fear over ordering food in a restaurant. I knew I needed to be flexible.
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” -Lao Tzu