Hold on! Before you nail me to the cross, remember that one year ago, I started my weight loss journey. I lost sixty-five pounds via the Ideal Protein Diet, and what’s more, I learned how to eat healthy. I know how it is to be the fat friend, the chubby wife, the one who has to shop at Lane Bryant. No matter how confident you may be, it’s never fun to feel miserable.
The last seven plus months haven’t been easy. Keeping the weight off is much harder than I thought, even with exercise. I still fluctuate more than I’d like, and I’m determined to lose the seven or so pounds I’ve gained. I’m not sharing this again to receive more pats on the back, but rather because I see a disturbing trend out there in social media land. So many people shun the skinny body (as they should) and post links about being happy to be a “real woman,” among other terminology.
Yes, we should all learn to love ourselves. We shouldn’t judge our bodies by how the celebrities or our friends look, and as women, we need to accept there is no perfect figure. But being overweight isn’t just about how we look—it’s about how we feel, and our health.
With the obesity epidemic in this country, it’s disturbing to see so many people nearly bragging about how they’re okay with extra pounds. I have to give any heavy woman huge props for being confident in her figure, because I never was, but confidence and beauty doesn’t negate the harsh truth: they’re not healthy. They’re putting too much stress on their body. Their hearts are working harder than they should be, their bones are overloaded–hell, their entire system is overloaded. And that includes the brain. Eating junk doesn’t do anything for our intelligence, stamina, or self-esteem. Not to mention Type 2 Diabetes. It’s on the rise like never before, and many people have no idea how dangerous this disease is, especially if it goes unchecked for years.
What’s more, the next generation is obese and some experts say they will be the first generation not to outlive their parents. What we are doing to our children is nothing short of neglect. By not teaching them proper eating habits as kids, we’re setting them up to fail as healthy adults, just like me. My parents are wonderful, but they weren’t great about what I ate. I grew up on Pepsi, McDonald’s, and a lot of sugar products, and it set me up for a lifetime of struggle. If we won’t help ourselves, we can at least help our children.
I don’t mean to preach. I get it. It SUCKS that some people can eat whatever they want with no consequences and the rest of us get fatter just thinking about it. It’s not fair some are natural born athletes while others (like myself) stumble over two left feet. But life isn’t fair, and if we want to have a long one, we have to start taking accountability. Trust me, it pisses me off on a daily basis that I have to stay under 100 carbs per day (yes, per day) just to maintain. And I’ll never be fully happy with my figure. I don’t think I have the gumption to go hardcore and become lean and mean–it will be a daily challenge for me just to stay relatively fit.
So how do we get healthy? There are a variety of diets out there, including Ideal Protein, Atkins, and RESET. All focus on cutting way back on carbs and eating a lot of protein to help burn the body’s fat storage. Ideal Protein is very strict and relies on their food packets as well as two servings of green veggies and unlimited lettuce at lunch and dinner. It WILL work if you stick with it, but it’s expensive. Weight Watchers has worked for millions of people, as well as Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig. Again, all cost money, so it depends on your budget. If it’s tight, try searching your local grocery store for a product called EAS. It’s a protein shake in chocolate and vanilla, and they also have various protein bars. They’re low in calories and carbs and make great lunch and snack options.
Other getting healthy essentials:
*Switch to whole grain bread, rice, and pasta. Run from the word enriched. Anything white is more carb heavy and generally unhealthy. I use Village Hearth’s 12 Grain Light Bread, and it’s delicious. Sara Lee makes a really good multi-grain as well. As for the pasta, I wrinkled my nose at the idea of whole grain pasta, but it’s good and easy to get used to.
*Eat more green. Make sure your plate has more veggies on it than carbs, even if they’re whole grain/healthy carbs.
*Satisfy your sweet tooth with fruit. Berries are best, and smoothies are wonderful option. Using 1% milk with lowfat yogurt, splenda, and frozen strawberries makes a yummy, sweet treat.
*Greek Yogurt instead of regular. If you like yogurt, you need to try Greek yogurt. It’s thicker, smoother, and has a lot more protein.
*Switch from regular salt to Real Salt/Sea Salt. Americans get WAY too much sodium, which causes the body to retain water and is bad for the heart.
*Diet Soda still causes weight gain. My dietician said that most diet drinks have a compound in them (I can’t remember the name!) that the body will process as sugar, and they can hinder weight loss.
*Water. 64 oz per day, to be exact. Sounds like a lot, but get yourself a big bottle and keep it full. Your skin and stomach will thank you.
*A weight loss buddy. This was the biggest key for me. I had a weekly check in with my dietician, and she was an amazing support system. She’d gone through the diet herself, so she knew what I was going through. Having someone working with you provides accountability and support.
*And the obvious: exercise. It’s the worst part for most of us, but it’s vital to a healthy life. Find something that’s fun instead of tedious. Try Just Dance with your kids or take the dog for a walk around the neighborhood. Make five trips up and down the stairs. Give Zumba or 10 minute bursts a try. Just get moving.
What about you? What healthy eating tips do you have? What are the things that trip your diet up the most?