In blogland, there is a lot of talk about diet and exercise and weight loss and nutrition. One of the many things I love about the blog world is that it is a place where people on such a journey can find support, resources, and friends. I’ve always felt left out, like I didn’t have anything to contribute to the conversation. But I think I might have been wrong. I mean, just because I’m not currently trying to change my body doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions on how I treat it. Such as…
I don’t believe in “dieting”. I do, however, believe in changing your diet as part of a healthy lifestyle change. Altering your food consumption habits should not be a temporary thing. If you want to get healthy or lose weight or have more energy or whatever, you need to change the choices you are making. For good. I mean, you want to stay healthy or keep the weight off, don’t you? And I know how difficult it can be to make this change and stick with it. I applaud everyone who takes steps to treat their body better and get more out of life!
I don’t believe in depriving myself of the things I enjoy. When I go out to eat, I order whatever appeals to me on the menu. Sometimes it’s healthy, sometimes it’s not.
But I do believe in moderation. I don’t eat out often (1-2 times a month). And that rich, calorie-laden meal that I devoured without a second thought or any lingering guilt? Yeah, you won’t find that kind of stuff in my fridge or pantry. Instead, my house is stocked with nutrient-rich foods and very little processed sugar.
I try to eat fresh foods as often as possible. I try to avoid processed or packaged foods. Not all of them and not all the time, but they definitely don’t make up the majority of my diet. I make my own ketchup but sometimes the corn comes out of a can and the mac and cheese comes out of a box. Not always, not often, but it happens.
I NEVER eat “diet” food. I want my food to have real, fresh ingredients that I can pronounce. The 50 calories that it saves me isn’t worth putting all those chemicals into my body. I want to fuel my body properly, not trick it or poison it. Which also means…
I pay attention to my body’s signals. This was a hard one for me to learn, let me tell you. But figuring it out was so worth it. For example, when I’m craving sweets, turns out, my body is actually in need of the nutrients found in fruit. And when I give my body what it really wants/needs, I’m way more satisfied than if I would have been had I eaten half a bag of Reese’s cups.
I drink a ton of water (and not much else). How much water? I have no idea, I don’t keep track; but it’s a lot. I always have a bottle of water with me. Always. I don’t drink pop (I had a root beer on Wednesday, which was probably my first pop in months), or juice, or milk (except on the occasional bowl of cereal). I do drink coffee. And wine. I love wine.
I eat a lot of protein and veggies, and not a lot of carbs. Do I love pasta and garlic bread? Of course! Like any good Italian girl, I can make – and eat the shit out of – a good carby meal! But do I? Not all the time. Again, moderation.
I eat all day long, but I don’t eat many big meals. My body needs energy all day long, not just at appointed meal times. I eat when I’m hungry, stop when I’m satisfied. Again, I listen to what my body tells me. Oh, and I also watch my portion size and don’t force myself to “finish my plate”. The starving children in Ethiopia will not benefit in any way from my ignoring my body’s cues when I’ve had enough to eat.
I only use real butter, but I don’t smother everything in it, even though I would LOVE to! I use coconut oil whenever I can. Butter substitutes like margarine? No way! Have you ever seen what that stuff looks like when you leave it out on the counter too long? I don’t even want to know what it would do inside my body.
Do I think I have fabulous eating habits that everyone should copy? Of course not! I eat too much salt, drink too much alcohol, I adore fried food and cheese, and I’ve been known to eat popcorn or a spoonful of peanut butter for dinner. Do I try to fuel my body properly most of the time? Absolutely! I honestly believe that I have to put good in to get good out – it’s like anything else in life!
Am I happy with my body? For the most part. I’d like to be a little stronger, but I don’t think I need to lose weight or change the shape of my body. I lost about 10-15 lbs about 5 or 6 years ago, and have kept it off. Before that, I did the whole “dieting” thing and guess what? I couldn’t maintain a good weight, had crappy energy levels and was never happy with my body. But since I quit dieting and starting eating the way I do, I’ve been much more comfortable in my clothes, and more importantly, in my own skin.
But here’s why I feel like I can’t jump into the conversation about nutrition and weight loss: none of this is stuff I really think about. I’ve lived and ate like this for years, so the choices are second-nature to me. It’s not difficult for me; food is no longer a struggle for me. I’m not actively making these choices, it’s just part of…me. Plus, I don’t think about food as much as I listen to my body. My body knows what it needs, all I have to do is pay attention. That, and I don’t own a scale. I judge my weight based on how well my clothes fit and how comfortable I am in my own body.
I also couldn’t be a fitness blogger, but this post is getting long so we’ll talk about that another day. Spoiler alert: I don’t “work out” either.
What foods do you gravitate towards or away from? Are you trying to lose weight or maintain a weight loss? Do you have any nutrition “rules” that you try to adhere to?