I can’t say that I’ve tried every diet out there, but I’ve tried quite a few. Weight Watchers. Atkins. The Mediterranean Diet. I lost some weight on each new diet I tried, but as soon as I went off the diet, I gained the weight back, plus a few extra pounds.
This year, I decided to do something different. It seemed that the reason I hadn’t succeeded with dieting in the past was because I found the diets to be too restrictive. I didn’t enjoy what I was eating, so I quit the diet. To lose weight and continue to maintain a healthy weight, I needed to make permanent changes to my eating and exercise habits.
I decided to start working with personal training who was also certified as a lifestyle weight management coach. I had worked with a personal trainer at the gym in the past, but I found that she was mostly interested in selling me additional training sessions and weight loss supplements. My new trainer focused on education and goal setting. She taught me how to create an exercise plan, and I checked in with her every week about my progress. She was also incredibly supportive. She helped me get back on track if I missed a few days of exercise and encouraged me to try new forms of exercise like jumping rope for cardio and pilates to build core strength.
I also started learning about how my food was made. One essential resource was the book “Real Food” by Nina Planck. She explains that a big part of what makes our food so unhealthy is the manner in which it is produced. Humans are designed to eat meat, but we aren’t designed to eat growth hormones, chemicals, and whatever else goes into genetically modified food.
I researched local growers and farmers markets. I made a bulk purchase of meat and poultry from a local farm. All the animals they used for meat were free range and grass feed. They contained no hormones or antibiotics. The meat this farm produces is more expensive than what you can find in a grocery store, but it tastes so much better. Plus, it’s better for you. What better incentive is there to change your eating habits than by starting to eat food that tastes better than what you were eating before?
Any major change in habits is not going to come automatically. There are still days when I pick up fast food for dinner instead of making something at home. The difference is that I no longer see these lapses as a reason to stop eating healthier. I know that if I make an unhealthy choice at one meal, I can make a healthier choice for my next meal. My trainer put it this way. If you’re too tired to brush your teeth before bed one night, does that mean you’ll stop brushing teeth forever?
The payoff? After 10 months, I’ve lost 40 pounds and kept it off.