I’m going to be 100% honest here. I have no outline for this post. I generally have some sort of outline so my posts make sense, but I didn’t really know where to start with this one so I figured I’d just go for it and write. I want to talk about the perfect diet and what I’m doing right now as far as my diet goes.
In my previous post, I mentioned how I was going to write a post dedicated to my current diet. I have recently mentioned how I read the book Intuitive Eating and how I highly recommend it. I’ve made a bit of an adjustment, though, and I want to kind of talk about what I changed, why I changed it, and why it matters to you. I will try to keep this as easy to read as possible but, stream of consciousness- you know. What I WILL tell you is that I’ll be giving you guys a little insight into my past as I go through and address the what and the why of my diet.
First- I AM counting calories right now. I log all my food in MyFitnessPal, which I’ve had for years. The first time I used MFP was in 2011 and I lost about 50 pounds in about 8 months. I started around 160 and ended up getting down to 115 pounds. That was an unreasonable amount of loss and I gained some weight back and maintained around 125-130 for a year or so. After I got my first full time career job, post-graduate school, in 2014, I gained a little more weight and ended up maintaining around 140 until I got pregnant in 2015. In the first 20 weeks of my pregnancy I gained 20 pounds. At 31 weeks I was 177 pounds and I ended up losing 5 pounds in two days (unwillingly) which was a factor in me being admitted at 34 weeks pregnant (that’s a whole different post). At my 6 week post partum appointment, I was 170 pounds. Fast forward a little bit and I was able to lose about 10 pounds of that, but wasn’t able to maintain it for long since I went about it all wrong.
Here’s the issue: what worked for me when I was 21, walking all over my college campus, and going to the gym daily because I had the time is NOT going to work for me now that I’m 26, have had a child, am working a full time job where I sit most of the day, and only get to work out on days that I have scheduled for it. When I first tried to lose weight after having Maddie, I tried to do it the way I did it before and I failed miserably so I gave up.
Earlier this year, I read the book Intuitive Eating and nearly every person they used as an example in the book was me. I could relate so closely to so many people and I read how it helped those people repair their relationship with food, so I gave it a go. 4 months later, I am much more aware of my hunger levels and why I eat when I do, but I haven’t lost any weight whatsoever and I’m still not feeling great.
I know what some of you may be thinking- the scale doesn’t matter. You are right! It doesn’t. And if you look at the timeline of pictures above, you may not see a huge difference between some of the pictures. I do know, though, that I am not feeling my best, I’m not super confident a lot of the time, and, in all honesty, at 5’3″, 165 pounds isn’t the best for me. I move slower, I’m achier, my back hurts a lot, and I know that a lot of that would change if I lost even just ten pounds. [side note: these photos really remind me to love my body for how it is right now. I remember thinking I was overweight in the photo of me running when I was 6 weeks pregnant. Now, I think I looked great! Hindsight is 20/20]
So, back to what I’m doing- I am counting calories and staying close to a macro ratio- without focusing on being perfect because I’m living my life. A HUGE difference between what I used to do and what I’m doing now, though, is that my calorie goal is set to maintenance and I use the principles of intuitive eating in my diet. No food is off limits and I eat when I want. I, personally, just need a little more help realizing whether or not I actually want something or whether I just want it out of boredom, convenience, etc. and I use counting calories to do that. If there are donuts and I want a donut but know that it would significantly put me over my goal for the day (calorie counting), I can rationalize that I can have a donut whenever I want so I don’t need it right then (intuitive eating). There is a way to marry the two concepts and I am trying to figure out how to do that.
I wanted to address this because I KNOW I’m not the only person who is trying to navigate the waters of finding normalcy with food while getting healthy without really restricting anything. Do I want to lose 10 pounds? HECK YES I do. If I feel better, my clothes fit better, and I’m still 165 pounds will I be ok? HECK YES I will. Health is the most important thing and mental health- including being at peace with yourself and the food you put in your body- is a part of that. It is also SO important to do what works for you, where you are right now. Things change and you have to learn how to change with them. What works for me might work for you but it might not. What you read in a book may for work some people but it may not work for others. When it comes to health, there is no one size fits all diet and the perfect diet is the one that keeps you healthy and HAPPY.