“Keep high aspirations, moderate expectations and small needs.”
― H. Stein
Part of my recent journey into wellness has been the pursuit of healthiness. I stumbled onto this path in mid-January of 2012, and have been stumbling along ever since. I am happy to announce that I have now lost close to 65 pounds, and for the first time in nearly 10 years, weigh less than 200 pounds. I have had some ups and downs on this journey, a few steps forward and a few steps back, but overall I have taken it one step at a time keeping my eyes on the long-term goal, while accepting the short-term progress that I make.
I would like to share with you some of the things I have learned and practiced to make this happen. First find a plan and stick to it. There are no magic tricks, pills or diets, they all require work and they all will work if you work them. For me, counting calories is the easiest. With the Internet this has never been easier. Just plug the name of the food into a search engine and the calorie count for just about everything is at your fingertips. I have tried every diet that’s ever been developed, and counting calories is the simplest. No food plans, no points to look up, no carb calculators, no fasts, no cleanses, you get the idea. Just plain old-fashioned calories.
I like to eat, so I add low-calorie foods that have a lot of bulk like salads with lots of different veggies for crunch and flavor. I like sweets and sodas so I eat a lot of fruit and drink diet soda. I love ice cream so I have sugar-free fruit juice pops. I like snacks so I have low-fat popcorn and pretzels and pickles. I do keep a food journal as this helps me keep track of what I eat so I don’t go over my daily calorie quota and I also record my weight loss there. I don’t exercise much, as I hate it. Simply hate it. However, I am more active around the house and I do go Wally-walking a couple of times a week, making it a point to walk from one end of the store to the other. In other words, I try to incoporate being active into my daily lifestyle rather than making exercise my lifestyle.
Unlike the man in the photo, I do not drink to excess, no longer smoke and only occasionally indulge in French fries. However, diets get old and boring and our tastes buds crave new experiences and our bodies need certain levels of fats. An occassional, by occasional I mean once a month or so, high-calorie dinner complete with fried foods and sickly sweet deserts are not only acceptable but recommended because they will relieve the feeling of being deprived of something you really want. If you are not feeling deprived your diet will be easier to stick with. The important thing to remember is that it you don’t have to repeat this habit, you did not fail as perfect adherence to your diet is simply another addiction, and having a night off is not a reward for good behavior. This last attitude will simply lead to more indulgences and then you are once again traveling down the wrong road.
The bottom line is that any diet will work if you stick to it. The trick is to find one that is the easiest for you to swallow, to set realistic expectations, and to be gentle with yourself. No extremes are needed for success.
“Everything in moderation, including moderation.”
– Oscar Wilde