A funny thing happened when I stopped dieting four weeks ago. I have gone 1 Month Without Dieting. When I allowed myself to eat whatever I wanted, I actually started eating less food. Although I knew that part of my weight loss struggle was eating too much food, what I didn’t realize was that the restrictive life I was living through dieting was often the cause of me eating too much day to day. Crazy right? This realization came to me a few weeks ago, but I saw it play out last week when I was at Subway.
Despite loving tuna fish sandwiches, I have never ordered the tuna fish sandwich from Subway. I was once told how “unhealthy” it was, so I never ordered it (or the meatball sub or the Italian sub). Instead I’d order a turkey sandwich or a veggie sandwich.
A few weeks ago I decided that it was time to finally order the tuna fish sandwich…and it was delicious! Not only was I physically satisfied by my sandwich choice, I was also emotionally satisfied as I had ordered exactly what I wanted.
In the past I would order a turkey or veggie sandwich, but I would order a foot long because I was so hungry. Even after eating and finishing the sandwich, I would still feel unsatisfied because I hadn’t eaten what I actually wanted. Although I’d be eating the “healthier” sandwich, I’d be eating 2 times the amount of food. I’d eat a foot long turkey sandwich instead of the 6 inch tuna sandwich in an effort to fulfill my hunger while avoiding what I thought was a poor choice.
For years I have restricted myself. I’ve told myself no to the foods I thought would keep me from losing weight. I have spent years being physically and emotionally unsatisfied with my food choices, which has resulted in me overeating “forbidden” foods.
Making a decision to stop dieting has honestly been less about stopping dieting and more about allowing myself to eat whatever foods I want and to fit those foods into my diet each day. One week into my decision I felt empowered, but I also feared the potential consequences of allowing myself to eat anything within reason. I’ve enjoyed a Starbucks brownie with an afternoon coffee, visited &Pizza a few times, and have created some amazing meals with our CSA these past 4 weeks. On one hand I’ve been empowered by my ability to eat anything but it’s also scary when all you’ve ever known is restriction.
The reality is, I still really want to lose weight BUT I want to reach a happy and healthy weight AND be happy while working towards it! I don’t want to lose my excess weight but be absolutely miserable through the process and have the losses be unsustainable. I can’t live a life of restriction any longer. I want to learn how to eat anything and to have zero guilt associated with it! Whether I’m eating a slice of pizza or a salad, I want to find true peace with food…and for the first time in my life I’m really working towards it!
Right now I am working to find a balance between eating what I want and losing weight. It’s a tough balance, but I’m working to find that balance. In the end it means choosing the foods I want to eat and keeping those foods within the parameters of what my body actually needs to lose weight.
The freedom I’ve found these past 4 weeks has been amazing and I’m excited (and scared) to be on this path. Who knew not dieting would help me to achieve what I really wanted all along: freedom.