Disclaimer: I’m certainly not an expert in this field, so take my advice with a grain of salt (that’s likely all you should be consuming anyway.)
Like most women, I suppose, I have always struggled with my body image and weight. It seems the older I get, the more babies I have, the harder it is to lose weight. If we’re honest, my diet has been a wreck since before my last pregnancy. Then, cravings gave way to pretty much eating “junk” all the time. I’ve done some crash diets and crazy exercise routines and managed to lose the weight before, but I was convinced, there must be a better way. My healthy eating kicks never last, because I’m always hungry and cranky when I can’t have my typical southern Louisiana fare. Let’s face it y’all, it’s hard to be healthy down here!
In my quest to embark on a healthier “lifestyle,” with a better “cleaner” diet, I have hit the books, the world wide web, and interviewed people who look better than I do, for the best advice on how to “eat right.” My goal, like everyone’s goal I suppose, is to lose weight, keep it off, and of course, live longer, all while still enjoying food. There is (at least) a billion dollar health industry that has found all the answers to looking fabulous. I thought I would offer this free service to the public and let you in on all the secrets I’ve been able to find, without you having to spend a dime. For your benefit, I have compiled this list of do’s and don’ts if you find yourself in the same boat as me…
- Don’t fad diet
- lose weight fast if you want to keep it off
- hours at the gym, high intensity
- it doesn’t matter how much you work out; 20 minutes is fine, it’s mostly diet
- never have a cheat meal, it’ll make you revert to former eating habits
- 80/20 good food to junk, or you will feel deprived and your changes wont stick
- eat a high fat diet to lose weight
- eat a low fat diet to lose weight
- evenly space carbs throughout the day
- eat carbs only in the evening
- eat carbs only in the morning
- don’t have a bed time snack
- always eat a bedtime snack: carb and a (healthy fat) at night before bed
- eat only organic
- organic doesn’t really matter, and isn’t really organic as you think
- self-marked healthy foods aren’t really healthy
- natural doesn’t really mean natural
- Don’t even get me started on artificial sweetener; it’ll fry your brain and lead you to a slow painful death! To sum it up apparently only Stevia (which leaves a bitter after-taste not even a scouring pad will remove from your tongue) and honey are the only acceptable sweeteners (at the moment.) Yes I know they cost $100/oz, but that’s the price you pay to have food that tastes decent and is healthy for you too.
- just find healthy dessert alternatives (that taste like dirt, slime, and cardboard)
- Fats, we could also spend a whole day on. But only coconut oil, sesame, and safflower seed oils, and possibly olive if you can’t afford the first two.
- cut out dairy, it’s awful
- have plenty dairy, at least 3 servings a day
- Ice cream is certainly not allowed, substitute yogurt
- yogurt is just sugar or artificial sweetener skip yogurt
- Soy is a good alternative to dairy
- Soy is awful, never eat soy, avoid all soy, soy is the devil, soy will make men into women (or vice versa, can’t keep it straight)
- if you’re hungry load up on more protein, not carbs. (Carbs make you hungrier.)
- be sure it’s lean protein
- fatty proteins are fine
- only eat chicken and fish
- only buy organic chicken, and fresh caught fish from the cleanest waters, the rest is loaded with chemicals and hormones that will cause early puberty. Again, pay no mind to your budget!
- don’t eat any meat, only soy products in place of meat
- see soy advice above
- only whole wheat pasta and wheat flour in recipes
- no flour at all (because gluten y’all!)
- grind your own flour from flax seed or oats in your abundance of free time
6. Fruits and Veggies:
- in abundance of course, except fruit which is merely a disguise for sugar. And sweet veggies, let’s just cancel those out. And Potatoes are definitely not a fruit or vegetable. In fact, I’m not certain they even fit in a food group anywhere. (A safe oil above and some vinegar are okay as dressings.)
- drink fruit juice rather than soda
- only without sugar added
- never mind only drink water
- but only bottled water
- only bottled water from safe sources, because some bottled water says it’s spring, but it’s really just filtered, treated, toilet water
- drink at least 5 of those puppies a day (and be sure you are with in an arms distance of the toilet at all times)
- Black coffee/green tea permitted once a day (nothing added!)
What I’ve taken away from this:
Always read the labels.
But to caution, if you start reading labels, you’ll have to throw out everything in your house that contains (or doesn’t contain) any of the above ingredients. So here’s to my new diet of (organic) celery, and $4.00/oz water from the safest springs on earth. I’ll let you know how it goes…
Let me be real with you. This last pregnancy has left me packing an extra unwanted 20 pounds. I am at my heaviest now at 30lbs overweight, and I am truthfully unhappy with the way I look, feel and fit in everything. Yes, I know many of you would scoff at that, to only be 30 pounds over, but for me it is a big problem. What I see when I look in the mirror are the imperfections, at any weight, and this fear of being overweight has been a life-long battle for me. (More on why I feel we shouldn’t judge, or belittle others for having body image issues at a size we feel is wonderful later.)
My husband literally made me sign a contract a few weeks ago to not step foot on a scale for at least a month. He saw me hopping on and off several times each day with a disappointed look on my face. And it’s killing me to honor that contract! I know that my psyche is a problem I have to change. It’s becoming very clear to me now that I have a daughter, that if I want her to have a healthy view of herself, it has to come from me. That’s scary.
The other day in the midst of my struggle to find the “perfect diet,” a part of a song cut on in my otherwise silent kitchen. Only these words played, and then the radio cut off again. Call it coincidence, I call it God speaking to me, and reminding me that He came to set me free. All of the other stuff is just bondage, that I’m not called to live in. This revelation brought tears to my eyes, and I hope these words bring comfort to you as well.
“Oh you’re trying way to hard, and this perfection you’re chasing, is just energy wasted, because he loves you as you are. So go ahead and live like you’re loved, it’s o.k. to act like you’ve been set free”*
The true perfect diet I have found is not an easy one to stick to: to accept God’s love for me so I can learn to love myself, for how God made me. To focus on my positives and not my negatives. To saturate myself in his word till I truly believe and “fit” into the identity he has given me. To remember, I’m more than numbers on a scale, and my physical body/its beauty, will fade, and ultimately be no more. I work to change my view to live like it only matters that I did (my best) with what I have (the way I’m made), and the legacy that I leave.
Its all easier said than done. This is going to be a journey for me, and I hope if you struggle with this, you will join me in learning to love yourself as well!