Can I be totally transparent and honest with you?
I have struggled with my weight for the past 15 years or so – and like so many others I have lost and gained the same 25 pounds (give or take a few) more than once. UGH! Is it because of my age? Is it just “one of those things” that happens as we age?
Well, let’s take a look.
I’ve tried different “diets” – eating packaged “diet” food, counting points, calculating micro-nutrients, counting calories, going low-carb, going high protein. You name it – I’ve tried it! Did I have success? Well, it depends on how you define success. I did lose weight – but I always gained it back, plus a few extra pounds. Not to mention the disappointment I felt towards myself for letting it happen. That just created a vicious cycle.
For me this weight struggle started when I reached “middle age.” Before that I’d always stayed pretty trim. During my 21 years in the Navy, I ran 10Ks, half marathons, and triathlons – training hard on foot, on the bike and in the pool. I even ran a marathon the year I turned 40. It was fun! I loved being in shape and I enjoyed the self-discipline that I developed during those years. I managed to stay fit and trim – but I wasn’t really healthy.
After I retired from the Navy, (still young in the big scheme of life) I began to have back pain and knee pain that prevented me from the same vigorous exercise regimen I’d maintained for years. I had never really worried about what I put in my mouth because it didn’t show up on my body too badly. So, when I started trying out different diets to lose weight that I’d begun to put on, it was HARD! I felt deprived, cheated and honestly – kind of angry that I couldn’t eat the same foods all those skinny people could eat! Plus, when I was dieting – I was more focused on what I put in my mouth than I’d ever been before! Can you relate?
Well, in the past several weeks, I’ve shifted gears a bit thanks to a feisty, funny, southern, blonde woman named Corinne Crabtree. She’s a successful weight loss coach and is on Facebook, Instagram and has an awesome podcast (Losing 100 Pounds with Phit-N-Phat). I have been learning some great things from her – and it’s changing everything about the way I eat.
In her down-to-earth way of communicating she is encouraging me in some basic principles about how to eat to lose weight and not be so focused on food. (Listener/reader beware: she sometimes uses “colorful” language!)
The best part is – It’s NOT a diet! LOVE THIS!
Here’s what I want you to know – it makes so much sense it seems ridiculous that I’d never thought of it before. The big “secret” is this:
Only eat when you’re hungry and stop eating when you’re satisfied!
Isn’t that the most amazing thing you’ve ever heard?
I’m chuckling, because it makes so much sense, but if you have ever struggled with your weight, or you know anyone who has you know that it’s SO much more than simply “feeling hungry” that causes us to overeat.
What I’ve learned from Corinne so far are these four basic action steps, which I now think about daily:
1. Sleep 7-9 hours a night. (Read last week’s blog article about sleep.)
2. Drink at least 64 ounces of water every day.
3. Only eat when you feel hungry and stop when you are satisfied.
4. Make a plan in advance for what you will eat each day. (No foods are “bad” and can be included as long as they are planned and stick to #3 above. Of course, some foods provide more nutrients than others….and that’s something to consider, but I can plan for all the things I enjoy!)
Corinne describes a great way of measuring your hunger and fullness with what she calls a “hunger scale.” It’s like a number line with -10 being “deserted island starved” and +10 being “you just won a hot dog eating contest/overstuffed.” The goal is to only eat between -2 and +2 at every meal. I have found this SO helpful! It takes some getting used to….I found that I easily passed by a +2 before I realized it and I also discovered how often I would eat when I had not reached a -2 in hunger. I’m still practicing, but it’s becoming more natural for me.
I’ve been having success doing these four things for the past several weeks and I’m losing weight – slowly – but in a way that I know I can keep up for the rest of my life! Perhaps most importantly is that I am regaining control of this area of my life that has haunted me and been a big frustration for the past 15 years. How and what we eat is a big part of how well we take care of ourselves!
It goes beyond those four basic actions, though. So far this journey has been about those four “logistical” aspects of eating, but now I’m also realizing that for years I have used eating as an unhealthy coping method. Yes - I’m now getting to the real root of my problem! This is the scary (and honestly, kind of embarrassing) part, but I’m determined to spend the last half of my life as a healthier person – emotionally, spiritually, and physically! I hope you’ll come along with me! I know you probably thought I was perfect ;-) but now the truth is revealed!
“Stay tuned” for the next several weeks. Last week – sleep. This week – eat. Each week for the next couple of months, I will “feature” one of the important things for you to consider as part of your overall plan to take better care of yourself. Part of my mission as your coach is to share with you what I learn, helping you to become the best “superhero you” possible!
Go forth and be the wonderful "you" God created you to be!
Oh, I almost forgot! If you didn't get the free "Sleep Sanity Checklist" yet, be sure to go download it. Good quality sleep is foundational to weight loss AND every other aspect of taking care of yourself and being the best you can be in all areas of life both personal and professional. This checklist has 7 good first steps for you to start improving your sleep!