In order for me to decide to finally take the health journey story on, I had to know that it was going to be more than just 2 weeks of feeling really hungry and missing food that I loved for the start of my diet (read more about that here if you missed it, and more about the full backstory here!). I wanted to know that this was going to be the start of something bigger, of a more serious lifestyle change (that could still allow me to eat things that I loved once in a while!). So I want to share some of what I experienced during the first month or so and how it really has shifted the way I feel about food and eating!
The Big 5 things I learned while cutting out
all Most Carbs and Sugars for 2 Weeks
1). It doesn’t take nearly as much food as I thought to fill me up! I have always “tired” to portion control, and we have been eating most dinners on small dinner plates with no refills for a while. But those things by themselves probably only allowed me my nightly bowl of ice cream without gaining each week…they didn’t do much else. This isn’t going to sound appealing, but when you can’t eat carbs or sugar, and you are a girl who doesn’t really love veggies or meat and those are the main things you are eating…you just don’t eat as much! Food was no longer the exciting part of my day (which sort of sounds crazy typing it!), because I wasn’t thrilled about what I was eating- so I was done sooner, and a MUCH more appropriate time! So now even when I am eating things I love…I have a much better picture of WHEN I am actually full, and when it’s time to be done, which leads me to #2.
2). I am NOT a person who likes waste…I don’t like to waste money, I HATE to waste food when I know there are so many who need it, and I don’t like to waste resources. So I have always been one to finish the kids snacks, and when eating out and spending money on food, I tended to eat all of it (and also had the kids share for years until I was sure they wouldn’t have wasted food at the end!). So this is hard for me. But in an effort for HEALTH, for my family and future, I have let go of the GUILT of stopping completely when I’m full. Even if we can’t bring home leftovers, even if it means we have to throw away some food. We are trying to be smarter about what we are ordering and sharing food so that there ISN’T extra waste…but we also are saying it’s OK if there is, because it’s just not healthy to eat past full. Period.
3). I like food. I love carbs and sugars, and I LOVE desserts. Which is why for most of my adult life, I have had a little dessert of some sort nearly every night. It’s often a smaller bowl of ice cream, but sometimes not so small. It was always a fun part of our evenings, and it is something I enjoyed (and still do!). So I knew I would have to still have something at that time of day, and opted for either sugar free jello or sugar free pudding. And while it was sad the first couple of nights…it honestly became less sad. The truth is that even for someone who truly is addicted to sugar and LOVES it, YOUR BODY WILL ADJUST TO WHAT IS BETTER FOR IT! And after those first couple weeks when I did have a little bowl of ice cream, as delicious as it was, it felt decadent…which is how it SHOULD feel. Like a special treat (which is what we have been teaching our kids all along, but not listening to ourselves). If there was no health involved, sure I’d pick it. But the jello or pudding? It did the trick…I didn’t wake up in the middle of the night starving, and still had a little treat to look forward to. Your body will adjust!
4). It isn’t as hard as I thought to find things that I like eating. While I have not turned into a vegetable or meat lover…when those are your main options, you just figure out how to make them taste good! Michael is the main cook in our house, and he is brilliant. We are also lucky that it’s grill season, which makes meat and veggies easy and delicious. We also had gotten into the habit of a big salad pretty much weekly so now I have just amped that up a lot, and enjoy trying different types. And it’s almost EASIER to eat out than eat at home because there are always salad options that work. But in addition, no carbs doesn’t have to be impossible because many meals (except pasta) can be modified to work. Mexican restaurant? Taco salad and don’t eat the shell bowl! Smokey Bones? Grab the pulled pork sans sandwich and a soup! We have also found new ways to cook old veggies that work really well, and also new veggies we never used before that we really love (like spaghetti squash). We are thinking more creatively, which brings some of the joy back into it all.
5). When you are limited to what you are eating (this diet does NOT limit how much or when you can eat at all- just what you eat)…suddenly food isn’t really an exciting part of your day, and therefore isn’t really a huge focus anymore! I always assumed that dieting would be CONSUMING of my time and brain power, and I didn’t want that. I also thought that it would be sad for food to not be overly exciting, because like I have said food is something that brings me joy. But instead? I just get more joy out of different parts of my day…and that is a good thing! And over time, as we have found new HEALTHY things to like, it certainly brings some of the enjoyment back.
So I’m staying the course right now and going to work on the next 15-20 lbs. Over the summer, I am always naturally more active but I would like to add some more physical activity to the process to work on the “strength” part of strong and healthy, but I haven’t really decided what that is going to look like for me yet. I’ll keep you posted if I come up with something good though!
My friend, if you have been making excuses and just “waiting” like I was to do something about your health..I want to encourage you to take the leap. Whether it is my way or another way, there are SO MANY options. But you CAN do it. I was so inspired by so many strong women in my life making the change post kids…and you can too, whether you are in that stage or not!