Every yo-yo dieter will say that even when they are doing well and resisting the siren call of doughnuts, they still can’t walk past the biscuit ailse at the the supermarket without mentally making a list of what they’re going to gorge on when they’re ‘off the diet’. Once, in maybe my 2nd or 3rd round of Weightwatchers, I remember a fellow dieter saying that she’d hit her goal weight the previous week and, since then, had eaten a different takeaway every night. Of course, she’d whacked on a fair few pounds that week and so was back at the meetings and back on the wagon.
And even though I feel much less ‘diety’ than previously, and think this is a way of eating that I can sustain for the forseeable future, I was still in the habit of planning what i could have when I had my ‘night off’. I still felt slightly resentful that I couldn’t eat what I wanted, when I wanted. I remembered fondly the days when I could while away a saturday afternoon with a box of French Fancies and a good book. But, actually what I’m beginning to remember, is how crap eating like that makes me feel now. Having reduced the sugar and refined carbs, I now can neither tolerate as much of either as I used to. I feel less hungry, I feel more full from bigger meals and I feel more bloated and nauseous after eating those sorts of food.
So if feels like I’ve turned some kind of eating corner. I crave clean and light. I crave green vegetables, citrus-spiked salads, bright green apples, creamy avocados. I’m making different choices, based on what I know will make me feel energised. I look at certain foods and know how sluggish I’ll feel afterwards and know to avoid it. I look at cakes, and biscuits and chocolate, and I know they won’t be as nice as I remember, I know what the consequences will be. And while I do have some, because it tastes nice, I enjoy it, but it is now very much a treat, not an everyday. I now want to change the way I eat because it makes me feel better, because it gives me more energy – and functioning better seems to have become as important as indulgence.
Let’s be honest, when I’m in Paris in July, I’m going to eat my (reduced) body weight in croissants and macarons au chocolat. When in Rome and all that. But I know when I come back I’ll be on the miso soup for a week, plus some fasting, to get my equilibrium back – I’ll plan for it.
So this is what I’ve learnt – eat to feel good, to do good, rather than to restrict or ‘lose calories’. So you’ll feel good, and that will make you want to continue, and enjoy continuing, rather than counting the days until you can stop and go back to your old ways. Because however much weight you lose, if you go back to your old ways, you go back to your old size.