My New Diet...

I recently started a 21 Day Food Logging Challenge on Facebook to help myself & others start keeping an eye on what & how much we eat. For me personally, I have found that logging what I eat, along with how many calories makes me more conscious of doing a better job of eating healthier. I wanted to write a post to clarify what I am doing. I like to keep things pretty simple so that it can be a true lifestyle change, so here's what I'm doing.

I've said it a hundred times, I do not like & I do not do diets. Period. I don't believe diets work long term. How can you truly base a lifestyle change on eliminating things you really love to eat? Eventually the desire to eat those things will return, overwhelm you & your diet is ruined. Why? I just don't see why you would want to permanently give up something you enjoy so much. So, I incorporate that philosophy in my "diet". I don't know if anyone has already coined this term (I'm sure they have, but I'll use it anyway), but I like to call my diet the "everything in moderation diet". Like carbs? Eat them. Like cheeseburgers? Eat them. Like chocolate cake? Have some.

Eat what you like, just do it in moderation. Get it? So here's how I'll actually implement that into my daily life. I am using MyFitnessPal to log my foods to keep track of what I eat & to help me plan ahead. While I am working to lose weight my target calories per day will be 2,400. This forces me to make sure I am eating relatively healthy, low calorie foods so that I can eat enough to not be hungry. On top of that, I will give myself one "cheat meal" eat week. This meal will be my opportunity to, without guilt, eat a little above my calorie goal, maybe something like a cheeseburger, some good dessert, something along those lines. This is important because it allows me to continue to eat the foods I love and still meet my goals.

Also, if something comes up outside of my cheat meal (a coworker brings in cupcakes, I go out for a couple beers, etc) I will enjoy it and not feel guilty. This gives me the chance to take part in social events without "I can't, I'm on a diet." This is a pitfall for a lot of people. They go out with their friends, have more calories than they should, feel discouraged & give up. Why? Shouldn't you still be able to have fun & enjoy life all while getting healthier? I don't see why you can't as long as you don't do this too often. I don't want to give up all the things I enjoy & I don't see a reason to. I will simply track it & make sure that I don't go overboard too often.

Moderation. So the majority of the time I will concentrate on eating healthy foods, but I will not deny myself the enjoyment of splurging from time to time. I think that is the key to success. This has worked for me in the past. In 2009/2010, I lost almost 50 lbs in about 8 months doing basically this same thing. I was always satisfied, I never felt like I was sacrificing something. The problem I ran into was my own self pity. I broke my foot during my first full marathon and was not allowed to workout at all for 2 full months. My first problem was not adjusting my calorie intake to take into account the sudden lack of exercise. My second problem was that I tried to fill the gap left by not working out with food. Moderation went out the window & I was back to little more than cheeseburgers, fries, candy, etc. Once I was given clearance to get back to working out I never adjusted back to moderating my diet. This time I won't make that mistake. This time I will remember what happened when I was injured and how it has effected me for so long now. This time I will make it a true lifestyle change that I will continue with. I learned lessons, I now have more knowledge. Everything in moderation, that will be my mantra. I hope you all also find or have found something that will work well for you. Best of success to you all in hitting your goals, whatever they may be, and I hope you find happiness along the way!

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