I don’t know why I have had such a time putting this part of my life and faith in writing. It’s not like people who know me don’t know that I have a problem with my weight. After trying all of the “diets”, gym memberships, and denial I could stand, I decided to take some of the advice I’ve been doling out and use it on myself. I realized my eating was out of out of control and unmanageable. Step 1 of 12.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
I counsel folks through the steps of recovery every day, so why shouldn’t I be using them to help me through my overeating problem? Answer: I should. That was the question and the answer I came up with about 43 days ago, so I started recovery for overeating, and began a sensible eating plan, not a diet. If you get tired of folks who say “You don’t need a diet, you need a lifestyle change” then get over it. A lifestyle change is exactly what I needed. This column is my way of documenting and being accountable for my eating. It is being accountable to the temple of the Holy Spirit that God gave me.
Here are some things I have learned:
1. Be thoughtful about what you eat – If you spend a few hours on the internet, you will see a lot of nonsense, but also a lot of good advice. The low-carb people have a few good ideas, so I incorporated reduced carbohydrate into my plan. I also learned that low-carb leads to depression, depression leads to failure, so carbs have to be included. I just have to be thoughtful about them. Fruits and vegetables have the best carbs, and baked goods have the worst, so the plan had to be mindful about them. Thoughtful eating focuses on purpose.
2. Eat on purpose – Schedule your meal times so you have food already built into the process of your day. Knowing what breakfast, lunch and dinner were going to be, as well as snacks, makes it easier to eat the right food at the right time.
3. Be completely accountable – I’m on 1500 calories a day. However I choose to spend it, all I get is 1500 calories, so I have to choose wisely. High carb baked goods and fatty meats eat up a lot of my calorie budget, so I have to be sparing. Whatever I have planned for the day, I’ve discovered that if I plan for 1200 calories then I can have 300 calories to spend when I get hungry at night. As long as I write it down, I can eat it.
4. Get a good daily tracking app – I use the My Plate app from Livestrong. There are an excellent number of foods already built into their database, often even by brand. I just check my portion size and record the food. It keeps a running total of my calories for the day. It also accounts for water, exercise, and my daily weigh-in. I love the fact that it tracks all of these metrics on a day-to-day basis so I can watch progress, see what I did right or wrong, and make corrections as I learn my foods.
5. Freedom to fail – I can eat anything I want to eat. But, everything I want to eat may not be the right choice. If a make a bad choice, it’s done, over, no regrets, no self-flagellating… It is ok to fail, just not to give up. This keeps me at peace with what I am doing and greatly diminishes the negative fallout that kills most diets. Freedom to fail puts an end to “Awe, to heck with this diet!”
6. Read every label – There is so much hidden fat, sugar, salt and other garbage in the processed food we find in the grocery store! I try to buy my groceries around the outside wall, and minimize the amount of food I buy from the isles. I also watch out for packaged meats, any already-made entree, soups, canned beans, and cereal. There is so much there to keep your taste buds busy that you don’t have time to engage your brain while you eat it. Read before you buy it. Once you buy it, you’ll feel compelled to eat it so you don’t waste the money.
So there are my first tips. In 43-days I have lost a little over 21-pounds. It was simple enough that I made it through Thanksgiving and stayed on the eating plan. Next time, I’ll tell you more about the actual food I am eating. It isn’t perfect, but it is working. I’ll keep you posted as progress happens.
Thanks for reading!