Now that you think I’m completely insane, I’ll repeat what I just said: Losing weight is not a big deal.
People will tell you it is. In fact, you may tell yourself that. But I once weighed half again what I weigh now. I was miserable and unattractive. I knew that, in reality, I was much thinner. But the scales persisted in thinking I weighed 140 pounds. I am 5 feet, 2 inches tall. That made me fat. And fat made me unhappy.
Now I weigh 100 pounds. I have weighed 100 pounds for the past three and a half years. Men tell me I’m beautiful. Women ask me how I stay so thin. So I tell them. But they don’t believe me.
I stay thin by eating all the time.
For breakfast this morning, I ate a vanilla-filled pastry. Right now I am drinking a glass of red wine, and I just had a little piece of bread with it. Not only do I eat frequently, I eat complex carbohydrates frequently. And I weigh 100 pounds.
My weight has been stable for the past several years, so this isn’t a phase my body is going through because of some weird diet. I’m simply going along with nature instead of fighting against it. Diets force you to go against nature, to eat on a schedule, to take in the exact same number of calories each and every day, to deprive yourself of things your body craves-and often, what your body needs.
Here is how I figured out what to do. A few years ago, when the mirror and the scales were in agreement that I had reached the “unpleasantly chunky” stage, I thought back to my childhood. I had been a downright skinny child. Yet I ate sweets every chance I got. I ate my mama’s fried chicken every chance I got. I practically lived on cheese. These were all very fatty foods, no doubt, and not the best diet in the world, but I wasn’t fat.
I decided it must have been the way I was eating my food, not just what I was eating. Unless confronted with something I absolutely loved, I tended to eat small amounts. I knew the food wasn’t going anywhere. I knew I could come back to it later, and so that’s what I did, nine times out of ten. I snacked throughout the day, but I rarely even ate enough to press on the walls of my stomach. I only ate a lot if I was really, really hungry.
I listened to my body. I didn’t eat on a schedule or count calories, because my body required different amounts of calories, and different types of foods, at different times. There was no way a diet plan could guess what I would need need Tuesday afternoon at 3:30 or early Saturday morning. I knew, though. On Saturday morning, I knew that my body absolutely had to have a plate of pancakes and maple syrup.
When I began to eat the same way I ate as a child (except with healthy portions of vegetables this go-round) I began to drop weight relatively quickly. The interesting thing is, about half of what I ate were complex carbs like breads, rice and pasta. Without generous portions of complex carbs, my body holds on to weight like there going to be no food come tomorrow. According to the diet literature out there, carbs are like poison to most people’s bodies. I wonder if that is true. I eat lots of bread, lots of pasta and lots of potatoes. I weigh 100 pounds.
You can’t blame my metabolism on youth either, because I’ll be 39 this year.
I think my success simply lies in the fact that I tend to eat small amounts, so I don’t stretch my stomach. I don’t like feeling full, so I don’t overeat. I eat often, so my metabolism stays revved up. I eat a wide variety of foods-including sweets and alcohol-so I don’t feel deprived. I love food. I just don’t love it to the point of killing myself with it.
One thing that makes it easy to keep the weight off this go-round is the fact that I am now a vegetarian. When I became a vegetarian three and a half years ago, I dropped 20 pounds rather quickly. However, when I was a thin child, I wasn’t a vegetarian, though I have to admit, I didn’t eat much meat even then.
I was also an active child. I enjoyed riding a bicycle and playing on monkey bars, as well as playing all kinds of “chasing” games with the neighborhood kids. As an adult, I enjoy taking walks and cycling. The human body is simply not made for staying in one spot 24-7.
If you hate all forms of exercise, that’s the bad news for you. The good news is that all you really have to do is go for a walk. You don’t have to sentence yourself to “Gruntin’ to the Oldies” or try to become a power lifter. Just go for a simple walk. The Japanese have entire exercise programs based around how many hundreds of random steps you can walk in a day’s time while doing your errands. If the Japanese are doing it, you know there must be something to it.
You are also not allowed to eat an entire tub of…well, of anything…at one time. Get yourself out of that habit as soon as possible. That part may be difficult if it’s an old, old habit. But if you’re like most people, you eat a lot at one sitting because you’re always on the precipice of a diet or you’ve been taught that you’ll die if you eat too many snacks. If you tell yourself, “Well, now wouldn’t be a good time to have ice cream because you’ve already had sweets today…but you can have that ice cream tomorrow,” then you won’t feel so deprived. You can always hold off on a treat for a day or two, but you’ll revolt against yourself if you try to forbid yourself to ever eat ice cream again.
Read more: Lose Weight by Not Eating Late Night Snacks
When it’s finally time to eat that ice cream, limit yourself to one scoop or to a “small.” If it isn’t enough, promise yourself another one in two days. Even if you wind up eating a small ice cream every two days, that is much better than pigging out. What’s more, since you’re no longer in famine mode and you know you can pretty much have a little ice cream practically whenever you want it, you will soon actually get bored with it and move on to something else.
I’m afraid this isn’t a very sexy way to think of food. It’s not like a Malibu Diet or an Atkins Diet or anything trendy like that. You don’t get to do weird things to your body or let yourself go crazy with one food in return for giving up another. It all boils down to this: Eat sensibly. Get some exercise. Eat small. Eat often. Treat yourself, but don’t go overboard. If you do this, you will not only be thinner, you will be much happier. And healthier too.