STRENGTH IN BODY & MIND
After 12.5 years of this journey, I now have the best relationship with food that I have ever had. My journey started in 2008, after many years of on-again-off-again dieting and binging. I started slowly with changing one habit at a time and slowly walking on a treadmill. I was actually so large that I had to walk a bit sideways on the treadmill! When I started my journey, I weighed 320 pounds. Because I started with small, sustainable habits, I have lost over 100 pounds and kept the weight off for more than ten years.
Last year, I felt stuck in my health journey. After 10+ years of meticulously tracking my calories and macros, I had stalled in my progress (yet again!) and was frustrated. I was tired of letting food rule my life and I knew that I did not want to keep tracking for the rest of my life. It seemed like almost every thought at that time was about food, calories, macros and how it fit into my plan, but I gave very little thought as to what actually sounded good, tasted good and if I was even hungry.
It was such a freeing decision to stop tracking my intake, but it was a hard shift out of my comfort zone. This does not mean that now I just eat whatever I want in whatever amounts I want; it means that I make conscious decisions and pay attention to my body's natural hunger signals. I really make conscious decisions about what sounds good, if I'm really hungry or not, and if I feel full enough to stop eating. It does take time to make a shift like this, but it was one that I was willing to make if it meant creating a lifestyle that saved my sanity from not writing down every little morsel of food I ate and consuming every thought.
I now actually enjoy eating, do not feel guilty about eating treats or “junk food” and am more productive because I am not constantly thinking about food. I will tell you that there was a learning curve; a period of time when I first transitioned where my weight loss stalled. I just took a deep breath, trusted the process, and kept going.
I knew I was headed in the right direction. The bonus is that the mindfulness techniques I am using help me in all other aspects of my life as well. I take the mental energy I had been using to track my food and worry about the next meal and use it towards creating healthier habits.