I’m back with another round of Reader Advice Day. But first I want to make sure that you know that Chef AJ and I will be hosting our second free teleclass on the evening of July 7th. I’ll will put out the details in a later post, but I want you to mark your calendars now. The subject will be “Eating Outside of Your Home on an SOS Free, Whole Foods Plant Based Diet.”
And now back to the question. It comes from a dear, dear person that was in my 6th grade class! Through the magic of Facebook, we are reconnected over our shared interest in health and well being. The other day, this message came in from her:
Hi Wendy! I’ve been following your blog on FB for a while now. I’ve learned a lot from your journey. I have a question for you. I was really on track for a good three years. I did not have a weight problem as a kid or young adult, but after my second kid, I have been battling weight gain – for lots of reasons. So, here’s the question. I maintained a 30 lb weight loss for several years, but after a VERY stressful year, have put it all back on, and I can’t seem to get myself back on track, and I am full tilt off the rails – candy, cookies, meat, butter. Can you share any strategies that you’ve used to get back on track? Thanks! And it’s been fun reading your blog. Thanks for putting it out there!
But since my old friend asked, here’s a list of things that has helped me over the past four years:
I think what has helped me the most in this journey is having this blog. Now I know that blogging is certainly not for everyone, but I can honestly say that the single biggest reason that I don’t just retire from blogging is that it does actually keep me very focused on healthy eating. I knew it the day that I started Healthy Girl’s Kitchen. I said to myself, “Girl, if you put yourself out there publically, there will be no turning back. No matter how hard it gets, you will have to keep fighting this fight.” And it’s been totally true.
(2) READING THE BECK DIET SOLUTION MULTIPLE TIMES
I know I have mentioned this book so many times before in this blog, but it is because the things that I learned from this book keep coming up. It basically comes down to this: naturally thin people just think differently from overweight people. If you can learn to reprogram your mind to think like a thin person, you have won so much of the battle. Naturally thin people do not beat themselves up if they veer off their healthy eating plan. They just get right back on the plan and move on. They don’t say to themselves, “Well, Wendy, you blew it with that piece of pizza at lunch, you might as well eat whatever you want for the rest of the day (or week, or month).” Healthy thinkers say to themselves, “Well, Wendy, that wasn’t the best choice for lunch now, was it? Let’s get back on the healthy plan immediately.” They don’t dwell on their mistakes, they just move on.
(3) MOVING INCREASINGLY MORE OVER TIME TO AN SOS FREE, WHOLE FOODS PLANT BASED DIET
I can’t tell you how beneficial it has been for me to have met and begun a close friendship with Chef AJ. It’s one thing to be “Plant Strong,” and that sure is a healthy way to eat! But it is a whole other thing to really move toward having NO sugar (and that includes sweets as well as flours, which are immediately converted by your body into sugar), NO oil and NO salt.
When food is not hyperpalatable from salt, sugar and/or oil, two things happen:
(a) you don’t overeat on it because you are eating until satiation and not to have more of a delicious taste
(b) you find yourself craving simpler and simpler whole, real food, and eating meat or dairy isn’t even something that would be interesting to me at this point
Instead of going in the wrong direction with my food over time (and that would have been so easy for me to do given my natural propensities), my food has actually gotten simpler and cleaner than ever before. And it’s become easier, instead of a struggle. Something as simple as canteloupe, watermelon or a Japanese sweet potato is so delicious and fulfilling. All of that crap that I used to ingest years ago? It’s hard for me to imagine what was so temping about it now when a ripe plum tastes so damned good.
(4) ADDING INTACT WHOLE GRAINS AND POTATOES INTO MY DIET
While I never eliminated these food groups from my diet, I was trying to limit them. It is only after having moved in the direction of eating potatoes and intact whole grains (not whole wheat breads or flours) with lunch and dinner (and sometimes breakfast as well) that staying on this path has become so easy. Why? Because I am not hungry all the time. It would appear that my “resistance muscle” has gotten stronger, but now I realize I never had a weak resistance muscle. My brain was just starved of the right kinds of carbohydrates.
Do you have a local Meet-up group that you could join with like minded people? Join every Facebook group that you can find so that the message of healthy eating is a part of your everyday life. Here are a few of the closed groups that I have found on Facebook. You have to request to be let in to the following groups:
Dr. Fuhrman’s Eat to Live
InstaPot Users Group – G-BOMBS – the nuts and bolts of Eating to Live
Eat to Live: Nutritarian Plant based Eating for optimal health
McDougall Emotional Eating Support Group
(6) FIND A WAY TO CHECK IN WITH YOURSELF EVERY DAY
Whether it be food logging in a diary, meditating or doing a regular yoga practice, I find that the more I have at least a few minutes a day to really check in with myself, the better my food choices are.
(7) FIND A COACH OR MENTOR
No one stays sober in AA without a sponsor. Why should this be any different? Find someone who is successful at this and ask them to mentor you. Develop a plan for how that mentoring is going to work. Make a major effort at sticking to that plan (I need to say this out loud to myself as much as I do to anyone reading this!).
(8) WILLINGNESS TO GO AGAINST THE GRAIN
Lastly, I want to mention that unless you are willing to totally go against what most of the people around you are doing, you will not last on this WOE. It is not for the wimpy or faint of heart. But, that is the reality of this.
All around you are influences in the wrong direction. Having the wherewithal to stay the course is something that you have to dig deep and find. If you are easily swayed, you will find yourself feeling guilty way too often. People will actively encourage you to eat food that is not on your plan. People will try hard to provide you with food that is on your plan, not understanding your plan, and provide you with the wrong things.
You will have to be willing to offend some people some of the time. If you feel like you are worth it, you may be willing to learn to live with many uncomfortable situations that this WOE has a way of placing you in. In order to stay the course, we need to be totally dedicated and at the same time have a sense of humor about it all.
edited to add:
(9) GET ANY AND ALL FOOD THAT YOU DO NOT WANT TO EAT OUT OF YOUR HOUSE
I know what you are going to say . . . “My spouse wants this food, my kids need this or that.” Well, if you cared for yourself half as much as you cared for other people, you might not be in this predicament in the first place! My opinion is very firm about this, because my illness knows no boundaries. If it’s in the house, then at some point or other, I will eat it. So if I don’t want to eat that food, it cannot be in my house. And again, I need to tell you this as much as I need to tell myself. I need constant reminders!
But that’s just how I stay on the plan. What about all of you? How YOU get back on track after feeling derailed from this WOE (way of eating)?