One thing I didn’t want to do when I decided to Get My Groove Back was go on a diet.
I remember dieting 12 years ago, when I was 40 pounds lighter and preparing to be married. I remember dieting after the birth of my first child, after the birth of my second child and even after my third child was born 4 years ago, when I was 20 pounds lighter.
Now, at my heaviest non-pregnant weight, I have no interest in dieting.
I don’t want to eat low-calorie, frozen lunches that taste like Styrofoam. I don’t want to eat low-fat frozen yogurt, or anything low-fat, for that matter. I want to slather my salad in ranch dressing, and I want to use more than just 2 tablespoons, thank you! I want to spread butter on my rolls, and I want to actually eat rolls. I just don’t want rolls on my tummy.
In short, I like food and I don’t do deprivation well. So, I had to come up with a long-term solution that did not involve dieting.
In this post, I’m going to tell you about two books that revolutionized the way I think about food and nutrition, then tell you how I’m changing the way I eat in order to lose weight and become healthy.
The Weigh Down Diet
In The Weigh Down Diet, nutritionist Gwen Shamblin approaches weight loss from a biblical perspective, and says that we can and should eat whatever we want, as long as we only eat when we are hungry and stop eating when we are full.
The Bible says,
“What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” Matthew 15:11
“They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.” 1 Timothy 4:3-5
Since reading The Weigh Down Diet, I’m slowly moving away from viewing certain foods as “bad” and learning to change my bad behavior.
God made fat, salt and sugar, and they are good!
I can have ice cream, salad dressing, and even buttery rolls without guilt, as long as I don’t overindulge.
In Defense of Food
In In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, author Michael Pollan shares research that supports Gwen Shamblin’s (author of The Weigh Down Diet) claim that there are no bad foods. He exposes nutrition as a pseudoscience, and proves that when it comes to nutritional guidelines, food pyramids (or food plates), and other expert advice about how we should eat – the emperor has no clothes.
I remember the low-fat movement back when I was in high school. We were supposed to load up on pasta, rice, baked potatoes, bread and anything else low-fat, because fat is high in calories and only fat makes you fat. Then came the high fiber movement, then low-carb, then superfoods like soy and omega 3’s, and now anything gluten-free.
Where does it end?
It has ended here, for me.
I want to eat real, nourishing, tasty food, and that’s exactly what In Defense of Food defends. Author Michael Pollan argues that in order to be healthy we should, quite simply:
Not too much.
Right now, I’m trying to forget everything I’ve learned about nutrition, and learn not to eat too much. Here’s what’s I’ve been eating…
As much as possible, I eat real foods that contain ingredients that are easily recognizable… Bread that is made from wheat, salt, yeast and sugar… Yogurt that is made from milk, sugar, and fruit… Cookies that are made from flour, sugar, salt, butter, baking soda and baking powder.
I eat cheese, fruit, veggies, eggs, chicken, beef, pork and lamb… I cook with olive oil and butter, and I try to make food that tastes good.
I avoid anything that is unnaturally low-calorie or low-fat, as these foods often have artificial ingredients.
I also try to avoid drinking sweetened drinks and soda to avoid sugar highs and lows. I prefer unsweetened tea over sweet tea (never thought it would happen!), and I no longer rely on Starbucks’ Frappuccinos as an everyday pick me up.
In 1 Corinthians 10:23, the Bible says, “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.”
So I aim for balance.
I may eat half of a hamburger and fries instead of a full portion. If I know I want dessert, I’ll eat less dinner to save room for it. If I want a buttery roll, I’ll have 1, not 2 or 3.
I am trying to avoid using food as a stress reliever. Although nothing boosts the mood like a cupcake or a cookie, I’m trying to learn to face my feelings and work through them so I can treat cakes and cookies like treats, not medication.
I recently read an article about the harmful effects of low-calorie diets, and I am trying to learn how to stop counting calories and simply stop eating when I’m full.
I’m slowly working to move past the formulas, musts and shoulds, and develop a healthy attitude toward eating and food. So far, it’s going well. I’ve lost another 4 lbs!
I’ll share details about my exercise plan in my next post.
I know some of you are on this journey with me, and I’d love to hear about any changes you’ve made in the way you eat.