Eating to Lose – Get Your Groove Back, Part 3

by Carletta on June 9, 2011

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

and

“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:

Eat food.
Mostly plants.
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…

Real Food

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.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Shaye June 9, 2011 at 7:13 am

I saw your first post about getting your groove back, and it really spoke to me. I had really gotten myself into a funk. It was to the place that I wasn’t really even getting dressed in the morning anymore.
After I saw your post, I was inspired to take some baby steps. That day, I decided that I was going to fake it until I made it. I have been getting up and getting dressed with full makeup. I know I’m not leaving the house, but I feel so much better.
Now I’m in the process of using up and cleaning out all of the processed “food-like substances” in the house, and my husband has agreed that we would be much better off to eat real foods. I’m also going to follow Kris’s lead and either hop on my treadmill or take the dog for a long walk.
Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for posting about it when you did. It helped me take the first step.

Reply

Carletta June 16, 2011 at 4:18 am

Good for you, Shaye!

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Larie June 9, 2011 at 7:26 am

Wow, these are exactly the things I have lead to do in my life long journey to become healthy.
Thank you so much for sharing this!

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Kris @ Eclipsed June 9, 2011 at 7:50 pm

So many people think that healthy foods have to be bland and tasteless and that it has to be all or nothing when it comes to less-healthy foods. Like you’re saying, I’ve found moderation to be the key to healthy eating.

We love to eat at Chick-Fil-A. I’ve gone from a fried sandwich and fries to a grilled sandwich and salad. I refuse to give up my sweet tea, but I limit myself to one refill.

I don’t like any of CFA’s light dressings, so I use regular ranch, but only half a packet — 1 tablespoon. It took me awhile to get used to less dressing on my salads, but I’d discovered that other seasonings make a big difference. I never used to like pepper, now I love it — especially on salads.

I’ve gone from sipping (okay, okay…guzzling) sweet tea all day long to drinking two glasses a day — one at lunch, the other at supper. The rest of the time, I drink water.

When we go to Steak ‘n Shake, I get a single burger with fries…and I give my husband half of the fries as soon as our meals arrive. Oh, and a lot of people find this really amusing, but in order to keep myself from feeling deprived, I eat two — yes, two — fries when we go to other fast food places. The kids have learned this and they fall all over themselves trying to be the first to offer up two of their fries to earn brownie points with mom. 😉

It’s all about moderation. I think you’ve got the right approach.

Oh, and be sure to check out http://www.skinnytaste.com for delicious, healthy recipes. That site has been a life saver for me.

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sada June 9, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Wonderful post :) I just wanted to offer you a bit of encouragement. Six years ago, I was at my heaviest ever…and I was tired all the time, sick all the time, and just generally not the best “me” I could be. And that was at the peak of my “dieting”!

I came to the realization that it didn’t matter if I counted calories or only ate carbs or only ate protein or (fill in the blank)–not if the foods I was eating weren’t real food. So I did exactly what you’re doing and made it my goal to eat fresh, whole foods as much as possible and to prepare as many meals from scratch as possible.

I lost 75lbs. Without “dieting”! But even better than losing the weight, my mood and my overall health have improved :) And because it’s a *lifestyle* change and not a rule-filled “until I lose X lbs.” diet, it has stuck in a way that dieting never did. :)

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Carletta June 16, 2011 at 4:20 am

Thank you for sharing your story. Very inspiring!

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Amy @ Raising Arrows June 11, 2011 at 10:21 pm

I simply do not have a good relationship with food. Never have. The only way I stayed thin in high school was the level of exercise I was maintaining. When that was over, the truth of the matter revealed itself.

I know in my head and heart what you are saying is the way it should be. I also know that my eating is gluttony…pure and simple. And I fight it…every single day.

I’ve lost 20 lbs, but have another 20 to go. And I’m stuck. When you said you did not recognize yourself in your picture, I sat here nodding my head! So true! Pictures don’t lie, do they?! ACK!

Anyway, I need to unstick myself and keep asking God to reveal my gluttony to me and help me shed this last 20. Cheering you on!

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Carletta June 16, 2011 at 4:25 am

Jennifer sent me an e-mail sharing the story of how she lost 50 lbs using The Weigh Down Workshop. She now prefers a similar program called Thin Within. You can find more info here:

http://www.thinwithin.org
http://blog.heidibylsma.com/

Thanks, Jennifer, for sharing these excellent resources!

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