The Day I Stopped Dieting

I had L February 2 and as I recovered from childbirth, the weather warmed and I was reminded swimsuit season was right around the corner. I was determined, desperate even, to get “my body back” in time for my summer vacations.

In general, I eat healthy and have never had a real problem with my weight. Part of that is my own healthy eating and exercising habits, and part of that is just good luck and good genes. But, even with all that, I still had a few of those pesky pregnancy pounds that hung around. My postpartum body felt unfamiliar to me, uncomfortable.

So, I dieted, I cut calories, I turned down desserts and let myself be a little hungry at the end of a meal. It was torturing, but also working, at first at least. I lost a few pounds, then plateaued, and was irritated that my hard work stopped paying off.

Then, July came and I had a trip to Myrtle Beach with JD’s family, a trip home to Ohio for a wedding, and a vacation in Hilton Head with my family. I put the calorie counter aside so I could enjoy these trips without stressing about my eating. After nearly a month of not worrying about what I ate, I had a Zen moment where I realized that I was happy and I felt good. What have I been torturing myself for? I wondered. I was 6 months postpartum and although my body wasn’t quite the same (is it ever the same after a baby anyway?!) I felt good, I looked good, and geezus, I should not be battling myself over a scoop of ice cream once in a while.

So, I stopped counting calories, I stopped weighing myself, and it was so, so freeing. Does that mean I’m going to let myself go and have no regard for what I’m eating? No. All it means is I’m going to base my eating on my own health and happiness, not an obsession with what the scale says.

I am healthy, I am happy, and I made the most perfect, beautiful, joyful little baby. Look at this face.

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I couldn’t think of anything my body could do that would be more beautiful than that.

I think one of our biggest problems with food is the perception that food is the enemy, that it’s something working against us. Food is not the enemy. Our attitude about food is the enemy. We should be looking at food as a way to nourish our bodies and fill it with the things that will make us feel and perform at our best. Calories, fat, carbs- all the things that are considered “bad” are actually vital for a healthy body.  What we need to remember is that we need to be eating the right calories, fat, and carbs.  As long as you eat well most of the time, you shouldn’t feel bad about the occasional sweet treat or french fry. That kind of stuff is part of what makes life good.

After I’d finished writing this post, my friend serendipitously sent me the link to this blog post from a woman who used to work at a weight loss company.

She put this picture at the beginning:

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My thoughts exactly.

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