My relationship with food, diet and weight has completely transformed over the years, and I’ve lost 50 pounds throughout the process. I didn’t wake up one day with a goal of losing 50 pounds; I woke up one day thinking that I needed to stop putting so much crap in my body. With that starting point, I became more conscious of food choices, and everything progressed naturally from there.
I never put the pressure on, but when I felt comfortable with the new changes I made, I started making even better ones. I kept at it by learning about new foods, new workout routines and new ways of thinking. Educate yourself, listen to your body, become interested in nutrition and embrace positive change. It's cool to give a damn about your health.
When I started, I knew nothing about health and wellness but I did know I had to do it my own way or I wasn’t going to do it at all. Something about one standard set of rules for everyone never sat well with me. As time went on, I learned more about health and nutrition and became confident in my own ability to listen to my body and myself to lose the weight in a healthy way. It’s been several years now and I’ve maintained the weight loss with ease.
A lot of people ask me advice on eating and weight loss, and I notice that so many people still hold on to old and unsuccessful beliefs about food, nutrition and weight loss. I think we put too much trust in companies and other people’s opinions when we have to start turning to ourselves. Listen to what others have to say, but pick and choose what advice works for you. One thing I know for sure is that losing weight isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of thing.
Even though I didn’t follow any set of rules, there's a common theme that holds true to this day when it comes to how I approach eating, and it's based in common sense. It has led to me losing weight and getting healthy in a way that’s balanced, healthy, natural, sustainable and most importantly, enjoyable.
1. I don’t count calories.
I can tell you that I haven't counted calories once throughout this weight loss journey. If a doughnut and a piece of fruit can have the same amount of calories, how can this possibly be the right way to go about losing weight? My goal isn’t to look thin; it’s to be healthy and eat nutritious food. Plus, counting calories feels like one giant complicated math equation that you can never really figure out the answer to.
2. I eat carbs. Lots of them.
Still to this day people ask me if I eat carbs. Yes, of course I do. That was a silly craze started many years ago, and it makes no sense at all. You need carbs to live. No, I'm not eating cakes, cookies and pies all the time, but healthy carbs? All the time.
3. I never use common diet terms like “cheat days.”
A cheat day? What does that even mean? I'm not here to feel guilty about the decisions I make. If I eat something that isn’t the best thing for me, I move on. I don’t regret my decision or sulk in guilt.
4. I snack when I'm hungry.
Some people like to snack, some don’t. Have you heard the term “hangry” before? That’s me. I'm miserable when I'm hungry, so why would I do that to myself? It’s a nonnegotiable for me. Yes, my snacks may be celery and almond butter, or a bunch of fruit instead of potato chips, but I never deny myself snacks when I'm genuinely hungry and my body is asking to be fed.
5. I read ingredients, not label claims.
Low fat, low calorie, helps with heart disease — they mean nothing to me. I believe in the bottom line when it comes to food. What exactly am I eating? I don’t need health claims or numbers thrown at me. What I need to know are the ingredients, period. When it comes to our health, sometimes we complicate the most simple things.