Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My Personal Food Revolution

When I was a little girl, and even into high school and college, I loved having my picture taken. I used to joke that I looked better in pictures than I did in person.

But some time in the past few years, I became camera shy.

I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but it all stemmed from seeing recent-ish pictures of myself and wanting to puke. I don't feel that fat. I don't feel any more fat than I have ever been. And stepping on the scale (as of 6 weeks ago), I was actually the same weight I've been for years.

I'm talking 10 years of a consistent weight... and I'm still 15 pounds less than my fattest (which happened at a particularly bad stretch within that 10 yrs).

Yet, when I look at pictures, everything looks saggy and puffy and ICKY. When did I start to sag this much? When did all my fat bits gather together in one spot or several pronounced spots like they have now? It made me feel very self-conscious, because I don't feel fat (how is a fat person supposed to feel, anyway?).

I feel like I've always felt, except that I'm happy. The pictures I take of myself reflect that happy inner me, because I can manage to take pictures that avoid highlighting the fatty saggy bits.

But seeing pictures that other people have taken of me, I felt so sad. The pretty, vivacious, fun me wasn’t being captured. All I could see was the fat that I could hardly even believe was actually there.

So... I felt motivated to do something about it.

Six weeks ago, I radically changed my eating habits.

And in that amount of time, I’ve lost 15 pounds.


This isn’t the first time I’ve worked to lose weight. I lost 30 pounds before Brett and I got married back in 2003, but I was still doing it the wrong way, which at the time meant Slim Fast shakes and basically starving myself. Well, sure, it worked, and I had to have my dress altered like whoa, because the thing was falling off of me. But as soon as the wedding was over, I started eating again and porked right back out.

I’ve done the Slim Fast things many times in the past, usually in a nearly futile effort to gain momentum and motivation for more weight loss.

Not surprisingly, it never worked.

This time is all different. Something inside of me clicked, like flipping on a light switch. It’s truly a lifestyle change. I’ve known this on a cognitive level for years, but it’s different when that cognition moves to coursing through your veins. It’s overwhelming and empowering and suddenly, I can’t wait to act on it.

It’s all about choices. And sometimes, each bite is a choice.

Do I really need this bite, or do I just want it? 

Or is it that I just feel obligated to eat it, because it’s there, and somewhere in the very dark recesses of my mind, there’s a tape playing that says, “Clean your plate!”?

Just like choosing to have a good day, instead of waiting for the fates to bestow a good day upon me, I have the power to choose to eat good things instead of eating by default.

It’s not a diet, it’s an entirely different way of thinking about food.

Now, I think about what’s going to be good for my body. I think about what I’ve eaten in a week to determine whether or not I can indulge in one of my many sweet tooth desires, like ice cream, chocolate, and other ridiculously rich and chocolately desserts.

I am allowing myself to have a special treat about twice a week.

And I have less of it.

If it’s a piece of pie, it’s a small piece. If it’s a bowl of ice cream, it’s less than a scoop instead of filled to the brim.

I’m finding that not only do I look forward to my treat… I savor the treat even more. I’m still allowing myself to have it—so it’s not deprivation, but I’m having markedly less in both quantity and frequency.

And it’s working!

As for meals, I’m thinking about food as to how it’s going to treat my body. Will it treat my body well, or will I pay for it later with indigestion and stomach pains, feeling crappy and having no energy, and ultimately weight gain?

Here’s an example.

I hadn’t eaten fried food in weeks, and I decided to have fish and chips as an indulgence meal. I really enjoyed that meal, but later?

I got sick.

My body had so quickly become used to fresh, healthy food that it really hated the fried dinner.

Lesson learned! I won’t do that again.

Much of the time, I’m finding that giving in to an impulsive indulgence really isn’t worth it. Eating a cookie here and there isn’t going to be the end of me… but making the distance between “here” and “there” longer will make me feel happier and healthier and better.

What’s more, I’m learning the power of saying no. Passing up something like generic birthday cake at the office actually feels good, because I’m winning a battle my brain is trying to fight against me. And those kinds of triumphs are really hard to articulate, but it’s akin to getting a parking spot in the front row at the store when it’s raining cats and dogs and you don’t have your umbrella.

It’s a small and simple thing that just feels good.

The moral of the story? It’s an ongoing story, and I’m learning along the way.

The point is, I don’t have a set destination. The word ‘diet’ isn’t even in my vocabulary. I don’t have a certain number of pounds in mind to lose. BMI is a number on someone else’s radar—not mine! All I know is that I want to feel and look better. I want to continue to have more energy. I want to give my body good things to keep it strong and happy and healthy.

And as long as I’m going about this the right way for me, I absolutely can’t go wrong.

And soon, I won’t be so camera shy. I’ll be begging folks to take my picture.


  1. Sounds very good! I'm with you, doing much the same!

  2. Good for you for changing the way you think and feel about food. I actually just got back in the saddle this week. I was so healthy and athletic there for a few years but allowed myself to sink into a cycle of depression, overeating and alcohol use. No more! :) I hope your loss continues and that you also continue to feel wonderful.

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  4. Hey there Linda,

    Amen and good luck to you on your journey. If I can be here for you in anyway please let me know. I have a page on Facebook if you want to check it out--Julie's Healthy Living. I have been in your shoes.

    Best wishes,