I don’t know about you, but the “COVID 15” was really real. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, there’s a saying that kids go away to college and gain the “Freshman 15” since they’re away from home, eating more junk food, and no longer on a regular schedule. A lot of people joked that the “stay-at-home orders” caused them the same problems, and the same subsequent weight gain.
It truly did happen to me. My gym closed, so I wasn’t going to my regular three-day-a-week exercise class and potato chips seemed to taste better than ever. Add that to beginning peri-menopause and voila, I was heavier.
Despite all I’ve learned about Intuitive Eating from my good friend Coach Tiffany Thoen, RN, I found myself thinking negatively about my body and turning to traditional dieting regimens to solve this weight gain. I tried counting calories and points and all that stuff. Most tries only lasted 2-3 days and I got mad and quit. I didn’t want to feel deprived and I really didn’t want to track every morsel that entered my mouth.
Luckily, I hosted Tiffany for an interview about her work in my NP practice development training program. I heard her say again the things I’ve heard her say so many times. She said things like, “Diets don’t work” and “Trust your body and what it needs”.
I took a careful look at how I was feeling about my body, the foods I was eating, and the lack of movement. I made four simple changes and easily lost 10 pounds.
Now, before I tell you what those four things were, I want to say something really important. I didn’t want to lose weight because I want to be super thin or because I felt ugly or anything of the sort. I wanted to lose weight because I felt inflamed, tired, and my body aches and pains had increased. I wanted to feel vibrant, energetic, and have less pain, and I knew that holding the extra weight was contributing.
Okay, here’s what I did:
1~I looked in the mirror and I said to myself, ‘I love you at any size. Let’s do this to feel more fit, strong, and stable!’
2~I took a look at what time of day I was craving those chips…late afternoon. We were eating dinner around 8pm and I was getting kind of hangry around 5:30-6. So, I moved our dinner time up to 6:30-7 and I eat a little fruit and/or nuts if the hangry sets in. It actually doesn’t very often, because I’m already cooking and my body knows that great food is on the way.
3~When I get hungry through the day, I ask myself, ‘What sounds really good’ and then I eat that. We always have lots of fruits and vegetables around, so often I eat those. Sometimes popcorn sounds good, so I eat that. I actually haven’t been buying chips since they usually make me feel bad when I eat them anyway. Now, if a food feels bad after I eat it, I take note of that, and it’s easier to avoid later.
4~I started going for a walk every morning in the gorgeous woods by my house and felt inspired to add bursts of running on the trails to get my heart rate up. After my meditation/visualization and goal-setting for the day, I now go right out the door and get my walk done. This is what feels great, not what I think I “should” be doing. (And, I get my nature time in, too!)
And, that’s it!
I don’t plan to keep weighing myself, because it’s not about the number on the scale. I did it more out of curiosity to see if all of this “worked”.
I still have a long way to go to understand exactly how to eat intuitively. I’m sure there are even things in this very blog that still don’t follow a true “body-positive” way of looking at things. And, I’m open to learning.
If food feels like a struggle for you, I invite you to check out Tiffany’s work. She’s hosting an online meet-up on September 9 that is open to all. She also offers coaching if you want even more help.
I’m writing this mostly to say to you, you are beautiful no matter what shape or size you are or despite what any scale says.
What if you slowed down and listened to what your body wants you to eat and how it wants you to move?
What if we all stopped “shoulding” ourselves around food and exercise?
What if we based our health on how we feel and not on what the scale says?
I love that I now have this “proof” that this is exactly what works to bring my body to the weight that is most optimal for me and to feel as energetic and fit as I’ve been longing to feel.
I’d love to hear from you about any of this. Please comment below with any thoughts or questions.
Happy eating intuitively!