Long Term Weight Loss Goals

Although I can talk “goal weights” with the best of them, my fantasy weight loss goal is actually having food be a complete non-issue.  You know – like when they ask a celebrity or a chef what they ate on a “normal” day and the answer is something like:

For breakfast I had a cup of espresso and a slice of mango.  Lunch was a a couple of biscuits with a chunk of really strong cheddar and a cup of tea.  Dinner was grilled salmon with new potatoes and green beans from my garden and a glass of white wine.

Yeah sure – and 40 cigarettes.

I KNOW it’s not true but it’s still my fantasy to have healthy eating “just happen”.

But how do I balance that goal with my long and sordidly unbalanced history with food?

  • Step One: Remove as many “diet trappings” as possible.

What does that mean?  No more weighing of self? No more journalling?  I guess it’s essential to decide which elements of the dieting trap are toxic and which are helpful.  This is purely personal; one woman’s help is another woman’s poison.

Toxic – Interesting exercise.  Turns out toxic is a state of mind.

thinking about food all the time.

ruining happy social times with thoughts of “I can’t eat that”.

tying my weight to any concept of success or failure of me as a person

behaviour that leads to guilt about eating

allowing myself to get carried away by short term results aka dieting euphoria

To sum up : negativity and obsessing of any kind.

Helpful – but only helpful if they don’t lead to the toxic stuff above

weighing self

measuring waist

weighing and measuring ingredients and portions

journalling food

How do I use those helpful tools in a non-toxic way? That’s the cruncher. I guess my question is my answer. To be non-toxic, these things have to be tools rather than obsessions. It will be a day by day assessment as to how I’m using them – or avoiding them, for that matter.

So here’s the plan:

For the first 3 weeks, I’m going to put away the weighing and measuring of food and trust what I’ve learned over the past 3 years about good ingredients and portion sizes.

I will weigh myself occasionally but only if it’s helpful to see if I’m not gaining.  Loss is going to be difficult to assess when I’m aiming to lose less than half a pound per week.  There will be no “weigh-in day” – just assuring that I’m headed in the right direction.

That’s enough to start.

EDIT 2018: Because I’ve got a nerdy tendency to record life data, I can tell you that, while the thinking was solid, the ‘plan’ didn’t work once I hit some major stresses and challenges. Actually – it did work in some ways. I have a much healthier relationship with food and my body, but I’m still looking for that perfect-for-me, non-toxic, long-term, life-friendly, dieting-free, weight management system.

In Praise of Slow Weight Loss

I’ve been thinking – wondering really – about why this time has been so different.  Besides the writing, I think that the biggest difference has been a new “forever” mindset.  I’m trying to think of a good analogy to explain what I mean.

In all my previous attempts at weight loss, I was like a person going on a trip.  I’d pack a huge suitcase full of expectation. I’d buy a ticket to a certain destination and have a timetable for getting there.  But I wouldn’t expect the unexpected and I’d always come home before I got to where I wanted to be because I couldn’t handle the very nature of travelling.  “There” remained unexplored and “home” was a place that was ugly but comfortable.

I think middle age has taught me to pack light – ditch the expectations, the presumed destination and the timetable.  Home is no longer an option – I sold that house and have taken to the road! This time I’m wandering around the world and I’ll know “there” when I see it.

I’m pretty sure I couldn’t make any money telling people that the best way to lose weight is to aim for an average of about a pound a month.  But, with the huge benefit of hindsight, I’m very happy to be 25lbs lighter than I was 25 months ago.  If I had repeated my usual on-off-on-off dieting behaviour, I’d certainly weigh more now than I did in January 08.

Maybe I should submit my idea to Carl Honoré and we could launch the “Slow Diet” movement.  That’s not such a bad idea.