This is one of my favourite analogies. In my past life as a yo-yo dieter, I was like an out of control driver veering from one side of the road to the other. Driving steadfast to one side then spinning the steering wheel, overcorrecting and hurtling to the other side. Nearly crashing before overcorrecting, tires screeching, fishtailing my way to the other side.
This is exactly how my life felt. I was either eating perfectly (well, what I thought was perfect!), going to the gym 5 times a week, stepping on the scales many, many, times a day. I was hungry, but that had to be good, right? Because if I was hungry I must be losing weight. I was desperate to get to my goal weight as fast as possible so I could go back to my old life.
Once I got there, not straight away, but shortly after I’d go back to drinking wine every night, eating blocks of chocolate and my runners would gather dust in my wardrobe.
The scales would be put away because I didn’t want to know that my current lifestyle could be doing me any harm or that my weight may be creeping (actually not creeping-rushing) back on.
The reason I didn’t want to know this is because that would mean going back to my “perfect” lifestyle. The gym, the low-fat food, the deprivation and I didn’t want to do it.
It got to the point where my friends would ask me, are you on a diet this week. If I said no then we’d be stuffing ourselves with biscuits, chocolate or lollies. I was either on a diet or on a bender.
Once I began my low-carb real food lifestyle, I experienced an immediate drop in hunger. The food was so delicious and filling that I actually left food on my plate. That was unheard of for me, especially if I was on a “diet”!
I became hungry for information. I watched countless lectures on youtube, listened to podcasts and, attended conferences. I had to unlearn everything I thought I knew about weight loss.
For the first time in my life, I also addressed the psychology behind my eating patterns. This has been the most incredible game-changer and, this is where my transformation has occurred.
The physical transformation has been losing 20 kg, reversing my insulin resistance and fixing my fatty liver.
But the mental transformation has been mind-blowing. The shift in my thoughts around food and was it represents has been truly transformative.
No longer do I have a love-hate relationship with the scales.
No longer I am either in deprivation mode or on a bender.
No longer do I utter these words “I’ll start on Monday”.
Does that mean I live a life where I eat whatever I want?
Well, that depends on your definition of whatever I want.
I would answer this with “I eat everything I want, but I have changed what I want.
But I would also say that what I now do is micro-corrections.
So going back to my car analogy, I have a car with lane assist. It keeps me in my lane by making micro-corrections. When I felt got this car it felt a bit weird. I wasn’t used to it and It felt uncomfortable. But like many changes. I soon got used to and now love it.
Now with my eating, I don’t measure, weigh or count anymore. I did initially, to gain knowledge and understanding but now I am more intuitive. My hunger hormones are recalibrated and I listen to my body. I weigh myself from time to time, but largely my clothes tell me what’s going on, the scales are more of a confirmation tool.
Recently I have had to make a few micro-corrections. I had become a little complacent. Wine was sneaking back into my daily routine. My bowl of berries and cream was getting bigger and bigger. Instead of 2 squares of dark chocolate every now and then, I was having more of it and more often. I was having 95%, then I went back to 90% and then 85%. It makes a difference-the micro slip!
Nothing was out of control but my jeans felt tighter. The scales confirmed it.
Time for a correction. No need for extremes but some management.
I am letting go of wine unless I’m having a drink with friends.
Dark chocolate can go for a while. If I do have chocolate, it will be the 95% block only.
Berries and cream can also have a rest. Again I will have them if we are having friends over but I don’t need them. Every. Single. Night.
There is no need for dessert despite what my brain tells me. Sweet things are my undoing.
I have made some beautiful bone broth, full of goodness. If my brain tells me I need something after dinner, this is what I have. I remind myself that this wonderful broth that I have lovingly made, is healing, nourishing and nurturing.
I don’t feel deprived. I am not giving these food up. I am letting them go for a while. These are tools that don’t allow me to reach or maintain my goal.
I keeping my eye on the prize.
I love being at my healthy weight.
I love buying clothes and knowing they will look good on.
I love the extra energy I have gained, along with improved mobility.
I love that I can pull anything out of my wardrobe and know that it will fit
I love knowing that every bit of food I put into my body is nourishing.
I love that my friends no longer ask me if I’m on a diet.
But most of all I love that I have “lane assist”
I love that I no longer career down the road of life, out of control.
Dr Lucy and Dr Mary