Put Down Your Measuring Cup
A facebook friend of mine (who is very much in crazy good shape) posted a picture of her meal along with a phrase like, "I sometimes wish this was pizza".
The picture was of a precisely measured portion of grilled chicken, an exact serving of quinoa and a measured serving of a steamed vegetable.
My immediate reaction was sadness followed closely by rage. My rage wasn't so much against her, more so against the trend I keep seeing towards dieting, restricting and measuring of food.
Please put down your measuring cup for a moment and hear me out....
If you truly want a slice of pizza, have a slice of pizza. Incorporating the things you enjoy and crave into your lifestyle will not undo all of your hard work.
It is your overall lifestyle that matters, not one meal or one food craving you allow yourself to eat.
Notice I say lifestyle and not diet. Diet to me is another one of those negative words.
Diet is often associated with limiting your food choices, restrictive behaviors, giving up the foods you love and measured out plates of bland food that never satisfy the appetite.
It is my opinion that most diet plans are not maintainable long-term and so many of them are not even good for you.
I realize that I do not need to lose weight but I was once a chubby child who liked to eat. I still like to eat. I am a volume eater and want to be full and not restricted or limited to small servings of food on my plate.
At some point I realized that my plate can be full and satisfying. I don't need to feel restricted if I learn the foods one can eat on a regular basis without measurements and restrictions.
I never followed Weight Watchers but there is a reason vegetables (and most fruits) are unlimited and point-less.
Produce is not the detrimental part of your plate keeping your pants from fitting. The extra serving of broccoli is not what is packing on your extra pounds or causing you to remain four sizes bigger than you want to be.
I get wild when I hear of people measuring out vegetables. Unless you are protecting yourself from the stomach pains and bloating associated with too much fiber (I hear that!) or really have a medical issue (I don't want to interfere with that!) put away your measuring cup.
Measuring out your spinach along side a small portion of protein and tiny portion of a carbohydrate most likely isn't satisfying your appetite which leaves you with cravings and eventually an uncontrollable binge or worse, the tendency to keep reverting back to old habits of repeated unhealthy stops at McDonald's for the value meal deal plus a side of chicken nuggets and a shake.
The diet plans that tell you how to limit your portion sizes or restrict certain food groups are limiting your caloric intake. And maybe you do need to cut back if you are trying to lose weight but cutting back too much is not healthy either.
When you take in too few calories, you can actually slow your metabolism which makes your body hold on to each morsel of food rather than use it as fuel that becomes burned off through your activities and organ functions (yes, it requires calories to make your liver and kidneys and heart do what they need to do).
Eating too few calories can make you gain weight rather than lose. Too few calories leave you hungry and moody and mean.
Eating too little, giving up food groups (for calorie reasons) or the foregoing of occasional indulgences that you love and crave send you straight into a restrict and then binge which becomes very hard to cycle break.
You know the whole saying you want what you can't have? It doesn't just apply to the guy who won't text you back. When you suddenly make certain foods off limits and combine that with not eating enough to fuel your body, your cravings are going to kick in and your ability to eat a balanced diet goes out the window.
You get down on yourself for being unable to adhere to your plan and begin to think something is wrong with you when in fact, it isn't you at all, it is the diet plan, the food restrictions and those darn measuring cups.
I have said this before and will say it again because I think about it every day - I would rather be a few pounds more (not that I know what I weigh) than live a life restricting my appetite, giving up a good dessert or avoiding a glass of wine when out for dinner in favor of wearing a smaller size or seeing crazy muscle definition in my abs or my arms or even my legs.
I don't believe Jewish thighs are allowed to have definition anyway. It might be against our religion or just not kosher. Whatever the reason, I am fine with that.
If I want to be really honest here, I actually love the way I look.
I run a lot but I eat a lot too. I eat a ton of healthy foods, I know that, but I never allow myself to be hungry or unsatisfied.
I had a baby and have watched my body revert back to a small size with a stomach that may not be rock solid but certainly does not look like a baby was once inside.
But, even if I had baby signs on my abs, so what? I am a proud mother. I am 36 years old and can wear jean shorts just fine. I know, I need to get mom shorts, I am working on finding what mom shorts are.
Am I perfect? Perfection is not possible. Happiness is though.
And measuring out every morsel of your food without satisfying your appetite certainly does not sound like happiness to me.
Meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles