The World’s Slowest and Most Useless Diet: How To

So I feel kind of awkward writing this post because really, I am on the world’s slowest and least effective diet, and I probably should not be giving diet advice to anyone. However, I am also actually losing weight and not losing my mind at the same time for maybe the first time ever, so I thought maybe it could help someone if I talked about this? I don’t know.

I also feel weird talking about this because I am walking this weird semi line of fat acceptance.  I HATE the body shaming that goes on in this country. I hate that people assume that losing weight will solve all their problems. I hate that no one thinks you can be fat and also look nice. I hate that six year old girls come home from school calling themselves fat. I hate that I felt bad about myself at a size 4 and a size 6 and a size 16. I hate all of that.  I really do. But I also don’t know that I can call myself a fat acceptance blogger because the truth is that although I LOVE how I look now and I LOVE I feel about myself now, I also do not want to be really really fat. I just don’t. It makes it hard to shop. It would mean I would never get to wear the box of size 10 clothes I have in my garage. And I am pre diabetic and I don’t want to have to heave myself up off the couch or to wonder if I can go on a hike and I don’t want to be huffing and puffing after my kids.  I just don’t want that.

So like I said, I am straddling this weird line. Because this is the first time I have ever been able to lose weight without actively hating myself, and that feels like a really great achievement, but I had to get there by 1. accepting myself at a size 14 (because I thought I had no choice) and 2. figuring out what I needed to do to like myself at that size and 3. deciding that what I ate would be based on how it made me feel, rather than on whether or not I thought it would make me lose weight.

Anyway. The point of all this is that in about 8 months, I have lost 20 pounds.  And I know, that’s nothing! That’s really not a lot, and it’s very slow.  It’s not enough that anyone has noticed (actually, that’s not true, one very lovely lady did send me a lovely email), and it’s not enough that I can reliably wear a smaller size, although I can wear some things that I could not wear before, and my clothes all fit a lot better.  Oddly, aside from being thrilled at the fact that I could wear a jacket that I couldn’t get over my arms before, I really feel exactly the same about myself. So that’s good, I think.

Here is a comparison, so before and after. I can definitely tell the difference, but only in some pictures, and some of it is because I have learned a lot about what is flattering on my body type, but there is a difference, to me anyway.

So this is in May:

And this is today:

Anyway, it took a really long time for me to start losing weight, which was very frustrating, because I am the type of person who likes scientific results when I put in scientific efforts. I could not figure out what I was doing wrong.  I tried Weight Watchers and wasn’t even eating all the points and I did not lose weight.  I tried running five times a week and didn’t lose weight. Nothing worked, so I gave up. (I did have my thyroid tested and it came up normal.)

So then I started feeling sick all the time.  I was forced to really pay attention to what was making me dry heave over the side of my bed every night, because that was basically the worst feeling in the entire world. And it got REALLY frustrating when I was eating SUCH a healthy diet and STILL not losing weight. REALLY REALLY frustrating. But what choice did I have?  I had none, really. So I continued on eating what made me feel good and trying to dress myself like I deserved to look good even at a size 14, and I learned to really love myself anyway.

And then, finally, finally finally, I started to lose weight.

So. Here’s what I do.  Here’s the secret to the World’s Longest Slowest Least Effective Diet:

– I do not eat dairy. This is not because I do not love dairy (YOGURT COME BACK TO ME) but because of the aforementioned dry heaving.  This is not a fad or something that I can just toss off when I don’t feel like it. This is the difference between me feeling great, and me holding a bucket in front of my face every night at 6 PM. So I do not eat dairy. (Although I can eat cheese, maybe, in small amounts, and I don’t really read ingredient labels.  If it’s bread with traces of milk in it, I just eat it. If it’s a scoop of ice cream, I don’t eat it.)

– I don’t drink very much.  So some SSRI’s are the kind that tell you that you should probably not drive a forklift while drinking and taking your SSRI’s? Like, please don’t sue us if you drink and do something stupid type of SSRI’s?  Then there are the kind that you REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY shouldn’t drink while you take them.  It turns out that mine is the second kind!  I could not figure out why I kept getting sick as a dog from martinis and gin and tonics and then woah! It turns out that P@xil can make ONE drink seem like FOUR! So I do’t really drink.  The good news is that I really don’t care about this nearly as much as I thought I would, because I’m not all stressed and anxious all the time and really wishing I could have tequila shots so I could just chill out.

-I try not to eat sugar.  When I first started my healthy eating thing, I really didn’t eat sugar at all because it gave me weird diabetic type heart palpitations.  Now it’s much better but I find I generally am not that interested in it anyway.  The things you can have with sugar but not dairy are mostly not that great, so it’s not a huge issue for me.

-I don’t go hungry.  When I was a size 4, I spent a GREAT PORTION of my afternoons, every day, really really hungry. I’d pound water and count out nuts seven at at time, but let’s be honest, I was hungry.  I am just not willing to go hungry anymore. It makes me really really crabby and it makes me nasty to my kids, and it’s not worth it to me. So if I’m hungry, I eat.

-I quit drinking Diet Coke. I am not kidding you, I think this is the NUMBER ONE thing that a person can do to eliminate weird sugar cravings. I quit drinking Diet Coke because it made me feel gross every time I drank it, but a few months into this project I noticed a HUGE difference in my incessant cravings for all kinds of junk food. I have now become someone who would rather eat carrots than cake, and I know that makes me sound like such a HUGE asshole, and I promise that’s not a humble brag and I am just as shocked and mystified by it as you are, and all I can figure out is that fake sugar is the devil, so I do not under any circumstances ever ingest it.

-I figured out what a really really yummy salad looked like to me (iceberg lettuce, spinach, carrot shreds, broccoli, peppers, cucumbers, mandarin oranges and really fattening dressing) and I keep a giant bowl of it on hand all the time.  I LOVE salad. I do not love making it. If I have it ready to go, my mind automatically goes to it as something I can eat as a side with dinner while the rest of my family eats french fries.  And I have total permission (from myself) to eat whatever salad dressing I want on it.

-I have embraced fat.  I am no longer afraid of fat. (see fattening salad dressing, above).

-I do not count anything, ever. No calories, no grams, no cookies. I don’t do it.

-I get into food ruts, and I don’t make myself eat something for breakfast that I don’t want to eat. I know I should eat eggs for breakfast.  They fill you up for hours.  But I just am not going to make myself eat something I don’t want to eat. So sometimes I feel like eggs, and I eat those and a side of spinach and some melon or grapes and some tomatoes and it’s awesome. Other times I don’t want to even see an egg and I eat two toaster waffles and some turkey sausage.

-I eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but I don’t eat a lot of snacks. I might eat lunch at 2, it’s not a strict schedule, and I sometimes have an afternoon snack if I’m starving, but it’s just easier for me to eat a big meal until I’m actually full than to be nibbling at stuff all day. I don’t have time for snacking, quite frankly.

-I quit running. This one makes me sad, but seriously, hand to god, I didn’t start to lose weight until I quit running. I have no idea why, but I do know that I am honestly not that hungry  most days, now, and when I was running three miles four times a week, I was hungry every minute of the day. I could not stay out of the kitchen, and I could not lose weight.  It was too hot to run this summer anyway, and I am wondering if maybe now that it’s cooled off I could start walking or something, but for me, running was really prohibitive to weight loss. I would like to start it up again 20 pounds from now and see if it’s better then, but for now? No more running.

-I started shopping at Costco. Mostly what I buy at Costco is giant bags of vegetables and chicken.  I am so much less prone to buy a giant bag of junk food because it’s going to cost $15 and I’m going to have to eat a giant bag of it.  Those little bags of $4 treats at Trader Joes? DEADLY.  But a cart full of turkey sausage and apples and lettuce is just not as exciting to a food freak like me. I honestly believe that Trader Joes is really fattening, and so expensive, because you just can’t resist all the cute looking well packaged delicious gimmicks.  I try to stay out of there and stick to my boring Costco vegetables.

-I let myself eat whatever I want, but I try to make it vegetables when I can.  If I want to have some cheetos, I have some cheetos.  Life’s too short to never get to eat anything you want.  But if I can talk myself into a veggie hummus wrap at lunch time instead of a bean and cheese burrito, I try for that.

-I don’t eat fast food.  Ok. I love love love love McDonalds. I think a McDonalds french fry is one of the worlds’ most perfect things. But every single time I eat there, I am sick to my stomach afterwards for DAYS. It finally became not worth it, and I just try to have a few things around from Costco that I know I can throw in the oven if I am really not in the mood to cook.  And we go out to other places like sandwiches and sushi, but no McDonalds. Sob.

And I think that’s it! So there you go.  I am pretty sure I just made “Eat a Lot of Vegetables” into 2000 words, but what can you do? Long windedness. It’s one of my best talents.


18 Responses

  1. There is a huge difference between accepting fat as an appearance and accepting unhealthiness. I don’t think it’s hypocritical at all to promote being comfortable in your own skin, while trying to take steps toward a healthier you.

    And I can see a difference between the pictures. I might not if I wasn’t looking for it, but it’s definitely there.

  2. I feel like I’ve learned a lot of similar things. I think the difference for me has been yoga (I know you hate it!) because it’s shown me that even though I’m not the size 00 I was at age 19, my body can do cool shit, and being aware of my body every single day makes me want to put good things in it because it feels so good when I do that. And it is SLOW as molasses, but it happens.

    Great post. And you look awesome. As someone who spends time with you, I can see the difference in your body, but mostly, I see it in you. You seem happier and more confident and that is more important than any number on a scale or pair of pants.

  3. You really do look awesome! Good job. Weight lost slowly is likely weight that is lost permanently!

  4. I loved reading this so much.

    I feel as if I might be on the cusp of a similar evolution. Am I sad to no longer be a 6 or 8? Kinda. But I’m also starting to accept that at 36 and two children down, that might not be feasible without a shit ton of work. And I don’t WANT to count every calorie. I don’t WANT to work out 5 days a week.

    So while I’ve signed up for the Biggest Blogging Loser and hope to make my pants a tick less pinchy, mostly I’m so very happy that it has me back in the gym and wanting to just move more. That it has shown me that going to the gym at night after the kids are in bed isn’t so horrible or insurmountable.

  5. I see a difference! You are looking great. (Feeling great is even better.)

    Funny enough, I am on a similar non-diet–I don’t eat dairy (lactose intolerant), I don’t drink (excruciating stomach aches), I haven’t eaten fast food in about 20 years, I eat a shit-ton of vegetables, and I pour immoderate amounts of olive oil and avocados on my salads and vegetables.

    The one thing I cannot kick is sugar.(Cookies and chocolate zucchini bread.) I have tried many times to give it up, or even moderate my intake, and I always come back.

  6. I definitely see a difference, even in pictures, which are evil, so I’m sure in person it’s even more pronounced. (When can I see you in person? is what I’m getting at here.)

    Anyway, good for you to have found what works for you! I feel like I’ve spent a lifetime of calorie-counting and carb-limiting and god it’s exhausting, isn’t it?

    I’m doing Whole30 right now, which I am enjoying because it’s basically just Eat A Lot Of Vegetables. I definitely miss cheese (and wine!) and can’t imagine doing this forever, but it’s already given me perspective as far as just eating healthy. It doesn’t matter how much you’re eating, really, just eat healthy. So, I’m hoping that carries over once Whole30 is done. I feel like I’ve spent almost 30 years being entirely too focused on food and while I love food…I just don’t want to continue with the mind-fucking relationship it often has.

    I also don’t want to pass onto LG the food issues my mom passed on to me. I’d love for her to get to 30-years-old without really ever worrying about what she’s eating. Here’s hoping.

    I just wrote a long comment about food and eating. I think I still have issues.

  7. First, 20 lbs of loss is a BIG DEAL!! No matter how long it takes. When we got married, I was near my heaviest weight ever (um, until I had kids. AHEM.) and I decided after the wedding that I would lose weight (kinda wish I’d decided that BEFORE the big day, but whatever) I didn’t do a plan or a diet or whatever, I just counted calories and tracked my food, made a few small changes like you did, and slowly- about a year- i lost 25lbs. It made a huge impact on how I viewed food and I learned so much.

    Fast forward to losing baby weight Round 1, and I did Weight Watchers (before they jacked up the system with the new points plus crap) It worked great- I lost 20lbs in like 3 months. But you know what? I WAS HUNGRY A LOT. But, it worked and I was happy and back to my prebaby weight.

    Then after Audrey was born, I did the new WW with the new points system and HATED IT. I was even MORE starving and it didn’t even work for me. I don’t know why. I was bummed because I had been such a huge WW fan because of the last time but whatever they changed just didn’t work for me. boo. So last fall I started running to lose the last 15lbs and, like you, I had zero success. I was hungry constantly and I even gained some weight. I was in great shape! But my clothes didn’t fit anymore- they were all too small. WHAT. Then we decided to have another baby so I basically threw the whole weight loss plan out the window for now and I’m going to enjoy food for a while and revisit things next summer 😉 For now, I feast and will worry about it later! Healthy attitude, right? haaaa

    All of that to say: You look awesome and you are inspirational. Not just because you’ve lost weight but your attitude about it. Good work, lady 🙂

  8. Thank you so much for this…it made me cry. You look amazing and your attitude is so fabulous!

  9. We have a lot of parallels in our stories here, friend. I was nodding my head so much through this post!
    I love that part of what has gotten you here is coming to terms with the idea that you are okay no matter what size you are. I really think that is so important. SO IMPORTANT. Key, even. Because as long as people are mad at themselves for what they eat and how they look, the only option is to “go on diets” and keep up that awful cycle that sort of feeds into this ideal picture of beauty and, OMG that is super exhausting. Not to say you can’t want to improve your appearance, but that is totally different than looking at yourself in the mirror with disdain (and I have gone through phases of my life when I did that!)
    But in my experience (and what sounds like yours) there is a point when you realize “Hey, I’m pretty freaking awesome no matter what size my pants are” all of a sudden making small changes in what you eat because you want to feel better seem easy. Sensible even. I’m not going to say effortless, but maybe intuitive??? And oddly enough, it seems like weight loss seems to follow. I think that’s what “they” mean when they say change your lifestyle, not your diet. But no one seems to have written an instruction manual on how to do that that doesn’t sound like “Go on this diet” or “Eat this and not that.” But it’s so personal.
    Anyway…end ramble. Oh wait, just kidding — one last thing — running DOES make you more hungry (it’s science! but you don’t want me to explain it here but there are mechanisms!) I find it’s also an awesome stress reliever too, so hey — you take the good with the bad. But as far as it being a great weight loss tool, unless you are depriving yourself, or very good at ignoring your body’s hunger signals, it’s pretty hard to do.

    Oh and REALLY one last thing: YOU ROCK!

  10. Slow and steady is the way to go!

  11. No one should run to lose weight. I weigh WAY MORE because of running and being hungry than I did before, but I don’t care, because…I don’t care, and I love running. It keeps me happier, and I am willing to have the trade-off that I used to be thinner and not exercise.

    The no dairy thing makes me sad. I am experimenting with this b/c of stomach issues and it turns out that I eat a lot of cheese. Shocking.

  12. (Oh, and you look fabulous, but you know I think that already, right? Yeah.)

  13. You look great!!
    I am attempting to lose the weight I put on while I was inactive for six months and I count things (calories, minutes working out, pounds I can hold while doing triceps kickbacks) and I’m hungry and I work out all the time and I am losing weight, but it kind of sucks. I don’t think I can give up my artificial sugars, though. If you took away my Crystal Light, what would I drink?

  14. You look amazing! Isn’t it ridiculous how hard it is to give up things you love, even when you know it makes you feel like dirt?

  15. Yeah, I also had to cut out delicious things because they were making me feel so sick to my stomach all the time. Truly on the verge of a vomit. I stopped having wheat, dairy, sugar, and coffee. It ended up being easier than I thought it would be, although now that I’m 78 days into it, I am suddenly missing coffee really badly. I think it might be the cooler weather that’s making me want it so much. I know if I drink it, I’ll be doubled over in pain, though.

    Anyway, I’ve mostly lost 5 pounds in 78 days. Slowest weight loss ever. I feel way better, however. I think I am on a very similar plan to yours, although I do try to walk every day.

    I think you look lovely, and I thought this post was very interesting.

  16. I can totally see that 20 pounds have “disappeared” I love that you decided to love your self and look good in your clothes in spite if the size on the tag. I’m so struggling with loosing baby weight and fitting back into pre-pregnancy clothes but I might have to bite the bullet and buy new clothes in a bigger size. Thank you for sharing.

  17. This is great. I’m a big fan of doing what works for you, and that’s different for everyone. I think it’s always good to find out your “things.” My husband gave up dairy because it turned out it was messing with his sinuses. My sister gave up diet soda because she realized the aspartame makes her nauseated. I’ve worked hard at giving up things that I think I like, but I don’t really like. (Does that make sense? Like, I feel like I should like ice cream, but really I’m sort of indifferent.)

    Anyway, the point is- good for you. You look great, and you’re doing great!

    (And 20 lbs IS a lot. I have 20 lbs to go to get to my goal weight and it seems pretty impossible.)

  18. I agree with you on the diary thing too! I used to feel so ill when I ate diary to the point where I couldn’t keep eggs and rich cheeses and milkshake down (my favourite thing ever 😦 ) but I never thought of actually giving it all up. I loved cheese and greek yogurt. then I read it can trigger skin problems so decided to go for it. Bought rice milk and soya yogurt, researched different pasta sauces other than cheese. it did no miracles for my skin problems but I feel so amazing now that I’ve cut back. I’m still allowed a little milk chocolate once a month and I’m not scouring labels as I don’t care about traces. But I’ve almost completely cut out straight diary like eggs, milk and cheese and it feels great. I wish I could also give up grains and sugar but I really like chocolate and I live in asia. so I just balance it out by making sure to also snack on nuts, dried/fresh fruit etc. I think its important to enjoy what your eating,otherwise its easy to end up binging.

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