My answer

Welcome back! As I mentioned in my previous post, I have found a solution to the never ending weight dilemma. Now that may be a bit pompous and make me seem a bit full of myself and so sure of my answer, and let me tell you, I’m not. and I’m not perfect. My weight’s fluctuated and some days I’ve had a few more than just one glass of wine. But I’m growing and learning with each day I study nutrition and study human behavior, and I’ve been studying and learning since the 5th grade. I’m never sure of anything in my life and I’m constantly second guessing myself, but I’m sure of two things. My passion for nutrition and helping people and that there is a real solution to life’s weight battle.

Drum roll please……The solution is REALITY. Now, you’re probably a bit confused. What does reality have to do with diet success and long lasting exercise? Everything!  Extreme dieting, extreme exercising and mirroring exactly what’s in the latest diet book is like sitting at home telling yourself prince charming is going to knock on your door, amount his white stead, and save you from all of life’s woes. It’s a completely fantasized way to live. And fantasies are just that, fantasies, things that don’t happen in the real world. There’s that word again, real. I can’t stress how important that word is! Realism is what will determine if you will succeed or fail at your next weight loss attempt. What makes human beings so intrinsically fascinating is how different we are from the next person who sits beside us. Each of our bodies are built and designed just a little differently, so what works for your neighbor is not guaranteed to work for you. Just because Susie Q lost weight on Atkins does not at all dictate that you will to.  Our bodies are designed to work for us, not for anyone else, so why diet and exercise like someone else? I’ve found that we are all so desperate for a change, all so desperate to lose weight that we forget who we are, what’s best for our bodies, to follow in the steps of someone else. Which brings me back to the term reality. One of the most important things I’ve learned in my life is that life happens. Things come up that are completely out of our control. People we love die, leave us, we lose our job or get a new job, we move and we grow older. Things happen in our life that make it impossible to be anyone else but us. If you follow a diet and exercise regime made for you, made to maximize your body and your metabolism, you will still be able to follow it when life happens. and truthfully, no one is perfect. Even the most dedicated health nuts have a bad day and eat 4 pieces of cake. We’re human beings, we aren’t engineered for perfection. We’re engineered to make a few mistakes every now and then. Which is why following a realistic health plan is so imperative to personal success. We need to take in account that we will go out with our friends, eat bad food once in a while and gain a few pounds throughout the years. Because life is about living, not dieting. Make your diet work for you, not the other way around. Following a realistic plan made for you is the key to achieving weight loss that will last and exercise that won’t bore you. I know that the Atkins diet won’t work for me, for a number of reasons.

 I love carbs. I need carbs to survive. I know I don’t like meat and protein enough to be able to survive on it. I also know that sometimes, when I’ve had a bad day, I want to be able to eat a piece of cake. That’s my life and its how I know to live it.  I wouldn’t dare try to follow someone else’s regimes. It’s just not realistic for me.

So what’s realistic to me? Living my life, day by day, eating foods that are good for me and all around good, running when I’m stressed and crying when I’m sad, having a donut for breakfast and taking a salsa dancing class after work. A realistic diet plan for me isn’t even really a diet. It’s just my life. .

Now, don’t think I’m entirely carefree and un-regimented when it comes to my health. I have my nutrition anal tendencies. I’m a calorie-counting, fat gram weighing, nutrition label reading Nazi. If it doesn’t have a nutrition label, I won’t buy it. I google the nutritional facts after everything I eat in a restaurant and I get uneasy if I can’t mentally add and subtract the mathematics of my dinner. Now, I bet you are asking, how is that realistic? What about holidays, potluck dinners and surprise reservations for anniversaries? Which is a great question. It’s not! I know when and where to draw the line. And holidays, potluck dinners and anniversary dinners are just where i draw that line. I know my aunt’s green bean casserole doesn’t have a google page and I will never all the ingredients in grandmas “mystery” stuffing. Sure, not knowing drives me a little bonkers, but it doesn’t stop me from eating it. But it will stop me from having 3 helpings and having to unbutton my pants. My realistic health plan includes holiday dinners and birthday cake, because I know those are things that don’t happen everyday and represent more than just calories and fat grams. They represent life, and no amount of calories will keep me from living that.

So what’s the key to finding your success? Find what’s realistic to you. Know when to hold on tight to your health anal tendencies, and know when to loosen the grip. You’ll be surprised at just how much more you enjoy life while still staying in shape.

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~ by therealnutritionist on November 15, 2009.

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