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Dieting as a Foodie
Dieting as a Foodie Part 1

Over the years, I have seen the quote “Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels” in many different places. Refrigerator magnets, t-shirts, quote boards: all have held some variation of this quote.

The thing is, it’s simply not true! I have been skinny with a low body fat percentage at points in my life. And you know what tastes just as good as being thin felt? My mom’s cookies, Coldstone ice cream, ribs from Texas Roadhouse, homemade macaroni and cheese, and many other foods. I gain just as much satisfaction eating my favorite comfort foods as I ever have looking in the mirror and seeing a skinny face looking back.

Food has always been a source of joy for me in my life. I used to create my own restaurant when I babysat my younger siblings: Julia’s Jumble. I’d make them menus, let them choose full course meal options, and prepare and serve the food for them. It was so much fun! I made cookies and cakes and milkshakes all the time just because I loved baking and loved seeing my family enjoy the food I made.

Milkshakes like this one were a common part of my diet.

Milkshakes have always been a staple treat for me!

Now that I’m out on my own, I love going out with friends and laughing over a good meal or spending date night at a favorite restaurant. When I am frustrated with nearly every area of my life, I can make a delicious meal or treat and find happiness in both the preparation and in eating the food. It’s an area of my life I can control and also find fulfillment and enjoyment.

My family is much the same way. We all joke that the few times a year we get together, we plan the meals before anything else. Part of the reason for this is it really does take planning to feed all of the people in my growing family, but it’s also because we all really love food! We are a family of foodies, and I am probably the biggest foodie in the group.

So it may shock you all to know that I, a die-hard foodie and dessert junkie, recently started a diet. I know. I can hardly believe it myself. And I’m not going to lie to you and say that it’s been easy because the truth is it has not been easy. I miss my “feel better” treats at the end of a hard day, my ice cream taunts me every time I open my freezer, and I would kill for a chocolate muffin for breakfast one day this week.

What would possess someone who claims to love food as much as being skinny to diet, you may ask? Let me explain.

In middle school, I was a three-sport athlete. In high school, I did year-round weightlifting classes as well as track, soccer, and volleyball. Like a stereotypical teenager, I could put away copious amounts of food and had no qualms about doing so. Why would I? I worked out several times a day and saw no adverse effects from eating four pieces of cake with ice cream in one night or three plates of a pasta my mom made.

Those eating habits followed me into college. I had no feelings of guilt eating an entire cazookie myself or ordering a large chocolate shake anytime I bought one. Somehow, even though I wasn’t working out regularly anymore, I maintained my weight through my first three and a half years of college. I gained a few pounds my last semester, but I was super stressed about other things in life and a few pounds wasn’t all that noticeable anyway.

Girl looking in the mirror

Soon self-confidence started to decline.

Within the next year, I gained 30 more pounds. I was sitting at a desk working all day instead of walking around campus and had access to free soda, which became an increasing health risk the longer I worked there. Because I was so tired from work and online classes, I ruined my budget and my health by eating out several times a week instead of making dinner at home. I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, and however much I wanted regardless of whether or not I was really hungry.   

The result? I had to buy a whole new wardrobe because none of my clothes fit me anymore. I couldn’t go for a run with my boyfriend without tiring out much faster than him, and I couldn’t play a pickup game of basketball or soccer without frequent subbing. I didn’t feel as pretty as I used to and just felt exhausted all the time. About a month ago, I finally weighed myself again and forced myself to face some hard facts. Not only had I gained some weight, I’d lost some muscle, some self-confidence and had a distinctly lower quality of life. Something had to change.

So I sat down and thought about what I needed to change. First, I decided I needed to start working out regularly again. It was not enough for me to get 5,000 steps or less throughout the day and run once or twice a week. For me, that meant going to the gym. I have been to the gym every weekday and some Saturdays since resolving to go back.

Going to the gym consistently is important.

Consistency is important because as soon as I give myself an out for a day, it quickly turns into an out for a week and then a month and so on. It’s not easy. There are days where I have to drag myself out of bed and get to the gym a few minutes later than I had planned on. But I still get there and get my workout in to start the day.

Working out is not enough on its own. I would not get back to a healthier weight solely through exercise. I had to consider what I was eating for the first time in my life, and it wasn’t the prettiest reflection. So the next logical step was trying to figure out a diet plan. I decided to just try cutting back my calories. I continued to eat the same type of foods, but just cut down the number of calories I was eating pretty drastically.

I decided to try to lose one pound a week and adjusted my calorie intake to meet that goal. This translated to me skipping breakfast every day, eating a small lunch, and eating a normal dinner but never dessert. I was still really tired and spent most of the day hungry, especially if I worked out in the morning. However, I will say that it did work. Just by reducing my calories and using the elliptical for half an hour a day, I lost about a pound a week. But I was fluctuating a lot (not consistently keeping it off) and I didn’t feel any better.

That’s when I sat down and spoke with Dez McQueen who owns Think Fit Lifestyle.

 

This new diet has different foods than I'm used to, but I'm feeling much better!

She explained to me that what you eat is more important than how much you work out and that the types of food you eat need to be considered, too. If I’m being honest, I learned more about healthy eating and exercising to lose weight in just one session with her than I have learned in my whole life. She helped me design a meal plan that is customized to my lifestyle and my goals.

Not only is she helping me learn how to lose the weight but how to maintain my weight/body fat percentage once I’ve achieved my goals. I was a little wary of the meal plan she gave me because it’s extremely different than my normal eating habits in really every way: portions, types of food, and the times I am supposed to eat. It all varies from the way I have been eating for years.

Healthy meals for my new diet

The foods I’m eating are different from my old det, but I’m feeling great!

But I’ll tell you that in the week I’ve been using the meal/exercise plan she made me, I’ve already noticed a difference. I’m not as hungry throughout the day or even at night when I’m used to eating a large dinner. I feel more alert during the day, less emotional, and more energized despite the soreness in my muscles from working out. I’ve lost weight, and I’m confident I’ll be able to keep it off due to the slight toning I already see in my muscles. Chocolate cake might taste just as good as being thin feels, but I’m starting to think it might not taste quite as good as living healthy feels.

I invite you to join me on my journey to a healthier me! I’ll soon be posting tips and tricks that have worked for me getting started, diet ideas, and exercise plans. Hopefully I’ll also be able to tell you in a few months that I have reached my goal! For now, I’m just taking it a week at a time. Hope to see you all back here again soon for my Tips and Tricks!

Disclaimer: I do not get any referral bonus or reward for mentioning Thinkfit Lifestyle. However, I would still recommend you check out her website and give Dez a try! I have personally seen many of her clients progress over the last few months, and I can confidently say she knows how best to help all kinds of people, ages, and body shapes. She does in-person appointments for Utah clients but also does Skype appointments for her clients out of the state. Dez helps with meal and exercise plans for people wanting to lose weight, gain muscle, eat healthier and more. Here is her website again: thinkfitllc.com

-MaLee

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