When asked about my weight loss, most people ask the same question. ‘How have you managed to keep it off?’
It sure seems a lot easier for some than for others. I know of people who were able to let go of most every bad habit they had when they were heavy and never look back. Talk about transformation! Then there are others who, like me, fight a daily battle trying to keep their weight at a healthy level.
I actually ended up stumbling upon a combination of tips that worked for me which helped shed my weight. One of those things was focusing a lot of energy on calories. I’d hit the grocery store isles looking at nutritional values of every food I could think of and read about how big the serving sizes were in comparison to the number of calories per serving. If I wasn’t comfortable with the calorie to portion ratio, I’d set the item back onto the shelf and keep moving. If I had to choose between two foods in the same category, it was a no-brainer: the one with the least amount of calories and bigger portion size ended up in my cart. Eating this way worked (and still works) for me. It’s not that I can’t indulge. I most certainly can, and do. But overall, I still look at my food somewhat differently than the people I talk to.
I still browse weight loss forums and always seem to find two groups of people who are dieting. Group One always seems to focus more on the food, with calories being second in priority. They rarely compromise when it comes to their food, either. They eat for the taste not the calories; they just compensate by eating less. They are good at moderating, too.
Group Two looks like the camp to which I seem to belong: they look at calorie count and serving size. When presented with two options, they almost always pick the food that has the fewest calories and the biggest portion. They focus more on eating for fuel than feeling satisfied, and like the feeling of fullness when walking away from the table.
Group One people have a hard time understanding why anyone would sacrifice taste in order to feel full. When I tried to explain why I was a Group Two camper, one woman asked, ‘but let’s say that you could choose between two bowls of popcorn that had the same calorie count. One bowl had 5 cups to a serving, but it tasted fairly bland. In the other bowl however, the serving size was only 1 1/2 cups but, it was yummy and buttery and totally satisfying. Are you telling me that you would rather go with the cardboard-tasting popcorn than the buttery, flavorful popcorn just because you could eat more?’
What can I say? If I were dieting with a goal to lose a certain amount of weight - Yes, I would. I have. When I told her this, she could not wrap her head around that concept. At all.
Her response was, ‘Eating that way to me, just makes it seem like you’re punishing yourself.’ I told her I didn’t feel that way at all. I simply got used to a certain way of eating and after a while, became used to the way my food tasted. I tried to explain to her that while she got satisfaction from eating food that exploded with flavor, I got satisfaction from the freedom of knowing that I wouldn’t be left yearning for more when I was done. I could eat until I was full. She still didn’t get my point but that was okay, because honestly – I couldn’t really understand where she was coming from, either. I mean, how can a person stop at one and a half cups of buttered popcorn? I’d just be getting started.
I should point out here that this method doesn’t come without its faults. Sometimes when I have a big craving, I’ll try my method of substituting and end up completely unsatisfied. Then I’ll roam around the kitchen trying to find the one ‘healthy, low-cal’ item that I hope will curb that craving. Before I know it, I’ve eaten more calories than I would have if I’d just eaten what I really wanted in the first place. I’ve learned that during those times it’s best to just eat the piece of cake or baked potato with real sour cream and butter and be done with it.
This just goes to show that it is so true what they say about not comparing yourself to other dieters. There is no perfect method; what works for one person may be completely and totally wrong for you. And if you’re unhappy with the results you’re having on your diet, try something different. You’ll eventually find what works for you and the result will be as remarkably unique as you are.
Am I standing alone in camp Number Two? Have any of you eaten this way? What group do you fall into?