I started trim healthy mama for the wrong reasons. I did. And I failed miserably.
I wanted to lose weight. I said I had all these other reasons like "being healthy" (whatever that means), and feeling better, but really when I got down to it, I wanted to lose weight. That's not even a bad goal, But when it was my main motivation, I realize now that it may have been part of the reason I didn't succeed long term the first time.
1. If didn't lost the right amount of weight in the right amount of time I got discouraged and wanted to give up.
2. Because my main focus was weight loss, I did the bare minimum to get by and didn't really cook stuff. I ate cheese and lunch meat almost everyday for lunch, and wanted it to be as easy as possible. I didn't want to spend time cooking hard stuff. I wanted it to be easy and fast.
3. I did lose weight, almost 20 pounds in a month!!! But once I did that...my motivation started to go down considerably. Since I had sort of reached my goal of loosing weight, I then plateaued and slowly started to eat whatever I wanted until I had basically gained all the weight back. Time and time again, not matter what plan people are on, it seems like if we are really honest and weight loss is the goal, when we reach it, that drive disappears. We did it. Case closed. And so it goes round and round gaining and loosing over and over until we die. I don't want to live that way. Eating in total freedom with no self-control until I start to blimp out and go crazy with some diet trying to get back to where I was. I want to thrive and KEEP thriving. But how?
I am almost 6 months pregnant, and let me tell you, "eating for two" is starting to take it's toll. Not just in the weight gain, but the way I feel. I get embarrassed when people talk about having heartburn in the last few months when I have it almost every other day. Tumbs is already my BFF, and my energy levels are unpredictable. I know that some of these are just how pregnancy goes for some, but to the extent that I can feed my growing baby good things and take care of my body, I want to do that. I want to have energy to enjoy being pregnant!
I am about to become a stay at home mom at 30, and for the first time in my life I will basically be "stuck" at home a lot of the time (which I couldn't be more excited about). Our budget will get tighter, and I will need to become even more economical with how we spend money on food. Soooooo...all those things put together along with conviction from the Holy Spirit to daily take care of my spiritual life and physical body, and you have my decision to try this thing again...for real. This time, it will be a little different though. Since I would like to do this thing long term and not view it as a diet at all but a way of life (which is the point I think), I will need to make some changes to make room for REAL LIFE.
This is what I plan to do differently this time (which may be counter to what the sisters would say they would suggest that you do, but from my life and experience so far, is what I think will ACTUALLY work for me. Throw the ball where I can hit it type-thing.
1. Be realistic
For everyone this looks different but for me it will look like alternating between home-cooked meals once or twice a week, and some leftovers plus easy go-to stuff the rest of the week that is "mainly" on plan. Since my goal is not just to lose weight, having few, small amounts of carbs every week is not going to kill me. In fact, Saying that I will never again have real spaghetti noodles is just absurd...at least for me.
Example "REAL LIFE" day:
Breakfast: Eggs/ coffee(should have eaten more- note all the snacks I have to get me thorough the day)
Lunch: Dumplings (just ate insides) with regular sweet chili sauce and green beans (again not really enough food)
Snack: hunk of cheese
Snack: Celery and peanut butter
Dinner: Store-bought garlic chicken w veggies and gasp....noodles.
Late night snack: Half of a full on omelet (result of not eating enough for meals)
So that is far from a perfect day, and yes, I ate regular noodles with my dinner and had an omelet with cheese and bacon right before bed. And for those of you who are asking the question in your head...I lost 1.5 pounds that day. I know bodies are different, but every time I was hungry...I ATE. Actually two of the three meals were things I bought from the store. I ate some real noodles and still lost weight. Not a ton of noodles, and I tried to mostly eat veggies and chicken, but I would have gone crazy trying to find something on plan. This was REAL LIFE THM day. I ate mostly on plan, and actually ate when I when I was hungry. Although this is especially important during pregnancy when you are feeding a growing baby, I think it is also extremely important to do all the time. If you feel like you are starving...whatever plan you are doing is doomed to fail. We were not meant to starve.
2. ENJOY it!
What do I mean by this? You know how when you bake cookies and you really just have fun with the whole process? You turn on some music, throw some flour, and taste the batter? There is joy in just making them and looking forward to the result. I have always really liked the IDEA of baking an cooking, but for various reasons have never really done them a whole lot (with exception of desserts...I am a boss at desserts). With our family growing and budget changing, I have new found motivation to not only save money by doing this, but turning it into a hobby that challenges my mind, and gives me new built in hobby for being a stay at home mom! I want to find my inner-chef and start to actually enjoy being in the kitchen and feeding my family instead of viewing it as a chore and hurdle to loosing weight. The goal is to ENJOY and look forward to doing something I already know I need to do. The only way I will enjoy it is I find recipes that look fun to make. Instead of feeling like I have nothing to eat and eventually giving up because I eat the same thing all the time, with a little planning and creativity, I can not only save money AND eat healthy, but I can have an amazing and fun way to spend my time and energy that has endless benefits. Notice I didn't mention the scale or my body as the goal here.
3. Prepare for potential discouragement traps
Inevitably, there will be things that come up that could be and have been in the past factors in falling off the wagon and giving up. My goal is to plan ahead for these to happen and have the solution already in place. Some of those might be:
- Not seeing the change in my body I want to see. Do I have realistic expectations? Am I placing my worth on how I look or what Christ says about who I am- this is probably also directly related to how much time I am spending meditation on scripture and what influences I am letting influence my heart and mind.
- Not having anything to eat and reaching for the chips. Plan ahead and have meals thought out or at least go to snacks until a meal is prepared. When pregnant, HANGRY sets in pretty quickly, and if I can munch on a handful of nuts, that usually gives me enough sanity to think through the next meal. Ideally I would have already thought through dinner, but y'all...life happens.
- Not have healthy snacks on the go and not thinking ahead when I go out to eat. Put some snacks in the car to eat on the go or on the way to eating out. For me taking the edge off my hunger helps me to make a better menu choice and skipping the chips on the table. Depending on how often one goes out to eat, this can become VERY important.
- Getting bored with eating the same things all the time and feeling that my taste buds are slowly dying away never to see the light of day again. The first time I did THM, I kid you not I was depressed thinking about eating...you know how you look forward to a really good meal...it was the complete opposite of that. Eating had become a means to an end and I was letting all joy to be sucked from my plate. This got a little better as I stopped craving sugar and carbs, but I never really enjoyed eating unless it was THM pancakes or french toast (that should have clued me in right there). I needed to actually get off my butt and make something I like instead of accepting the zombie-like state of eating yet another bowl of cottage cheese, and going through the motions of eating but never putting in the energy into actually finding and making things that I liked to eat and would keep eating forever. This especially applies to sweet things. Because we NEED sweet things. :)
- Assuming that my husband has no interest in eating healthy or encouraging me. I'm not sure why I made this assumption, but I just thought that my husband would think everything I was eating was gross and to not even try to get him on board. Now we are still having a hard time with the sugar-free thing and I may never completely win that battle, but I will be darned if I don't at least try to find some things that he enjoys. Long term if I can't feed my family the same stuff I'm cooking, that is also doomed to fail. Making two meals for every one is just not going to happen. I think this has yet to happen because I have not yet actually cooked enough to find the recipes I like and get good at them.
- Experimental cooking FAILURES. Part of the discouragement came from the experiment phase when I would try things and they wouldn't be very good. What I failed to remind myself was that there would be just as many cooking failures regardless if I was cooking healthy or not! Finding the perfect recipes just takes TIME! And failure. Sometimes complete and total failure. Like when you buy all the fancy flours, and after tons of work end up with extremely expensive, unbelievably nasty, alien looking "muffins" that look like they belong in the toilet, it's not a surprise I wanted to give up.
- Getting back on track after I totally TOTALLY go off plan. This happened to me a lot. I would have a lapse in self-control and eat three donuts thinking that was freedom. The cool thing about this is that if I am viewing this as a lifelong thing, three donuts won't kill me every few months, and if I'm actually mostly of following the plan (especially with sugar), they will probably make me feel sick (i cheated the entire day I was at Disneyland, and upon ordering the LARGE powdered sugar- covered french donuts and attempting to eat them all, I did feel sick). If this is the exception and not the norm, it will feel out of place to eat tons of pizza or tons of donuts. The problem comes when I don't have enough self-control to let it be the exception. For me, that's why actually cutting out sugar for the most part was really hard but maybe the most important for me. More on this in a later post.
- Trying to do this alone. Just like anything in our life, we kid ourselves if we think we can do anything on our own. First of all, it is God who supplies all our needs. He did not give us a spirit of fear (in the kitchen, on the scale, or otherwise). He gave us a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline (this deserves a post all on its own). Using the time I am cooking to pray and meditate on His word is a gift that I rarely open. I also need people! I think I often just think of the body of Christ as sharpening my in my walk with Him spiritually, but who better than to hold me accountable physically that people who are walking closely with God. Those people will be reminding me who I am in Christ, what my true motivation should be, help me when I fall. This is part of doing life together, and I really think there are so many people who just silently try to do this alone. No more.
So...here I am, back at the beginning again. This time around though, I think it really is a very good place to start.