When I was a kid, I was a string bean. I could eat anything and never gained a pound. The only “diet” I practiced at this time was drinking malts before I went to bed to try to gain a few pounds.
When I began my first sit-down job, at age 18, the pounds began to add on. At this time, I would eat two Big Macs, a large order of fries, a soda, and an apple pie. McDonald’s was right down the street from where I worked and this became my regular lunch. I reached a moderate weight for my height and size and didn’t think about dieting until much later.
There was one exception. When I got pregnant at age 39, the doctor informed me that he wanted me to go through some blood sugar tests to see if I had Gestational Diabetes. I did and the doctor proceeded to explain to me that this condition could cause my unborn child to have many serious conditions. He said the baby would grow too fast and could retain unhealthy fat cells for a lifetime. I went to see a nutritionist and she had me write down everything I ate in a day for a one-week period. She said that instead of diet bread for my toast in the morning, I should eat the yummiest multi-grain bread I could find. No more orange juice but half an orange instead. She said the fiber and natural sugar would be much better for me and my baby.
Other rules for my diet were:
6 small meals a day
No refined sugar
No fat in food for its’ preparation after 3:00 PM
Eliminate all sugary drinks
At least 8 full glasses of water per day
These were the main items on my diet.
Following these rules, I dropped weight each month while my baby grew. When he was born, he was long and healthy. The pediatrician said he would always be a healthy weight.
It was so easy to watch what I ate for him, but after he was born and I finished nursing, my incentive was not as strong. When I found out I was pregnant, I weighed 150 pounds. When I delivered Matt, I weighed 156. When I went home from the hospital, I weighed 129. He weighed 7 ½ pounds and I felt great.
I kept the weight off for the first five years of his life and then I began to relax and enjoy my husband’s outstanding cooking. I slowly stopped paying attention to what I ate.
When I went through menopause, my weight went off the charts. I developed belly fat and couldn’t seem to take it off. I tried using a smaller plate unsuccessfully. Next, I tried eating only things that I loved. This made me feel less deprived but didn’t help me lose weight.
The reality is, I love to eat. I don’t love to diet. Tell me I can’t eat something and I want more of it. When I finally decided to stop dieting, start enjoying my food, and paying attention to quantities I began to see some success. I have always had times when I would eat large amounts of food. For the most part, I have been able to control my present weight by cutting down on the amount I eat.
Over the years, I have tried a few diets. I tried Keto, Dr. Atkins and the Mediterranean Diet. The reality is, I hate diets. I’ve finally decided to eat in moderation, eat what I love, and quit trying so hard. Dieting makes me crabby. Too many rules drive me to cheat and I find myself rebelling against them.
I have learned that the older I get, the less food I need to consume. I’ve come to realize that I need to accept myself as I am. Looking back to earlier days, I always thought I was too heavy, even when I wasn’t. What’s the old expression? We should eat to live not live to eat. Excellent words to live by.
Today, I am no longer a string bean and that’s OK with me.