I think the biggest help for me in my never-ending quest to be a healthier person has been a simple mental shift. Choosing to be a different type of person. A healthier person. It’s the difference between being on a diet and not. When I have dieted in the past, the simple act of calling it “a diet” implies that it’s temporary. That it’s something I’m doing right now that I don’t want to do forever, and that once I’ve reached a goal (a certain weight), then I’ll be able to stop doing it.
So a diet is temporary. Is it any wonder, then, that once that diet’s over I always went back to the lifestyle that led me to the need to diet in the first place? I thought of myself as a person who likes to eat and enjoy all manners of sugary sweetness. When I’d go to a restaurant, I’d order the big meals, because I was a Hungry Person. I’d get the largest drink. The biggest fry. And when I ate at home, I’d take big portions.
The last time I was “overweight” was April 7, 2016. (It’s easy to tell, since I log my weight every day, and that’s the last time I was over 196.) That means I haven’t just dieted and gotten to a goal weight. I’ve maintained that weight for well over a year. Through holiday celebrations, conferences, stressful times, and more. I was 187.4 this morning. I went up some while I was stress eating in Utah, and I imagine I’ll go up some again when I go on vacation next week. But I believe what’s keeping me around where I want to be is the fact that I’ve changed what my baseline is.
Sure, I go and break my healthy rules while I’m away from home, but when I come back, I’m right back into it. Oatmeal in the morning. A banana at 11. Peanut butter sandwich at noon. I try to remind myself when I’m out and about that I don’t need the biggest meal anymore. It’s hard, though. I’ve got decades of habit I’m trying to overcome, and it’s not like I go out to eat that often, so I don’t have much experience with the healthy ordering thing. But I’m trying.
Still, if I were to suggest to someone how to successfully keep off weight, this would be my main takeaway. I don’t feel like I’ve changed the core person of who I am, but the old person who didn’t exercise and liked to overeat every day?
That person doesn’t exist anymore.
I guess it’s kind of like a reverse Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker thing. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.