Here’s the thing about diets; in this day and age almost everyone you will meet has been on one in one way, shape, or form at some point in their lives. It could be that they wanted to shave off a few pounds to look good for an event, or fit into their favorite jeans. They could have had a baby and want to help their body recover.
Their diet could be health related rather than weight related. They could have developed an allergy and now need a diet free of peanuts, or cheese. They could be fighting high blood pressure or diabetes.
There are a million reasons for someone to go on a diet. and everyone brings their own experience to your efforts.
The thing is that most diets (allergy and medical aside) are short term things. I started my weight loss journey weighing in at 246 lbs. My goal was to get down to 123 lbs. I chose this partially because my doctor said my ideal weight was around 120-130. I chose 123 partially because it was an easy number to remember and partially because I liked the thought of losing half of my body weight.
Well, liked is probably the wrong term.
I was intrigued by the concept lets say.
And it sounded like more of a concrete goal than the generic ‘I need to lose some weight’. I’ve tried that before and it didn’t get me anywhere. And for everyone out there thinking 123 lbs might be a stretch for me, while I am taking it as my goal, I am not welded to that number.
I needed a focus, but to be honest I have a hard time remembering what I looked like at that weight, so I could very easily get to 130 or push past to 120 and say ‘yup that is a healthy looking weight on me,’ but I won’t know that for a while because I am inching along the weight loss trail, not speeding.
That means I’ve accepted that it is going to take a while.
Occasionally, other people don’t seem to recall that regardless of what I’ve told them.
Because I’m not dropping weight fast, when I choose a healthy option or pass on a sugary treat, I have gotten comments like, ‘Oh are you still doing that?’ or ‘I thought it was a summer thing.’
And yeah, those comments sting.
Last night a friend brought a chocolate cake to a writing group I was working with. When I didn’t initially take a piece she told me, ‘But you have been so good, surely you can break your diet just this once.’
I should also tell you that she is a yo-yo dieter, very fond of celebrity diets, especially the extreme ones, and a life long chocoholic. She also seemed almost desperate for me to have a piece which I kind of took as a sign that she fell off her very strict temporary diet.
So I took a piece.
It was store bought, dry and I only ate about half, but she seemed relieved so I’m calling it worth it. While dieting has forced me to focus more on myself, I am not completely unaware of those around me and I know that cake had little to do with me.
Also as I was leaving she gave me the above pictured candybar for my next ‘cheat day’. She keeps a stack of them and was disappointed in the cake as well, so I think she thought I would still want some good chocolate.
The thing is, when going on a long term diet, the word diet is really not the correct term. I am altering my habits. I don’t habitually overload my plate. I watch my portion sizes and routinely incorporate more activity into my day whenever possible. Overall, I try to make better choices. I don’t always succeed, but I try and I am inching along.
But the term ‘lifestyle change’ tends to imply that you have developed a medical condition.
Or joined a cult.
Admittedly when most of my friends are faced with the choice they seem to believe I started the cult and are miffed I didn’t ask them to join. But that’s another kettle of fish.
After about a year of trying to get healthy most people seem to think I should be done or should be ready for a break. And they are happy to provide one. Usually in the form of something highly caloric that I really don’t want.
My current food fantasies run towards an excess of wine, bread and cheese. While I do consume all three on occasion, I only do so in moderation these days. When fantasy takes over I mentally grab a loaf, a bottle and a giant wheel of cheese I have to roll beside me as I gleefully skip out of town and into what looks like a stage set for the Sound of Music.
Those generally aren’t’ the things I’m offered. Doughnuts and chocolate top the list and I’ve never really been a sweets person.
I don’t think anyone means these treats to be malicious. It is not the Doughnut of Doom or the Cake of Destruction (I hear that one echoing in my brain as I say it kind of like a monster truck rally commercial). Some I think are really trying to be nice and provide me the treat they think I should have as a well meaning break from my self-imposed restrictions because they remember what it was like when they were on a diet.
Others might be dealing with their own issues and my efforts are incidental to their actions.
I’m sure some are being mean. You can tell by the look in their eyes. Those people you smile at and you mentally mark down for future reference. Later you have a good think about how much time you want to spend around them in the future.
But for the most part, people mean well.
It’s hard to remember at times and the longer my diet continues, the more often people seem to feel I need a break, so the more often I have to repeat those three words.
People mean well.
I can sort of identify the situations where it might come up and have started amending my calorie intake either prior or post to try and make up for it. I maintain polite behavior and don’t get myself too far off track.
If you have well meaning friends and family, I hope you can smile through it, shake it off without letting it derail you and just remember…
People mean well.
And now for the reminder of the Smashwords Annual Read an E-book Week Sale. I know I’ve mentioned it in every post, just remember it is Wednesday so only two more days of reminders. and I’ll keep it short. My books are all 50% off during the sale with some of them even being free. You can click the link HERE or go to the main Smashwords site to see the works of many other fabulous authors, also on sale this week. happy reading.