Tuesday, June 24, 2014

One year later...

It struck me the other day that it's already almost July.  Like where did the late spring/early summer go?  I blinked and missed it.

But it's almost July, and I realized that it's almost a year now since I started Weight Watchers.  And I'm only just over halfway to my goal loss of 40lbs.

I started thinking about everything that has happened in the past year as far as my diet is concerned.

Last July, I made a commitment to work out every single day - and I think I only missed one day.  I was also borderline psychotic about tracking my food and my calories/fat/sugar/etc intake.  By September I had decided to start 'eating clean'.  I found some happiness and success in that.

And I realized, that was the last time I found happiness and success in what I was eating.

Let's face it - Paleo was fun and all.  And it was helpful in that I dropped 10 lbs.  But sticking to it has been damn near impossible.

For one thing, to truly be Paleo, I needed to be spending a lot more time in the kitchen.  Time that, quite frankly, I didn't have before I started my Paleo journey.  Also, I don't like nearly enough of a variety of proteins or vegetables to sustain me as a Paleo follower for a long period of time.  Not having any variety in my diet means that I end up cheating.  When you eat the same stuff (chicken, pork chops, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, etc) over and over and over again, you get bored very quickly, and suddenly cheesesteaks sound good for dinner.

So for a while now I've been "claiming" that I'm "Paleo" "most of the time" but that I "allow myself cheat meals".  Unfortunately what that grew into was the cheat meals were what was putting the variety into my diet.  And after a while I just started feeling icky again.  Sick of my bad food choices and tired of not being in the gym (still being repaired). 

Granted, Paleo led me to try plenty of new foods. Foods I never would have ever tried otherwise (cauliflower, anyone?)... but something kept nagging at the back of my head, preventing me from falling head-over heels in love with new vegetables and stuff: I don't need to be Paleo. There is no medical or dietary reason for me to subscribe to the Paleo diet.  There is no reason that I can't have brown rice.  Or cous cous.  Or white potatoes.  Or organic whole wheat bread.  Or peanuts, for Pete's sake.  I got tired of looking at foods and thinking "I can't have that unless I cheat".  I got tired of denying myself of food items that are otherwise perfectly healthy in moderation, for fear of failing, or not being 100% Paleo.  I got tired of trying to identify myself with any group of dieters - including Weight Watchers.

So enough's enough.  I'm done with restricting myself.  I'm done with trying to identify as one type of dieter or another.  I just want to get back to basics.  For me, that started with clean eating.

Eating clean, I think, for me, is the best path forward.  I adopted some habits when I started clean eating that I still keep to this day - shopping the perimeter of the store; making my own versions of processed foods, like mayonnaise; reading labels and eating more whole foods.  But going Paleo took just enough variety out of my diet that it sent me chasing cheats far more often than I did as a 'clean eater'.

I think this will also be my last session of Weight Watchers.  I feel as though I'm obsessing too much about food.  I don't want to live my life like this anymore.  It actually adds another layer of exhaustion to my life that I just don't have the time or energy for.  What I really want to focus on is eating real, whole foods, and exercising.  I don't want to obsess anymore about how much I'm eating or how many points it is or how many calories it is or whether or not it's Paleo.  I just want to eat real food that I love to eat, regardless of its adherence to one diet plan or another.

(Except for pasta, though.  I learned my lesson with pasta.  Pasta is not for me.  I will miss it dearly, but honestly I don't even want to cheat with it anymore.  I might try orzo again, but even my most favorite, healthy dish of angel hair with garlic and parsley is off the menu, pretty much for good.  Sayonara pasta!)

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