I’ve always harbored jealousy for those people who set out to lose weight and just chug along until they reach their goal. These are the people I read about in fitness magazines who grew up eating Italian food but never got fat because they played soccer, gained weight in college, started walking on the treadmill, and voilà – they reached their goal weight and now they run marathons on the regular. Or maybe they were fat their whole lives and then discovered [insert structured diet program here] and lost the weight that way. Either way, that’s great for those people…but I’m not one of them.
Weight loss has been a long, arduous process. You know, if I’m being honest. I’ve gone from chubby to chubbier to overweight to obese to chubby to thin to obese to thin to chubby…you know where I’m going with this. For the last two years I’ve been clawing, sweating, and starving my way desperately to my goal weight of 130ish lbs – and yet a few months ago, I found myself further away than when I started.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve started looking at many of the diet and fitness ‘rules’ that are out there with a critical eye, and stopped buying into philosophies that didn’t jive with my body or my mind, as far as weight loss is concerned.
Peeps, I’ve rebelled! I’ve looked at the rules that everyone shoves down your throat when you’re losing weight about what will make the “pounds drop off” in time for bikini season, and I’ve laughed in their faces (I’m aware rules don’t have faces). It hasn’t been a glamorous process, but I’ve found what works for me. Obviously, if you’re trying to lose weight,you need to find what works for you. The fundamentals of weight loss might apply across the board (Eat less! Move more!) but there will always be bits and pieces that don’t apply to you, and you need to honor your body and accept those exceptions.
In the spirit of this pseudo-revelation, I’ve decided to start writing bits and pieces about the weight loss rules that I’ve broken in the last few months. I was terrified to break ‘the rules,’ but I started reading blogs by those who have done the same with great success, and threw caution to the wind. I encourage you to do the same if what you’re doing just isn’t working for you anymore.
Weight Loss Rule #1: Eat Breakfast
I’ve always been a breakfast eaten. Even when my mom thought food was Satan and tried to get me to lose weight, I was always forced to eat breakfast before I went to school. I carried this habit with me through University and into the beginning of my working life – and then I realized that some days, I’m not hungry at breakfast time. What’s more, often once I eat breakfast, I’m ravenous for the rest of the day.
A few months ago, I posted that I was playing around with intermittent fasting (IF). While I was following intermittent fasting, I would eat my dinner and then not eat again until 1:00pm the following day. While IF worked in terms of making me feel like I could eat whatever I wanted, I actually came to really miss eating breakfast. Since I work out in the morning, eating my breakfast is something I really look forward to, and I felt like I was missing that while following IF.
But wait – you’re probably wondering why I’m talking about loving breakfast when I’m supposed to be breaking the ‘must eat breakfast’ rule. I hear you. Ultimately I decided that IF wasn’t for me as a long-term weight loss strategy. It did teach me that I won’t die if I don’t eat breakfast, and if I’m not hungry, I don’t have to eat just because it’s breakfast time and my food is sitting in front of me. Sure, some days I’m starving and I wolf down my breakfast at 8:15 when I get to my desk. But there are other days – like today – where my appetite is just not there and I don’t eat anything until 11am.
Bottom line? Listen to your body. If it’s hungry and you aren’t wanting to eat, it will pass (for real!). If it’s hungry and you feel like you need to eat (say you just worked out and haven’t eaten all night), then eat! See how you feel. I know this seems really obvious and intuitive but I know many many people who eat breakfast out of a sense of obligation, when in reality they aren’t hungry in the least.
We’re constantly bombarded with information telling us to listen to our hunger signals. Well no shit. If we were all able to do that, none of us would be overweight. I’ve found that it’s easiest to set the hunger-driven eating wheels in motion if I start first thing in the morning. Feeding my body when it truly wants food has made me feel more in control of my weight loss, and I’ve seen my weight drop consistently since I started eating in the morning when hungry and holding off when I’m not.
Simple, but true. Break this rule and let me know how you feel!