From skwigg's journal:
I'm sort of living the dream with the muscles, the baking, the food peace, the lack of a gym membership. I don't know if obsessive dieter overexerciser me could have imagined it. This afternoon I listened to Georgie's interview on the On Air with Ella podcast. It was really good. One of the things Georgie said that stuck with me is that for something to be sustainable it has to work on a bad day. If your approach requires major thought and effort, specific foods, long workouts, and no room for error, it's going to implode the moment things get rough.
I also saw a discussion in the Lean Habits Facebook group about if it's necessary to do something different or more extreme to lose the last 5 pounds or to maintain a very lean body. Georgie and Roland said the difference is practicing the habits with a high rate of consistency like (95%) and keeping treat numbers low. Ok, I did LOL just a little bit at the last part because I melt chocolate on everything, but I understand the point. Relatively low. Low compared to what it would take to maintain an overweight me. Looking at it that way, I definitely eat "low" treat numbers compared to when I was 20 pounds heavier and binge eating. I enjoy my treats more though, so it doesn't feel like a sacrifice. It feels pretty abundant, which is maybe why I don't experience that restriction-driven need to overeat sweets.
Let's talk about the giant Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies I made this afternoon (pics on Instagram and in the baking thread). It's interesting how my brain works now. I had these big amazing cookies hot from the oven lined up on cooling racks all over the kitchen. I didn't eat any when they were warm because I wanted to be hungry for my dinner. My plan was to have one after I ate. I went a little light on dinner (taco night!) making sure not to get carried away with the grated cheese or chips & salsa. After eating and cleaning up the dishes, my husband and I split one cookie. The thought was to see if that was enough. Maybe we'd be too full and wouldn't want more. We both ate kind of slowly, breaking them into pieces and really savoring. Then we locked eyes, jumped from the couch, and ran to the kitchen for another one, which we also split. I'd now consumed one big cookie after dinner like a reasonable person. I wasn't hungry anymore and wasn't too full. I was just right, but I still had to put the cookies away and pack up some to go to work with him tomorrow.
Now, at this point my brain fireworks were going off in a big way. These cookies were really, really good! I wanted MORE!! RIGHT NOW!! I decided to set one aside for myself while I found the plastic wrap and washed the cooling racks and whatnot. It took a few minutes. Then I thought to myself, self, will I feel better if I eat this or better if I don't? That was easy. I would definitely feel better if I did not eat a second big cookie when I'd already had plenty of food. I started to put it back in the container when I was hit with a wave of, "Oh, no! Sad!!" So I did more talking to myself. Self, you can eat this cookie and all the cookies right now if that's what you really want. Is that what you want? No. (Self is pouting and looking at the floor now.) Self, you can have these cookies again anytime, every day, at every meal. You can even have a cookie for breakfast in the morning. Would you like that? (Self is grinning and really perking up now.) You could have it with your chocolate peanut butter banana protein shake. YES! YES! That's exactly what I want! A cookie for breakfast as part of a meal when I'm hungry. WINNING! Then I turned off the light and left the kitchen.
I never tell myself no, or that I can't or shouldn't. Instead, I think about what I really want, especially how I want to feel, not just right this second, but how I'll feel the moment I stop eating, in an hour, before bed, the next morning. I walk it all the way through and time travel to those future moments. How will I feel if I overeat all this stuff right now? How will I feel if I don't? How can I still eat exactly what I want in a more enjoyable way?
Eating to feel good works. Willpower and motivation are too fickle to be reliable and cause too much fallout when they fail.
From skwigg's journal:
When someone eats very restrictively or talks fearfully about food, I have a lot of empathy because I've been there. I may not endorse that kind of message anymore, but I understand that everybody is on their journey. A lot of the moderation ninjas of today were the restrictive psychos of a few years ago. Sometimes we have to go to extremes to find the middle. So, I never knock someone who used to be crazy. LOL Or is still a little crazy but is figuring it out.
From skwigg's journal:
"I'd be interested to read more on body image and working out to feel/look strong.
Something I struggle with at times is wanting to eat like a "normal" person (aka not limiting myself to protein baked goods and a ton of vegetables/egg whites/nonfat yogurt) but wanting to look like a strong, fit person. I know those two things are not mutually exclusive. It's hard for me to find confidence and ease in eating "normally" while still wanting to look and feel fit."
It helped me tremendously to realize that "strong and fit" is a result of lifting, running, and jumping. You can't get it by eating quinoa. Frequent lifting, running, and jumping takes fuel, so restrictive dieting actually compromises your ability to improve and be consistent.
Another thought about being strong and fit while eating "normally." It helps to surround yourself with people who are living examples. When preachy clean eaters, healthy living bloggers, and no-excuses exercisers are your "role models" things get icky. They share all of their fears and biases as truth. If you internalize those messages, your world gets smaller and scarier.
I always think of the book Diet Cults by Matt Fitzgerald and his term "agnostic healthy eater." It's possible (ideal!) to train regularly, to eat enough to fuel your activity, to choose many nutritious foods with nothing off limits, and to make no moral judgments about what you or others eat. He wrote a whole book on the subject. There's no reason to vilify pasta, or fruit, or beer or cake. Anything you enjoy can be part of your regular eating, WHILE you get leaner, improve performance, or gain strength. The more successfully you integrate favorites, the more you enjoy your food and life, and the more consistent and successful you will be. Restriction does the opposite. It creates fear, rebellion, overeating, weight struggles, and general misery.
I had to do a major overhaul of all social media, and even of the people I seek out for advice and support in real life. Kind of like an idiot cleanse. LOL Instead, I seek out people who are at peace with life and food, whether they're fitness oriented or not. Some of my favorite people now are bakers. Talk about a refreshing change of perspective! It's fascinating how none of them are obese and housebound with terrible health problems. Then you have fitness people like Bret Contreras (glute guy) who shares photos of his 1,700 calorie bowls of oatmeal and 4-plate pancake house breakfasts. Like me, he's obviously not doing Paleo right. Or Katie Anne Rutherford (powerlifter, figure competitor) who eats large quantities of toast and ice cream every day while maintaining extremely low body fat (#toastgainz). Or Sohee Lee and her daily Snickers bars leading right up to winning her bikini show. Or even my coworker who has lost 130 pounds. She was telling me that her trainer was on her for not eating enough carbs and sent her to Olive Garden for a never-ending pasta bowl the night before leg day. These are my people! :-)
From skwigg's journal:
I just quoted a quote (?!) about how consistency trumps intensity in terms of results. That's true for exercise AND diet, maybe especially for diet. I don't follow an extreme diet, but I've eaten mostly nutritious whole foods in appropriate portions day in, day out for years. And I may not spend hours in the gym, but I've been strength training regularly for 30+ years.
The problem you see on fitness forums is that people expect to produce similar results in weeks or months, which requires some really extreme dieting and training, which everyone accepts as normal and necessary, which is why they're all bitter and angry. LOL
That reminds me of another favorite part of that Georgie podcast I just listened to. They were talking about the "extreme" measures she takes to maintain an ultra lean body, things like, "I get hungry, and then I eat." Or, "I eat mostly whole foods." Or, "I stop eating when I'm satisfied but still comfortable."
Trust me, these are not the kinds of things the hardcore quick fix crowd wants to hear, but they're the things people who are consistently lean with no "off season" actually do. Off season is making me laugh, because a frustrated dieter could pretty much just declare Halloween through New Years, every vacation, and every bad week the "off season." I'm glad I don't have one of those anymore. :-) If the way you eat and train doesn't suck, there's no need to go off of it, which brings us back to the first paragraph about consistency and results.