A while back, I was listening to a podcast, and the host was talking about how she lost weight.
This was a number of years ago, before I lost my weight for the last time. As I am sure you can imagine, and probably relate, I was always on the lookout for the next diet.
You know, that diet or method that would FINALLY work for me. I had been at this weight loss thing for a long time! That roller coaster of gaining and losing, of having stints where I was restricting food and going to the gym regularly and working so hard.
I would get sick of the gym, sick of trying to avoid all my favorite foods, and give up.
So anyway, I was listening to this podcast and wondering what this woman’s secret was. How did she do it? How did she finally lose weight for the last time? Would it work for me?
Pretty soon it became clear, as she was chatting about her weight loss, that she was on a keto diet, and this diet would very much NOT work for me.
Now, you may or may know the details of this diet (I certainly didn’t!), but as I listened…well…I was bloody freaking HORRIFIED.
First of all, the crap she was eating sounded absolutely terrible. There was something called Keto coffee, there was so much cheese , there was so much fasting.
I like my coffee or tea with lots of cream and sugar, I am not a huge fan of cheese, and I positively DESPISE being hungry.
But wait! There’s more! I think she might have been TESTING HER URINE? And then she went on to talk about picking her finger for a blood test and…let’s just say I have never peaced out of a podcast or a diet idea faster than this one.
It sounded horrible, restrictive, gross, and COMPLICATED. I didn’t really truly understand the diet, or what ketosis was, and I didn’t want to.
And, also, there was no freaking pasta or delicious carbs to speak of. You know that stuff I love to eat that fuels my bike rides? I’m out.
Now there are people who swear by keto, and that’s cool, you do you, but this was not in any way, ever going to work for me. Especially as a first step towards weight loss!
I needed something SIMPLE, not complicated.
Chances are if you are still with me here, and are not yet peacing out of my blog article because you adore the keto diet and think it’s the best thing since sliced bread (haha see what I did there!), that means that YOU need simple, too.
You don’t need a diet. You need a SIMPLE plan. Here’s why.
#1: Complicated Diets With a Million Rules and Restrictions Don’t Work
If they did, then you probably wouldn’t be reading this. You would be blissfully following all of the rules for your diet and losing all the weight and keeping it off for good.
But if you are like me, you have tried all of the complicated diets (ok maybe not all, like I said, the keto thing was a HARD PASS for me), and even the ones that people claim are simple are just too much for you.
I can’t tell you how many times I have come across meal plans in magazines or online and have thought, “Well I won’t eat half the crap on here, and my family won’t eat the stuff on here that I will.”
Also, all I need is for someone to tell me that I can’t eat something, and that instantly becomes the ONLY THING THAT I WANT TO EAT.
Now, you might be thinking, “But Stacy! There’s weight watchers! My fitness pal! It’s calories in, calories out! You truly can eat whatever you want and still lose weight!!”
Well, yes, it’s true that with those kinds of diets you can eat whatever you want, but then I have to log everything I eat into a freaking app, and IGNORE MY HUNGER CUES.
I have always gravitated towards the “eat all your favorite foods!” kinds of diets because I knew that restrictions of types of food would simply not work for me. Still, I found myself giving up after a couple days/weeks and gaining all the weight back.
You know why?
These diets don’t help you figure out why you are overeating. You don’t even know if you’re eating if your are hungry, or eating because you are sad, tired, or stressed.
Eating a tiny little square of pizza and calling it a day doesn’t work long term. It might work once, but the next time? You are going to want more. And you are going to be HUNGRY.
You aren’t going to be able to stop because you haven’t had enough. And you wont stop once you HAVE had enough because you haven’t actually taught yourself how to stop and check in and see if you are still even hungry.
All you have really taught yourself is to ignore your hunger cues, restrict, and beat yourself up. As a result, you might just find yourself shoveling in piece after piece until you are STUFFED because pizza is SO BAD FOR YOU and you aren’t sure when you will get it again.
You become mentally and physically exhausted because all you are doing is thinking about food and beating yourself up over how much you are eating. You give up. You eat all the things. You give yourself a break and decide that this season of life is too (insert adjective here…stressful, busy, etc.) for you to lose weight right now.
Then, invariably, down the road, you try again and you find yourself looking for the next diet that will hopefully be the ticket.
The problem, though, is that diets aren’t simple. They are complicated. And, they are someone else’s plan, not yours.
#2 A Simple, Doable Plan is YOUR Plan, Made by YOU
If a weight loss plan is going to work, it has to be your own plan. It has to be made by YOU.
It has to include things you actually like to eat. Foods you plan in advance.
When members of my program first start planning their meals, I tell them to make a simple plan, and include what they normally eat. I instruct them not to restrict anything.
So, for example, if you go through the drive through at McDonalds every day for lunch? That is what goes in your plan. Plan what you normally eat at the McDonalds.
I truly don’t care what your usual is. Mine was a large #10 (Or whatever meal had the most chicken McNuggets) with a diet coke, and I added a hamburger. If that’s your usual? PUT IT ON THE PLAN.
The idea is to make the plan, and then see how things go. You might find you don’t need to eat all of the things on your plan, and that’s OK! You don’t have to. That is just going to give you information for how to plan tomorrow.
Over time your plan is going to change. I stopped getting the #10 because I realized I didn’t need that much food to feel like I had had enough. I started getting a medium fry, a 6 piece nugget, and a hamburger.
And, you guessed it, over time, I reduced that further because I just didn’t want or need it anymore. I stopped going to McDonald’s as often. I was losing weight, feeling good, and I wanted to make healthier choices so I could have an easier time riding my bike!
I started to realize that certain foods that I love don’t feel great in my body, and I eat those now only when I really have the time, energy, and space to enjoy them.
Do I still eat McDonalds now that I have lost my weight? YES. But very, very rarely because I truly just don’t want to anymore. I simply don’t have the emotional attachment to the drive thru the way I used to. It used to be my treat. It used to be what I felt like I deserved.
Now I treat myself in other ways because I deserve to have a body that supports all of the things that I want to DO. Like ride my BIKE!
Notice that all of these changes were my choice, and they happened over time. Not because some diet told me I should make them. Because I made a simple plan of what to eat each day, in the morning (when we all make our best decisions), and I followed the plan.
#3: When a Plan is Simple You Can Make it Fast, In Advance, and Actually Stick to It
I like to keep my daily meal plans super simple. I only give myself about five minutes each morning to plan my meals for the day, and it looks something like this
B: Wrap and tea/coffee
S: Snack Mix/Meat Stick/Tea
D: Salad and Pasta
D: Cookie/Ice Cream
The and/or is really an and/or…I can do one, other, both, depending on how hungry I am (though I try to just pick one of the and or things for dessert!).
I often eat the same things day to day just to keep it VERY simple.
I lost 50 pounds this way over three years ago, and I have kept it off.
I fill the plan with foods I love.
I eat when I am hungry, and stop when I am satisfied.
If I screw up and overeat? I ask myself why.
If I am hungry? And I am sure that it’s not actually stress, sadness, boredom, or frustration?
Then I eat.
I said this was simple, and it really is. We often think that weight loss needs to be complicated to work, and it truly doesn’t have to be, not should it be.
A Final Note
Just because something is simple, doesn’t mean that it’s always easy. It certainly CAN be easy, but the hard part is in realizing that there is a really good chance that you have been going about weight loss all wrong for years.
At first you might feel like a simple plan is never going to work because it’s just not hard enough to work.
I promise you that it doesn’t have to be complicated, and it doesn’t have to be hard. Once I realized this, and let go of that notion of dieting and weight loss, I was able to ditch so much of the mental weight that I had been carrying.
The ideas that I wasn’t good enough, or that what I was doing to lose weight wasn’t good enough.
By developing a simple plan and following that plan each day I started to gain the confidence that I could honor my commitments to myself.
And on the days when I went off plan? I forgave myself, and asked why I ate things that weren’t on plan.
This helped me figure out what I needed the next day, and the next to be successful and finally lose my weight for the last time.
If I can do this? The girl who used to think nothing of sweeping through the McDonalds drive through, polishing off a #10 plus hamburger, and then being sad that there weren’t any more loose fries that escaped to the bottom of the bag?
So, my friend, can YOU. You’ve got this. I believe in you. Make your plan. Start TODAY.