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Can I Eat “Normal Food” and Still Lose Weight? My Personal Experiment

What people want and what I want myself are tangible weight loss results in a timely manner, and we don’t want to have to eat “special” food in order to get those results. Thus, my personal food resentment cycle began.

I Want Results…NOW

No matter if we follow a diet program or try to just make simple swaps, we want results quickly. I’ve addressed the idea of being on a “diet” before. I teach LIFESTYLE, not diet. However, I’ve learned that if there’s not initial weight loss when making lifestyle changes, it’s hard to stay motivated to keep those changes in place. While initial weight loss is motivating, we have to remember that substantial, sustainable weight loss takes time. I ‘m not talking 30 days, I’m talking weeks and months of consistent behavior. No getting around it, that’s hard!

No “Special” Food…PLEASE!

As if it’s not hard enough to reduce calories and constantly wait on slow and steady change, we really don’t want to be told we have to eat a bunch of special food.

We want NORMAL food! This is an area I’ve really struggled with and I began to resent food.

We want NORMAL food! This is an area I’ve really struggled with and I began to resent food. Time weakened my drive and motivation I had initially when I was really going gang busters with finding a NEW normal. You can read about that journey here. I wanted to believe it was  possible to get real weight loss results and maintain those results by eating normal food.  I ended up doing an unintentional experimenting on myself.

My Personal Experiment

I’ve spent some time (probably about a year) going back to eating “normal” food. By “normal,” I mean foods I used to eat all the time: hamburgers, dinner rolls, baked russet potatoes, butter, jam, cereal, bacon, biscuits, real bread and buns (not whole grain or sprouted grain), flour tortillas, french fries, baked beans, ribs, cheese (oh how I love cheese), bagels, pancakes with syrup, occasional soft drinks, cookies, ice-cream, ….  You get the idea. Everyday, normal foods in the American diet. I thought surely if I paid attention to serving size and calories (to a certain extent), and not indulge too often in sweets, I could  maintain my weight, and maybe even a lose a little since I workout regularly. After all, I just needed to burn more calories than what I was eating, right? What I found was very eye-opening.

I used to track my food using the website myfitnesspal.com. I followed the macro nutrient guidelines given to me by the nutrition coach I had worked with in the recent past (Fit To Be in Your Kitchen) and had great results. I was maintaining my weight in the mid to upper 120’s which was just fine by me. I was not as lean as I was when eating the exact meal plan my coach had me eating, but I was maintaining by eating the same kinds of foods in the same proportions. I’ve said it before, when I lost weight and kept that weight off for several years, I developed a NEW normal. I totally changed how I was eating. I was not eating the typical American diet. Far from it.

Fast forward one year. Yikes, what a difference a year makes! I’m up about 10-12 pounds. During this year I fell back into old habits and began to resent having to eat a certain way.

Fast forward one year. Yikes, what a difference a year makes! I’m up about 10-12 pounds. During this year I fell back into old habits and began to resent having to eat a certain way. Never mind the fact that I felt great, was never hungry, did not feel deprived, and looked better when I was eating that way,  I was resentful of that food! THAT food was not special diet food, it was simply  basic clean eating, but I resented it none the less. CRAZY!

I learned that I can’t eat the “normal” American diet, even with portion control, and maintain my weight. A funny thing happens over time. We tend to underestimate how much we are eating and we tend to over-estimate how many calories we’re burning during exercise. I’m sure I fell into that trap and that was part of the problem.  A bigger part of the problem is that I’m no longer doing what I know worked in the past. I let temporary pleasure (certain foods) dictate my actions and have had negative results. I need to drink more water, eat better quality, nutrient dense foods, healthier fats, MUCH LESS SUGAR, more fiber, and more protein in order for me to be in a better, healthier place. I’m not talking about drastic changes, but changes did need to be made back then and again now as I battle this little set back.

Now the journey begins again, from right here where I am today. Another chance to make good, healthy choices, another chance to practice hard work and patience, another chance to feel better, look better, and SUCCEED!

I would love to hear your story! Have you  had weight loss success or maintenance by eating whatever you want?

Be sure to share this with a friend. Together we can spread the healthy LIFESTYLE message.

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