The fondest dream of many women? Being able to eat anything and everything we want without gaining an ounce.
Purveyors of all diets and diet products that promise losing weight in your sleep, effortlessly with this pill, potion, or powder, or the text promising you’ll lose 60 pounds in 60 days if you’ve received the same texts I have, trade on this dream.
It’s the freedom we want. The bliss of enjoying our food – but with no ill consequences. See? We also want health and to feel good in the bodies we have, but unrestrained consumption doesn’t often lead us there.
We struggle on various diets or plans, frustrated and annoyed that our metabolism doesn’t “work” fast enough. We try and fail, and the failure makes it hard to believe it’s possible. Studies have shown that even if we lose the weight, less than 20 percent of people maintain that loss after 5 years. It’s not really the diet – it’s the hundreds of choices we make as we go through our days.
Temptation is a factor – highly palatable food, the “bliss point” combination of sugar, fat, and salt that drives our consumption, the way food works so well as an oral soother. It’s a lethal combination. Finding a way to manage our intake without overdoing it can feel like deprivation, which kicks up multiple levels of “I want it now!’ Yielding to temptation isn’t always a bad thing – sometimes it’s life-giving. It just requires some balancing. If you have the cake now, how will you balance other intake?
Our collective shrug about health – weight gain is inevitable, some say. “It’s only those with good genes or the crazy constant dieters who can maintain their weight under the level of obesity.” Yet it’s only been in the last 30-ish years that obesity and morbid obesity have become common. Our habits have changed markedly in the name of convenience, and we shrug off health concerns that only increase in frequency and severity as we get heavier. We can be healthy at any size, the meme says, but that requires adopting the habits suggested to secure health. My 40 years on the Diet Yo-Yo were spent making more excuses than changes. Know what I mean? To be healthy, we must make healthier choices that fit our bodies and lifestyles.
We make the practical negative – the recent conclusion that diets are toxic has become quite popular. Never mind that it was so labeled by advertisers who have a different product to push. True, no one really likes calorie restriction, but neither do I like cutting back on spending if I’ve overdone it one month. It’s a practical remedy when done well, and it teaches us how our bodies respond to certain foods and portion sizes. Nutrition plans are guidelines from which to learn what works best for our particular bodies.
Yes, we’d love the freedom to eat anything and everything without gaining an ounce. Perhaps the freedom lies in learning the parameters of doing that. As with many things, responsibility creates freedom.