When I was a child I was often called ‘skinny’. My grandmother said that I ate ‘like a bird’. That fact is I didn’t! I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. Eating was a pleasurable part of my life, but it didn’t control me. Chocolate cake was one of my favorite foods, and there were times that I indulged in more than one piece. Although I wasn’t extremely active, I enjoyed walking and dancing. Without ever worrying about my weight, I remained thin all the way through college.
Pregnancy and Weight Gain
When I was pregnant with my first son, my OB-GYN told me that I wasn’t gaining enough weight. I started eating more until he finally told me to slow down. I gained 45 pounds during the pregnancy, and lost all but a few pounds shortly after the delivery. Following each of my next three pregnancies, I retained an additional 10 pounds. This weight did not come off and I found myself 60 pounds heavier than I’d been in college. I became desperate to lose weight. I tried most of the many popular weight-loss plans on the market, all guaranteed to help. And they did, for a while. Very quickly, however, I found myself packing on more pounds. I was discouraged and unhappy about the way I looked and felt!
One day I was speaking to a childhood friend on the phone. She had never married or had children and, at age forty-something, she continued to work as a model and actress. When I asked her how she managed not to gain weight, she laughed. I was startled to learn that she did not diet. The secret, she told me, was that she only ate the foods she was hungry for, even when she was a guest. She ate whatever she wanted to but stopped eating when she was full. She never allowed herself to eat until she felt stuffed, even if that meant leaving food on her plate. In addition, she remained active and drank plenty of water.
Giving Up on Dieting
It didn’t take me long to realize that my friend was right. I stopped the yo-yo cycle of starving myself, only to binge on foods I didn’t really want. I only ate what I wanted when I was hungry, and stopped as soon as I felt full. It wasn’t long before I found I was losing weight. I avoided the scale and hardly ever weighed myself. Although the process occurred over a period of time, I no longer obsessed over food and the latest fad diets.
Today I enjoy eating without being controlled by food. I’ve discovered that I love to cook! I try to stick with whole foods and include many fruits and vegetables, avoiding processed foods and using the original article as often as possible. My teenaged daughter and I love to walk to town and dance together around the living room! I am thrilled that food is once again a pleasurable part of my life and not some sort of monster lurking behind the refrigerator door.