On the whole, I believe diets are a bad idea. Most lead to short-term weight loss, but long-term weight gain and poor body image. I have, however, been following Bob Greene’s advice through his Best Life Diet. It’s the un-diet diet, all about creating or re-enforcing healthy eating habits with small changes over the long term.
I first heard about this program in the 90s, when Oprah was promoting the diet as part of her Live Your Best Life shows. It definitely influenced my long-term path. Most of the actions Greene prescribes, I already do: exercise, avoid high fat food and dairy, avoid white flour, and so on.
It truly set me on a healthier trajectory in my adult life. I must clarify, I haven’t returned to this diet because I am badly overweight. I am, on the other hand, carrying extra pounds I don’t need to carry. I have long been someone who eats when upset, tired, or stressed. That is something I want to change. I want to eat for nourishment and sustenance, not because I have had a bad day.
One tool I find particularly helpful is the hunger scale. I love the brilliant simplicity. The idea is to only eat when you’re hungry, and to stop eating before you’re full. (That’s the tricky part.) I have not mastered use of the hunger scale, by any means. It is such a practical way to monitor portions, though, I really want to master it. It takes away all the craziness of weighing your food or counting calories.
As I mentioned, emotional eating is one of the behaviors I’m trying to change. I don’t think I can expect to fully let go of the habit overnight, however. I do know that I’ve made amazing changes to my diet in the last ten years. I fully expect in ten more years, I will be someone who has a healthy relationship with food without giving it too much thought.
Even though this one isn’t a particularly restrictive diet, I have a great sympathy now for all the millions who fall off diets. In the end, it’s not about the weight at all, but about facing the parts of you hiding behind the weight. Facing real change can make you feel vulnerable. It removes your protective cushioning – almost literally.
My intent is to move past the vulnerability to become my most authentic self – not hiding behind food, nor hiding behind extra weight. To, yes, live my best life.
To simply be me.