Have you ever tried a diet that worked so well in the past; only to fail the next time you tried it? Ya, me too! A lot of times. You feel that incredible sense of frustration; you re-read the specifics of the plan, and you force yourself to keep trying only to make yourself more and more irritated and annoyed!!
It’s like the NEW definition of insanity -- trying the same thing over and over and expecting the same results.
I started thinking (and reading), and came across the concept that my body’s needs are ever-evolving. Hmmm… That. Makes. Sense.
Think about yourself as a child. Were you a picky eater? (I was.) Do you still dislike everything you did then? (Nope, I LOVE all vegetables; except carrots, I still hate carrots.) Think about yourself as a young adult. Do you still have that “get up and go” after a late night of socializing? (Not a chance!)
I started to nod yes -- yes my tastes and needs have changed since my childhood and young adulthood. Maybe, just maybe, I am still changing! Maybe that is why what worked for me 10 years ago, five years ago, or even just three years ago is not what my body needs today.
I started to listen to my body. Granted, this takes some practice. Instead of fueling myself on autopilot, I thought I would pause: take a minute to think about what I wanted to eat.
After I thought about having ice cream and potato chips -- I quickly remembered that I am an adult and although I’m allowed to eat whatever I want to eat for dinner, that my body is probably not asking for junk food.
At first, I would attempt to create random healthy meals. This was interesting (and a little annoying) as I found I did not always feel my best. I was eating healthy, what the heck -- why aren’t I thriving!?!
I started to document (journal -- whatever you want to call it) what I ate, the time I ate, and how I felt immediately after, a few hours after, and the following day.
Lo and behold -- I saw a pattern!!
For me, I discovered I felt my best;
When I ate almost zero meat/animal protein.
My digestion has never been this easy. I had never entertained the idea of not eating meat; I did not (and still don’t) think eating meat was bad. After this experiment, I now realize that for me, eating like a vegetarian feels great. At least for now.
When I ate my last meal/snack a few hours before I went to sleep.
I now regularly sleep through the night. I hadn’t really realized that my evening snacks would have such an effect on my sleep. I’ve discovered that a full night’s sleep is precious, and I want to give myself that.
When I ate when I was actually hungry.
I used to be a habitual eater. Somewhere, somehow I was programmed into eating like a pavlovian dog. Ding - it’s morning, time for breakfast; ding - it’s noon, time for lunch. I discovered that I ate at times because it was time to -- not because I was hungry. Now I listen for my body’s signs of hunger - a slight growl in my stomach - before I eat.
I am not suggesting that what is right for me is right for you. I’ve learned the hard way [insert lots of $$ here] that trying to replicate what works for others is not always going to work for me, or you. Sometimes, we need to remember that we are constantly evolving and may need to tweak our dietary choices from time to time.