Friday, June 14, 2013

Baby Steps or All In

Trying to lose weight is hard, yo.  After years of bad eating habits, how does one change their ways?  What approach is the best, taking baby steps or going cold turkey?

In a perfect world, I would be able to eat all the comfort foods and sweets that I desire and they would be healthy and good for me.  Maybe it is better to call that a fantasy world, because it Ain’t.Gonna.Happen.  Realization is that most of the foods that I have come to love and eat for decades are unhealthy and doing my body more harm than good.  Three large doughnuts and a mocha latte for breakfast, burgers and fries for lunch, and a boat load of chips, salsa and cheesy Mexican delights for dinner followed by M&M’s, Red Vines or ice cream for an evening snack is not helping to reduce my rolls or my blood sugar.  Sad, but true.  Actually, eating these types of foods day in and day out, does get tiring, boring and old, but then I get hungry.

Knowing that I cannot continue eating all of the unhealthy, highly-processed foods that I have conditioned myself towards, I know how and what I would like to eat instead.  You probably do too, since I have mentioned it many times already.  In case you have missed it, I will list them again.  Sorry if it is starting to make your ears bleed.

Don’t want to eat:
  • Processed Foods
  • Grains – especially wheat
  • Dairy
  • Sugar and artificial sweeteners
  • Legumes
  • White potatoes
  • Diet Soda (okay, I am going to cry)

Want to eat:
  • Whole Foods
  • Some Fruit
  • Lots of Vegetables
  • Lean Protein with every meal
  • Healthy Fats
  • Lots and lots of water

The foods on the second list are not foods that I am craving right now.  I want to eat them because I know they are better for me.  I believe in time, I will learn to like these foods more than I desire the processed foods, especially when I start having more energy, lower blood sugar readings and feeling better in general.  It will take time though. 

The question is, do I gradually give up the bad and ease my way in to the good or do I go all in immediately?  Many of you have suggested taking baby steps, making one change at a time until it becomes a habit and then moving on to the next food type.  While others think I need to abstain from the unhealthy foods altogether, once and for all.  I’m not sure what works best for me.  In past attempts, I have had more of the mindset that I need to abstain, that I am not strong enough for moderation.  In truth, I am weak at both approaches.  Duh, I weighed my all-time high of 391 lbs last Sunday. 

My heart tells me that I want to go all in, to quit eating all of the bad stuff cold turkey. This way of thinking carries over in other areas of my life as well.  Well, I am speaking to instant gratification.  If I want something, I usually don’t like waiting.  Yes, I am spoiled that way.  I am working on having more patience and am making progress at it.  Still, I want to have a healthy lifestyle where I eat foods to nourish my body and not just satisfy my taste buds or emotions.  I want to be active instead of the sedentary couch (lazy boy) potato that I am.  I want these things NOW.  My mind on the other hand, believes this may be unrealistic for me based on past attempts.  So what do I do?

I hope you weren’t expecting me to have the answer now, because I don’t.  If I were to wade my way into healthy eating versus going cold turkey, which unhealthy habit would I start with first?  I need to find my own answers and I am working on it.  Maybe my approach should be, as several have suggested, not worrying so much on what I am taking away but concentrating on adding the healthy stuff.  Adding more vegetables would be a big step for me.  Since leaving the nest so many years ago, there hasn’t been anyone at the dinner table reminding me to eat my vegetables. 

While my nature is to be strict, I have failed time and time again.  I will continue to look for the solution that works best for me.   Until I figure it out, my approach may vary from week to week or day to day.  Today and this weekend my goal is to not eat out or carry in.  I want to only eat food that the hubs and I prepare at home.  This will be a huge challenge for us, as our usual weekends consist of most meals existing of take-out.  He’s on board with the plan, so hopefully we will be successful.

Hope you have a great Friday and enjoy the weekend. 


  1. I would say go cold turkey... just start eating RIGHT NOW how you want to eat for the rest of your life. BUT - I would also recommend not totally beating yourself if you slip up, learn to let the mistakes go and keep on eating well!

  2. If you try to do too much at once, you will most likely fail.

    Institute one healthy change at a time and keep at that process.

    The goal is to take in fewer calories than you use.


  3. You know yourself better than anyone. Try anything and everything and decide what works best for you. Even if it takes you 10 years to figure it out, you'll eventually get there. Keep trying, you're doing a great job already. If you never stop trying, you can't ever fail! I'll be praying for you! Pray for me too. We can do this!

  4. All I can speak about is my own experiences. It wasn't until I read the two books I've already mentioned, that my mind went through a life-altering change about the whole thing. It wasn't until I fully accepted that grains and sugar were TOXIC, that I was able to push away from them. And for me, it wasn't until I gave up grains entirely, that I lost the cravings for them. It's all inter-related.

    Re exercise, just start walking 5-15 minutes a day, and add a few minutes every few days. Best way to build up.

    Remember, you didn't put this weight on overnight, and no way will you get rid of it that quickly, either. Like a friend going through a divorce or death, please give yourself the GIFT of time. You can do it!

  5. Hi Roly - Good luck on your adventure in weight loss!

  6. I know you can do this. One step at a time. :)

  7. You have to do what is best for you. :) It is in mine nature to go all in as well. I want to do it, do it right, and just make all the changes right away and spend my time adjusting. The idea of constantly being in the midst of change annoys the daylights out of me! If it were just me, me alone, I would clean out every crumb of junk in my house and switch to 100% healthy.

    But I have a husband who won't do that, and two children who start to tear up at the very idea (we eat mostly healthy, but not 100% - I'd say 80-90% healthy. They REALLY like that 10-20%. There might be bloodshed if I went after it.) That's why the baby steps worked for me. Not because I'm not the all-in type, but because I had to deal with other people's wants in addition to my own. There are just so many battles I can win, and I'm already fighting myself.

    You'll find your way. :)

  8. Thanks for stopping by. Like Gwen once I gave up grains entirely, I lost all cravings for them. I had tried and tried to do it through moderation, but as long as I was having even the littliest bit it kept the cravings going.

    Best of luck on your journey ...

  9. Going cold turkey will take an extraordinary amount of mental energy. Maybe an impossible amount, depending on what else is going on in your life. Why not set a few small specific achievable goals?

    Do you have a support system in real life? That is so helpful.

    Just so you know, I minimize wheat and sugar, but have not eliminated it completely from my diet. And I have not given up diet coke completely either. I admitted to myself not long ago that I really always want something sweet with my diet coke. So the only time I have it is at night, with my "dessert."

  10. I didn't do so well with the 'all in' approach either. That's why I finally went the other way. :) Whether that would work for you, I have no clue, but you'll figure it out. Meanwhile, if I can help in any way, just let me know.

  11. You are ahead of the game in that you already realize what works for some people may not work for you. It took me years to realize that. Once I started eating healthier, I found that the cravings for sweet stuff and junk lessened A LOT! It's not gone, of course... Eventually, your good habits will replace your bad ones. I am an impatient, rotten, instant-gratification person, too. Unfortunately, there are no short-cuts. Damn it! Keep trying, and I am pulling for you!

  12. Hi,just hopped over from Gwens blog. For the past few years I have followed a low carb high fat diet. I started eating this way because my husband was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and together we discovered that with this change of eating habits weight was reduced and it kept his blood sugar numbers low and he doesn't need a lot of medication. We both felt so much better for it. Reading between the lines I think you know the answer but it is never a race to lose weight do it at your speed. Processed foods, too much sugar are not good. Wholesome meat, fish plenty of vegetables and fruits such as blueberries, raspberries, strawberries are good. I try to eat a range of different coloured vegetables to give me a variety of good nutrients.

    Just my thoughts but I wish you ....

    All the best Jan

  13. I started writing a response here but it got WAY to long. So I emailed you instead.

  14. I agree with Dr. J's advice. Baby steps so you don't feel overwhelmed or deprived.

  15. I haven't read the other comments, so other people might have said this. I have gone back and forth about this, but finally made a decision and am so happy I did. If you are addicted to sugar, I would get off of it, cold turkey. That is where I would start. Once you get it out of your system, it is very likely that your appetite in general will become much more regulated and the other stuff won't be as difficult. I can control sugar for a season if I am in the zone. Trouble is, no one is in the zone all the time. And if I binge, it was always on sugar. Getting off of it is the smartest thing I could have done. How strict you are with it will depend on your body. As long as I stay off sweets (dessert, candy, etc.), that seems to do the trick for me. Other people have to cut out the sugar in everything. That is where I suggest you start.