Inspired by this post from GoKaleo. Read, read it now. I'll wait!
Someone recently asked me what diet I was on.
You eat ice cream and drink beer but you still look great, they said. What diet is that?
It's no secret that I started dieting at the age of 8. I should say I remember dieting at the age of 8. My father had a heart-attack at 37, and when life serves up a platter of HolyShitMortality! things change, and fast. My older brother and I refer to it as Before Dessert and After Dessert.
This was the 70s, so Pritikin was the rage and we didn't know about things like self-esteem and instilling good eating habits without creating an eating disorder. My third grade journal expressed excitement about the new Dukes of Hazzard alongside the hope that the scale would inch down a pound that weekend.
Anything I wasn't allowed I binged on in secret, dozens upon dozens of candy wrappers stashed away, ready to make their getaway in the dumpsters behind the school or in public grabage cans at the park.
If I was Eve in the garden, I would've eaten every apple off that tree and gone looking for more.
I spent most of my 20s beating myself up and my late 20s getting into the best shape of my life, although in an attempt to push my body to a place it wasn't ready to go, the obsessive side took over, with macronutrient timing and post-workout shakes and worrying about that single M&M that might have taken me over my count for the day.
There are 3.44 calories in a single M&M.
I didn't have to look that up.
The inevitable backlash was compounded by undiagnosed hypothyroid, depression over career woes, a breakup and suddenly I found myself back in my mid-30 not where I started.
I decided not to care for awhile. Just eat how I was going to eat and try to stay away from foods that I easily binge on (bread, candy, etc.) I started exercising again.
I felt fine.
A few years with that under my belt, I decided to try Precision Nutrition's Lean Eating in 2012.
I had a couple of friends who worked for the company, people who gave straightforward, smart, informed advice. It wasn't going to be a lose-weight-quick proposition, it was just a way to slowly get back into the mindset of eating well plus the added bonus of having a prescribed, regular workout regimen.
In that community of women, I found people like me. And people who inspired me.
The program wasn't just "eat this, exercise that" but also discussed your relationship with food, and how we treat ourselves when it comes to food.
Some of this I was already putting into practice. I'm a big proponent of not labelling yourself "bad" and "good" when it comes to what you eat.
Things that make you bad:
Things that do not make you bad:
If shame worked, no one would be overweight.
Lean Eating was the kickoff. I didn't lose a ton of weight in the year-long program - maybe about 5-6 pounds and about 10 inches. But it gave me a mental reset. I found Obstacle Racing, completing a Tough Mudder, a Spartan Sprint, a Super Spartan, two Merrell Down & Dirty Mud Runs as well as the Camp Pendleton Mud Run in the past year. I started taking my efforts as a runner more seriously. I joined Cave Crossfit and while I'm always near-last in class, I've started noticing my strengths. I may lose time when it comes to a run but I make it up when it comes to lifting.
Now that I actually DO stuff, I concentrate more on what my body DOES rather than what it IS.
I go out and do things.
I enjoy myself.
Sometimes enjoying myself means scaling walls-
-or getting up at 6am to run through the streets of West Hollywood wearing ridiculous socks for the Pride Run-
-or shoving my face full of raw oysters and beer and onion rings-
So what diet am I on?
The diet I'm on is enjoying the fuck outta myself.
It works for me. YMMV.