Oh dear. I just returned home from vacation and found I packed on an extra five pounds. Time to get back to serious business. There are about as many different approaches to dieting and weight loss as there are people in the world, I am certain. For years, I believed that I could make a few significant lifestyle changes and I would become lighter and fitter with no need to ever diet. Changes like exercising daily, cutting out the fast food, eliminating dessert, drink less - all these would surely bring me back to my goal weight for sure. In practice, that doesn't work for me. If I actually fulfilled these changes it would improves things quite a bit. However, I am someone that needs a more specific plan and a solid commitment, the kind of commitment that says, I am on a diet. A specific food plan helps. A food plan with daily menus, recipes and shopping lists helps a lot. And to top it off, dieting with friends, an active support group, and workout buddies is the thing that will keep me on target.
I have found all of that and more working on The Garden Diet (I know, I sound like a cheesy infomercial - I promise, they aren't paying me a dime) and I am fortunate to have a few friends that already eat raw vegan that provide me with plenty of nearby support. I'm sure there are many other plans that work the same way only using different food. I've tried Weight Watchers and did well at times and floundered miserably at times. I remember a time when I could walk into a meeting a receive a specific menu for the week complete with shopping lists and recipes. The last time I tried, there were so many choices that I was overwhelmed with putting together my own meal plan that I tripped right out of the gate. Once I had purchased all their packaged meals and I lost a ton of weight. That is, until I reached my goal and had to go back to preparing my own food and then I gained every single pound back. I know their online programs are rich with community support; however, I was lost in the vastness of their web space. In person today, it's just so hard to make that face to face appearance when juggling parenting, especially in the summer time when the kiddos are home. Excuses, excuses, I know! But if it's not convenient and easy for me, if it's not something that I can slip right into my routine without a hitch, it's not going to get done.
At one time I was a twelve step junkie (in a good way, like could the 12 steps be a bad thing, for anybody, really??), and of course there is a twelve step program for food as well. I'd like to explore that further because it takes into account the emotional and addictive aspect of overeating. While I shop for my meal plans, prepare recipes and set the stage for better eating, I believe the key to long term success is hidden deep under layers upon protective layers of emotional baggage. I haven't yet delved into those murky waters - at least not since my twenties when my addictions were of a more extreme nature. The twelve steps are also very God centered. That worked for me at one time; however, today I am not a believer, at least in all that. I know, they say you can pretend God means other things like "good, orderly direction", but at the end of the day, a meeting is peppered with people's stories of faith. Good for them, indeed. It just doesn't work for me. Perhaps they have some secular groups that have been organized.
So today, being five pounds up, I'm jumping right into the middle of Jinjee's 28-day program. After my morning walk I'm going straight to the grocery store. Today's menu includes fruit salad, falafels and an almond carob smoothie. I've made these falafels twice for family and guests and believe me, they are seriously the most delicious recipe on this program. Everyone (except my kids, of course) loves them. I'll put up some photos and recipes later.
When trying to follow a diet, one can make a fresh start at anytime. Had a bad breakfast? Make a better lunch. Had a bad day? Kiss yourself on the shoulder, have a tall glass of cool water, get a good night's sleep and begin again. Any moment of the day is an opportunity to make a new beginning.