"Dieting" doesn't really work.

It's a little over a month into the year and most of the people who made the New Years' resolution to lose weight are hitting the breaking point of their "diet". Going to the gym is starting to be a hassle because winding down at the end of the day by binge watching shows on Netflix is much more fun. Those carbs have been calling out your name even since you gave them up cold turkey and a handful bagful of chips sounds so good right about now. You want to know why? This probably isn't a surprise or any big news flash, but "dieting" doesn't really work.

Dieting actually does work....WHAT? I just said it doesn't, so what gives?...dieting does work when done in the right mentality and by not drastically changing the way you eat and go about your daily business. If you're not used to getting up early to jump on the treadmill or hitting the gym after you've already put in your eight hours at work, it's not likely you're going to just start doing that one day and keep with it. Over time that treadmill will start collection stuff like laundry and other crap you want to keep off of the floor. That gym membership should be paid on a month to month basis because eventually you'll have "better" things to do so having ten or twenty bucks auto-drafted from your account is like flushing money down the toilet. 

Used to eating pretty much whatever you want all of the time? Keep doing that. Seriously, just have less of it. Split those burritos from Chipotle in half and eat the rest for lunch the next day. You don't need that third or even forth slice of pizza, have a small salad before digging into a slice or two of that salty, cheesy, most wonderful dish ever invented. "But I can lose a bunch of weight by cutting carbs or fat or sugars or whatever this diet I'm not going to stick with for more than a couple months says." Sure you will, and then you'll put most of, if not all of it, back on and hate yourself for it. I don't know a single person who sticks to a diet of any kind. Vegans will cheat and have dairy or *gasp* a slice of bacon now and then. Someone with Celiac's will hurt themselves just a bit to have some fresh bread from the bakery or a slice of pizza from their favorite joint. A diabetic will eat those carb loaded, this could kill me, types of foods that they enjoy. Those are just the people with real dietary restrictions. If you're "on a diet", it's likely you'll be eating ice cream out of the tub at some point.

Do yourself a favor, start small and take it slow, like sloooooooooooow. Go for a walk a couple times a day. It doesn't have to be too far, maybe a mile at first. When a mile feels easy, walk one and a half, then two, then three or more. Or if you have a set amount of time free in your schedule, walk a little faster each day to see how far you can get in that amount of time. When it comes to the food part, as I said before, just eat less. But not drastically less, just a couple hundred calories less. Sure, you should probably find a few healthier options here and there but don't deny yourself things because then you're setting yourself up to fail. Calorie counting is easy enough to do and it gives you the freedom to eat pretty much ANYTHING you want. Want that Big Mac and fries for lunch? Fine, just plan on having a light dinner like a salad loaded with veggies with light dressing. Been dying for a slice of pie? Maybe don't have chips AND cookies with lunch. 

I've always been on the heavy side and I've also made the same mistakes most people make when it came to trying to lose weight. But after stepping on the scale one day and seeing it read nearly 230 pounds, I knew I had to do something. Just before we moved to Delaware I was close to 240 pounds but ended up losing about twenty just by being on my feet all day at work at a bakery...how I lost weight when I ate bread and baked goods each day, is a mystery to some. Then I got a job sitting at a desk all day and the scale slowly creeping back up. 

One day, a couple of years ago, I stepped on the scale and the little red line hovered between 229 and 230. Christine was pregnant with our second child at the time, so decided I needed to try and live a little bit healthier if I wanted to see that child grow up. First, I walked for the half hour that I get for lunch and started tracking my calorie intake. I used the apps Map My Walk and MyFitnessPal which link together to track my progress and meals. Next, I slowly increased my speed until I got to the point where I was jogging the first mile and speed walking the rest. However, this didn't happen quickly, it took me months ...MONTHS... to get to that point. Just tried to get a little better each day. Chasing the goal of having a better time each day is a nice incentive that doesn't take a lot of effort. During that time I was meticulously entering every bite of food into MyFitnessPal to make sure I wasn't going over my allotted calories that the app allowed. I'd go over every once in a while but I'd chalk that up as a reward for myself for doing so well. When I stopped, eight months after I started, I was down 32 pounds to 197. It took a long time and it wasn't always easy but it can be done if you do it in the right mindset and don't drastically change things.

Since then I had put on about ten of those pounds, despite walking a few times a week, until a week ago Monday, when I started back on the calorie counting. I know my eating habits have gotten a little out of hand since around Thanksgiving but now I'm down to 206 and want to get back under 200 before summer. I don't know how low I'll get the weight but I'm not going to stress about it. I'll take it slow because "dieting" doesn't work but dieting does.

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