I Am On A Lifestyle Change, Not A Diet

I Am On A Lifestyle Change, Not A Diet

I can eat whatever I want.
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I am on a never ending journey. My journey right now is weight loss. But one day I will reach the point where I will be focused on maintaining a weight rather than specifically trying to lose weight. When I get to the point where I reach my weight loss goal, the eating healthy and working out aspects of my life will still have to be consistent, even though I will not be trying to lose weight anymore. Right now, I am working to make a lifestyle change. I am not on a diet.

This is something that my mom has always preached to. She would always tell me (and still tells me) that I can’t be on a diet now, then go back to eating how I was before the diet once I lose my intended weight. That is not how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. She would preach to me constantly that a diet restricts foods that I am able to have. A lifestyle change allows me to eat whatever I want, but in moderation.

I have had several different people see me eat something that is unhealthy and make comments to me that I shouldn’t be eating that because I am on a diet. Although I know that these people are only doing this because they care about me and want whats best for me, this really frustrates me. I can literally eat whatever I want.

You see, I have lost over 25 pounds in two months, so I am obviously doing something right. I eat a dove chocolate every day. I have eaten out probably about once every two weeks. I've gone to Taco Bell, I've gone to Pizza Hut and I even work at a fast food restaurant. To limit myself from eating fatty foods would make my body crave them that much more. If I went two months without eating chicken nuggets, I honestly think I would go insane. I would have not lost this much weight, and I probably still wouldn’t be on track like I still am.

I am on a lifestyle change. This means that I am making better food choices. I have added fruits and veggies. But I have never restricted myself on what I can and can't eat. If I want chicken nuggets, I will eat them. But instead of eating 10 at a time, like I used to, now I only eat the serving size, which is only four, and I will eat it with vegetables. If I want to go out to dinner with my family, I will eat less calories throughout the day so I have more to spare at dinner. And if I want a big chicken fried steak at dinner, I will get it, but only eat half.

People can obviously lose weight on a diet of completely eliminating fatty foods, but more often than not, people gain all of their weight back and more. This is what I am trying to avoid. By changing my eating habits, I am setting myself up for a healthy life, while still allowing myself to eat good food throughout the process.

Cover Image Credit: Etsy

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I Went To "The Bachelor" Auditions

And here's why you won’t be seeing me on TV.
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It’s finally time to admit my guilty pleasure: I have always been a huge fan of The Bachelor.

I can readily admit that I’ve been a part of Bachelor fantasy leagues, watch parties, solo watching — you name it, I’ve gone the whole nine yards. While I will admit that the show can be incredibly trashy at times, something about it makes me want to watch it that much more. So when I found out that The Bachelor was holding auditions in Houston, I had to investigate.

While I never had the intention of actually auditioning, there was no way I would miss an opportunity to spend some time people watching and check out the filming location of one of my favorite TV shows.

The casting location of The Bachelor, The Downtown Aquarium in Houston, was less than two blocks away from my office. I assumed that I would easily be able to spot the audition line, secretly hoping that the endless line of people would beg the question: what fish could draw THAT big of a crowd?

As I trekked around the tanks full of aquatic creatures in my bright pink dress and heels (feeling somewhat silly for being in such nice clothes in an aquarium and being really proud of myself for somewhat looking the part), I realized that these auditions would be a lot harder to find than I thought.

Finally, I followed the scent of hairspray leading me up the elevator to the third floor of the aquarium.

The doors slid open. I found myself at the end of a large line of 20-something-year-old men and women and I could feel all eyes on me, their next competitor. I watched as one woman pulled out her travel sized hair curler, someone practiced answering interview questions with a companion, and a man (who was definitely a little too old to be the next bachelor) trying out his own pick-up lines on some of the women standing next to him.

I walked to the end of the line (trying to maintain my nonchalant attitude — I don’t want to find love on a TV show). As I looked around, I realized that one woman had not taken her eyes off of me. She batted her fake eyelashes and looked at her friend, mumbling something about the *grumble mumble* “girl in the pink dress.”

I felt a wave of insecurity as I looked down at my body, immediately beginning to recognize the minor flaws in my appearance.

The string hanging off my dress, the bruise on my ankle, the smudge of mascara I was sure I had on the left corner of my eye. I could feel myself begin to sweat. These women were all so gorgeous. Everyone’s hair was perfectly in place, their eyeliner was done flawlessly, and most of them looked like they had just walked off the runway. Obviously, I stuck out like a sore thumb.

I walked over to the couches and sat down. For someone who for the most part spent most of the two hours each Monday night mocking the cast, I was shocked by how much pressure and tension I felt in the room.

A cop, stationed outside the audition room, looked over at me. After a brief explanation that I was just there to watch, he smiled and offered me a tour around the audition space. I watched the lines of beautiful people walk in and out of the space, realizing that each and every one of these contestants to-be was fixated on their own flaws rather than actually worrying about “love.”

Being with all these people, I can see why it’s so easy to get sucked into the fantasy. Reality TV sells because it’s different than real life. And really, what girl wouldn’t like a rose?

Why was I so intimidated by these people? Reality TV is actually the biggest oxymoron. In real life, one person doesn’t get to call all the shots. Every night isn’t going to be in a helicopter looking over the south of France. A real relationship depends on more than the first impression.

The best part of being in a relationship is the reality. The best part about yourself isn’t your high heels. It’s not the perfect dress or the great pick-up lines. It’s being with the person that you can be real with. While I will always be a fan of The Bachelor franchise, this was a nice dose of reality. I think I’ll stick to my cheap sushi dates and getting caught in the rain.

But for anyone who wants to be on The Bachelor, let me just tell you: Your mom was right. There really are a lot of fish in the sea. Or at least at the aquarium.

Cover Image Credit: The Cut

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I Channeled My Insecurities Into My Painting Final, A Series About Body Image

I haven't felt so proud and connected to something I've made in a really long time.

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I've written about my struggle to stay fit in college. Despite my best efforts, which I'll admit at times we're just mediocre efforts, there were still those inevitable pounds I gained when I moved away to live at college. The first semester hit hard with all the eating out, drinking, and even all you can eat dining halls. I didn't realize what an impact it was making on my body and therefore my self-esteem. I've always had a really great relationship with my body, food, and health. But by the time I came home for winter break, that confidence started to waver.

Going into the second semester I set my mind to change this, and going into summer I am definitely happier with where I'm at. As the end of the semester approached, I had to do a huge painting series for my final project, that was not only touching on what I'd learned in my first year of painting but the direction I want to go as an artist. I had been struggling to think of a way to incorporate all my thoughts and feelings into the series while finding a theme that I cared about and related to.

After weeks of thinking about it, I realized the concept wasn't going to be something I dreamed up one day, but a part of my life that I had to pour into these paintings. I wanted to channel these thoughts about body image and self-confidence or lack thereof into my work.

The series depicts a girl pensively looking in the mirror, both in baggy clothing and a little black dress, with a second figure looking over her shoulder, representing her subconscious. I spent more time in the studio than ever before working on these, not only because I was driven to make my work look great from a technical standpoint, but it was a topic I was passionate about. I used some reference photos of my friend for the pieces, but really it is more of a self-portrait.

Channeling these insecurities into my painting made me realize that we care so much about our bodies and working out for all the wrong reasons. Staying healthy is so important, but it's not so much about the number on the scale. It took going through these changes with my body to realize that you have to exercise to feel good and happy, and the results will come after that. I haven't felt in such a good place with my body in a while, and I also haven't felt so proud and connected to something I've made in a really long time, both of which I attribute to hard work paying off.

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