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On Eating and Weight Loss

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In 2016, I lost 30 pounds. I lost them all in six weeks with a personal trainer when it had been my primary focus outside of work. Then during the winter holidays of 2016, I celebrated my accomplishment and ate all the turkey and ham with joy… and gained back the 30 pounds I had worked so hard to lose.

I had to do it all over again, and this time, make sure to keep the weight off.

How was I supposed to do that?

Once I tasted the blissful state of well-being, I was like a kid in a candy store. Except instead of a candy store, picture lots of kale, quinoa, and tempeh. My mind-trick was to make all this “healthy stuff” seem as desirable as candy and chocolate.

In this post, I’ll get down to the dirty details about my relationship with food and how eating impacted my weight loss. Exercise is a huge topic that will require another post, another time.

How to Decide What to Eat

Willpower is a myth. So I decided to remove some obviously unhealthy options from my pantry altogether. That way, these items would be non-options and I would not be tempted. Some of the first things to go were my favorites-- pasta, white rice, corn-based cereal, cookies.

Spontaneous and hangry shopping was one of my weaknesses, when I would purchase all of my impulsive unnecessary foods like chips, soda, chocolate, that curious gourmet cheese, and of course, my favorite wine. Typically all of this happened at Trader Joe’s.

To curb my spontaneity, I avoided Trader Joe’s like the plague and instead, ordered an online grocery delivery service such as Imperfect Produce (shameless plug here to get $10 for your first box!). Only healthy, fresh grocery options were available, and these were the only items that were added to my pantry on a weekly basis.

But this approach had its down sides. I was intimidated by the weird vegetables that showed up at my door, many of which I had never learned to cook before. Actually, I had never learned how to prepare them either. Beets, okra, butternut squash. I had entered exotic territory in the grocery department compared to my usual broccoli, potatoes, and carrots.

I had entered exotic territory in the grocery department compared to my usual broccoli, potatoes, and carrots.​

With the help of some awesome food bloggers, I slowly began to look forward to each week’s shipment of weird vegetables. Okay, truthfully, I just really enjoyed how adorably personable the vegetables were...

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Food was the first step. Losing weight in a healthy way is not about counting calories. Macronutrients (proteins, carbs, fats) were much more important and reasonable when I would eat out with friends and family. And unfortunately, a healthy diet couldn’t make me lose all the weight I needed to lose.

The actual driver for losing weight was exercise. We'll get into how I set up my exercise mindset and routine in the next post “On Exercise and Weight Loss.”