I’ve been about the same weight ever since committing to The BFF Diet 18 years ago. (With pregnancy being the major exception.) But after I turned 35, I noticed my body was starting to change. While I was still eating a balanced diet of healthy, whole foods, the number on the scale had begun going up.
When it started, I wasn’t all that concerned. I was at the tail end of 12 solid weeks of BBG and I knew I’d gained muscle, so I figured it was just that. Then I began to feel sluggish. My jeans felt tight and there was a new roll of flesh spilling over the waistband.
Whereas this would usually inspire me to immediately switch up my workouts and (temporarily) purge my diet of sweets and booze, neither of these things helped me return to my usual weight. Nor did my Whole 30 last August, or the new morning workout routine I began earlier this year. Instead, my jeans are feeling even tighter and the scale is telling me I now weigh a full 10 pounds more than I used to!
To be clear: I don’t think I’m fat. However, I’m not excited about the extra inch around my waist or the prospect of having to replace every pair of pants in my closet. But since I haven’t significantly changed my eating habits or activity level, this must mean that my metabolism is changing with age and I need to switch things up to prevent further weight gain. Which leads me to my dilemma: what does weight loss look like when you don’t believe in diets?
A Body Positive Approach To Losing Weight
I understand that I no longer have the body I did when I was 25, and I’m cool with that. Yes, I’ve seen those Instagram accounts of 50-something women with sculpted abs and perfect butts and I know it’s possible to be toned and strong at any age, but my priority above all else is health. And to me, being healthy means feeling confident, enjoying life, and fueling my body with delicious, nutritious food and workouts I actually enjoy.
With those things in mind, I’m sharing the Five Body Positive Weight Loss Tips I’m living by as I work to lose those 10 pounds:
I’m ditching the scale. I actually debated whether to use the term “lose weight” in this post, because a lower number on the scale isn’t always a good thing. I’ve gained a lot of muscle in my glutes and thighs since starting BBG, and I love how strong and sculpted they are! Since I have no idea what that new muscle weighs, I’m using my favorite pair of jeans as a barometer. Once the waist buttons easily, I know I’ve reached my goal!
I’m asking myself what I can change without feeling deprived or restricted. I don’t believe in diets, I believe in lifestyle changes. Enjoying ood is a big part of my lifestyle, and I’m not about to give up the occasional ice cream cone with my son, a slice of pizza when I’m just too tired to cook, or a martini with girlfriends. That said, my body is telling me that it’s processing food differently.
When I thought about it, I realized it’s time to admit that wine is not my friend, especially red wine. It’s been triggering migraines and digestive upset, which then lead to skipped workouts and poor meal choices. So I’m cutting out almost all red wine, and limiting alcohol consumption to 2-3 drinks weekly.
I’m taking an honest look at my eating and exercise habits. Up until now, I’ve enjoyed the benefits of a lightning fast metabolism. While what I ate definitely made a difference, portion size wasn’t really a concern. In addition, I loathe cardio and have never done all that much of it. I think my body may be telling me those days are over.
From now on, I’ll be watching portion sizes (especially when eating out!) and incorporating 1-2 days of cardiovascular exercise into my weekly workout routine. I’ve been enjoying spin classes recently, so I think that’s good place to start.
I’m tracking the number of times I eat out every week. Even when we choose the healthiest item on the menu, restaurant meals are usually higher in calories. While I’m not big on counting calories, the extra sugar and low-quality oils that create them can trick your body into being hungry again when it doesn’t really need more food. That’s not helpful when you’re trying to lose weight.
When I looked back over my credit card bills, I was shocked to realize just how many times a week I was grabbing lunch out. While I typically choose a salad, takeout portions tend to be 2-3 times larger than anything I’d make myself at home. While I’m not about to limit the amount of veggies I consume, the extra dressing that comes on top of that veg is likely a hidden source of some not-so-great stuff. So I’m cutting back on lunches out, and choosing good old oil and vinegar when I do enjoy a salad on the go.
I’m committing to positive self-talk. The stories we tell ourselves become self-fulfilling prophecies. So if I tell myself I’m out of shape, I’ll do things that perpetuate that story. Likewise, if I chow down on a double cheeseburger, I’m not reneging on my commitment to a healthy lifestyle. I’m just eating. I enjoy it and move on because eating intuitively brings me a lot of enjoyment, and joy is a key part of my holistic approach to healthy living.
I’ve been living by these principles for about three weeks — including ditching the scale — so I have no idea how much weight I’ve lost. What I do know is that I have more energy, and feel more comfortable in my clothes. I’m also starting to see the muscles that have been hiding underneath that little belly roll, which makes me feel strong and confident! Those feelings are so much more meaningful than anything the scale might tell me!
With summer on its way, I know there will be vacation cocktails, barbecues, and lazy beach days that may make my body feel less than great. But those things are literally LIFE. As long as I continue to live that life with balance and awareness, the body that propels me through it will be a strong and healthy one.