One of the most common questions I get from those asking about my weight loss is: what do you miss most that you had to give up to lose weight? The assumption is that you have to give up things you like to eat and sacrifice your culinary happiness in order to help shed the pounds. So here’s my tip – give nothing up… almost.
Give Up What Makes You Sick
It seems like the last several years have either brought to light or seen a tremendous increase in food sensitivities. From lactose intolerance to celiac disease, food-based problems have gotten a lot more attention.
If you have been diagnosed with a food intolerance, take whatever steps are necessary to treat it. That means giving up dairy if you cannot process lactose. It means giving up glutenous grains if you have celiac.
If you have not been diagnosed with a specific food intolerance but have noticed a pattern of a food making you not feel well, give it up. Also, seek medical advice and testing. Some food-based sensitivities may not have fancy names. They may be allergies. It may just be something that you cannot process well. Whatever the case may be, don’t make yourself sick in trying to give nothing up. Eliminate foods that hurt you.
How to Determine What Foods Hurt You
Identifying what is causing problems in your body can be a lengthy process. It is a science experiment where you are both the scientist and the subject and you have to follow the scientific method.
Step 1: Take notes on how you feel after eating. Make your notes specific, even to the point of graphic. Do not shy away from the subject of bowel movements. They are informative of how your body is dealing with the foods you have ingested. Study your notes to find any patterns in what is causing problems.
Step 2: Go to your doctor and get tested for the usual food intolerance suspects (lactose, gluten, shellfish, etc.) Bring your notes from step 1 and be prepared to discuss them. Your doctor may also suggest food sensitivity testing. This is slightly different from having an intolerance or allergy.
Step 3: Eat things that don’t cause problems. This is pretty straight-forward. Eliminate the foods that make you feel sick. There may be ways to cope with some of them (like taking Lactaid so you can still have some dairy). That’s fine. For all the stuff there are no supplements to handle, remove them from your diet.
Otherwise, Give Nothing Up
We focus on losing weight through tracking and being responsible for the decisions you make. There’s no beating yourself up about things you “shouldn’t have had” or exercise you meant to do before life got in the way. These things happen. Track them and be responsible for the next choice.
With that as the baseline, you don’t have to give anything up! You can eat whatever foods you like. Track your food and be responsible for making choices on portions. Perhaps, as you track, you’ll learn that they’re not so bad for you. Or perhaps you’ll find that a smaller portion would fit better into the plan you are working with. That’s fine. Track it all and learn from your decisions.
I am not a doctor or a nutritionist. If you have questions about your specific situation, consult with a medical professional or a licensed nutritionist.