I just realized that my ten-year high school reunion is coming up this fall. Thankfully, the universe was somewhat kind to me this morning, and I realized it’s in November. If it were at the beginning of September, I might have to make like a lemming and (metaphorically, of course) jump of the nearest cliff.
Combine the impending doom of the reunion and all the weddings I need to attend this fall, and it makes me want to crash diet like there’s no tomorrow. It makes me want to cut carbs and pop pills, which I can’t understand because I know that’s not the right way. It’s got to be my fear and not my better judgement whispering, “Eat only meat! I know you’re a vegetarian and don’t believe in it… but just buy a cow and eat only that for the next three months! You’ve got room in the freezer, right?”
I’m not going to crash diet. I’m not going to diet at all. I’m going to reverse the brainwashing in me that is screaming DIET! DIET! DIET! because diet’s don’t work. They. Do. Not. Work.
Upcoming reunions send thousands of women and men into the throes of war with their own bodies. Women are supposed to be “not fat.” Men are supposed to be “not bald.” Why do we feel the need to impress people we haven’t seen in years? Why do we feel the need to quickly fix what age and experience has done to us? We all believe we should be the exception and not the rule. Who wants to come back and greet all those wonderful/horrible people as a mediocre individual?
WHY, OH WHY didn’t we start eating right and exercising two years before we knew this reunion would happen? It’s not like we can’t count! It’s not like we didn’t know it was coming! It is denial and fear. It is hope that “I will totally be in shape by then!” combined with the natural human bedevilment that is procrastination.
It’s funny how we don’t change our lifestyles with the same passion for just health and wellness reasons. It takes an emergency. A possible fiasco. A zero hour. A reunion. (Or if you are the bride, a bridesmaid, or the mother of the bride… a wedding. Cue thunder and ominous music!)
I’m not a psychologist. I don’t understand why we torture ourselves. I don’t know why we set ourselves up for failure and self-imposed humiliation. I do know that it’s not necessary, and there is a better way. It ain’t a magic pill, but it’s simple once we realize it’s about life and not deprivation.
What would happen if I decided to crash diet for the reunion: Yeah, maybe I’ll lose a few pounds, but it will all come right back on once I go back to “non” dieting behavior. This is not conjecture; it is a statistical scientific fact. In reality, I may not even lose the weight because the entire time I’m crash-dieting, my body’s cortisol level will be through the roof. Stress = cortisol = belly fat.
What I’m going to do instead: I’m going to flip this negativity around and refuse to diet. I’m going to continue to live a healthy lifestyle but make consistently excellent choices. I’m going to fuel my body with clean food so that I can use that energy to kick major butt in my workouts. I’m going to correctly portion my food, not because I want to deprive myself but because I don’t need those extra calories weighing me down. I’m going to have fun exploring and feeling like a superhero.
Secret weapons of choice:
I’m going to put this mason jar filled with mixed nuts (that I personally mixed so I know they are not covered in salt by some company that doesn’t care about me) on my desk. I’ll grab a couple every once in a while so that I stay energized and fueled throughout the day. That way, when I get to meals, I can easily control the portion and prevent overeating. I’m not talking about eating nuts so that I’ll deprive myself of a real meal. Oh, no, sir. I’m just talking about not wanting to stuff my face with calories I don’t want or need. Now, it will be my body and not just my head saying, “You don’t need seconds, young lady.”
Drinking water is what we’re supposed to do because that’s what we’re made out of. Plus, some hunger pangs feel identical to dehydration pangs. I’ll be well hydrated so I won’t feel like eating when I really don’t need to. (Again, I’m not talking about starving myself. I’m talking about not eating because I’m bored and thirsty.) Sound boring? Nope! There are a bunch of ways to mix it up and make water exciting. To see how, click here.
Yesterday, I went exploring. I ran (almost) a 5K around a part of Central Park I hadn’t explored, even though I’ve lived here ten years. It was hard but totally rad. Read about my adventure here. Point is… I’m not going to just get stuck on the treadmill every day. I’m going to explore the city. I’m going to take yoga. I’m going to kick-box. I’m going to have a dance-party with Zumba. Mixing up workouts and making it fun will fuel my shape-up for the fall.
That’s right. I’m not depriving myself. If I want a taste of something or want to reward myself, I’m going to do it in a smart way. If I wake up and want pizza, I’m not going to call Papa Johns. I’m going to make a healthy and delicious pizza (that will taste 10X better) at home and share it so I don’t eat the entire thing. If I feel like I want some chocolate, I’ll have a little bit of dark chocolate (not the whole bar.) The word “treat” is what makes this work. If it’s a treat, it’s special. If you have it all the time without any ceremony or excitement, that’s poor decision making.
Treat. Yo. Self.
So that’s my plan. I’ll let you know how it goes! Screw diets. Yay positive lifestyle changes with a goal!
What do YOU think about the plan? Ever had a reunion crash-diet experience of your own? Leave a comment!