Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too

Dieting equals deprivation. Try a new approach to get motivated.

Since I have begun my expedition of making healthy lifestyle choices versus frantic all-consuming dieting, I have lost 4 lbs. During my time spent on “The Biggest Loser” I lost 14 lbs the first week. When I have done Weight Watchers repeatedly in the past I usually lose something around 7 lbs the first week. Comparatively speaking this may look like an epic failure or sheer laziness, while on the contrary my body may be moving at a much slower pace this time around but my mind feels a lot less like an anorexic trapped inside a bread factory. 

The number on the scale may say one thing, but here are the non-number accomplishments:

I have worked out more in the last three weeks than I have in the last six months and honestly, I have enjoyed almost every minute. Except for Tabata Fusion, a class I tried at my gym that mirrors the Insanity workouts, with twenty seconds on and ten seconds rest for an hour. During the whole workout all I could do was mutter f**k repeatedly under my breath (I turn into a bit of a filthy sailor when I am pushed to my workout threshold) and hold down the urge to flee. The next three days I had to leverage myself down with the counter in order to use the bathroom, or throw myself into my car sideways because I couldn’t bend my legs. 

I have rekindled my deep love of yoga, remembering how calming it is for my ever-changing mind and how accomplished I feel when in the tree pose without wobbling, even finding myself practicing poses in random places. 
I have only purchased healthy fare, so the other day when I was craving sweets like an escaped child in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, I assessed what my options were and realized it was basically fruit or …  some fruit. I settled on an orange and a handful of coconut cashews. I forgot how complimentary fruit and nuts truly are. And I was satisfied. 
I had some of my boyfriend’s family over for a game night this weekend and one of my favorite things in the world, besides having game nights, is preparing delectable hors d’oeuvres and treats. Naturally I wanted to wow my guests, because that’s just how I do a get-together. Besides having lots of healthy fare like veggie dip made with greek yogurt, hummus, a homemade wheat baguette, brie and apples, I knew I had to have dessert. In the spirit of challenging myself I chose a new and somewhat complex recipe from Martha Stewart. The night before the party I baked a flourless dark chocolate espresso cake with a dark chocolate espresso glaze. The recipe was so different from what I’m used to that not only did I feel a lot like Julia Child, but I basked in the art form that is baking, noting how I could indeed make stiff peaks with egg whites and it resembled a mountaintop. I was so satisfied with the act of putting the recipe together to create a beautifully baked cake, that I had no problem saving it until the party and even less of a problem when it got devoured and I savored my individual piece with my Trader Joe’s red wine with hints of espresso undertones to compliment the cake. 


The dessert was so perfect in my mind that the next day when my boyfriend bought me home a chocolate treat for dessert, I took a bite to find I didn’t really care for it. I chose not to eat it as I didn’t feel like wasting the calories on something I wasn’t all that impressed with. It is still sitting in the fridge not even tempting me one iota. Are the implications settling in here? There is a chocolate cheesecake sort-of-thing sitting in my fridge that I have not devoured for a full day. 

So I’ve only lost 4 lbs, but the difference is this: Diets to me have always spelled deprivation and the moment I feel deprived is the moment I want to rebel and wreak havoc on some poor unsuspecting bakery. When I tell myself that I am indeed allowed to bake a decadent espresso cake a la Martha Stewart and eat it too, then I don’t feel guilty, I feel like I am embracing love. My love of great food, my love of creating something wonderful in the kitchen, my love of sharing that with others. And this includes my workouts. When I am kind to myself and keep focusing on the fact that my body still can do tremendous things, because it is strong and capable, even if it is re-learning, then I feel great about what I am giving my attention to instead of bleak and miserable about having to go to the gym or eat broccoli. I hate broccoli. Why would I force myself to eat it if I do not like it one bit? 

Moral of the story: There are many more accomplishments to be had than the numbers flashing on a scale.