I am the last person on the face of this earth to tell anyone about dieting. I do not ascribe to diet culture or the wellness industry, or even body positivity. But a recent health scare in my family upended a few habits, which led to me losing twenty pounds totally effortlessly and got me under 200 pounds for the first time in two years.
Here’s what happened.
A couple of months ago, my husband went to the doctor for a regular annual exam. They did all the routine things and ran all the standard tests. My husband has always had a clean bill of health, but he came home with worrying news; his cholesterol was ridiculously high. It turns out it runs in his family, but before my husband would agree to take a prescription to control it, he asked the doctor to give him some time to make some lifestyle changes and see if that would do the trick.
Since I do all of the cooking in the family, it became my job to figure out how to adjust his diet to lower his cholesterol levels. A couple of quick Google searches, and I learned quite a bit about the critical role of sodium and fiber, low fat, and portion control. And although we already eat a pretty heart-healthy diet, we have been a bit lazy over the past eighteen months because, well…pandemic, you know?
At a quick glance, here is a snapshot of the steps I took to change our eating habits that I feel pretty convinced led to my weight loss.
- I stopped serving red meat as much as I used to and began cooking more plant-based proteins or chicken or fish. This change lowered my weekly grocery bill, which was a huge plus.
- I increased our fiber by a ton. Since I didn’t know which foods were great for fiber content, I printed out a list and taped it to my fridge and just made sure that every meal had something from that list on it.
- We stopped ordering take-out when we didn’t feel like cooking. Yup, fried foods, processed foods, they can add up on the waistline. I still love take-out, but I learned how to make high fiber, home-cooked versions of all our favorite meals.
- We stopped snacking after dinner—the thing about eating a high fiber diet that is that it leaves you feeling full.
But just as important as the changes that we made intentionally are the things that I don’t do. Just because we’re changing how we eat, I don’t want to end up in some miserable diet cycle. So, here are things I actively refuse to do.
- I never calorie count. Or carb count. Or fat count. Or any of that. I don’t even fiber count. I just make sure that foods listed on our high fiber food list end up on our plates every day. That’s it.
- I don’t work out. Well, I do move my body and break a sweat, but only because it feels good. I don’t have a workout schedule. There are no leg days here and no booty or plank challenges happening either. But if Vance Joy starts playing, you better watch out because I will shake my ass for a solid five minutes until my blood and lungs are pumping like crazy.
- I don’t weigh myself. You might be asking yourself how I know I lost twenty pounds if I don’t weigh myself, and the answer is that my pants stopped fitting, so I stepped on a scale to see what was up. That was the only time I weighed myself.
- I don’t say no to food. If I want a donut, I will eat a donut. I just won’t eat only a donut. I’ll have it with a meal that has fiber and other good-for-me stuff. A donut isn’t going to kill me or make me gain the weight back.
- I don’t obsess over food.
When we started to think about food as medicine and made eating a certain way a daily routine, I didn’t have to think about calories or weight loss. I just had to think about ensuring that my husband is getting the fiber he needs to get the next blood test to come back with better results. By making these seemingly tiny changes to my diet, I’m feeling more energetic and healthy. The lost twenty pounds is just a sweet bonus.