Dieting with Love

I'm still recovering from our spring break vacation. We drove all the way down to Florida for the first time. As most vacations do, ours involved many meals eaten in restaurants, plenty of wine, and zero Pilates. We did walk for many hours each day, but apparently that didn't cut it. While staying at my mother's condo, I made the mistake of stepping on her scale.

Yes, I've probably told you a bunch of times how much I abhor the scale. How it only gives you one number (unless you have the fancy kind) and that number is flawed. The number you really need to know is not pounds but body fat percentage. However, looking in the mirror, employing a measuring tape, and trying on your clothing can give additional information. And all of these methods pointed to the current fact that I need to drop a few pounds.

So ever since we returned from Florida, I've been cutting back. If you've been reading this blog for a long time, you've survived many ups and downs with me on the diet front. It's a lifelong battle which means that even after successfully winning a skirmish or two, I am never finished with this war. As I head toward menopause, I no longer have youth or hormones on my side. But I do have a secret weapon in my back pocket: LOVE.

I strongly believe that every successful diet is born of LOVE, not hatred. Despising your body, hating yourself, or putting yourself down is never going to lead to positive changes. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Punishing yourself with a strict diet will only lead to resentment, anger, depression, and rebellion.

Instead, try love.

Dieting with love is choosing to make a positive change in your life. Choosing whole foods that you enjoy. Considering those healthy foods because of how they make you feel as well as how they make you look. Feeding yourself with a heaping portion of kindness. Remembering your body is a temple.

Here are some examples: Instead of cutting out meals, use small tweaks to bring your meals into alignment with your goals. I usually have cream in my coffee. One of the small changes I've made this week is using only whole milk instead of cream. This cuts at least 30 calories from each cup of coffee I drink, and I usually have 2 per day. So 60 calories less per day times 7 days per week and I have already eliminated 420 calories with one tiny change.

Know yourself, and make choices that will support your own particular style. If you love sandwiches, try to tweak your sandwiches so they still have plenty of flavor but contain less calories. Switching from mayo to mustard cuts close to 100 calories but still gives a big flavor punch. Load your sandwich up with fresh salad greens, pickled veggies, sauerkraut, fresh herbs and/or grated carrots for great taste and nutritional value with barely any calories. Choose the flavors and textures that make your taste buds sing.

You don't necessarily need to give up any particular food or food group, unless you believe that food is a trigger for binge-eating or otherwise potentially harmful to you. If you can successfully consume a small portion, and feel satisfied, then perhaps you only need to cut back rather than cut something out completely. This can apply to anything that you enjoy in moderation: red wine, dark chocolate, roasted cashews, guacamole, tahini sauce, pistachios, brown rice chips, plantain chips. (These are all examples of snacks I consumed this week while still cutting calories!)

Bottom line: try being kind to yourself! Tweak your diet to make a positive change in your health as well as in how you look. Make small changes and be patient with yourself and with your progress. Losing slowly is much kinder to your body than starving or yo-yo-ing. Make this the last diet you ever need to go on: the LOVE diet!


  1. Speaking of love, I love this approach to weight loss! I too struggle with my weight, and have found that love is most certainly the answer. And going with what works for you is important as well - it takes more time, and requires more self-analysis and thought, but it's so worth it!


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