Do What Works for You

Do What Works For You - When it comes to losing weight, what matters is sustainability.

I was recently talking to my mom, who has been trying to eat healthier and has been doing a fantastic job for the past few months. Her method is simply cutting back on portion sizes and trying to make a healthier choice when given options. She does moderation really, really well. She can have a piece of Easter candy without raiding everyone’s baskets in the dead of night like a bizarro Easter bunny. Still, she was feeling a little self conscious because she was occasionally eating treats—things that aren’t societally “diet approved.” She was worried she wasn’t dieting the ‘right way.’ I reassured her that she was doing well, and reminded her that the most important aspect of healthy living is sustainability. You need to find a way of living that you can commit to, day in and day out.

There are so many experts out there giving us tips and direction that it can be overwhelming. One day we read about the importance of a hearty breakfast and the next day we are being told about the benefits of intermittent fasting. We’re told to eat small meals throughout the day and then we are told about the benefits of intermittent fasting (people are really into intermittent fasting these days!) Some experts tell us to avoid carbs, others say everything in moderation. Some tell us to avoid fat, others tell us we aren’t getting enough. One trainer tells us how critical cardio is and another says it’s a waste of time. It’s wonderful that there’s such a vast sea of advice and information available, but you need to rely on some autonomy to avoid drowning in it.

If you’re striving to achieve a healthier life, read some of the advice out there and try it out. Try eating a hearty breakfast and then try intermittent fasting. Eat a low carb diet for a week and then try a plant-based diet. Do some cardio, then try lifting weights instead. Better yet, do both! Eventually, you’ll figure out what feels right for you. We all have different personalities and different lifestyles and there’s never going to be one “right” way to live healthy. Don’t second guess yourself because you read some contradictory information on Facebook or somebody questioned your routine. Trust that you will always know what works for you.

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19 thoughts on “Do What Works for You

  1. Emily

    Do you ever hear words that make you heave a sigh of relief? That’s what this post was for me. It was a reminder that there’s not “right way” for everyone — just a right way for me. The contradicting information IS overwhelming. I hear repeatedly the benefits of Paleo and feel ashamed because I don’t want to give up dairy or sugar. (Cut back? Yes. Eliminate? No.) I also hear that if I want to work out effectively, I need to do HIIT training. Less time and better burn? Maybe. Enjoyable? Not. a. chance. So THANK YOU for the reminder that there’s no “right for everyone” — it’s just “right for me.” xoxo

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  2. Mariana

    You are so right, thank you for this post! All the information out there is indeed overwhelming and I spend so much energy thinking about what the right approach is that sometimes is exausting! We are indeed all different so there can’t be only one way for all of us. Thanks for this inspiring blog!

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  3. Silvia @ skinny jeans

    oh, the experts! who are they really? are these REAL life experts like the ones who marches this weekend, or was this just another magazine that needs to stay relevant and cited some vague ‘experts’ to give its article validity?

    I am sure there must be some experts out there who support your mom’s approach. Maybe, she should just cite them, and be done with it.

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  4. Joy

    Thanks for this encouragement today! I’ve been reading a lot of Gretchen Rubin lately and she’s so into low-carb, no sugar…and I just don’t see that as sustainable for me! But, in her terms, I’m a moderator, not an abstainer. I’m the person who could have a dark chocolate bar in her desk drawer and only eat one square every two days. But don’t tell me I can’t eat chocolate EVER again or I become a nutcase. :p

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  5. Abby

    I was just talking to a friend about this TO.DAY girl. Everyone at my job is on the ketogenic diet and it works! But I tried it and though it worked I couldn’t sustain it. Then I went extreme to the other side (read: Taco Bell everyday) because I was confused and hungry. Is fruit bad for you? I can NEVER have carbs?! And my friend finally said “listen. Humans have been eating fruit since the dawn of time. Maybe focus on portions and not bingeing,” and I was like “DUH! SO SIMPLE!”

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  6. Cassie

    This actually brought tears to my eyes (I’m exhausted, overwhelmed, etc. etc.). I’ve realized it’s all about balance and what works for you. What works for you doesn’t work for everyone else. Also, everyone is doing the best they can – gotta give yourself some grace every once in a while.

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  8. Jen

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!! I too, fall victim for all of the different “ways to eat” but have failed at every single one. This time around, I am choosing a lifestyle change, not a diet, and am really focused on clean eating. If I can’t pronounce it, I don’t eat it! This forces me to spend more time in the kitchen and grocery store rather than going out which is also helping my wallet! :) I make all my own salad dressings, seasonings and even homemade mayo which is delicious and so much better for you than the store bought kind. There is no way I will ever give up carbs or sugar completely but I feel this time that I can have the occasional potato chip or small piece of candy and not derail. I LOVE your blog and posts. You are such an inspiration, thank you.

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  9. Violet

    I was (and still am) inspired by your year-long blog about your mom’s weight loss. I keep hoping for updates…I’m around her age, and figured if she could do it, maybe I could too. I love reading your articles and tips, you are so down-to-earth and practical. Keep up the good work!

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  10. Judy

    I find trying all kinds of exercise helped me discover what I enjoyed and would stick with over the long run. I ruled out a lot of types of exercise I don’t enjoy or struggle to do. When I lose weight then I will try them again as I may then be able to do more and enjoy some of the types I now have chosen to set aside.
    I love hearing about your mom and David and your trips and what is going on. Thanks for sharing your life.
    Judy

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  11. Jennifer H

    Thank you for this! What works for me is to log every single bite but it keeps my portions in control. I read all of those articles and make fun of some of them because what was so good for you last week is no longer good for you this week. One of my best friends and I are working hard at changing our lifestyles and this is the first time EVER that I have gone on vacation and come back and gotten right back into it. I actually looked forward to being back in control! Thanks for sharing your talented writing style with all of us!

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  12. Mal

    I agree with trying different things out as you can’t know if something works if you don’t experience it. However, I’d add from my own personal experience that jumping from one diet (clean diets like paleo and vegan, not processed garbage) to another or various exercise regimes to another in an obsessive way really destroyed my first-ever success at substantial weight loss. What I didn’t realize then was that your mindset will either make or break you. After a relatively fast and easy 65-pound loss with very clean eating and very regular exercise (various types of yoga and cardio), my weight loss stalled big time. Not for a couple of weeks, but for months. I started getting discouraged, frustrated, and then ultimately off the hook emotionally as I couldn’t seem to progress any further despite being a good 50 pounds away from a normal weight range. One week I’d cut something else out of my diet, another week I’d try adding that new super food, and the next I tried cutting back on exercise because maybe I was over doing it. Then I’d fixate on whether something was making me retain water and try cutting it out – on and on like that with each new article on weight loss or nutrition that I voraciously read. I finally ended up attempting a vegan diet. Felt great for about a month and then I crashed when instead of more weight loss it just made me protein-deficient with all the miserable symptoms. I couldn’t come back from that. I was so burned out on every level. Fast forward about 18 months and I got myself back to a place I’d never thought be in again. I lost sight of what was most important – health and fitness. I let the numbers get the best of me and I obsessed over finding the right way, but there was too much of it swirling around in my head. Getting back in game the last few months I’ve opted for sustainability rather than speed and moral superiority. I treat myself to a burger every so often, I have cookies in my house, I opt for convenience over nutrition sometimes, but more often I’m eating well, limiting calories, and working out. Re-lost 20 pounds and remembering that rather than sprinting and tumbling back down the hill, it’s slow and steady that wins the race after all.

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  13. PattyAnn

    You dont know how badly i needed to read this TODAY! Like so many others, i hear about this diet, or that way of eating, carbs or NO carbs at all, sugar or NEVER eat sugar….its confusing and maddening!! I lost 40+ lbs doing Weight Watchers years back, and felt great doing it. Clearly, portion control/counting calories works for me. And yet, I’ve been stuck in this rut lately….i am up 15 lbs, feel gross, fat, and my clothes don’t fit. And so, rather than just getting my butt in gear and do what I KNOW works for me, i listen to all the “experts” and go crazy because i cant imagine giving up sugar completely, or never eating carbs. Thank you for this. Today I’m back to counting calories and it feels good and it feels right. Do you know why? Because it WORKS for me! Blessings!!

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  14. debbie in alaska

    I appreciate this. I’m 43 and finally found something that works for me. It’s been a year and a half and I’m easily maintaining my lower weight — but what worked for me contradicts a lot of what’s out there. And I’m cool with that — because finding my own path has made all the difference.

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