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Sinclaire Sparkman: Hail to the healthy thingamajig

Sinclaire Sparkman • Updated Apr 20, 2018 at 1:00 PM

Let’s face it; dieting is drudgery. Not only are there plenty of mixed signals about what foods are actually good for you, there are thousands of weight loss plans out there that claim to be the best. 

It’s overwhelming, and as we hear more and more about healthy lifestyles and healthy eating, even those of us that could stand to lose a few pounds start judging others for their choices or the way they look. 

Back off, Brenda; we don’t all become supermodels in a day. In fact, one of the things about healthy weight loss is it takes time and commitment, something that seems almost foreign to us in this day and age. 

Even if, like me, you’ve been on a weight-loss roller coaster for years, all hope is not lost. Ask anyone who has been through AA; the trick to breaking a bad habit is taking it day by day. Though overeating is not quite as destructive as alcoholism or drug abuse, the principle still rings true. And some diets are pretty destructive, too, and don’t last past the first delicious bite of doughnut. 

As history remembers it, Lord Byron was the first famous person obsessed with the idea of staying thin. He lived in the 1800s. See, people used to adore the fat and happy, but alas, we know better now. Lord Byron hated the way his wife ate supper and hardly ate more than a slice of bread with a cup of tea. He struggled with what we now call anorexia nervosa, and he died at 36. 

Since Lord Byron’s time in the 1800s, people have come up with plenty of insane ways to lose weight, including taking a pill with a tapeworm. Cysts on your eyes are fine as long as the weight comes off, right? No. This diet is illegal and rightfully so. It can also cause bloating, which completely ruins the whole point anyway.

The trick is to change your bad habits, and that is possibly the hardest part of sustainable weight loss. 

Recently, I learned that a healthy lifestyle involves a lot of counting. No math, but numbers are important. Count your calories, count your steps, count down the seconds on the elliptical. Seriously, can I get off this thing now? Nope. Another 164 billion seconds to go until you’re pretty and thin. 

But somehow, just keeping track of what you’re doing, even without changing a thing, can jumpstart your journey. That means no cheating. Even if you don’t log the chips munched on while watching TV, they’re still in your belly. Seeing is believing.  Keeping track is super easy these days, too. Download an app with a food logging system. Just type in what you ate, and watch the behavior change begin.  

What really matters is mindfulness. Good nutrition is what we should really be after, and any good app can break down the nutritious value in some way. Also, there are different body types and only about one percent of the earth’s population is naturally cut out to look like a Barbie doll. Maybe you’re descended from Vikings, and that little bit of extra husk is supposed to be there to keep from dying when the winter comes. Either way, you’ll lose weight if you set your nutrition on the right track. You really don’t need the chips. Seriously, put down the chips. Behavior changes make much more sense that eating tapeworms or borderline anorexia. 

I’m not a nutritionist, and I’m not going to suggest some miracle plan to save your life and help you lose weight. It’s your choice.

In the end, give yourself grace to keep trying. Don’t give up when you eat the cake. Own up to it and log it in. Keep track of your behaviors, and be kind to yourself. 

Somehow, if you push through the hard parts, the numbers should all add up to weight loss. All it really takes is willpower and motivation. 

Sinclaire Sparkman is The Democrat’s news editor. Email her at ssparkman@lebanondemocrat.com and follow her on Twitter @wilsoncoreports.

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