Let’s talk about weight without dieting

Let’s talk about weight without dieting

A tale of two Bronwyns

Image of Bronwyn, a smiling white woman with red hair walking up the street, on a sidewalk, in the sunshine.
This image inspired today’s post.
Bronwyn Then

I first became a “dieter” around the age of 15 or 16. I lost some weight, then spent another 7-8 years trying to maintain that body weight or (always hopefully) lose more.

It was a rough time. My life revolved around my weight, and I’ll be honest my habits bordered on disordered when it came to food and exercise.

I believed that because I’d been chubby I would easily become chubby, then fat, then huge, if I wasn’t constantly vigilant about what I ate and how much I exercised.

And you know what? At that time it seemed true, I would gain 5 or 10 lbs during holidays or on vacations. So it seemed legit that I was the type of person who had to constantly “watch my weight” or “fight my genetics” or whatever is the current term du jour.

And it was also absolute bullsh!t.

The reason I’d gain so much weight during those vacations and holidays was two fold.

  1. I wasn’t eating enough in my every day life, so when vacation food (fun food, junk food, yummy food) showed up, I went crazy. I wouldn’t be able to stop eating. I would just eat, eat, eat.
  2. My weight was too low. At the time I was convinced I was still big even though my BMI was “normal” (cue eye roll). But everything in my life revolved around maintaining that weight, and the minute I stopped, I would gain weight. That combined with other signs and symptoms, tells 33 year old anti-diet dietitian me, that my weight was too low.
Bronwyn Now

Once I really gave up dieting for good, my weight went up, and then it came down. My weight never hit the low weight I was in the story above. I’m at a weight I don’t have to think twice about maintaining. I eat in quantities that feel good (most of the time, some dinners are worth the rolling around feeling for) and foods I like (I like lots of different foods). I also move and exercise in ways that I enjoy. But that’s not what I want to talk about.

What I want to share is a story from this past year. In February 2020 I slipped on some snow covered ice while out for a run and broke my ankle. My younger self was terrified of breaking her ankle (or any limb). An injury meant weight gain, for sure.

Want to know something?

I didn’t gain a pound while my ankle was broken and I couldn’t do anything. As I healed and increased my exercise, I still didn’t gain any weight.

A year and a bit later and I weigh the same, even though I run roughly 3 times a week for a total of 30-33km a week.

My dieting self would never have believed it.

Remember the reasons I would gain weight in my dieting days? Those two situations are now reversed, and are the reason I maintained my weight despite a lifestyle shifting injury. As a reminder they are:

  1. I eat sufficient amounts of food every day. I also don’t have rules about pure fun foods, so they’re in my life more consistently. These two things mean I don’t have problems stopping when fun foods are present.
  2. My weight is just right. My current weight seems to be a happy place for my body. I’ve been this weight for 3-4 years now – through various levels of exercise.

Maybe this sounds intriguing to you. Or you can’t imagine living life without being afraid of gaining that 5-10 lbs, but you want to know more. If anything about being able to just maintain your weight without worry and live without constant vigilance of your eating and exercise, then reach out and book an appointment with me to find out how you too can live a life free from constant worries about your weight.

A little comment: I want to acknowledge the privilege that I experience living in a straight sized body.