I once was a size 2. Actually, if you go back far enough, I think I used to be a size 0-2 months.
Ba doom cha!
Seriously, though. This is the diet trap.
One time when you were "really really really good," you were able to be this size. This is your ideal size. It seems reasonable to you because you were there once. It's not like you want to look like OG Barbie or even like Taylor Swift, you just want to be this size again.
This number is different for everyone but, usually, when you talk nostalgically about being this size, your sentence starts with "When I was....":
When I was in college...
When I last went on a ______ diet or "healthy lifestyle" program....
When I was a professional wrestler...
When I was a chimpanzee....
And the sentence ends with some description of how your body previously looked
I weighed _____ pounds.
I fit in to size _____ jeans.
I looked like Rocky at the end of Rocky IV
I had monkey abs.
Sometimes we confuse these moments in our lives as being our "true selves." We feel like the month and a half when we only drank green juice and ate bananas was when we achieved our essence. We believe that this is what we would look like if "we actually took care of ourselves."
Just because we were that weight or had those 12 foot gams or 6 pack abs or Rocky IV body, we believe that we can and we should be that weight again.
Diets are all about yo-yoing. Every time you go on one, you are actually less likely to get back down to your "chimpanzee" size. Before you crawl down that rabbit/monkey hole again, I'm going to redirect at the end of this post to the 700 posts that I have written about how diets do not work. Since that's already established, what I encourage you to do is REFRAME how you see your past self that seemed "healthy":
1. You don't have to use the same measurements.
What I mean to say is weight. You don't have to weigh yourself. Or any other diet-y way of thinking about your body. Don't measure your "waist circumference" or what size jeans you bought from the Gap in 1998 versus now.
Ab definitions don't need to define you (Patent pending on that bumper sticker).
2. Instead, pick a measurement that's actually based on how you want to feel.
Think about what you're actually hoping to accomplish.
Want to run a triathlon? Train for that.
Want to eat "healthier?" Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. Try to get up to 10 different vegetables
Want to be able to pick up your kids without your back hurting? That's simple. LIft with your legs. You can also try yoga or weight training.
Want to just BE healthier? Talk to a health coach. I think I know somebody...
3. Take care of yourself.
If you are thinking, "But, Noel, you don't understand. If I'm not worried about my weight, I won't take care of myself."I know this sounds crazy but what if you focused on the self-care part first and foremost?
Look over your list that you might have made above. Do your research. Is going on a juice cleanse really going to detoxify your body? The New York Times says no. Eating a bunch of bacon and avoiding bread might help you lose weight but you may not be pooping very much.
Think about what you think you want from your "old body." Maybe it was happier. Maybe you felt more free. Maybe you just thought it helped you get more attention. Some of these issues might have tougher answers, tougher even than giving up gluten.
Consider your reason WHY you want to be your old size and make goals around that.