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Eating great food makes me happy. It always has. Fitting in my clothes makes me happy, too. I want to eat my cake, and I want to fit in my pants, too! I would like to preface this talk with a disclaimer: I’m sharing my 15 years of experience. I’ve lost 65 pounds, I’ve tried many, many diet and exercise plans, BUT I have a ton of bias because I’m a food addict. Basically, you should meet with one of our Camp Rhino nutritionists for advice specific to you. 

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Now that I’ve made my disclaimer, I’m going to share my true thoughts on the matter. I’m really, really sad when I’m overweight. It’s an every minute type of sadness that permeates every facet of my life. Weight gain was something that always seemed to sneak up on me, out of nowhere, over and over again. I was tired and I was sad when I was overweight. I would gain and lose, but the base weight kept creeping up. 

A few years ago I went cold turkey and committed to a challenge. It is definitely what I needed at the time. All of the sudden I had energy, I was productive, hungry for knowledge and an exercising MACHINE. It transformed my life. 

But then I didn’t want to go ‘off-challenge’ because I was worried the weight would come back on. So I stayed, ‘on-challenge’ for 3 years. Luckily, I had a once a week treat that I could use at weddings and other social events. 

I used to tell people ‘when you stop eating the ‘bad’ stuff, you stop having cravings. You stop caring so much about food. You start caring about other things, like spending time with people, having experiences, and LIFE.’ This is true… but there was also a piece of me missing. The me that would dream about the next bite. The me that would plan out new restaurants to try. The me that would bake in my kitchen. My old favorites didn’t taste good anymore because my taste buds were so ‘clean’. But my new favorites didn’t taste all that great either.

I missed my cravings. Being with family and friends is wonderful. Eating with family and friends is even better. Traveling is wonderful. Traveling and trying new food is even better. To me, everything is better with food. 

So… what I’m trying to say is…. I’m baaaaack. I’m chasing food again. I’m dreaming about food again. I’m trying new restaurants again. And I still feel great, I’m still productive, I still have energy and I’m still valuing my friends and family time because I have a few habits I stick to, which I’m about to share with you.

I think I needed to stick to a strict-ish plan first, in order to learn about my body and find my way. So if you haven’t committed and stuck to a custom plan made for you by one of our nutritionists, I encourage you to! And if you have, I want to share my new ‘rules’ of thumb for my new, fungry life. 

Rule 1: If it’s not special, I don’t eat it. I stick to my healthy breakfast, my healthy lunch, my healthy snacks, and my healthy dinner UNLESS there’s something special to be eaten. If someone brings in cupcakes from a grocery store, I don’t eat one. That’s not special. If someone brings in Bombolini’s that I’ve never tried from a restaurant I’ve never heard of, I at least take a bite. That’s special. If someone’s Mom bakes something and it is brought in, that’s special. If we are out with friends at a new or favorite restaurant, that’s special! If I’m at Sunday lunch at Mom and Dad’s, that’s special! If Ruthie makes cinnamon rolls, that’s special! If I’m in a new city trying new restaurants, that’s special!

Rule 2: I get 2 servings of vegetables, at least 100 ounces of water, and my daily quota of protein each day.

Rule 3: I don’t skip my workouts. Even if I’m out of town I make sure to at least hit the workout room or walk 5 miles in a day and take the stairs to my hotel room. 

Rule 4: (Don’t do this if you struggle with eating disorders) I weigh myself every morning and every night. To me, this gives me a sense of control. It helps me enjoy my life, because I know which number on the scale is getting too high, and because of the challenges and tracking I did in the past, I know EXACTLY what makes that scale correct. 

Rule 5: Enjoy life. Extremes aren’t very fun. Working hard, learning as much as possible and then rewarding myself is fun, but not extremes.