I approach "dieting" a lot differently than I did before WLS, and I'm curious what changes others have made. Here are a few things I have discovered that work for me. (They may or may not work for you.)
I focus on my average calories per day over time rather than thinking in terms of "I was good today" or "I was bad today".
I have days when I am extra hungry, and may eat 20% more calories than normal. I have learned to accept this as part of the way my body works. I often find that the next day I have lost weight, so perhaps it's all part of the body adjusting to weight loss. (This happened to me today, for example. Yesterday I ate a "whopping" 900 calories instead of 800, and today I'm down a pound.)
On occasions where I eat more than normal at a meal, I no longer try to make up for it by skimping on calories for the rest of the day. Likewise, I don't decide that the day was a failure and promise to get back on the wagon tomorrow. Instead, I just eat the next meal or snack as if nothing happened (if I'm hungry).
I only "overeat" about once every ten days, and only by small amounts, so it doesn't affect my average much. I no longer think of those occasions as failures; they're just times that I needed more food for some reason. If I were overeating more often, or my calorie average rising, I would need to rethink this approach, but it's working well for me now.
I have learned not to panic as much when I have been sticking to the diet but the scale says I have gained a pound. I remind myself that it takes a 3500 calorie surplus to gain a pound, so there's no way I could have gained that in one day on an 800 calorie diet. Sure enough, the next day the pound will miraculously "disappear", often accompanied by one of its friends, so I'll have a net loss of two pounds. (I know the recommendation is to only weigh yourself once a week, but I'm not that disciplined yet!)
If I want to improve how I'm eating (e.g. to lower calories or eat more protein), I have found that my best tactic is to look at just one thing I eat frequently, and think about what changes I could make to better fit my meal plan.
Thanks to the surgery, I don't feel deprived. Instead of focusing on eating less, I'm focused on making sure I get the right nutrients. I feel much more relaxed about food. Instead of having a constant inner dialog of "can't have this, can't have that", it's "need some protein, need some vegetables, need some fibre".
What changes in your attitude toward food and dieting have you noticed after WLS?
You are taking a common sense approach to this. One thing that I have done every single day since surgery is weigh myself and track the results. I go into denial when there is no scale to answer to.
I think about everything that I eat and what purpose it serves at the moment. I want great taste and great nutrition and still keep my weight in check. I have been at this for a long time, so know what I can eat and what will happen even before I get on the scale.
This does get easier. I have had periods of regain and have learned what it takes to lose it again. There is no perfect diet or perfect people. We learn from our mistakes and get better each time.
Real life begins where your comfort zone ends
I have completely changed the way I "diet" since WLS. In fact, I no longer "go on a diet" at all. I have simply adopted a new way of eating (WOE). If I find myself having gained some weight, I generally just cut out some of the higher caloric density foods that I eat. I don't restrict the amount of food, or force myself to go hungry as I would have in the past. If that doesn't work, I become very conscientious of the snacking I maybe doing. Again, if I'm truly hungry, I'll eat. But I might chose cut up veggies or berries.
Before it was always about restriction, restriction, restriction. Now it is simply about good food choices.
It's made a world of difference. It's worked extremely well. And it's a much more pleasant way to live.
You've articulated things so clearly here that there is really nothing to add except admiration. I try to use the same approach and philosophy you've outlined here with mixed success. Sometimes, I stress a lot about macronutrients. This weekend on the family camping trip, I felt like I was way off my food strategy and dreaded the scale but was pleasantly surprised.
My negative self talk does take a toll. I had a smores while camping and I spent the evening telling myself to "get back on track". Work in progress.
I'm very similar in my way of thinking since WLS. I also have celebration meals, I don't call them "cheat meals" because I'm not cheating. I balance it with other thing and I don't do it very often.
Such as this coming weekend is my birthday and my grand-daughter birthday party. So, since she is just three she won't really notice if I don't eat pizza and have chicken or something else. I'll still have some cake with her, it will just be for both of our birthdays. Then at dinner I'll celebrate my birthday with my husband.
Not a whole day of eating whatever I want, just a meal and since surgery I crave the healthier foods. I know what I want which is a thick steak with mushrooms at our favorite steak house! I might have a baked potato instead of broccoli or have an appetizer. I don't binge eat anything and everything to just feel bad physically and mentally later.
Life is good and I feel great! I think part of it is that WLS makes my healthy eating goals attainable. I've always had dedication and with WLS plus some counseling I'm able to stay on track long term to lose the extra weight plus being able to maintain that lose without my body fighting against me.
I honestly wish I had done it years earlier BUT I didn't know enough and I wasn't really ready.
HW: 398.8 SW:356 GW: 175 CW:147