I lost about 20 lbs.

And I quit even though I am hardly at a weight that would make anyone flipping out over body size happy.

I quit.

No, I didn’t quit because I’d reached a goal. And I didn’t quit from lack of willpower or anything like that. I stuck to what I was doing for about four months. I was seeing plenty of results.

But I have found calorie counting intrusive and unsustainable. Also, obsessive-making. I didn’t realize how much so until yesterday morning coming home from the gym (yes, I work out every morning, yes, I do a pretty intense workout, no it’s not going to automagically make me skinny) and was musing on meal plans for the day when my husband commented, “If you have to diet, why can’t you go back to No-S?”

“Why do you say that, sweetie?” I asked.

“Well, is your goal swimming long distances, or calorie counting? I think the calorie counting is interfering with your real goal.”

He was right. Now, when I do the calorie-counting thing, I don’t, say, eyeball a portion and guestimate. I don’t even use measuring cups. I measure using a scale and measure to the gram. Then record it. Recipes? I measure all the ingredients, then portion it out.

This is unsustainable. And no, my goal is not to be skinny, but to trim down a little in the hopes of speeding up swimming. But, yeah, the swimming is the real goal.

It brought me up short. While I don’t want to overeat particularly, I certainly don’t want to make a hobby out of tracking every gram that goes into my mouth, either. And as an athlete, I do have some level of concern about how I am fueling my workouts. Which basically means a lot of lean protein, whole grains, fresh veggies and fruit. Nope, that’s not going to make you automagically skinny, either. But the point is that while permasnacking isn’t good for me, eating meals totally is.

The balance for that for me is using the No-S method. No sweets, no seconds, no snacks, except sometimes on days beginning with S. Cake on a close family member’s birthday? Bring it! Sure, the carrot sticks are great, but for goodness sake, have a sandwich with it. Eat a hearty breakfast after that long swim. Just, don’t spoil your dinner by snacking, but wait until it’s mealtime.

For me, it’s sustainable. I prefer larger meals to snacking, there’s a lot of clarity to it and it’s not something that gives me the creeping horrors when contemplating doing it the rest of my life.

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