is SSE more important than losing weight?

I have found that SSE actually makes ‘weight loss’ a lot easier long-term, when I am not caught up worrying about numbers and all the ‘stuff’ diets require I am able to focus clearly on getting results. It’s all easier.

That doesn’t mean it’s easier than dieting, it means that if you, like me, have spent most of your life on or off diets, then this shift in mindset is refreshing. Diets are not difficult, because you are following a plan, they require some motivation or commitment, if only for the lack of food or drastic changes in your diet. It’s that moment you head towards ‘maintenance’ – I only reached that point once – that’s the scary moment, it is the moment which you suddenly feel lost, confused and scared to ‘eat properly’.

For these reasons alone I believe working towards SSE is more important than losing weight, I have spent years trying the same thing, and when I thought I was trying something different, it turned out I really just used exercise to manage my weight, not my nutrition. This is a flawed concept, you cannot out train a bad diet.

I had a moment of clarity this weekend, I have been to the same country music festival before, and both times I have felt stressed out or ‘on defense’ because the only foods available in the arena were unhealthy, calorie laden, and poor quality. It’s always the way, over priced and unhealthy – it’s cost effective and appeals to the masses.

The first year we went in 2013, I was trying to maintain my weight, I remember eating a packet of potato chips at the hotel before we left for the concert, because I hadn’t brought snacks with me, I felt so shit as I sat there and ate my way through the bag.

I remember feeling like I had ruined my diet, and I should know better. 

Last year, I was really unwell, but I was better prepared, I brought snacks, fruit, water, coffee, protein powder – all so I didn’t go over my macros. Well this didn’t really work either, I was so prepared, so strict with myself that I brought everything home again and just ate my way through burgers, fries, muffins and sugary snacks.

On both occasions I wanted to control what I ate, I couldn’t even comprehend the idea of eating something I hadn’t planned for or already added to MFP. I felt like one ‘bad’ meal, or a weekend of not eating protein and salad would mean I had failed, again. 

This year things were very different, I didn’t take the ‘dieters mindset’ with me.

On Friday morning I had protein pancakes, I took some water for the car journey, and my dad and I split the last mini flap jack in a packet. When we arrived at the hotel we had a pressed juice and coffee with cream. We then went across to the arena, and decided to grab an early dinner. I had heard some great things about Five Guys Burgers, so I suggested we go there. This time around I thought ‘if I have a burger and a few fries, this will taste delicious, I will feel satisfied and I won’t feel the need to buy more (expensive) food in the arena’. So we ordered our bacon cheese burgers and split a fries – it was the best burger I have ever had, and it was totally SSE.

The food was satisfying,  I didn’t focus on calories, I owned my choice with zero guilt, the process was stress-free, I wasn’t caught up with looking to get a salad to stay ‘on plan’ and my choice left me feeling energized – although this might have been the coffee 😉

Then later in the arena, I wanted a glass of wine, so I got a glass and enjoyed every sip, my dad went for a packet of potato chips – something he rarely has at home so he enjoyed them too.

I woke up this morning feeling refreshed, I feel a little hungry, but not ‘deprived’ and not bloated! We are going to grab some breakfast soon, but I had to share this story with you guys because it just shows how you can take the SSE approach ‘on the road’ – and it isn’t as scary as calorie counting or IIFYM.

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Melanie x

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