10 Tips For Winning at Weight Loss
10 Tips For Winning at Weight Loss
Making the decision to change your lifestyle and commit yourself to losing weight is huge, and no one’s success story begins without first deciding you are ready to start. But it is easy to get overwhelmed and bogged down in all the details so we want to help you with a few tips that will help keep you on track.
The most important tip needs to stand all by itself: DO NOT EAT IF YOU ARE NOT HUNGRY!
If it is “time” to eat and you aren’t hungry, then wait to eat. Snacking is not necessary. It just adds calories you don’t need, especially if you aren’t hungry.
1. Win the Battle at the Grocery Store: If you shouldn’t be eating it don’t buy it. Make a list and stick to it. Avoid the chip aisle or the ice cream section and fill up your cart with fresh, whole foods. If you don’t have junk food in the house you can’t eat it. Some grocery stores have drive-up services: order your items online, drive up to pick up the groceries, and avoid the temptation of seeing the junk food you don’t need to eat.
2. Out of Sight Out of Mind: This goes hand in hand with number one. But let’s say you have children who eat food you are avoiding. Put it where you can’t see it. One study showed that if a cookie is covered by a napkin, you are three times less likely to eat it. Another study showed that putting your toaster under the counter - instead of on it - resulted in an average 4 pound weight loss (less likely to pop in that bagel). Much of the battle against cravings is a mental one. If you don’t see food you can’t have, you are less likely to crave it.
3. Eat Whole Foods: Eat foods that exist in nature. If time and convenience are a concern, buy pre-packaged carrot and celery sticks. Cheese sticks and hard-boiled eggs are easy to grab in a hurry. Buy prepared fresh or frozen veggies and pop them in the microwave in a steam-fresh bag. Hand-held fruit is a good choice too, particularly something with a skin you can eat for the added fiber. A cheese-stick and a handful of nuts can be just as easy to grab as a bag of chips. It is all about retraining your mind and forming new habits.
4. Measure your Food: When you are first starting out it is a good idea to get a food scale, use measuring cups and tablespoon measurements. As you retrain your brain to see serving sizes you will get better at eyeballing portions. Remember, culturally we have been trained to overeat. Read labels and track your portions until you get acclimated to what normal servings look like.
5. Slow Down and Pay Attention: One of the reasons we tend to overeat is that we are always in a hurry, or we are so distracted while eating that we don’t listen to our bodies. Sit down to eat and avoid standing or grazing. Don’t eat in front of the television or the computer as it is too easy to continue eating even when you are full. Buy smaller plates. Even our plate sizes have increased in recent years, causing us to increase our portions along with them. Don’t ever eat out of the pot or skillet you made the meal in, as you will tend to eat more than one serving.
6. Avoid Fruit Juices: Even though we grew up with the idea that juice is a healthy option it is really never a great choice. Fruit juice strips the fruit of all its fiber and leaves you with the sugar. 12 oz Apple Juice has the same grams of sugar as 12 oz of Coca Cola and the vitamins found in the juice are not worth the sugar and calories. Again, when consuming fruit it is best to stick to high fiber options and make sure you pay attention to the serving size. Also, liquid calories do not satiate the way solid calories do -- so drinking your calories almost always leads to overconsumption.
7. Don’t Give in to Peer Pressure: This is a difficult one. It sounds silly because surely we are too old to crumble under peer pressure! But many of our relationships are tangled up in food. Maybe your family always gets together for a big Sunday meal, perhaps co-workers show affection by bringing donuts. Chances are, you find yourself where you are because much of how you relate to people is through food. People might encourage you to “cheat” or just treat yourself “one time” but the truth is, if you were an alcoholic or a drug addict they would not force a beer into your hand or offer you a few vicodin with dinner. As gently as possible, tell your friends and family you need their support and that you are not rejecting them by rejecting the food they serve.
8. Check Out the Menu Before You Go: One of the goods the internet offers us is that most restaurant menus can be found online. If you are going out, take a look at the menu before you get there and decide what you want to get. This will help you avoid impulse ordering. Portion sizes are often oversized in restaurants too, even for healthy options. You can ask for a box with the meal and before you even start eating, box up half of it for later. This helps keep you from overeating and it gives you a meal for the next day.
9. Think About Calories in Terms of Exercise: Considering what it will take to burn off the calories you consume can help you avoid overdoing it. For example, a Big Mac has about 500 calories. It would take over two hours of brisk walking to burn that amount of calories. A slice of pepperoni pizza has 300 calories, which would take you an hour of moderate to vigorous cycling to burn off. Sometimes it helps to think of the work it will require to burn off the calories BEFORE we use the 10 minutes it takes to consume them.
10. Use Non-Food Rewards: You deserve to treat yourself and reward yourself for your progress! Maybe you have met a weight goal, maybe you fit into that pair of pants you have been dying to wear again. Don’t reward yourself by filling your body with sugar and carbs that will leave you feeling bloated and hungry. Choose a reward that treats you and also keeps you on track. Go to a movie (bring some carrot and celery sticks or some sugar free chocolate in your purse if the smell of popcorn is too tempting), go on a walk in a beautiful place, get a mani/pedi, get your teeth whitened, get a haircut or buy a new workout outfit. Reward yourself, celebrate your victories, but not at the expense of your goals.
And one more time, just for good measure: DON’T EAT IF YOU AREN’T HUNGRY.