Weight Loss Tip of the Day: Have “go to” Meals

Image

I used to love watching What Not to Wear. Although most of the clothes bought would be way out of my price range, the tips were very useful.  One of the biggest things they tried to get people to do is create a go to outfit.  The idea was to have outfits available that you know go together and look great so that you can quickly get dressed and out the door.  No muss, no fuss.

I think this concept can be used in other parts of your life.  Especially in the area of weight loss.  In essence, you are changing your habits and learning a new way to feed yourself when you go on a diet.  This means that every meal is going to be new for you and it is going to take you longer than normal to prepare.

This is where being prepared can help.  Sometimes, you don’t have the time or are distracted by something else.  If you don’t have easy options at the ready, you are likely to slip into old bad habits.  After all, you probably already have favorite “go to” foods like cookies, chips, or greasy fast food.  Taking some time now to think of easy food options that fits your lifestyle will go a long way to keeping you on your best footing on the road to weight loss.

For me, I have a healthy cereal, a quick salad, and a large batch of healthy spaghetti, chili, or another healthy leftover to choose from.  I also stock up on some filling snacks like cheese cubes, fruit, and granola bars.  I’ve also scouted out healthy meals at my favorite places to eat

I find that having two of my meals (usually breakfast and lunch) coming from my short list of easy foods lends just enough stability to help me stick with a diet for the long run.

Remember, diet smarter not harder!

Advertisements

Weight Loss Tip of the Day: Try a Pedometer

Image

I’ve never really considered getting a pedometer.  I don’t like the idea of being leashed to a device all day.

You know, except for my cell phone.

Recently, I upgraded to the new Samsung Galaxy S5 from my dinky old phone.  This one came with a pedometer app and heart rate monitor.

“Whoopty-Doo,”  I had thought.

Now, almost a month later, it’s one of the first features I show people when they ask about my phone.  (That and the crazy double charger it uses).

The phone displays my step count on the unlock screen so I’m updated regularly throughout the day.  I find myself taking a few extra steps after checking a text because I’m oh so close to some nice round number or other.

I even started going for extra walks with the dog just so that I can reach the daily goal of 10,000 steps (around 5 miles).

It’s becoming something of a game for me.  What can I do to increase the total and beat my high score?

It’s also an interesting window into my daily habits.  Did you know that a trip to Target can easily be a mile’s worth of walking? Guess who found a new excuse to go shopping!

If you are struggling to find ways to add exercise to your daily regimen, consider a pedometer.  It can be a fun motivator to get yourself moving.  I know there are free apps available to download onto your phone, if you don’t want to commit to buying one.

Try it out for a week.  Try to  increase your daily steps by 100, 500, or even 1000.  Figure out which parking spot at work gives you the most “points.”  Pick a friend and make it a competition.  Every little bit counts.

Oh, and, in case you are wondering, yes, I do love my new phone. But that new charger is something else…

Weight Loss Tip of the Day: Stop Calling it Cheating!

Image

How many times have you cheated on your diet?

How many times have you tortured yourself over eating bad food?

How many times have you stared at that cookie for hours on end like a starving dog?

Do you think that is healthy?

I don’t.

Often, when people start dieting they don’t seem so much to be making better food choices as declaring an all out war on all that they used to eat.

This way of thinking misses the big picture.  One Oreo cookie didn’t make you obese.  One cookie didn’t even make you fat.  10 cookies didn’t do that.  Not even the whole package.  It was days, weeks, months, maybe even years of Oreo cookies and other less than healthy food.

What make us fat wasn’t that we ate junk food, it was that we moved its position in our diet form that of an occasional treat to a majority stakeholder.

I believe that a proper weight loss regime should focus on moving that balance back to a more appropriate level.

The 80/20 rule is a popular concept where one tries to be 80% perfect.  It’s a more realistic way of living in the world where things are rarely perfect.  By settling for 80% perfect, you allow yourself to move forward and achieve your goals despite being unable to perform perfectly.

I think this can easily be applied to your diet.  If 80% of your food is healthy, you are doing a pretty good job.  Go ahead and enjoy the 20% of treats.  Whether it’s 80% of your calories or 80% of your meals, as long as you are consistent, you will see results.

I think it is far better to work unhealthy foods into your diet than to have to resort to cheating.  You’re going to eat them anyway, at least this way there will be a way to work around it without all the stress and guilt.

It isn’t cheating, it’s eating reasonably.

Who wants to spend their days lying to themselves and then punishing themselves with guilt?

Not me!

Weight Loss Tip of the Day: Write it Down!

 

Image

For someone who likes to write, I sure hate keeping journals.  They are so time consuming and bland.  I’d rather spend that time reading a book or staring off into space day dreaming.  That said, a food diary has probably been one of the best tools I’ve ever used in my past weight loss journeys.

There’s something very real and satisfying about holding a notebook that’s filled with your own writing.  You can look at it and say, “I did that!”  The journal becomes a symbol of all the hard work you put into losing weight.  Days, weeks, even months later, you can look at all those filled pages and know that you have accomplished something.

When you want to give up, look at those pages and understand just how much time and effort you have put into becoming a better you.  It’s sometimes very easy to belittle what you have done and only focus on the negative.  With a journal, you have proof that you HAVE done well in the past.  Instead of beating yourself up for that ONE night of indulgence, look at all those good, healthy meals that you’ve eaten the rest of the week and give yourself a pat on the back.

When I first started using a food diary, I used a simplified version that was quick, easy to use but also still held me accountable.  If you are like me and hate the idea of journaling, consider trying my method.

Write down all the food items you eat in a day.  Don’t worry about portions or sizes, unless it is unusual like eating one grape or a whole pizza.  Don’t even bother with calories. Include your weight to find patterns with how much you weigh and what you eat.  Figure out how many days will be on each page, then find a notebook that will be filled when you reach your weight loss goal date.

Even if you don’t count your calories or actively try to eat healthier, you will become very informed about your eating habits.  After a few months, when you become more in the habit of writing stuff down, you can even expand to occasionally spot checking the calorie counts of some of your meals to become more informed about just what you are eating.

Try it for a week.  Experiment with different methods or different journals.  Find one that works for you and have at it!

 

Weight Loss Tip of the Day: Waste Energy!

Pinching pennies and not being wasteful can be great for your bank account but it can wreak havoc on your waistline.

That’s what your fat is: your body’s energy piggy bank.  When you take in too much energy (food), your body saves it for a rainy day.  This was very useful back in the day when people didn’t know when they’d find food, but not really necessary in a world where Twinkies can outlast an apocalypse.

In a society where efficiency is king,  we’ve become the masters at saving energy and our thunder thigh piggy banks are bigger than ever.

It’s a skill the obese and overweight could live without.  Literally.  It’s killing you.

Let’s break it down for a minute.

Each calorie you “save” goes into fatty tissue.  3,500 of those calories make 1 pound.   Someone who is 50lbs overweight has “saved” 175,000 calories over a lifetime.

And for what? An alien invasion? When are you possibly going to need that many extra calories?

STOP BEING SO FRUGAL!

Waste those calories, you don’t need them! Tap your feet, twiddle your thumbs, chew gum.  Take the long way to the copier at work.  Park further from the entrance to the store.  Bring groceries in one bag at a time, even one item at a time.  Pace while on the phone.  Stand while you wait at the pharmacy.  Click a pen.

Be creative.  Have fun thinking up the most inefficient way of doing things. Make it your Rube Goldberg device of living.

If each day you picked 10 activities that wasted 10 calories each, you’d waste 100 calories a day.  In one week, that’s 700 calories.  That’s a pound every 5 weeks and 10 pounds in one year!

Talk about a boost in your weight loss efforts!

Some years ago, a Dr. Levine did a study where he found that a process called NEAT (Nonexercise Activity Thermogenesis) could account for as much as 2,000 calories burned in a day.  NEAT is responsible for the burning of calories not used for body maintenance or through exercise.  People with a healthy weight use NEAT as a means to burn off any extra calories they may have eaten in a day.

These people were more likely to be fidgety and less likely to sit still for long periods of time.

For more information, read this PDF from the Mayo Clinic.

My challenge to you is to try to break the thrifty habit and try the NEAT new habit of being wasteful!