Today, I’m so excited to welcome my first ever guest blogger! Last Monday, I posted my New Year’s resolutions, and I explained my goals for 2017. Well, my friend Mercy has some great insight into the areas of diet and weight loss – her perspective is one you don’t normally hear from the world of health and fitness. If you are struggling to take any amount of weight off, consider a new approach. So with that, please enjoy…
‘Tis the season for New Year’s Resolutions, right? Have you already abandoned yours? We are more than a couple weeks into the new year, after all. Lots of people make New Year’s Resolutions that revolve around losing weight. A few years ago, I lost 40 pounds over the course of about four months. I kept it off for a while, but then had three more babies. What I’m saying is, it’s time for me to lose that same 40 pounds again, so I’ll be right there in the thick of the battle with you! Here are my proven tips for taking the weight off and keeping if off:
Tip #1: Wait til you’re hungry to eat, and then eat less.
Yes, I know, it sounds like a no-brainer, right? But it’s not as easy as it sounds, and you may not be truly doing it. Haven’t you always heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? So do you always eat breakfast? Well, what if you’re not hungry at breakfast time? Author Gwen Shamblin in her book The Weigh Down Diet would contend that we’ve forgotten how to listen to our bodies’ signals of hunger because of some of the things we’ve trained ourselves to do, like eat breakfast, or always eat lunch at exactly noon, etc. Reading this fantastic book taught me that my body does in fact send me signals (like my stomach growling, etc.) that I’m hungry and that I shouldn’t eat until that actually happens. It’s a little outside the box of modern thinking, which tells us we have to eat the “right” kinds of foods and in certain amounts (five fruits and veggies a day, right?), but this is how I lost my weight so consistently and kept it off. It works!
Now, the second part of this first step is that once you are hungry and decide to eat, you eat LESS. Try to get by on as little as possible. As stated in the book, “the less you eat, the sooner you will be hungry again,” and it’s true! You’ll find that you can eat whatever you want (yes, this is a post on dieting and you read that correctly) as long as you eat less of it! It’s not about making the food behave, it’s about YOU behaving by having the self-control to eat less.
Tip #2: More water!
Alright, now that I’ve blown your mind by telling you you can eat whatever you want as long as you exercise the self-control to only eat when your body is actually hungry and that you eat less than you normally would, it’s time to get back on the bandwagon with the modern dieters and remind you that water, water, WATER is your friend! I’m not saying that water is going to help you lose weight any faster…but I am saying that staying hydrated is going to help your body function better and it’ll help you know when you’re truly hungry. Have you heard before that sometimes when you fell hungry it’s that your body’s trying to tell you you’re actually thirsty because you need more water? Well, if you strive to drink more water, your hunger cues won’t be because of dehydration.
I myself was up to a gallon a day last spring. Right now, in the bleak midwinter, I’m setting my goal at 3 quarts a day. This isn’t too hard for me because I have a fun water bottle like THIS ONE that holds a quart. I just tell myself I’ll have the first one done by 10 am, the next one done after lunch, and the third needs to be done by the time I go to bed! (My enthusiasm for water intake definitely slows down as the day goes on, which is why my quarts aren’t spread out in the day as evenly as perhaps you think they should be.)
Tip #3: Treat yoself!
Yes, you read that correctly, too. One important way that I was able to consistenly take weight off and keep it off was by having treats for myself. If I felt like all the food I had in my house was yucky or boring (do I sound like a toddler? Sorry – guilty by association, I guess) I was much more likely to “cheat” by running through a drive thru in town or grabbing a handful of M&Ms out of my mom’s candy dish while I was over at her house. But if I new I had fun treats to eat, or even just foods that I liked, it was easier for me to wait until I had those hunger signals, knowing what I had waiting for me. Some things I do for myself for treats now are:
- Once a week I go out to dinner with my sister at Pizza Hut and every other time or so I get one of their brownies. I cut it into 9 pieces, eat one at the restaurant, and take the rest home. When I get home, I put the remaining pieces in snack bags and pop them in my freezer. Now there are brownies waiting for me in individual baggies! (You can also obviously do this by baking your own brownies, letting them cool, cutting and bagging them.)
- If you are an Iowan and live anywhere a Scratch Cupcakery, this one’s for you! Don’t let this be your downfall! Scratch has phenomenal cupcakes, or at least they are to me. I’ll buy a half dozen or so and freeze them. Usually a half cupcake is all a need as a really great treat for myself, so this can last a while. Often Scratch will also have “Day-Afters,” which are boxes of 6 cupcakes that are obviously a day old and are therefore cheaper. The plastic container they come in makes a great freezer container for 6 cupcakes.
- Aldi (and really any other store) has great little individual meals that I enjoy having just for me. They are portioned out in small amounts so that I get what I want and just a little of it. Still, if I feel full before I’ve eaten all of it, the challenge is to stop even if it’s not all gone. Save it for the next hunger!
- When I go out to eat, I am very careful to pay attention to when I get full because the food is so GOOD and it’s hard to stop! But I remind myself that this delicious food could become another lunch or even two if I box it up and take it home. Delicious leftovers are something I enjoy as a “treat.”
The bottom line here is that you can be consistent about taking weight off without following a bunch of crazy rules. Eat when you’re hungry, eat less, drink water, and eat the things you LIKE to eat! It’s that simple. I hope you’re able to stick to your resolutions this year, whatever they are, and wish you luck on your journey!