Sustaining Weight Loss
If you didn't know, I provide nutrition education* as well as private yoga sessions, Group fit and Aromatouch. Since so many new years' resolutions are about losing weight, I thought now would be a good time to help you start out or continue on the right path.
Observation #1: You're going to be hungry.
You should never intentionally starve yourself. Even if you lose weight that way, it's unsustainable and can be dangerous. That said, if you do not feel hungry at times, you probably aren't losing weight. Given our hedonistic American lifestyle and the prolific amounts of food we are offered daily, it's not fun to be hungry.
Observation #1a: Your hunger is probably just a queue.
It sounds obvious: if you stop thinking about food, you probably won’t be hungry anymore. Basically, when you see donuts in the office, you are queued to eat them. When a burger joint brings out a half pound monstrosity with tots and a soda, there's only one thing your brain knows to do. If you can, avoid these situations. If you can't, you can (and must) teach yourself to just say no.
Observation #2: Track what you eat.
When I first started offering nutrition education, I let a few people participate for free so I could learn. Even free, most people dropped my services and gave up because of this step. Tracking food is a ton of work, but it is worth it. Everybody I work with consistently underestimates their caloric intake. Pour yourself a cup of cooked rice or cereal, or measure yourself 3 oz. of meat sometime. It's probably not as much as you think it is. The secondary benefit of tracking is that when you know you have to log an item, it can signal your conscious brain to override your subconscious by saying, "I don't really want to eat that." Tracking helps you to just say no.
Observation #3: Cut your portions.
Don't deny yourself food, and don't deny yourself entire classes of foods unless you have a medical reason from a licensed healthcare professional. Even calorie dense foods like peanut butter or sweets like (dark) chocolate have a place in your diet. Whether it's fats, carbs, protein, sugar, salt, whatever - it all needs to be in your stomach to have a healthy body. It just has to be balanced appropriately. Get used to taking one bite and leaving the rest. When you go to the burger joint and get a half pounder, immediately cut it in half or in quarters and ask them to put the rest in a take-out box. People (usually) don't even look at you funny when you do this. When you make a batch of cookies, eat one (or half of one) a day and put the rest in a tin out of sight. In both examples, by removing the food from your sight, you immediately queue yourself to eat less. Another easy way to trick your brain is a smaller plate. Don't be the person whose full sized dinner plate is overflowing. Instead, use a dessert size plate, and only fill up the flat section - don't have it spilling over the sides.
Observation #4: Eat whole foods and skip the sauce and soda.
A burger with cheese meal from franchised burger joint is over half a day's intake of calories, cholesterol, sodium and nearly a full day's intake of fat (including the dreaded trans fat) for most people trying to lose weight. It's got all kinds of stuff in it. The worst stuff in it might be the sauces and the soda that comes with it. Ketchup, mayonnaise, dressings, and sodas are sneaky calories. It doesn't seem like a tablespoon of Ranch dressing should cost you 12% of your fat intake for the day, does it? A 12 oz. soda: A huge chunk of your sugar for the day and totally empty calories. A beer: you mean a pork chop in a bottle (calories), except without the healthy stuff (nutrients) that's in a pork chop.
Instead eat foods that pass the shelf test. If you set it on a shelf in your pantry for 3 weeks and come back, it should NOT look the same as when you left it there (think of what bananas would look like). If it does look the same as when you left it (Twinkies!), throw it away and eat other things. You'll get fuller faster, have fewer cravings, and have a more balanced nutritional intake if you cook your own foods and eat whole foods with single ingredients while skipping the sauces and drinks that aren't called water.
Observation #5: Be Patient and Kind
My advice: two pounds per week is the maximum loss widely considered sustainable long-term. Don't weigh yourself daily, and be patient. Your weight fluctuates up to 5+ pounds with water, stomach contents, etc. You are in it for the long haul. If you're really worried about it, ask yourself if you're following the first 4 observations. If you are, then ask yourself if you're looking better in the mirror (i.e. are your clothes getting baggy or is your waistline tightening up). How do you feel? There are a few medical issues that can impede progress, but you'll probably find the answer is you're cheating on tracking your food or you just need more time. This is a lifestyle change taken in small steps.
Be patient. Keep your progress healthy and sustainable. Keep your head up. Whatever your goals are for 2019, you can move toward them. If you need help getting started, give me a call 281-245-7830 or email me, and we can work on getting there together.
* I am solely providing education and information through this article, and I am not acting as a doctor or giving medical advice. The information in this article does not substitute for an individual’s own doctor’s advice, and no individual should not stop seeing their doctor based on what they read in this article.