Weight Loss Tips

Lose Weight, Skip the Diet!

OK, we all hate the thought of losing weight, well not the thought so much, it’s the doing it that is so horrible.

Diets don’t work!!  That is the other awful truth.  Even when we have suffered through them, we know that the weight will sneak back on.

Awful Awful Awful!!

So how can we make this aspect of life easier?

First, when we know we need to lose weight, decide that this process is not a diet.  This is not something to go on and then go off.  This is not boom or bust, this is not starvation then back to normal indulgent habits.  This is a way of life where you enjoy the food that you love without having an overdose of it.

ADD FOOD Before you DROP FOOD

Next take a look at what you need to add to your diet.  (Yes, you heard me, we can start with adding food, rather than taking it away.)  First add fruit to every meal, including breakfast.  Then add a vegetable to every meal, (you can skip breakfast on this one, but for other meals, add vegetables.)

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and Vegetables

Add breakfast if you have been skipping it.  I know that for some people this is a toughy.  But people who eat breakfast are thinner than people who don’t eat breakfast.  So add breakfast.  You will be hungry for breakfast if your last meal ends early in the evening before.

NEXT:  SUBSTITUTIONS

Change white bread to whole wheat bread.  Change your caramel macchiato (or whatever) to black coffee if you can learn to like it, to something simple if you cannot.  Olive oil is a healthy fat that will add good flavor.  Butter is delicious and adds wonderful flavor when it is used lightly.

AVOID:  Fat free food: (yes, you heard me.)  Avoid it.  When the fat is taken out, the flavor is missing.  The food will not be satisfying. It will not fill you up. Extra sugar is used to make up for the lack of taste. If you plan to lose weight, then your food should be satisfying.

AVOID: Fad Diets:  By fad diets I mean anything that relies on excluding one particular type of food (i.e. carbs), or relying on only one or two foods in a day (Everything is OK as long as it is peanut butter on a bagel).

AVOID: High Priced, Restricted Diets:  A friend was one one of these and she invited a group over for lunch at her home, so we could see how delicious it was.  It was delicious.  But once I got home I ate everything that I could find in my kitchen.  I must have felt very deprived, even though I had just had a “delicious” lunch.

APPROACH FOOD DIFFERENTLY

Woman proud of herself.

Woman proud of herself.

How do you want to approach food?  We often look at food as a reward, (we even use food as a reward for losing weight, I did at least).  We often look at food as a comfort.  (And it does very well at that.)  Now also look at food as nutrition.

So that means that we look at food as fruit, vegetables, protein, carbohydrates, but mostly as food.  Avoid excessive use of processed or fast food.  They have their place, but they are best used for emergencies, for times when you are traveling, or you are dealing with an unusually difficult schedule.

A plate that has real food, and has one half covered by fruit and vegetables, one quarter filled with starch (carbohydrates), and one quarter covered with protein, is a healthy plate.  Make those vegetables taste good: stick some butter or better yet, olive oil on them to improve the flavor.  Cook them lightly.

Next:  at every meal, leave something on your plate at the end of the meal. I know, this is wasting food, but it puts you in charge of when you stop eating.  Otherwise the plate is in charge, and that is not necessary. Violate the clean plate rule.

When you are planning your meal, have you ever noticed how we center the plan around the meat?  “What’s for dinner?  How about pork chops?”  or “We are having steak tonight.” or “Lets have hot dogs.”  We can change that, and see how it changes our thinking about food.  Suppose when someone asks about dinner, we say “We are having green beans tonight,” or “We are having brown rice tonight.”   The pork chops will still be there, but suddenly the emphasis changes.  You will also think about ways to make your veggies more appealing.

Eat your fruit and vegetables first.  You will eat them when you are hungry, which will automatically make them more appealing and tasty.  (That is why snack food is so highly flavored: the producers of snacks know that you are not hungry, so they need to make the taste really stand out.)  Vegetables may require more chewing, and that will take up more time, giving your body time to realize that it has been fed, and you are no longer hungry.

WHAT ABOUT FAVORITE SNACK FOODS OR TRIGGER FOODS?

We all have favorite snack foods.  Mine are pretzels.  Most diets will tell you to exclude them, until you have lost your weight, and then, whooee! you can have them again.

Let’s try a different approach.  Allow them, and here are some ways to do that.

Make them part of a meal.  This means that you take a portion of your favorite snack food and have it during your meal.  This can’t be done too often only because snack foods are usually low in nutrition. But sometimes?  Why not?

A snack serving on a plate.

A snack serving on a plate.

Sometimes we just want to snack.

Snacks can be a problem.  If you want a snack have one, but have a portion.  Never Never Never bring the bag of chips to the TV, or phone, or anyplace that you happen to be.  Snack food should be in a closed package, and put away on a high shelf in a cupboard or refrigerator.  (Out of sight, out of mind really works).  Put a portion of your snack (a portion is the size of the back of your fist, remember) on a plate, and bring it to where you want to eat it.  If you want a second portion, you can follow the same routine.  If you want a third portion, you are fooling yourself.  You need a meal, make one and remember the fruits and vegetables.

WHAT ABOUT FOOD THAT I NEED TO ELIMINATE?

If there is something that you know you need to reduce or eliminate (i.e. fried foods, sodas) try this:  on week one, skip the dangerous food on one day.   On week two skip it 2 days, then three days, until you go a full week without that food on week seven.  By that time your body will have learned that it can do well without as much of it as you thought.  But you haven’t gone without it completely.  On week one, when you first eliminate your soda and you are desperate, the water just doesn’t cut it, tell yourself that you can have it tomorrow.  (Also, if your problem is soda, try the water with some carbonation.  It might make it easier for you.)

You can start to add it back if you want by week 8, maybe a portion one day on week 8, two days on week nine, etcetera.  But notice how you feel on the days when you didn’t eat the food or drink the pop.  If you find yourself really wanting it, tell yourself you can have it the next day, or the next week. But you might feel better, slimmer, healthier without it.