Just to share with you guys how fickle weight loss can be, last month I only lost 1.5 lbs. This month, I’ve lost 8 lbs! What a difference a month can make! You could be doing everything right, and still not lose very much for a little while… And it means nothing – just that your body is adjusting and readjusting things… For many folks, some daily routine changes will bring about slowed weight loss, while the body adjusts: perhaps you added a new exercise routine, or a new insulin regime. Here are a few tricks I have learned from my battle with weight loss, to kind of help kick start things a little bit:
1. Always revise your caloric intake, every so often. Regardless of what generic diets tell us, our caloric needs are always changing!
--- If you are exercising more, you will want to make sure you are consuming enough calories for the body to not only lose weight, but to also meet it's daily functions. If you are exercising more, and not consuming enough calories, your body will go into a sort of starvation mode, and instead of burning fat, it will keep the calories you consume, stored up, to prevent starvation.
--- If you have lost a lot of weight, you may need to eat less calories. Yes, when we are heavier, we need to eat somewhat balanced: Enough calories to both lose weight, and to also have energy to carry our excess weight around, and for our bodies to perform their daily functions, as well as exercising. What ends up happening is that with time, and weight loss, we end up needing less calories because we no longer have to carry so much excess weight around.
2. Listen to your body: It is always trying to communicate with you, what it likes, and what it needs, whether it is new tastes in food, hunger, or it simply wants more love!
--- Listen to your hunger pangs! Most folks who overeat, eat because they are 'mentally hungry.' Mental hunger is a condition that happens when we associate eating with comfort, love, good times, soothing, our mother's care, you name it... so when certain feelings or emotions arise, we want to feed those emotions, or go through those feel good times, again. This way, we end up watching commercials of those particular feel good foods, and then suddenly craving them. What you want to do... Is learn to distinguish between the two, and feed the real hunger pangs with food, and feed the emotional hunger pangs with love! Yes, love... You can go for a walk, read a favorite book, take a bubble bath, cuddle with your husband, play with the kids, play with your dog, watch a good movie, etc, etc... Then the next time that you are actually physically hungry, try to make a dish that incorporates the flavors, and textures, of those foods you were craving... and you will have just redirected your behavior! :)
--- Practice a focused eating exercise: At meal time, take away all the distractions: The tv, the newspaper, conversation, etc... And just focus on the food. Focus on how it looks, the textures, the flavors, the smells... and on every bite you take. Do you even like that food? Sometimes we eat a lot of different foods -- or crave foods -- that we don't even like, but we can't tell because we just keep on shoveling it in our mouths without much thought! You will take more slow, deliberate bites, and find out that you either do not like these foods... or that you can get full! Discover at what level of fullness you like to be: Just satisfied, or a little full, and it will help you greatly avoid eating until you feel bloated, or in pain.
--- Try keeping a food journal, as incorporated with the above exercises and activities. Consider it as a scientific experiment, and do not judge yourself when you overeat. Simply, as someone who is trying to study the behavior, write down what you ate, when you ate it, try to focus on the food as much as you can and describe it's texture, taste, flavor, and smell, and write down your emotions at the time. Yes, your emotions! Write down exactly what you were feeling, and try to think of a why... it will go a long way in helping you identify your hidden emotional patterns behind your emotional or mental hunger.
3. Make sure you are drinking enough fluids daily, and that these are the right fluids!
--- Every day, we are just bombarded with all kinds of healthy drinking alternatives: teas, diet sodas, 'dietary support drinks,' etc. These drinks are NOT the devil, but when our bodies depend on a certain level of water intake to keep hydrated, if we consume a lot of those other drinks during our day, they can derail us from reaching an appropriate level of hydration! Yes, drinks high in aspartame, caffeine, and sodium, are diuretics: They make us go, and go, and go... And while the makers of them claim that they 'hydrate,' it is not a long lasting hydration... It's immediately out the door, and into the toilette! What happens then? Fluid retention. When the body is not getting the appropriate amounts of fluids that it needs, we become dehydrated, and the body starts retaining fluids as a way to protect itself. So, if you have tons and tons of sodas, teas, and crystal light, in your day... and you haven't lost weight... try cutting back on these, to maybe once every few days.
4. Avoid sabotagers!
--- Yes, whether we inject our own insulin, or have insulin resistance, insulin can be a bitch to deal with, when it comes to weight loss, and sabotages our plans. The best, best way to avoid needing or producing huge amounts of insulin, is to either cut back on carbohydrates, or to better distribute our portions of carbohydrates throughout the day, so the portions are smaller, and the body can have a more manageable amount at a time, and thus, not end up converting the excess glucose and insulin straight to fat. Limit situations where carb consumption is larger than it's recommended, to once a year situations... And if you can, go for a walk right after eating, as this reduces the glucose numbers dramatically... that way, you won't feel terribly guilty, gain weight, chase highs and lows all the time, and you will appreciate the moment more!
--- Have a strategy to deal with people who are always wanting to sabotage you at every turn: either because they 'love' you and made your comfort food, or because they didn't have enough forethought to make healthy alternatives for those of us who are dealing with a few challenges.
5. Eat foods that satisfy satiety, so that you don't end up having a bigger serving because you are still physically hungry. Mostly, these are white foods: White breads, white potatoes, white flours, white pastas, simple carbs. Yes, you can still have these as a treat every once in a while... But they are not a good idea to have in a meal, because what you want to get out of having a meal is GETTING FULL. And these foods burn up so fast, in an hour or so, we're already wanting more food. Stick to complex carbs, foods high in fiber, and grains. Combinations of foods are the best: protein, Omega 3 fats, and non starchy veggies, are usually the most ideal for me... This way, I can have a minimal amount of snacks in my day, without going overboard because the calories were empty, and non-satisfying.* Bring your own healthy dishes, or desserts, to share with others at big eating events, or family activities.* Eat at home, before visiting parents, friends, or going out to dinner, at places. When you are there, you will not feel as tempted to eat other foods, and can limit yourself to healthier choices. You can always bring a doggy bag home!* Use excuses: "I just ate, but I would love to take some of that home with me..." This way -- you can later eat the right portions of the food, without feeling guilted into eating more, "My stomach has been kind of sensitive the last few days, so I think I'll just stick to the salad, and soup, for now."* When you are at someone's house, ask for measuring utensils. When I am at my best friends house, I enjoy her food... but I ask for measuring cups, and such... So I can be good with what I serve myself. lol I think it has, subconsciously, made them think a little more about cooking healthier meals. heh Hey, they even bought low carb tortillas for me the last time I was there! :)
6. Sometimes, we consume some foods on a daily basis that we might think are 'free foods,' but we don't realize these foods add calories, or carbs, to our daily consumption. Be aware of condiments, flavorings, and foods that contain artificial sweeteners -- like some crystal light drinks will have 30 calories, vs some others that will just have 5." Always, always study the serving size, as well. Sometimes the info looks all pretty, but the serving size is small, and written in very small print. Vitamin Water is a huge culprit of this -- having a lot of calories in something labeled as "water." Sites such as http://www.nutritiondata.com, help you figure out the calories in foods that may not come with nutrition facts labels -- such as flavor extracts.
7. Do NOT skip meals! Contrary to popular belief, skipping meals does NOT cut down your caloric intake so that you lose weight... Skipping meals slows down your metabolism, and keeps your body retaining weight, and fat, in order to avoid 'starvation.' It also makes you hungrier throughout your day, and likelier to overeat on your other meals, as your body tries to make up for the calories it's missing!
8. HAVE PATIENCE! Yes, have patience... In most circumstances, we did not put on this weight over night... We should cut our bodies some slack, as they try to adjust to our new life, and manage their weight loss. While it can take a long time, and effort, to lose a lot of our excess weight in a healthy manner -- this is weight loss for life! Quick fix diets are not realistic, they are not healthy, and they do not address the main issues we have going on with our weight.
Need help calculating your ideal body weight? http://www.healthcentral.com/diet-exercise/ideal-body-weight-3146-1...
Need help calculating your caloric intake? http://www.freedieting.com/tools/calorie_calculator.htm
9. HIDE your full length mirror! If you do not ever think you are progressing much on your diet, and cannot tell how much weight you've lost, hide your full length mirror for a while... Trust me. Bring it out the next time you lose 15 or 20 lbs, or more, and look at yourself... You will find it quite shocking! And it will be a HUGE boost to your motivation. :)