Does it seem that no matter how hard you try, your weight loss momentum slows – and maybe even stops cold?
It may be because instead of changing one thing, you’re trying to change too much.
Experts will tell you that weight loss is fairly easy. It’s keeping off the weight that gets tough.
New weight loss plans, diets and diet supplements are unveiled each year. They all claim to be “the “best.” Some are even labeled as “miraculous” or “guaranteed.”
These schemes often change much surrounding the things you usually do. So you start doing what you should do to lose weight. It could be no more fried foods or fast foods – or it could be a plan based on portion control.
If you change your diet and add in regular activity, then by all means, you should see the scale number move in your favor.
So why do so many people then get stuck? They see the number on the scale change, and often think, “OK, I’m done! I’ve lost weight, and now I can return to the way I ate before!”
That’s where the rubber meets the road. For those who take the path less traveled, it’s likely they’ll continue to lose weight. But for those who return to their former eating habits… well, weight regain is the usual end result.
Listen to my advice and this time it’s going to be different. You’ll change the one thing that really matters – your attitude towards weight loss.
Weight loss is proof of behavior change. You’ve adopted new behaviors that you carry with you wherever you go.
Permanent weight change doesn’t come from “going on a diet” – that’s a temporary thing and implies that eventually you’ll be “going off” that diet.
So, instead of going on a diet that radically changes everything and that feels unnatural, examine your usual diet, and start changing things – one change at a time.
Simply by changing from fried to baked, broiled, grilled or stir-fried with broth, water or wine, you’ll cut hundreds of calories. Why? Because you no longer need to add unhealthy fats.
Whole nuts are extremely satisfying and nutritious. But instead of eating them with calorie-added coatings, opt for dry roasted or raw almonds, walnuts, pecans and pistachios. Always avoid those healthy sounding nuts that are coated with unnatural yogurt-sugar mixtures. That “yogurt” is primarily oil, sugar, dry milk, and lots of artificial flavors and preservatives.
You’ll eat less if you change from larger bowls and plates to smaller ones. Use these smaller bowls for cereals and grains, and bread plates for entrees. There are plenty of studies that show that this strategy is effective. Why? Because larger plates make proper servings seem small. But when we eat from smaller plates we’re satisfied eating less.
Choose to chew
A glass of OJ doesn’t out much of a dent in your appetite, yet it takes four or more oranges to fill a 6-ounce glass with juice. It takes a minute or less to gulp down 6 ounces of juice. You couldn’t peel and eat four oranges at one sitting. So eat your fruit and enjoy its fiber and satiety. You’ll be satisfied and slimmer! This is no pulp fiction – it really works.
Slow ‘n steady
Have a habit of wolfing down your food? Slow ‘n steady wins the weight-loss race. Just slowing it down, taking smaller bites and chewing food thoroughly is a scientifically proven way to help people feel less hungry an hour later. Slow eaters take in fewer calories which, of course, leads to weight loss! Check it out. Use a timer (I used my smart phone) and set a baseline. See how long it takes you to eat your meal. Next time, set that timer for 5 minutes longer – and have a goal to make your meal last about 20 minutes. Not sure how to slow down? Well, you can sip water and put your fork down between bites. Slow eating may help you lose weight, improve digestion, and enjoy your food more.
Change it up!
Stand when you can sit; climb when you can ride. Research shows that even if you get your 30 minutes of activity daily to maintain your weight loss, it may not be enough to counteract the effects of too much sitting the rest of the day. If you’re in a sedentary job, make the change to sitting on a balance ball and bounce intermittently; get up at least once an hour to do stretches; stand at your desk if possible; take the stairs. Even if you work on the 25th floor you can take the elevator to the 21st floor and climb four flights. It’s a step in the right direction!
Change that one thing. Then change some more. These positive changes add up to a lifetime of smiles – you’ll smile back at yourself in the mirror when you see what your changes have accomplished.
Susan Burke March is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, who as chief nutritionist for eDiets promotes the dietary health and wellbeing of consumers worldwide.