Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Weight loss

Now that the 6-week food orgy know as "the holidays" (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years) is over, it seems everyone I know is on a diet. Including me.

Now, I don't believe in diets in a general sense. I've said/written it before and I'll say/write it again: Diets are temporary measures that yield temporary results. Most people who go on a diet lose weight, but gain it all back (and sometimes more) when they go back to their regular eating habits.

That is why I'm not really on a diet, per se. I am trying to change my eating habits so I can become more healthy and lose weight. Loosing weight is hard, but actually changing your eating habits is almost impossible!

I'm not a doctor or a weight loss expert, but I'm going to share some tips if you are interested in becoming more healthy, loosing weight, and changing your eating habits for good:
  • Reduce your portion sizes. This is probably the easiest to do because it doesn't involve eating or not eating anything, it involves the amount. Serve yourself a typical portion, then put 1/3 of it back into the pot. Only eat 2/3 of what you typically would. Its and it works.
  • Reduce your consumption of processed foods. Although the convenience of boxed, processed foods is alluring, they usually contain more sodium, chemicals, and calories than fresh foods. The convenience of boxed and microwavable (processed) foods isn't worth it.
  • Increase your consumption of fresh vegetables and fruit. By nature these are generally lower in fat and calories than most foods, and contains lots of vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants your body needs. They also require less digestion so you don't feel tired like you do when your body spends hours digesting complex foods.
  • Don't skip meals. Skipping meals causes your metabolism to switch into 'famine' mode and store fat. Eat at least 3 meals a day, and preferably 5 smaller meals a day. Going too long between meals increases your potential to gorge when you finally eat.
  • Drink lots of water. Water is good for you regardless of whether or not you're trying to lose weight. It keeps you hydrated and helps flush wastes from your body.
  • Don't eat after 8pm. Its best to be active after you eat to promote calorie burning. If you eat late at night your body doesn't have time to burn the calories you've eaten before you go to sleep.
  • Stop eating as soon as you feel satisfied. Even if you only have 3 bites left on your plate, listening when your body says its satisfied prevent you from 'filling up' and will allow your stomach to shrink.
  • Reduce or eliminate alcohol and soda consumption. Alcohol contains lots of (empty) calories and sodas contain lots of sugar and chemicals. Even diet soda contains artificial sweeteners and chemicals your body doesn't need. Consume less or eliminate completely.
  • Exercise regularly. Whether you work out at a gym, in your home, or simply walk a few miles around your neighborhood, exercising regularly burns calories and helps suppress your appetite. It can also ease light depression.
  • Stock your kitchen with the right foods. Don't self-sabotage by having ice cream, baked goods and chips in your kitchen. Shop with a purpose and fill your fridge and cupboards with fresh, natural, whole foods. Buy and enjoy healthy 'snacks' like nuts, dried fruit, and fat free pretzels as treats.
  • Moderation. Its unreasonable to think you're never going to have ice cream or birthday cake ever again. Its okay to treat yourself once in a while, just do so in moderation. One scoop of ice cream or a 1/2 piece of cake will likely satisfy your sweet tooth without wrecking your diet.
  • Replace good items with better ones. Pasta is fine in moderation, but whole wheat pasta is better for you. Peanut butter is a good source of protein, but low fat peanut butter is better for you.
  • Make smarter choices. You will likely still want to eat out at restaurants occasionally so make smarter choices. This doesn't automatically mean salads, since salad dressings are often loaded with fat and calories. Look for baked, broiled, or grilled fish and chicken entrees, and substitute the fries with a vegetable.
  • Don't give up. If you 'fall off the wagon' by over-indulging, don't think the day (or week) is ruined. Forgive yourself and get right back on the wagon! Sometimes an over-indulgence will not prevent you from losing weight.
These tips have all worked for me. I lost weight and felt more energetic and healthy. My biggest struggle is sticking to them for an extended period, or, changing my eating habits. But knowing I have shared my challenge with you all will help me be strong!

Here's to your health!

Crush du Jour: Alberto Umana


behrmark said...

All excellent tips. But you sound like my mother. ;) How many calories do you think I could burn licking Alberto Umana from head-to-toe?

Jeff said...

Great tips indeed! Now I just need the will power!

Michael Rivers said...

It is that time of year again!

cb said...

I need to "diet" again too. The thing I always forget it to eat more slowly. Like, take breaks while eating. That way your body has time to relay the "full" message and you stop eating.

Stephen said...

Before you start, can we go out for cocktails & french fries?
I am an enabler...

RAD said...

I start mines next week..this week I am slowly cutting back....dont want to shcok my system...LOL