I asked a few friends of mine, who are successfully on the journey to weight management for life, to give a list of tips that are helping them on their path:
- There isn’t a magic pill so you can stop waisting your money
- Find physical activity that you love to do
- Surround yourself with supportive people
- Be aware of your food and portion sizes
- Don’t deprive yourself of food you enjoy…learn moderation
- Take advice from the experts (dietitians)
- Set small, attainable, short term goals to get to your big picture goal
- It’s not a diet but a choice to change your view of food and how you eat
- Plan ahead…meal plan, carry snacks, avoid grocery shopping on an empty stomach
- Weight loss isn’t linear and sometimes there will be ups and downs but the key is to look at the big picture and to see a trend downwards
- Diet is more important than exercise…you can’t out exercise poor diet choices
- Saying “no” hard is difficult but sometimes necessary
- Think of food as fuel for your body, it’s not a friend and it’s not the cure for a bad day
- Balancing your diet is going to make you feel more satisfied
A special “thank you” to Kelly, Rich, Lisa, and Josh for these tips. You are helping in more ways than you can imagine!
A Few Dietitian Tips:
- Slow and steady weight loss is the best. 1-2 pounds per week is fat. Anything more than that is muscle and/or water weight.
- Dietitians are the experts in food and nutrition. Advice from other people (even doctors…sorry doc friends but I know most of you are with me on this) may be nice but check with a dietitian especially if it sounds too good to be true.
- Diet plans don’t work, if they did dietitians wouldn’t have jobs and people wouldn’t be diet-plan hopping.
- You eat more than you think. People don’t gain weight from eating within your calorie limit. I promise. Take a honest look at your diet, food journal in an app that adds it up for you, beverages count too.
- Overweight (per the BMI scale) does not necessarily mean unhealthy. I know MANY “overweight” individuals who eat very well, are active, in shape, and have healthy body fat percentages (that’s the key), and healthy waist to hip ratio (also key). Weight doesn’t always equal health. Get your body fat percentage and/or waist to hip ratio checked if you’re curious.
With all the fixes and diets and guilt about food there are some things I want you to know about eating to simplify your life. These are just a few things I’ve picked out from a list a mile long, but are my favorite. Enjoy!
- Calories do not count on your birthday. It’s your birthday! Just celebrate another year of life that God gave you! Go out to eat, get what you want most (not what has the least amount of calories), and for the love of food, eat cake or pie or ice cream or whatever gets you going for your birthday. Celebrate! Now, the days before and the days after should be like any other day but on your day, stop worrying and seize the moment!
- Be picky about what you eat. Listen, if you don’t like something don’t waste your calories on it. Seriously. There’s nothing less satisfying than eating a dull rendition of food just to eat it. Yuck. I don’t care if that bran cereal has 25% of your daily fiber needs if it is gross, get your fiber from somewhere else throughout your day. Similarly if its really high in calories but tastes bad, don’t waste those calories!
- The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If the diets you’ve been on in the past do not lead to life long weight loss THEY DON’T WORK. Sure they help you lose weight temporarily but if it is not feasible enough for you to stick with it for the rest of your life, it wasn’t a good diet and it didn’t work. An overall healthy diet, that is feasible for you to do for the rest of your life, is the secret to well-being.
- Choose one thing about your diet to change at a time. Instead of saying “I’m starting my healthy diet today” and doing a complete 180 revamp, just choose one change to focus on and stick with it. Once you have that down, move on to your next goal. Work on each goal for about 1 week until you feel confident that you can put something else on your plate. Having 3-4 changes in a month instead of 10 changes all at once is a lot easier to chew on. I call that the diet snowball or the nutrition snow ball. I don’t take all the credit, my husband coined the term 🙂
- Find what is motivating you from the inside. So you want to eat better. So what? What are you wanting from your diet? What about a better diet is important to you? It probably has nothing to do with diet and everything to do with what you find important in your life. THAT will keep you motivated. Write it down and put it in places where you will see it. Refrigerator, dashboard, computer at work, bathroom mirror, or make it the wallpaper on your phone.
A healthy diet or lifestyle isn’t about a bunch of rules, it’s about what works for you for the rest of your life. Change should be gradual. Start with what you want, make small changes to get to your goals, make sure your changes are feasible to continue for the rest of your life, don’t eat just to eat, and for the love of food just enjoy your birthday without worrying about calories!
Final thoughts: fad diets, exercise programs that “sell” nutrition, and people who claim to be experts are the quint-essential food rule makers. RED FLAGS!
Challenge – set a small goal for yourself this week. Want to drink more water? Pick an amount to strive towards. Want to eat breakfast instead of skipping it? Find something you enjoy eating (my personal favorite is hard boiled eggs!). Want to fit in more veggies? Start by having a serving for lunch and for dinner. Before you know it you’ll be a master at the change you’ve made and can start making more!