Me and Ekko
First, I must tell you that this picture has absolutely nothing to do with this post. I still have the dog (and isn’t she cute?) and she weighs more than 30 pounds. Especially if you try to pick her up. But I digress.
I’ve spoken with a number of people who enjoyed or were inspired by my last post, where I shared my fitness testimonial. I’m so glad! 🙂 Good luck! You can do it, you just have to keep showing up!
I don’t believe in failure. I believe that each time you try is one step closer to success.
I’ve studied about healthy living and a variety of diets most of my life. I was never good at ‘dieting’. I have some friends who are doing, through a variety of sources, meal replacement shakes. I wish great success to you, and I’m sorry, but those don’t work for me. I love food. Food is living for me.
I have this evil twin who is the equivalent of a bratty teenager sitting on my shoulder. The minute I say, “I’m going to eat 1300 calories a day” or “I’m going to drink 2 (or 3) shakes per day, (or any other thing where I might deprive myself of something), she throws a tantrum, says “You’re not the boss of ME!” and the next thing you know, I’m running for the donuts. Or French fries. (I’ve never met a potato I didn’t like.) Or some other junky, fatty high-calorie food.
Because I know this about myself, and I also happen to be a strategic planner by nature, I set up a serious of strategies to help me deal with a variety of situations in this new lifestyle (way of living) I wanted to lead.
1. Find an eating plan you can live with. Mine happened to be the Paleo Diet (diet meaning ‘way of eating); I have a friend who’s content and seen great success with Weight Watchers. The common factor for both of us is that neither of us felt deprived. Ever. I don’t feel like I’m dieting. I eat what I want. I work out. The weight comes off. Sure, it comes off slower, but that time would have passed anyway, wouldn’t it?
2. Learn correct portion sizes. I know they make charts and stuff which tell you what a correct portion size is. But thanks to my evil twin, when I read them, it all turns to gobbledy-gook in my head. I can’t comprehend it, and I’m a pretty smart gal. Watch someone eat who’s naturally thin and who’s been naturally thin all their lives. See how big their portions are during a normal meal on a normal day. I can guarantee you restaurant portions are NOT appropriate portion sizes. I can make three meals out of one order of shrimp fajitas! Too small a portion size (e.g. starving your self) is just as bad as not enough. Your portion size should be adequate for your gender and level of activity.
3. Stop eating when you’re no longer hungry. In another 15-20 minutes, you’ll probably be comfortably full.
4. If I want it, I eat it. I just don’t do it every day, and I always order the smallest portion. Oreo McFlurry? Sure! Give me the small, please. Hot ham and cheese with fries? The small in both, please. Nachos bel grande? Yes, please, I just had one last week! It only comes in one size, but in this case my spouse helped me eat part of it. And I continue with my normal way of eating at the next meal. I never think, “Well, I’ve blown it today, I may as well junk it up the rest of the day.” THAT is how you gain weight. Moderation in all things…
5. Always carry healthy snacks. I always have something to snack on in case I get too hungry. That’s when you’re the most tempted to eat something that’s not as healthy. Sometimes if I go a little too long, I’ll get a little too hungry. In that case, I’ll play a game with my evil twin: “Okay, let’s eat this (a healthier choice), and if you’re still hungry afterwards, I’ll eat what you want.” (Which is usually not healthy, but most of the time she isn’t hungry later.) 😉
6. Eat a balanced diet. Popcorn is suitable as a snack, but not as a meal replacement. Do you know what my dad fed beef cattle to fatten them up for market? CORN. At every meal, you should be eating a protein, vegetables, more vegetables, and a healthy fat. If you eat carbs, have a carb. You should eat 3 meals a day, and snacks only if you’re hungry. I graze at breakfast, have a mid-morning snack, a balanced lunch and dinner. If I’m hungry in the middle of the afternoon, I’ll have a small snack. The snack could be a slice of ham, some tuna, or a few cashews. Or pecans.
7. Prioritize. If I’m at a buffet, carry-in, or business meeting, I have two goals: to enjoy all my favorites, and not overeat. So I go for the good stuff. If you eat healthy stuff then go for your favorites, you’re either going to eat too much or feel deprived (or at least I would.) So forget the salad and canapés! I eat that stuff all the rest of the time. I go for the yummy stuff, filling my plate only ONCE, and then enjoy a piece of dessert. And I don’t feel one ounce of guilt. If I’m at the Cheesecake Factory, OF COURSE I’m having cheesecake! So I order a healthy appetizer for my meal (Thai Lettuce wraps, anyone?)
8. Exercise every day on vacation. I spent several weeks in Florida, ate and drank whatever I wanted. This is a lifestyle, mind you; I don’t deprive myself, therefore I continue with my lifestyle of mostly healthy eating and the occasional treat. I worked out every day unless it rained. And when I got home, I’d lost a pound and a half. And I ate out often. Like, every day. Seriously!
9. Stay away from trigger foods. ‘Trigger foods’ are foods that once you start, you can’t stop until they are gone. Thin Mints are my trigger food. I open a bag knowing I must consume the whole thing. I’m not content until the box is gone. So this year, my apologies to the Girl Scouts I didn’t buy from.
10. Keep It Simple. I’m a big fan of the KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid!) I don’t count calories. I don’t measure, I don’t weigh, I just eat simple, whole foods without a lot of crap in them. Whatever you choose, keep it simple, easy to remember, and you can do it anywhere.
Now you know most of my secrets. If some of these work for you, great! And if they don’t, that’s fine too. Maybe they’ll inspire you to come up with some strategies of your own. Good luck! 🙂