If you are like most people you have a few extra pounds that just won’t budge. We tend to hold onto weight from having a baby, lessening your exercise routine, working a stressful job or just getting older. Diets do not work for most people so changing the behaviors that are causing your body to hold onto those stubborn pounds is your best defense. Bad health behaviors are a hard thing to change but by slowly making changes and not denying yourself, it can be done.
Here are a few tips that helped me lose the baby weight after my second child. The first thing you must do is find your daily calorie consumption for your ideal weight. Know that number and stay within reason. A pound of fat is equal to approximately 3,500 calories. Set a time goal and follow these rules:
1. Do not deny yourself your favorite foods. Whether is salty, sugary, spicy or all foods you crave the first way to lose the weight battle is to deny yourself the pleasure of eating them. When I tried to eliminate sugar from my diet all I wanted was sugar. Instead I decreased the amount of sugar I consumed and indulged in a low calorie “treats” when I had a craving. Know the serving size of your daily indulgence and try to limit it to one serving a day.
2. Snacks must be healthy. Try cut veggies and hummus, strawberries dipped and Greek yogurt, or an apple and a cheese stick. All low calorie snacks. Again, know serving size.
3. Drink water all day. Staying hydrated will help you determine if your hunger is actually hunger or dehydration. Sipping water in between bites can help you feel fuller. Add lemon or natural low calorie flavors (no artificial no-calorie drinks!)
4. Eat slow. Enjoy your food in small bites and your satisfaction level will increase. It will also give your brain time to realize it is full. Cutting down on overeating.
5. Use smaller plates. This will cut down on serving size and overeating. Very important if you are the type of person who must eat everything on your plate.
6. Never eat out the bag/box. Always put food on a plate (a small one) if you can. It is easier to track serving size and calorie count.
7. Keep junk out of the house. This might be a hard thing to do if you are not in control of the grocery shopping. If you must keep junk in your house put it on a high shelf out of reach. Or ask those living in your house to hide it. Out of sight, out of mind.
8. Make exercise a priority. If motivation is your problem find a friend in your neighborhood to exercise with or ask your husband or kids to go with you. Sign up for a group class or hire a personal trainer. If time is the issues then do little things everyday like walk at your lunch break, chase the kids around the yard until you are out of breathe, or park far away when running errands.
9. Follow the 80/20 rule. Eat 80% healthy and 20% splurge. Just make sure you stay within your daily calorie consumption.
10. Do not eat “diet” foods, eat real foods. This includes diet coke. Artificial sweeteners set you up for failure later on in the day by making you feel less satisfied. Study show that artificial sugars can set the brain up to think you need to consume more calories. Plus they are not healthy for you and shown to cause cancer. If you must drink soda drink a 100 calorie serving of the real thing and take time to enjoy it.
If you find yourself back to your old habits just admit what those habits are and slowly find strategies to change them. Your brain will adjust to those new healthy patterns and weight loss will be your reward.