There comes a day when enough is enough. When you’re tired of feeling fat, sluggish, bloated, and exhausted. When your “big” jeans are too tight and you’re sure the dryer shrank your clothes. You tell yourself that you’re big-boned, fatness runs in your family, you have a slow metabolism, etc, etc, etc.
No more excuses!
Today is the day you’re going to take accountability. You’re going to take responsibility for your weight, your health, and your mindset.
Allow me to share two thoughts that will change your life (drumroll please):
Your weight is not due to your genes, your significant other, your busy schedule, or your past. You are not a victim.
* Only when you own your weight can you control it. *
Once you accept that statement, you are ready for the message of today’s post.
* You are exactly where you are because of your daily habits and choices. *
We are bombarded with hundreds of food choices each day! Starbucks on the way to work, doughnuts in the office, chocolate, snacks, daily soda stop on the way home, food commercials, after dinner treats – – the list goes on and on. Individuals without a line of defense have a harder time saying no to temptation as the day goes on.
You need a plan. And, you need to create good habits to replace the ones that are keeping you from reaching your goals. It’s time to take control!
When I lost 30 pounds in 2006, I slowly replaced bad daily habits with good ones. I’ve also created additional good habits along the way, which has been the key to keeping the weight off for the past eight years. Today I’m going to share with you the five most effective habits I use to maintain a healthy weight. They’re not easy, and they’re not always fun. But if you’re serious about taking control of your weight, these five habits can help you achieve your goals.
1. Plan Every Meal and Snack the Night Before
Every night before going to bed, plan what you’ll eat the following day. By plan, I mean you need to write down every bite you’ll eat. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, beverages. Write it down. Everything. This ensures a few things: 1) You don’t have to make spontaneous decisions about food. 2) You can prepare your food the night before. For instance, you can defrost the meat for dinner, make a salad for lunch, and throw a handful of almonds in a baggie for your snack. 3) You can plan for most things, like birthday dinners or the occasional treat, and ensure the rest of your day remains in balance. You decide what goes in your mouth!
2. Journal Every Bite
Now you’re going to write what you actually eat that day, as you eat it. Every meal, snack, and drink. Each day I felt challenged and motivated to eat only the food I had written and prepared. I made a game of it. After all, when everything is planned there is no reason to deviate!
In my journal, I write my “Plan for the Day” on the left page, and what I actually eat that day on the right page. I also include my weight (if I weighed myself that morning), exercise, and water intake. Here’s an example of my daily journal page:
Keep this information, as it is an invaluable tool. If your weight loss efforts stall, you can go back in your journal and pinpoint why. Are you exercising less? Deviating from your plan? Eating bigger portions? At the same time, you can look at successful weeks and recreate your food plan for those days. And on the days you feel unmotivated, you can go back to the beginning and see how far you’ve come on your weight loss journey.
I journal in a small notepad that I can carry in my purse. My husband uses My Fitness Pal to track his food and exercise. I prefer writing it down because it helps me feel more personally connected to my goals, but you can use whatever tool works for you!
3. Say No to Soda
Soda is the number one worst thing you can put in your body. Yes, even diet soda. Not convinced? Here are a few facts on the Devil’s Juice:
Diet soda contains aspartame, a zero-calorie artificial sweetener. This chemical concoction stimulates the release of the hormones leptin and insulin, which tell your body to store fat. Artificial sweeteners increase carb cravings and stimulate your appetite, which is the opposite of what we’re trying to accomplish. And to make matters worse, aspartame (which is found in NutraSweet, Equal, and over 6,000 packaged products) is also linked to health conditions such as seizures, depression, and migraine headaches [source].
Regular soda is also a chemical shit storm that contains plenty of calories and no nutrition. With 23 1/2 teaspoons of sugar in a 32 oz. Big Gulp, it’s no wonder Type II diabetes and obesity has increased dramatically in our country! Soda also contributes to fat build up around the liver and skeletal muscles [source].
If that weren’t enough, the BPA that coats aluminum cans is known to interfere with hormones that affect obesity and infertility.
By giving up soda, you allow your body to run the way it’s meant to, and help release fat rather than hold onto it.
4. Eat Mindfully
We live in a multi-tasking world. We eat while we drive, work, and watch TV. When we do this, it’s impossible to fully taste, smell, and see our food, and our brain doesn’t get the message that we’re satisfied. When we connect with our food through all of our senses, we learn to appreciate it and listen to our body’s signals.
We also eat out of habit — popcorn during a movie (even after we’ve just eaten dinner), beer and nachos during the football game, or candy and chips on a road trip. We must think before we eat, and ask ourselves why we’re eating.
Eating mindfully takes practice and has wonderful benefits. Incorporate the following habits for improved eating and digestion:
- Ask yourself if you’re hungry. You may have a craving because someone or something triggered it, or you may be thirsty. Asking yourself this question before each meal or snack helps you get in touch with your body.
- Eat at the table only. Place your food on a real plate with real silverware. You are what you eat, and you don’t want to be fast, cheap, easy, or an afterthought! Look at your food when you eat it (no iPad, laptops, or books at the table)! Chew your food thoroughly and think about how it’s providing fuel and nourishment for your cells.
- Learn and follow portion sizes. Don’t wait until you’re stuffed before you stop eating. Eat slowly, and only until you’re comfortably full. Then stop!
5. Move Your Body
Whether you exercise at home, a gym, or outside, it’s important to move your body every day. It can be as formal as joining a soccer team, or as informal as walking at the park while your son is at baseball practice. Let the kids walk or ride their bikes with you after dinner or weekend mornings. Get 20 minutes of tough love with Jillian via DVD. Or escape to a morning yoga class for some alone time.
In addition to weight loss, exercise has so many benefits, including: sounder sleep, better mood by releasing endorphins, lower stress, increase in sex drive, boost energy, burn fat, and improve lymph system.
Make working out a priority, even if it’s just 30 minutes a day! Turn the TV off, say goodbye to your Facebook friends, and move!
So, are you ready to add some new habits and lose some weight? Then I challenge you to incorporate a new habit each week or month!
By adding one new habit at a time, you’ll be saying goodbye to old habits that no longer belong in your life. You will control food, rather than food controlling you.
Believe in yourself. Take time for yourself. Celebrate your successes, and learn from your mistakes. You’ll become stronger both physically and emotionally. You’ll make discoveries and learn more about you than you thought was possible.
What habits or tips would you like to share? I would love to hear what works for you as well. Please share in the comments below!