Friday, November 7, 2014

A Slippery Slope

It's no secret that I have struggled with my weight for years (and years, and years) and most of the past five years I have spent fatter than I want to be. I got to a good place in 2012 and then my pregnancy, pre-eclampsia and breastfeeding threw all that hard work away.

I am a little over ten pounds less than I was at my highest weight and still thirty pounds more than I what is healthy for my frame. Bryan and I put our memberships on hold but that ended two days ago and we are going to start going to the gym together instead of going to the movies (and eating) or to dinner (and eating) when we have date nights.

My first step towards controlling my weight is always to start eating smaller portions. I think this is a easy and fuss-free first step when trying to lose weight. In my opinion, it is not always what we eat that is the main culprit in gaining weight but how much we eat that is the biggest problem. It is easy to do and if you start little by little you don't really notice you are doing it.

Tips for consuming less food range from using a smaller plate, eating half of your plate at a restaurant and putting the other half in a box, sharing a meal with a friend/significant other, Also, weighing and portioning your food, sticking to 'serving sizes' for snacks, etc. Easy decisions to make. Another easy tip is to stop drinking your calories. Drink water or unsweetened iced tea. Limit yourself to one to three sodas a week. Which reminds me, when you start to feel hungry, before eating anything, ask yourself when the last time you had water was? A lot of time your body is signaling you not to eat but to hydrate! Stay hydrated and you'll cut calories.

For me, the next phase after cutting down my portions is always chosing healthier meals. I recently heard to live the 80/20 lifestyle. 80% of what you eat should be healthy, body-fortifying whole foods. 20% should be pastas, breads, sweets, sodas, etc. I like that. I've never thought of it like that before, but it is essentially what I strive for. Instead of getting a normal hamburger at In-N-Out, I'll get a protein burger (no bread, it's just wrapped in lettuce) and Bryan and I will share fries instead of getting our own. I'll forgo a sandwich for a salad, pancakes for scrambled eggs with a little shredded cheese. Small exchanges. I'll think to myself "I'm not going to eat this cupcake right now because I really want a milkshake this weekend." Things like that. Instead of eating (another) piece of Halloween candy I'll grab an apple instead.

My typical phase three is to get moving. Sit less. Walk more. Do more stuff. Get active. Whatever that means. After a long day at work (where I sit all day) don't get home and sit. Get some projects done, go out and do something, go to the gym. Whatever.

Phasing in changes over time helps me to stay on track and not go binge eat. I can still have what I want, I just try to make better choices instead of being a vacuum when food is around.

However, and this is a big however, I have to really watch my thoughts when I start to do this. I can get extremely negative about food, eating, my body, etc. I find myself "turning off" my hunger, skipping meals, If I have a meal that is not the best, I'll get down on myself and will skip a meal to make up for it, which ends up hurting my body more in the long run. A thought will pop up "Wow, I can't believe I ate that sandwich. All that bread." And all of a sudden the meal I just ate feels like a ton of bricks weighing me down.

Don't do that. Don't be like me. Dieting is a slippery slope to an eating disorder. I kid you not. The way you view yourself and view your eating habits is integral when you are attempting to lose weight. Don't let dark thoughts cloud your mind. Stay encouraged. Look at the big picture. If you have a big meal, have a smaller one next time. If you eat a milkshake, have some veggies for your next snack.

Eating right CAN and SHOULD be about balance. Balance good foods with bad foods. Indulge sometimes and don't get down on yourself when you do.

If you are in the same boat as me, guard your thoughts. Be kind to yourself. As you crunch carrots, remind yourself that you are supplying your body with the best of the best and it'll run more efficiently for it. Last, don't be afraid to have a small milkshake here and there.


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