I am not in any way qualified to offer advice on weight loss, but I'm not gonna let that stop me. No sirree. People actually ask me for weight loss tips from time to time and I do have a few that I think are worthwhile.
First, I should confess what I'm not good at:
- People always tell you that you should drink so much water that your spleen is floating, but I only drink when I am thirsty (well, except for drinking wine - I drink that long past the point of thirst, but anywho . . . ).
- I do not make good choices at restaurants. I'd rather eat out less frequently, and eat what I want, than to pull the whole "When Harry Met Sally" can-I-have-this-but-on-the-side routine.
- I do exercise (particularly in the summer, when I walk the dogs a lot), but I don't get into any major exertion. I really think that shows like "The Biggest Loser" do all of us a disservice because really, who is going to maintain a work-out schedule like that? It is no wonder that so many of the contestants gain the weight back later.
So, here are my thoughts on weight loss:
- You cannot do this alone. If you could have done it on your own, you would have done so already. You don't have to do Weight Watchers - there are a lot of support networks out there! For me, I really need the accountability of standing on that scale and having that number formally logged.
- Don't let anyone bully you or tell you that you need to lose weight. If anyone had attempted to tell me I was overweight, I would not have changed my eating habits one whit. I just would have gone to greater lengths to hide them. Every person needs to come to "the moment" on their own. For me, it was seeing a photo of me holding my newborn daughter and thinking, "Oh my." And I did not give birth to her, so I had no excuse for being overweight after she was born!
- If you blow a day by overeating, don't take it as a license to let the whole week go. Every day is a new day. Sappy, but true.
- Write down what you eat. This is a huge pain in the ass but seeing it in black and white really does help.
- This is going to sound silly, but try not to buy clothes with lycra in them. Lycra helped convince me I wasn't overweight because I could still fit into my clothes. It's all part of being honest with yourself.
- Set small goals. A woman at my WW meeting said, "I can't lose 100 pounds, but I can lose 1 pound 100 times."
- Never skip breakfast. You will make up those calories somewhere, and probably consume a lot more than you would have if you'd just taken a moment to eat a banana or something.
- If you don't already subscribe, check out http://www.hungry-girl.com/. Very helpful daily emails.
- Be really honest with yourself. Don't hide food (I used to buy several boxes of Girl Scout cookies - some that went in the pantry and another box that no one ever knew about). Don't fool yourself into thinking that your body doesn't notice every calorie you consume. Alas, it notices.
- When you go out to eat, eat until you are satisfied but not stuffed. Then say out loud, "This is my last bite." Then stick with it. If you keep eating after you've said it was your last bite, that makes you a liar. And you don't want to be a liar, do you?
- There will be weeks where you'll do everything right and not lose an ounce. It's all part of the process and is not indicative of failure.
- Consider checking out the vegetarian aisle at the grocery store, even if you're not a vegetarian. Veggie burgers (and there are a million varieties) are generally very low in fat and calories. My daughter and I love the vegetarian sausage links, too.
I'm going to use a dirty word here. Deprivation. It is a fine line between deprivation and self-control, and I struggle with this a lot. Yes, I eat pizza. But I eat one piece when I really want two. Is that deprivation or self-control? It's hard to say. I think there are times when we can all be happy enough eating Chips Ahoy 100 calorie packs, but there are other times when you need an honest-to-goodness, fresh-baked, chocolate chip cookie. You can do that as long as you don't eat the whole batch. If you have trigger foods, you have to keep them out of the house. For me, I cannot buy Keebler Fudge Sticks. Just thinking about them right now puts me in a Homer Simpson-like "mmmmmmm" reverie.
Okay, that's it for my sage advice. Move along people, nothing to see here.