The clocks have changed, and everyone’s excited about the warmer weather and fun activities of Spring and Summer. So goes the mythology. Many women and men are extremely anxious this time of year. Many non-eating disordered people weigh seven pounds more in the Winter than they do in the Summer. This is normal, given that it’s more difficult for many people to walk and do other outdoor activities during the cold Winter months. In addition, Summer foods, including many seasonal fruits and vegetables tend to be lower calorie than the foods we normally gravitate toward in the Winter. Also, many people grill healthier foods, like fish, in the Summer. So it is not a defeat that last year’s Fall clothes are a little tighter in the Spring. If you DON’T PANIC, and ride the natural roller coaster of the seasons, you will find yourself more active, especially if that is your intention, and eating lighter foods. This will result in the lighter body you seek.
Many people dismiss the idea and importance of walking as exercise, but nothing could be further from the truth. Those who relocate to the suburbs notice a weight gain that is puzzling at first, because their diet hasn’t changed. Our delicate systems respond to variations in our movement and/or food. So walking less can easily result in a ten-pound weight gain over the course of a year.
Everyone seems to be confused about just how to eat these days. Is it virtuous t. o do keto? Should you aspire to the Mediterranean diet? Intuitive Eating? No white flour or sugar? The key is finding the food plan that most suits your lifestyle and desires.
10 TIPS TO ATTAINING YOUR WEIGHT LOSS GOALS
1. Find a form of movement you enjoy, and do it right before, or right after, breakfast. This is especially important for people who’ve had a history of eating disorders or weight problems. Early exercise helps regulate mood for the day, starts the day with a better body image, and helps people to feel less inclined to make poor food decisions throughout. Whether it’s tennis, Pilates, spinning, buying a pedometer and using it, or swimming, as Dr. Miriam Nelson says, Strong Women Stay Slim. All women and men should do some form of strength training, even if it’s using small weights, while watching TV three times a week for a lifetime. Strength training is known to increase metabolism, prevent osteoporosis, and improve self-esteem.
2. People don’t gain weight from the food they binge on. They gain weight from the food they beat themselves up for binging on. Rather than the harsh, old-fashioned will power approach, we know that people are more successful with regulating their food if they develop an attitude of inquiry and compassion. This leads them to better understanding the feeling, patterns, times, etc. that are most likely to trigger overeating. They then can use new strategies and techniques for handling these situations more successfully.
3. Remove TikTok and other forms of social media that are filled with misinformation and unrealistic images that often lead to despair and eating disorders.
4. As your mother and teachers taught you, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Everything you eat in the morning is burned up. Be sure to include protein in your breakfast, as it is critical nutritionally, and often leads to feeling more centered for the day. The typical person who wants to lose weight will often have coffee in the morning, which leaves one too hungry at lunch, and vulnerable to making poor choices. The black-and-white thinking that many emotional eaters engage in often causes them to throw in the towel for the day, and sometimes the week, after a difficult beginning with food. A key to success is internalizing the attitude that every eating experience is an opportunity to get it right: which means eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full. Many obese people eat nothing until 10PM.
5. The more people deprive themselves, the more they binge.
6. Our bodies are meant to be fed when we are physically hungry, and stop when we are full. If you're not sure you’re probably not hungry. Full does not mean stuffed. It means being able to walk away from the table feeling light. If you look at hunger on a scal from 0 to 10, you want to start when you’re at 3 (a little hungry) and stop when you’re at 7, which means you’re no longer hungry, and can walk away from the table feeling light.
7. Know your “trigger foods, i.e. pizza, bagels, cake, ice cream. Can you have them in your home? In restaurants where you are served an individual portion? Not at all, because they bring so much self-loathing?
8. When I ask people what kind of fish they eat, they normally answer salmon. While salmon is a great food, fish is low in calories and very high in many important minerals including iron and vitamin D. Challenge yourself to try a variety of fish and see what you like. Have you had turbot, Arctic char, bluefish, trout, or any of the others that will keep you trim and healthy? Dare yourself to at least try them.
9. Decrease the amount of alcohol you drink. After about two drinks, most people make poorer food choices. I am shocked at the amount of people I work with who either eat healthily or under eat, exercise tremendously, and on the weekends consume large amounts of alcohol, telling themselves the lie that liquid calories don’t count.
10. Save 200 calories, or give yourself 200 calories of food after dinner. In an ideal world, none of us would eat after dinner, however in the real world people enjoy a snack or two at night. There are tons of food you can have for 200 calories if you are creative, including 100 calorie bags of popcorn, 40 calorie sugar-free hot cocoa, Stony Fields 110 calorie chocolate low-fat yogurt, Halo Top or Enlightened low-calorie pops. You may wish to add one of the many flavored mineral waters.
There are many other strategies, tools and techniques to enjoying eating favorably, and maintaining your ideal weight. Hopefully, this will send you on your way to success! If you find negotiating the world of food difficult, as many people do, you may want to consider working with a counselor who specializes in eating and body image issues.