Over time I came to the realization that I was tired of messing around with a 'nothing to show for it' approach to weight loss. I was hip to the mind games I was playing and was equally fatigued by the extra weight that had hitched a free ride at a cost being paid by my health and self image.
I don't plan to sugar coat it. We're talking lifestyle change here, folks and that requires discipline. It's not impossible, in fact it's not even remotely painful. Go ahead pout a bit at first about having to walk away from that frisbee-sized cookie, but at the end of the day you will feel in control of your life. That's a marvelous feeling that can inform every area of your life and has been known to lead to all kinds of dreams coming true. Cool!
Best of all, it's simple. It may not be easy at first, but it's definitely simple. I've outlined the rules here. I call them rules, tips, steps because at first it just ain't natural. We usually eat in a way that can only be described as unconscious. Before we know it, we've mindlessly consumed 1000 calories and then we're bummed because we can't zip our jeans.
Enough already. Let's get serious here. Those extra pounds won't leave on their own we have to evict them, lose them, show them the door, take away their house keys. What seems like a bunch of annoying rules at first will become a wonderful lifestyle change.
Weight loss is not about deprivation - it's about moderation and discipline - features that can lead to improvements in many different areas of our lives. Alright, let's get down to business here and take the first steps towards living the life we deserve.
Step One: Consider Portion Size
A portion/serving size of any food on your plate should not exceed the size of a medium apple. If you own a food scale, the target weight is 3 - 4 ounces.
Step Two: Eliminate The Junk From Your Daily Menu
This means no cookies at the Mall just because you happen to be there and absolutely love them. No more morning donuts from the break room. No more potato chips with a deli sandwich.
You know what your weaknesses are, eliminate them. If you simply must indulge, (use this golden ticket once in a blue moon ), have no more than 2 bites. Please don't overuse this rule. Enjoy your newly discovered self-discipline.
Make moderation a way of life. There's more to life than food. If your present size is bumming you out, take steps to introduce this change in your life without suffering deprivation.
Step Three: Dealing With Dining Out
The bread basket... If you can, pass it. If you can't pass it, enjoy one piece. If they've super sized your portions simply eat in accordance with step one and leave behind the rest on your plate. If you absolutely cannot pass up the dessert, I refer you to step two; don't exceed two bites. As we say around here...waste it don't waist it.
Step Four: Never have Seconds
Never have seconds of anything. There's no hallway pass on this step. No seconds, not ever!
Step Five: Eat Clean
Choose grilled meat over something that is heavily sauced or fried. Choose steamed vegetables, salads or soups. This does not mean deprivation. Replace the chips with carrot and celery sticks.
Clean a bag of sugar snap peas and keep them in the fridge for mad moments. If it's a processed food, it isn't clean. In a word - yogurt. Yogurt is always allowed. Not that processed, sugary yogurt, but the plain, natural yogurt. I promise that you will develop a taste for it.
Toss in some berries or a scant teaspoon of honey if necessary but, keep yogurt in the fridge. A word on soda....if you can, eliminate it and replace it with flavored (sugar free) water or tea. If you must, pour half a can over ice and savor it no more than once daily. Eating clean also means drinking water, lots and lots of water.
Step Six: Cut It In Half
Reduce your intake of your favorite snack by half and don't wolf it down as you stand in front of the open pantry.
Here's how this works. If you have been known to have 4 crackers with 4 slices of cheese in the late afternoon, cut it in half. Have 2 crackers with cheese and keep halving your snack until you’re down to a bite or two.
Enjoy it sitting down. Take this time to slow down and be present in the moment. Look out the window and contemplate the day. We ingest so many unconscious calories while standing up and shoveling it in. No more carrying that bag of 'whatever' over to the Lazy Boy, turning on the TV and mindlessly working your way through half the bag. Eat more consciously and do it with a little class.
Step Seven: The Monday Thru Friday Rule
This one is easy to understand... No desserts from Monday through Friday. Remember, being slender for life necessitates self-discipline and moderation; not deprivation. You can do this, there's always Saturday...
Step Eight: Saturdays Only
That cookie from the Mall?...go ahead enjoy, it's Saturday. Now, there are some rules attached. Saturday does not mean an open-ended, all you eat, all day buffet. We're trying to get away from that super sized, immediate gratification, emotional eating thing we've been doing. Have that one marvelous, wonderful treat and then get back on track and eat according to the rules.
Step Nine: 3 Meals A Day With 2 Healthy Snacks
By this, I don't mean 'hungry man' sized meals. Take a good look at your diet. Are you getting enough green vegetables into your meal palate? Ditch the sweets and pick up an apple. Exchange deep-fried for steamed or fresh. Eat yogurt.
Plain is best but, if you can't handle that (yet) mix in some berries and a teaspoon or two of honey. Keep yogurt around and if you're eyeing the chips and salsa or the rocky road ice cream, take the yogurt. Yogurt is your friend. Invest in a cookbook that focuses on fresh, fast meals. Your lunch and your figure will become the envy of everyone at work.
Step Ten: Pack Your Own Lunch and Cook Your Own Meals
I realize that this is not always possible but, put forth the effort, you might even enjoy yourself. Cooking can be very therapeutic. When you become your own personal chef you take charge of the kitchen and can control those portion sizes, exchange fruits for sweets and amp up the amount of green veggies you're taking in. If you want to eat clean, take the time to make it happen. Turn on that guilty pleasure TV show you say (in public) that you never watch and pack yourself a lunch.
*A word on exercise*: Not all of us are cut out to be athletes, gym rats, marathon runners, etc. Most of us can barely keep clean underwear in the drawer much less start up some time consuming exercise lifestyle. We simply need to move those bods of ours.
If you can, incorporate 3 routines per week that combine hand held weights with interval style cardio. There are multiple DVDs out there that showcase 20 minute routines with these features. Maybe in time, you'll enjoy it so much that you'll toss in a day of yoga. Bottom line, move it a little more than you have been. Park far and walk. Walk the dog. Walk here, walk there, just walk, walk, walk!
Incorporating these 10 rules to a Svelte and Slender you will not deprive you of your favorite foods. It will put you in control of your eating habits. Becoming more mindful of what you eat and why you eat it as well as how you eat, is a powerful tool.
If the day, or the week for that matter, is going horribly, two brownies and a big mac will not make things better. Always refer to the rules even in midst of bad days and hormonal showers, (in fact, especially in midst of hormonal showers). Emotional eating is another big pitfall for us women.
We need to do something different than picking up a quart of ice cream and a spoon as we cry and sigh. Go outside. That's my cure. Get out there. Look at the sky, listen, inhale fragrance from flowers. Breathe deep and enjoy nature. We need to rethink our relationship to food. There's more to life than food. Eat to live and get on with what really matters in life.
The new historical fiction novel
Whispers on the Wind
by Bridget Geegan Blanton
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