Losing weight is not a sprint it is a marathon and your mental and emotional attitude towards the project is a key factor in your successful weight loss.
Over the last few weeks I have looked at the factors that have led to you being overweight. It might be 10lbs or 100lbs but whatever the amount, it did not magically appear. There might be emotional, physical and mental issues that needed to be addressed such as low self-esteem, yo-yo dieting in the past or illnesses that impacted your body’s ability to maintain a healthy weight. I have also looked at foods from our body’s perspective. What it needs to be fit and healthy. Ways to identify what emotional factor has made eating certain foods so important to you.
Now is the time to put all of that preparation into practice.Over the next couple of weeks I will be introducing you to more strategies and to the tools that will enable you to manage this extremely important project. There will be high points and days when you wonder why you bothered but overall as with any marathon if you keep walking and running, you will reach the finish line.
With any project there needs to be a clear timeline with specific goals that need to be achieved. This will not be accomplished if you are half-hearted about the need to get to the finish line. There is no need to be obsessive but being organised will help.
Forms and graphs do not translate well into WP but if you would like me to send them to you once we get into the next few chapters then very happy to do so.
Before you begin your program, it is important to set some ground rules. There are not many to remember, but they will assist you in becoming successful at sensible and healthy eating.
- Do not skip snacks or meals. Remember – you must eat something every two or three hours so that you stimulate your metabolism and keep your blood sugar levels stable. This will help prevent cravings later in the day and will stop that nagging feeling of hunger. There are a lot of articles about Intermittent Fasting and leaving a long gap between your last meal at night and eating in the morning. But if you are overweight and have been dipping into the cookie jar every time you felt the need; it will be much more difficult to stick to the programme. Despite your body continuing to work overnight it does so on standby mode. You should not go to bed with a full stomach and I suggest that you allow at least three to four hours after eating and you will get a better night’s sleep. If you finish eating by 7pm and eat your breakfast at 8am. You will have given your body thirteen hours to recover, digest and use up some fat before you begin eating again. If you can get in 30 minutes of moderate exercise before breakfast that would be even better. Then for the next eight hours or so eat moderate main meals with healthy snacks between.
- Keeping a food diary is essential for the first few weeks of your program. Not only will it encourage you to be honest about your daily intake, but you should make the effort to learn from it.
- For instance, if in one week you met your weight loss target, felt energetic and looked great, what were you eating to achieve that? By reviewing your diary, you gain insight into the fuel mix that works for you. It can be easy to skip snacks, thinking that you are not hungry, but you will soon see that gaps in your food diary can lead to hunger or picking at food later in the day. The diary is your basic tool to help you establish a pattern of healthy eating that one-day you will automatically keep to.
- Make sure that you keep your food program varied. Not only do you need the full spectrum of nutrients, but you should also avoid boredom. Get out the recipe books and be creative, especially in substituting other products for fat and sugar. I have compiled a list of possible substitutes (Chapter sixteen), but if you look around you will find many more.
- We lose around two litres of water each day, and this has to be replaced in order to remain hydrated, and to prevent our bodies from taking fluid from sources that may contain a high percentage of sugars. If you feel tired, and/or suffer from headaches and irritability, it could well be that you are dehydrated. Start the day with a large glass of water and then drink regularly throughout the day. It is better to drink a glass of room temperature water 30 minutes before your meal and then leave an hour before having another.
- Avoid drinking large amounts of water with your main meal, since this can drown the gastric juices that process your meal and cause wind and bloating. Drink a glass of water 30 minutes before your main meal and then about an hour afterwards. There are some fluids that aid digestion – a glass of red wine occasionally, or a peppermint tea after a meal out.
- Only weigh yourself once a fortnight to begin with, but never more than once a week – always at the same time and on the same scales. Your weight will fluctuate during the week, so hopping on and off the scales can be demoralising.
- Control your portion sizes. Just because a food is good for you does not mean that you can eat huge amounts of it. Remember, if you eat more than your body requires, you will put on weight.
- Alcohol may be low in fat but it is high in carbohydrates and sugars, and therefore calories. One glass of wine a day, seven days a week, can add up to 30 lbs (14 kg) of body fat a year. Try to limit drinking alcohol to special occasions, and then have only two or three drinks at a time. Drinking more than this can put additional stress on your liver which has to deal with the alcohol in your system.
- Tea and coffee if you enjoy them should be part of your new programme. One or two cups of tea a day, can be beneficial because of its anti-oxidant properties. I love my morning cup of coffee – it is as a social event as well with family and friends and meeting for a cup rather than a meal is a way to maintain contact without over indulging. Herbal teas,are not stimulants and can be enjoyed anytime of the day. Green tea is a big part of my day as, apart from several health benefits, it also has a thermogenic effect that can help you burn more fat.
- Stop thinking like a fat person and start thinking like a slim one. Start talking about ‘when’, not ‘if’, I lose weight.
Remember – this is not a diet! It is a healthy eating program. It must become integrated into your life, so it needs to be interesting, stimulating and non-restrictive in order to work. And as they say. A little of what you fancy does you good!
Here are the previous twelve chapters.
©sallygeorginacronin Size Matters 2001- 1015
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