Greetings everyone! You may have noticed that I took a break from writing this summer and I’m happy to report that it was a great summer in a number of ways. It included serving as the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation Fitness Ambassador for the annual Steptember Challenge, a fabulous trip to big sky Montana, and losing 7 lbs. and keeping it off. I learned three things. First, dedicating your talents to a worthy cause feels good. Second, a truly relaxing vacation is worth every penny. Third, the real secret to weight loss is in the small habit shifts that finally stick. It’s this third point that I’m writing about today.
I’ve done a great deal of weight loss coaching over the years and more recently, have been struggling to lose a few pounds myself. As a result, I’ve gathered a great deal of insight to share with you straight from the hip. Here are my top four tips:
Track Your Food: Know how much you’re eating. I’m a big fan of tracking food intake because knowledge is power and data is king. With the enormous portion sizes served in America we’ve gone off the deep end. The bottom line, whether you use a food tracker like MyFitnessPal or Weight Watchers, get a food scale and some measuring cups and know how much food your putting in your mouth. Once you learn that 1 ounce of cheese (think of 4 dice-sized pieces) is about 100 calories, and mostly fat, you’ll think twice about overindulging.
Get the Trigger Food Out of the House: Too many times I hear clients talk about how they ate the pint of ice cream or ran through an entire bag of chips – at home! If you have trouble controlling yourself around certain foods, make them hard to get. Until you learn how to better moderate your eating behavior, out of sight is out of mind. Period. If you still really, really, really want it, opt for the single serving portion at the store.
Weight Loss Takes Focus and Attention: Losing weight doesn’t magically happen. It’s the discipline of properly planning your meals rather than the discipline of simply eating less that rules the roost. Carve out the time to plan meals – home cooked or at a restaurant. Make the effort and don’t be lazy. Learning new recipes and trying new things on a menu can be a real food adventure and not some chore. Keep your eye on the weight loss prize! Remind yourself why you set this goal in the first place.
Shift Your Travel and Vacation Mindset: This goes two ways. First, if you are going on vacation to somewhere spectacularly food driven, set a weight maintenance goal vs. a weight loss goal, you’ll save yourself a whole lot of guilt. All that walking around site-seeing will help burn off those extra calories. Second, if you’re just going on several long weekends, don’t throw caution to the wind just because you’re spending a few days at uncle Bert’s cabana in Point Pleasant Beach. Stick with the weight-loss mindset and make healthy sensible choices (I hear seafood calling!).
We humans are wily creatures and we are constantly trying to wiggle out of accountability. Try being accountable to yourself for just one day. Just one day I ask of you! I promise that the reward of sticking to your weight loss guns will pay dividends.