The easiest way to learn how to lose weight and keep it off, learn the habits of thin people. I am one such person. I have been thin my whole life and it has nothing to do with good genes, dieting or chronic exercise. First, let me start out by saying that I love to eat and I eat all of the time. I also want to tell you that gaining weight for me is easy. If I'm not careful, I can easily gain weight in a few days. Last, many people in my family are big and overweight. I tell you this to reassure you that I don't have any advantage that sets me apart from anyone else. The only thing that I have going for me are a few "cheat sheet" habits that I'm going to share with you right now. Please read this with an open mind and a positive attitude. The only way to create a new habit is to first recognize that the old habit has not been working and to accept control over your behavior. This is not a quick fix so you will not lose a lot of weight at once. This is a lifestyle change that will have more long term results and will not leave you feeling frustrated. Before following these steps, give yourself realistic expectations as to the habits you can follow now. After those habits become innate, add another habit. Please do not add a bad habit as a reward to following one of my good habits. This will defeat the purpose and you will not lose any weight.
Things You Will NeedA Positive Attitude
A Healthy Support System
A No Excuses Mentality
Step 1For those of us who are compulsive eaters, stock up on a lot of fruit and/or veggies. Eat as much as you like. They are high in fiber and nutrition so they are very good for you. Tip: Make them visible and easily accessible in your home and at work.
Step 2Don't leave chips, cookies and cupcakes out in the open. If you buy them (which I don't recommend you do) leave them in an obscure place where you're not looking at them all of the time. The back of the pantry or the top shelf of a cabinet is a better place than on the counter or on top of the refrigerator. Follow step one and leave the fruit out in the open instead.
Step 3If you're not a water drinker (as I'm not) drink pure premium fruit juices that are not made from concentrate and do not contain any added sugars or high fructose corn syrup. I drink pure premium orange or grapefruit juice with lots of pulp. The pulp contains the fiber so it will help you to feel full. Herbal Teas without sugar or sugar substitutes are also a good option for people who have a hard time drinking plain water.
Step 4Sodas contain A LOT of sugar and has absolutely no nutritional value to go along with it. If you're even drinking a can of soda a week, that is too much. Tip: I often mix unsweetened flavored seltzer water with my pure premium orange juice. It gives me the same sensation as a can of soda.
Step 5Weigh yourself every single day. This is the only way you will know if you're gaining weight and how fast you are gaining weight. Some people may argue that this can cause you to feel depressed if you are bigger than you expected to be. This may be true but it usually only lasts for a little while. It's better to notice a 5 pound disappointment in one day than a 20 pound disappointment in a month. Use the information to jolt you into action by cutting out the extra offending food.
Step 6I'm not recommending that you become obsessed with calories. That would be a diet. I'm merely suggesting that you eat food in an educated manner. A small bag of chips may contain 450 calories. This is 3 times more calories than the recommended amount for a snack. If you are not aware of this, you may be inclined to eat 2 or three small bags in one day. By reading the caloric amount on the bag, you can make an educated decision to eat a different snack altogether or at least a bag of chips that may only have 280 calories. This is still more than the recommended amount but it is a lot better than 450 calories wouldn't you agree!!! Tip: Train yourself to appreciate other types of snacks such as fresh grapes, granola bars and rice cakes. Save your love for chips for times when you are CRAVING salt. You can also make air popped popcorn with a little olive oil and sea salt. This is a much better option than a bag of chips. Make sure to measure the olive oil to ensure you're not adding too many calories.
Step 7For me, I have to stay under 1200 calories. This is easy for me to do because I eat a lot of fruit and I don't count those calories. ;)To find out how many calories you should consume in a day, go to http://www.freedieting.com/tools/calorie_calculator.htm.
Step 8This may be as simple as adding some movement to a task that you are already doing. (I often pace when I'm talking on the phone. Sometimes I do jumping jacks when I'm watching tv.) Joining a dance class or walking outside instead of on a treadmill may make exercise more enjoyable for you and help you stick to the routine. Tip: Don't start an exercise routine that you don't enjoy. You will not stick to it.
Step 9I do this to psyche my mind into believing that I'm eating more than what I'm actually eating. I started this in my 20s when my metabolism started slowing down and I was not as active as I was in college.
Step 10When you reach your goal weight don't go out and get a pizza. You will gain weight quickly. The way you lost the weight is the way you will keep it off. This is one of the main reasons why diets don't work. It's a lifetime commitment.
Step 11If you absolutely want to eat dessert, only have dessert if there is someone there to split it with you. If there is not and you still want to eat the dessert, have the waiter cut it in half and wrap the rest up when you're about to leave. Better yet, tell the waiter he can have the other half! If you didn't see it you won't miss it.
Step 12This was the hardest habit for me to pick up because I was taught to clean my plate because there were people in China starving to death. Two problems wrong with this logic: A- If you eat everything, there will still be people starving in China. B- If the food is going to your hips, it is still waste. I actually lived in China for a summer in 1997. It is customary to leave a little food on your plate otherwise you are signaling to the cook that there was not enough food. How's that for irony? Tip: Develop the habit of putting less on your plate so that you won't need to waste food.
Step 13Many times the sauce and gravy have more calories than the actual food it is covering. Instead use low calorie marinades or just season the food with fresh herbs and spices.
Step 14Pay attention to how your body feels after you eat food. Don't accept headaches, gas or stomache aches as a normal way of living. Our body is designed to tell us when we are not treating it properly.
Step 15It's simple, If you're not hungry DON'T EAT. Period. Just because it's there it does not mean it has to go in your body. Tip: You will be able to taste and enjoy your food much better when you are actually hungry because that is the time that you tastebuds are the most keen. Make sure you are not to the point of starving though because that is the time that you are most likely to stuff yourself causing you to eat more calories than you would normally eat in one setting.
Step 16Remember that eating with knowledge can save you a lifetime of grief. Buy books and read articles about other ways to make better food choices. I practice this daily and so do the many other thin people in our lives. Not everyone will be stick thin but we can at least avoid being overweight and even obese just by developing these habits that I have listed.
Tips & Warnings
- Don't set yourself up for failure. Start a habit that you can realistically follow.
- Set realistic goals that you can achieve.
- Don't make excuses for your weight. Life is a trade off. If you insist on eating the chocolate cake than either cut out other food choices or accept the fact that you will carry the extra pounds.
- Warning: If you stray from any of the habits, don't berate yourself. This can possibly lead to self loathing which may lead to emotional overeating. Instead, mentally pick up the habits as soon as possible and start fresh the next day. Don't stray for too many days because the poor habits will start to take over.