It’s no great secret that we can be pretty hard on ourselves. The wave of guilt that sinks in when we skip a workout or give into our sweet craving can be just as toxic to our health as the cupcake that started that downward spiral. Studies have shown that the feeling of guilt after consuming those “forbidden foods” can cause people to gain even more weight! Let go of the guilt.
The thing is, we all slip sometimes, but we don’t have to unravel or beat ourselves up over it. In fact, it can be good to indulge in a sweet now and then as long as it feels like a treat and not the beginnings of a bad habit. Enjoyment of food is essential for healthy, happy living. And if you take the time to enjoy your food you are less likely to overeat.
I have never had a client that didn’t “fall off the wagon”, so to speak. Hey, cupcakes happen. My advice is to savor that treat and then hit the reset button. Don’t let choosing a cozy movie night over a trip to the gym stretch into a week on the couch, or that one slice of pizza lead to a bucket of wings. You can always fix it at the next meal!
Tips To Keep The Weight Off
Diets have an expiration date. The word implies a beginning and end, which is why they don’t work. Losing weight and keeping it off requires a lifestyle change, including healthier food and healthier behaviors. The real secret to keeping the weight off is replacing bad habits with good ones. Once you realize and accept that and once you find the fun in keeping fit, you won’t have to worry about backsliding ever again. A few ways to make sure you don’t gain the weight back:
1) Track your habits. Despite our best intentions, it is surprisingly easy to be dishonest with ourselves about our behaviors. I don’t eat that many carbs. I go to the gym almost every day. Do you really? Keeping a food diary, monitoring your weight once a week and keeping a workout schedule will help you avoid those extra pounds from creeping up. One of my favorite tracking tools are MyFitnessPal, LoseIt, and SparkPeople.
2) Slow down and chew your food. Most of us can feel completely satisfied eating 20% less food than we normally do; the problem is how to naturally stop ourselves? By chewing more! A recent study showed that by chewing your food more (double what you normally chew), participants ate 15% less. I recommend chewing your food 15-20 times per bite. I love this trick, because there is no deprivation required!
3) Promote healthy bacteria in your gut! Preliminary research has shown that eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, and probiotic-rich foods (yogurt, kefir, kimchee, pickles, miso) encourages microbes associated with leanness to quickly become incorporated in the gut actually helping you lose weight (or become leaner). A diet high in saturated fat and low in fruits and veggies does exactly the opposite.
4) Get your zzzz’s. Too little sleep (less than 7 hours) has been associated with weight gain. Getting enough sleep helps restore energy, regulate necessary hormones and helps us make better choices throughout the day. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that, after a poor night’s sleep, all you want is a quick sugary pick me up…
5) Work with a Registered Dietitian. Like me! Woot woot! We can help you come up with an individualized plan that works for your needs and around your schedule so you can finally say goodbye to that excess weight for good. Dietitians can also answer your nutrition questions and dispel food myths using evidence-based practices.
6) Be active. It is imperative to do some form of exercise to maintain weight loss and increase lean muscle. Stick to something that you enjoy doing and be consistent. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes per week; whether you want to work out 30 minutes 5 times a week or 50 minutes 3 times a week is up to you.
How are you going to keep the weight off in 2014?
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