SOME GOOD HABITS TO FORM AS YOU ARE LOSING WEIGHT IN 2018
I am at a healthy weight and on maintenance since a May 2017 but I lost very slowly. The silver lining to having lost slowly is that little by little I began a whole bunch of practices that I hope will be with me for a lifetime. I share these with you hoping they might be helpful to you in 2018. And in no particular order here they are.
1. I cleared my pantry of “ trigger foods “, those which might precipitate a grazing attack. There are certain foods even to this day which I would have a hard time eating in moderation. 2. I logged everything that I put in my mouth, so as not to kid myself. I still keep that food log. 3. I weigh and still measure a great deal of my food. Even though I am better at guesstimating, the scale is always better. 4. I set myself a goal of learning how to cook differently, but delicious nonetheless, primarily using spices and interesting but low points sauces. I knew if I was to be successful that I would need to enjoy my food, otherwise I would be miserable and feel I was on a diet. My taste buds need pampering. 5. I learned which foods filled me up, and for how long. I dreaded being hungry and then going on an uncontrolled eating rampage. 6. I found out that I do best when I start the day with a large cooked breakfast. That seems to put a firm foundation to the day. Research shows that people who eat breakfast are more likely to keep their weight off. 7. I eat three solid meals a day and rarely snack. However, when I do snack I always have some tasty no or low calorie, homemade snacks at hand. I do not eat processed snacks that come in a bag. 8. Sugar came out of my system very early, and this helps me stay on an even keel. 9. As a Weight Watchers member , I dipped into my “weeklies” when I went out to restaurants or to eat at a friend’s house. Otherwise, I rarely ate weeklies and never “fit-points”. 10. I learned not to be ashamed to warn friends that I was on WeightWatchers, and told them ahead of time that I would skipping desert at their house. 11. I ate differently at restaurants and looked for healthier options. I learned to ask for a side salad and skip the French fries, and to have my salad dressing on the side, or my vegetables to be simply steamed. At first, I felt sorry for myself but now my taste buds have changed, and I prefer clean food. 12. At buffets I learned to pick and choose and not overload my plate and avoid second helpings. 13. One of my biggest learnings was to resign from the “ clean plate” club. I now eat till I am satisfied, putting away leftovers for another meal like a no fuss lunch. I was always a volume eater, but I am actually horrified at the volume of food, even if it was healthy stuff, that used to be on my plate. 14. I realized that my weight gain over the years did not come from stuffing myself with pies, pastries and cookies. Rather it was just eating that little bit more each week than my body needed for fuel. I still often have a private moan to myself about that, because I will always need to be hyper vigilant about how much I put into my mouth, coming to terms with the fact that I need to eat less than many people, especially in the face of weight gaining meds. 15. Remember that each person’s resting metabolism is different and it decreases with age. Therefore, everyone’s rate of weight loss is different. You will have to find out how much you can or cannot eat, but starving yourself leads to a lowered metabolism over time. That is why a well known Weight Loss TV show lead to huge re-gains for past contestants, and a lowered resting metabolism of 500 calories less a day. It is almost impossible to rev up your metabolism, especially once it has been lowered. 16. Along with changes to my eating, I learned to move more and I bought a Fitbit to keep score. I do not park the car as close to the doorway of my destination, and I am deliberately inefficient and take all the extra steps during a normal day around the house. I put on music and boogied my way around the house and was amazed at how many extra steps I could take and actually enjoy it. Moving more was for my health rather than weight loss. The amount of calories expended by exercise is pitifully small and only accounts for 15-20% of your potential weight loss, but you feel much better. 17. As the weight slowly dropped off I added physical activities that I enjoy such as 18 holes of golf, tennis and ballroom dancing. These are activities which I enjoy and look forward to, they are not a chore, and I hope to be doing them for many years to come. 18. For a long time I wore clothes that hung off me. Then I had a whole bunch of clothes altered and others I gave away to charity. My wardrobe is still evolving as I get used to having shed too many years of weight gain, and that now I do not have to hide my body anymore. I am still slightly incredulous at the visible change.
Despite all these changes, I am never complacent. Only 15% of dieters keep their weight off longterm. I know it is all too easy to gain, and harder to lose. But now at maintenance, I can afford to have a little holiday flutter at the dinner table, gain a pound or two and if need be, then take it right back off again. At least I have the right tools at my disposal. In case you think my weight loss was easy for me, quite the contrary, it was patience and persistence, plus a weight watchers meeting leader who constantly reminded me to keep the faith. Three years ago, after breast cancer, I could hardly move across the room without holding onto furniture for support. I moved like an old woman and huffed and puffed after the slightest physical exertion. Now I am erect and stride into a room. Most people would never guess me to be 71 years old, and now with 90 plus lbs lighter, I haven’t felt this well in 25 years.