First off, I’m not a dietitian, nor am I a naturally skinny person. I can’t just eat what I want with impunity, although I like to pretend I can. Since I turned 35 a couple of months ago, I’ve come to realize that it’s no longer optional to take care of myself. I have younger family members who are battling heart disease and diabetes and I need to acknowledge my own mortality. Besides, my body responds really quickly to the right fuel, so I have no excuses for the muffin top, especially since I know from experience that I can eat fries and cakes and still lose it. It’s time to get back to basics.
Choose one tactic based on your current interest and commitment level, then allow the momentum of losing weight to encourage you to take additional steps.
Life is too short to feel conflicted about what to eat, or when. If you’re like me, and are prone to comfort eating, then the last thing you need to do is make your nutrition another source of stress or failure.
Allow for the fact that you will, at some point today, eat something fun just because it makes you happy, and plan the rest of your day around it. Don’t get hung up on it; embrace it!
If you mostly eat veggies for a few days, look forward to the inevitable day later on this week when you’re short on time or low on blood sugar and give yourself a little treat. If you eat to the point of bloatedness, drink some tea (or ACV), switch to soup for a meal or two, and keep it moving. Pay attention to the feedback your body gives you about what you’re eating and how you’re exercising. You can do this. It’s easy.
1) Eat your veggies. (Now repeat for each meal for a week. Good luck.)
This is by far the most effective way to drop weight, and the hardest. What makes it not much of a sacrifice is being able to eat as much as you want, as often as you want. Definitely keep an eye on your blood sugar while you do this, because your brain needs sugar to function. My favorites are a slice of apple pie or pumpkin bread, because fruit, once in a while. When I add meat and healthy-ish snacks the next week, I can maintain my weight loss and keep losing weight at a much more realistic pace.
However. This is HAAAAARRRDDDD for me. I am addicted to sugar. Unlimited fruit just isn’t the same. But if I can do this for a few days a month, even spread out, I will be satisfied. But I’m not rushing to do this. If your willpower is strong, and you simply MUST lose 5 lbs this week, you may want to try this, but for no longer than a week. Passing out ain’t hot.
2) Count fiber, NOT calories, carbs or fat.
I’ve counted calories. I still remember what a portion size is supposed to look like (like dreams deferred), and the typical calorie count for most items I eat. Ain’t nobody got time for that. But when I focus on getting 30-35 grams of fiber in each day, I naturally lose weight, with zero stress. I find that I make healthier decisions in order to reach this lofty fiber goal, without feeling the least bit deprived. And I allow myself to eat whatever I want as long as I get my fiber, and still lose weight. This is a keeper.
3) Eat soup and/or salad EVERY TIME it’s available to you.
The pounds often sneak on when I’ve spent several weeks eating out more often than usual. This assault on my scale stops once I switch to soup, salad, water and tea whenever I eat out. Once again, occasional cheating allows me to stick with this.
- If you have lettuce in your house, make a salad. Don’t let that lettuce die with its song still unsung.
- If there is a soup or salad anywhere on the menu, order one.
- You go to your friend’s place and you usually skip the obligatory salad? Don’t.
I usually get a low-fat dressing, or order full-fat dressing on the side so I can dip my fork in it between bites. I also choose salads with no cheese and lots of veggies. But when eating another lite salad feels like twitch-inducing drudgery, I eat the most decadent salad I can find. Bleu cheese won’t kill me once in a while, and neither will bacon. But it feels so indulgent that I can return to lite salads without wanting to overturn a table.
Same thing with soup. I usually skip cream-based soup, but when I start to get bored with regular-shmegular broths, I order a bisque with extra croutons and don’t look back. I live to “diet” another day. Sometimes I order a burger, sandwich or dessert as well. But at some point, I at least attempt to fill up a bit on vegetables.
I feel zero guilt. And really, that’s what matters.
4) Default snacks. Choose well. Use liberally.
I am Cravings Girl. My husband and I have even nicknamed one of our shared cravings as “coldandwetandsweet”. We have no chill when it comes to ice cream because it is the ultimate coldandwetandsweet. But when we start to store all that coldandwetandsweet around our middles, I switch to cold, cinnamon-y oatmeal, or vanilla-y oat bran. Craving is satisfied, fiber goal is in sight. Win-win.
When we crave salty-crunchy, popcorn or pickles usually suffice. You do what works for you. The key is to already have this snack in mind, if not prepared, before temptation strikes. If you wait until you’re hungry to think of, let alone make your options, you will choose the easiest, most fat-laden items you can find.
Pick your snack, and your appropriate portion size, ahead of time, and run to it like your life depends on it when your munchies attack.
5) Keep soup in the fridge at all times.
This is what I’m doing right now, and it is working beautifully. I make a giant vat of soup twice a week, and when I’m hungry, I eat it. Easy-peasy. Occasionally I make buttermilk biscuits or tortillas to accompany it, but that’s usually just to prevent boredom. The three of us have all slimmed down noticeably in the couple weeks since we started this. Which is saying something, considering all the baking I’ve been doing. Like, every other day, biscuits, tortillas, scratch-pancakes, chocolate cake. I legit ate half a chocolate cake in 48 hours and still lost weight. (Hershey’s recipe is inspired by the tears of angels. I’m not ashamed.) If we have an impromptu cheat day and feel bloated , the next meal is soup. Poof! No more bloat. We keep losing weight.