Losing weight in a healthy and pleasant way is possible when you set yourself up for success. This is accomplished by setting reasonable goals and always being kind to yourself. Weight loss is as much about healing your emotions surrounding food as it is about the food itself.
Rather than focusing on rigid weight loss goals or impossible calorie restrictions, set yourself up for success by focusing on how you want to feel, rather than what you want to look like or weigh. This could show up for you in a variety of ways, including:
- Increased and sustained energy
- Improved concentration
- Increased productivity and better performance at work
- More restful sleep
- Increased sex drive
- Stabilized mood
- Improved digestion with regular bowel movements
- Elimination of chronic headaches
- More self-confidence
All of these things are a sign that your body is healing itself. Therefore, do not get discouraged if the number on the scale isn’t moving as fast as you would like, or even at all. Instead of tackling a huge goal, such as losing 30 pounds, break it into manageable pieces that will ultimately lead you to the end you seek. Your pieces could include:
1. Eating smaller portions.
- Buy smaller dishes. Studies have shown that we feel more satisfied when our plates and bowls look full. Consider splurging on a few new pieces. If you are eating your food on a beautiful plate, you will feel like you are treating yourself, rather than feeling deprived.
- Immediately package up any leftovers, as you will be less inclined to go back for seconds if the food is put away before you even finish your meal.
- When eating out, ask the waiter to bring half of your order to the table, and place the remaining half in a to-go box. You could also split an entree with another person at the table or order a few (healthy) appetizers to share. Another great tip is to ask the waiter not to bring any rolls or bread to the table. They are nothing but empty calories!
2. Don't eat late at night.
- This can be difficult with late work nights and long commutes, but if you can, eat no later than 6:00pm.
- Lunch should be the largest and most complex meal of the day. Many people starve themselves during the day, thinking that they are doing the right thing by saving calories. They are famished by the time they get home from work and end up gorging themselves in the evening. Often, they end up eating more than their recommended daily value of calories just in the evening!
- Brush your teeth immediately following dinner. You are less likely to eat again with clean teeth because you don’t want to have to brush them repeatedly.
3. Consume less processed food (ideally none).
- Eliminate fast food altogether.
- Read labels. If a label has more than a few ingredients, particularly if you have trouble pronouncing them, put it back on the shelf.
4. Drink more water.
5. Commit to moving more than you are currently.
- Choose something that you enjoy doing. Otherwise, you will never stick with it. Be creative. Perhaps you enjoy photography and you live near the woods. Take your camera and go for a stroll. Take pictures of various plants, animals, and whatever piques your interest. You will have so much fun exploring and snapping photos that you won’t even notice all the walking that you’re doing. Think about some of your favorite hobbies and how you can integrate light to moderate exercise into them. Also, don’t be afraid to try new things. You’ll never know if you like something until you try it!
Healthy weight loss is successful when you are kind to yourself and forgiving of small missteps you may make along the way. This is both an emotional as well as a physical process that simply takes time. Think about how you want to feel. When you begin to feel the way you want, you will know that you’re making progress. The weight, in turn, will begin to melt away.
Lindsey Little is a health coach, trained at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in NYC. She is the founder of Have Less Be More, a nutrition and wellness coaching firm that helps people set and achieve their health goals. You can learn more about Lindsey here.
Website: Have Less Be More Facebook: Have Less Be More Twitter: @havelessbemore