Over the Winter, when it’s cold and dark out, I crave comforting foods which, inevitably, leads to gaining weight, so every Winter I gain about five pounds.
When Spring starts to blossom and the days become longer, I start to crave being outdoors; riding my bike, going for walks, etc. I start to crave light fresh food like salads and fruit. It’s at this time that the extra pounds start to weigh me down and I want it to come off.
At first, I feel anxious just thinking about it; how am I going to get it off!? It’s a low grade anxiety that I’m not completely aware of, a feeling like I’m not in control, like the weight has control of me.
Once I set my mind to it and decide that I’m ready to give it a go, the thing that always works for me is calorie counting. I’m a very healthy eater, but I can lose track of what and how much I’m eating and that’s when the extra pounds start to come on. Sometimes I think I’m just having a treat once in a while but when I start to keep track I may come to realize those treats are coming way to often.
An excellent tool I use is http://www.myfitnesspal.com, it’s a website that helps you keep track of your calories. You enter your profile, your weight and how much you’d like to weigh and then it calculates how many calories you need to eat per day to lose the weight. It recommends only losing one pound per week (I highly agree). Then you just keep track of your food each day (there’s also an App for your phone). I love that you enter your water intake and exercise as well. It’s very easy to use and keeps a list of things you tend to eat often so it’s easy to add the items to your daily list. And by the way, it’s free. (If you’re curious about what I eat, join and we can be “friends”, you’ll find me under “fitnessali”).
Here are some things I realized while keeping track of my food, water and exercise:
- I wasn’t drinking the 8 glasses of water a day I thought I was, it was more like 6.
- I wasn’t eating as much fruit and vegetables as I thought I was.
- Fruits and vegetables are very low in calories (and high in anti-oxidants and vitamins)
- Bread, muffins, rice, potatoes & treats are very high in calories (and low in nutrients)
- Anything high in fat is loaded with calories (oil, mayonnaise, anything deep fried)
- I was eating too much
- On days when I’m not teaching & don’t take the time to do something active, my calories go over.
- When I eat out my calories go over.
- If I want to splurge on a treat, I can burn the extra calories with exercise.
- If I go over one day I can make up for it the next.
Now these are all things I already knew, but being a busy person, I had just let it slip and therefore started gaining weight.
I usually count calories for about a week until I get my bearings again and then continue on my own once I feel I am back on track. If I get off track again I’ll start counting the calories again. Very quickly the weight starts to come off and I’m back to normal.
This is a very important yearly routine for me. I try to never let myself gain more than five pounds or it becomes overwhelming. If you think about it, if I were to allow myself to gain five pounds every year within five years I’m 25 lbs over, 10 years 50 lbs, etc. It’s a slippery slope, so I find it’s best to not go over 5 lbs.
Here are the general “rules” I follow with my eating habits:
- Wherever possible eat organic: fruit, veggies, meat, everything really.
- Try to eat food that is in it’s natural state and is not processed.
- Eat small meals and snack about every two hours.
- Start my day with a big glass of water (sometimes two) and then have a glass every hour for the next seven hours.
- Avoid anything deep fried. (Okay I do have tortilla chips once in while – but I count out about 20 chips and put them in a separate bowl for myself)
- As much fruit and veggies everyday.
- No caffeine.
- Limit sugary drinks (even fresh fruit juice).
- Avoid anything with too much sugar or I become addicted.
- Lean protein – chicken breast with no skin, lean beef, beans
- Avoid starchy carbs – rice, potatoes, bread – replace with veggies
- Avoid high fat food – muffins, cookies, mayonnaise, cheese, deep fried anything
- Enjoy treats in moderation, more moderation than you might think – like once a week or it’s a slippery slope!
- Salads are the best!
- Avoid high fat creamy salad dressings – vinaigrette is best
- Don’t stock home with foods you don’t want to eat.
I’m totally against dieting as it just sets you up for failure.
Focus on being healthy instead of “dieting”.
How about you? Where are you at? What do you want?