If you’re anything like me, food is both a friend and a foe. And if you’re anything like me, you are continually inviting that friend over and then fighting that foe once the thrill is gone. Even if you do succeed and manage to become a trimmer, slimmer you, how long does it take to pile all those pounds back on-and maybe even more? It’s a constant battle for me and, I’ll bet, for you too if you’re reading this. Here are some suggestions on ways to win that battle, and hopefully, the war.
Eject every temptation you can think of from your environment. Don’t just clear those kitchen cabinets of cookies, chips, candy, and soda-scour your bedroom, car, office, gym locker, purse, backpack, and coat pockets of anything you know shouldn’t be making its way into your mouth. If it ain’t there, ya can’t eat it. Simple, right? For more on setting yourself up for success, read one of Dr. Phil’s “Ultimate Weight Loss” books.
Edit your shopping list so it contains healthy foods only. If your list is larded with fat-laden, salt-coated, sugar-drenched foods you are not going to be able to control yourself. But, you say, I’ll just get a small package of peanut M&Ms and exert a little willpower, eating one or two pieces a day. Really? Willpower? Your will is going to tell you to eat the whole bag and your will is going to win. If there’s one thing weight-challenged people have, it’s a strong-as-steel will to eat the things that make them “happy.” So create your shopping list by consulting nutritional guides or a doctor-recommended dietician and don’t deviate from it once you hit the grocery store.
Edge your way around the supermarket like you are a mouse scurrying along the baseboards of a kitchen. All the good food is on the edges-meat, dairy, vegetables, fruit, whole grains-and that’s where your cart should take you. Keep to the perimeter and you won’t even see those fatty, sugary, salty chin-doubling thigh-thickening butt-ballooning heart-attack-provoking packaged and processed foods.
Eat. Yes, I said eat! Research shows that eating too little will make it harder for you to lose weight and keep it under control. If you don’t have the minimum number of calories in your system for physical and mental functionality each day, your body will slow down, way down, to conserve what you do have. Once that happens, most people start eating even less and their bodies start slowing down even more. Find out how many calories you should be eating each day (SparkPeople.com and WeightWatchers.com are both good guides) and make sure you eat every single calorie. If you do hit a plateau, ramp up your exercise; don’t cut down your calories.
Exercise. It’s a dirty word, I know. There’s nothing we couch or computer potatoes like better than lounging around, watching TV or tweeting our brains out with our arms elbow-deep in a bag of Ruffles Sour Cream and Cheddar (my drug of choice) or its equivalent while our friends and enemies are out running, dancing, gardening, and spiking volleyballs into each others’ faces. No need for you to be so extreme. Start out small. Take your dog for a walk every morning (good for you and your dog!) or walk down to the corner store for the newspaper-but walk!
Walking is low-impact exercise and a natural activity that’s deeply ingrained in our hunter-gatherer genes. If your area is too dangerous to walk safely, get an inexpensive treadmill or a walking-in-place DVD (like Walk Away the Pounds with Leslie Sansone and get going. After a few weeks of gentle walking, you will feel more comfortable with exercise and may even want to spike volleyballs or dance the cha cha.
And a sixth extremely essential E for weight loss and weight control:
No matter what body shape and size you are, get out there and live. Never let your physical appearance get in the way of your enjoyment of life. Sure, there are people out there who form relationships on the basis of appearance, but what sort of friends will these “fattists” turn out to be? Most people gravitate to other people because of their interests, goals, motivations, passions, and energy levels. Of course it’s best to be a healthy weight, but don’t wait to become an “acceptable” size before you start living. Get out there and go for it!