Sometimes I think, and I am guilty of this myself, that people think you have to give up all the good things in your life in order to lose weight. Give up all the good foods. It is not about deprivation at all. It is not about starvation. It's about moderation. Oh yes, I know... blah blah blah -- "Everything in moderation." I've heard it all before. Only, every time I'd heard it before, I wasn't in a place to accept it. I wasn't in a place to believe it. I wasn't ready to learn moderation. Moderation takes active thought and participation.
I'm going to tell you the BIGGEST secret to my recent success. FOOD JOURNALING. It's as simple as writing down everything you eat. Can you cheat and not write things down? Well, sure you can! But, how will that help you? Do you really want to see a difference? If the answer is yes, then start journaling. Remember this quote the next time you want to just skip writing something in your journal: "If you cheat, you are only cheating yourself." -- My friend Laura told me that, back when I first started Body Back in March. Those words have stuck with me these past 5.5 months. Journaling has been a key factor in my success. When I'm struggling, I can usually pinpoint where my problem is in my food journal, and make an adjustment.
OK, so now you are journaling, and you see that you are eating some foods a lot and other foods not nearly enough. Start switching it up... you don't have to make a drastic change over night, you just have to be willing to start making a change. For breakfast you are eating waffles and syrup. Switch it up, eat 1 waffle (fiber plus if you can) and put a tbsp. of a natural nut butter on it... Yum! And then on the side, have a boiled egg and a piece of fruit... You will be full, I promise. Now take a look at your morning snack -- is it yogurt? Yoplait? try Chiobani instead!!! (Greek yogurt has more nutrition!) -- I hate yogurt, so this is not easy for me. I'd rather have a lite english muffin with tomato and pepper jack cheese, melted under the broiler -- can't do that at work? Grab an Emerald Nuts 100 calorie pack of walnuts & almonds, eat with an apricot or some raisins. OK, so you forgot lunch and you step out to McDonalds -- would have been just as easy to go to Subway? Or even Taco Bell? -- Instead of a Cheeseburger and Fries, why not 2 chicken fresco tacos from Taco Bell? -- Bringing lunch from home? Try making a caprese salad and a turkey wrap on whole wheat tortilla with hummus rather than mayo! -- afternoon snack grab some cut up carrots and celery ... make dip from greek yogurt, dill and cucumber (or whatever you think might taste good) just limit the dip to 2 table spoons. For dinner, fix a yummy salad using baby spinach and feta, go easy on the dressing (tip: put dressing on the side, dip your fork in it before taking a bite of salad) -- serve with grilled chicken or fish and some steamed veggies of your choice. -- You'll find that you are satisfied all day long, and you actually enjoy these foods. It will take away the craving for constant sugar throughout the day. Then when you are at a party or out with friends, if you want a special dessert, you can indulge, but split it with a friend. Eat it slowly and purposefully, because that will be more satisfying. You will feel satisfied without feeling guilty or over stuffed!
Another secret that works... MEAL PLANNING -- Plan ahead for your week, shop according to your plan, and allow for substitutions and spur of the moment changes. If you know you have a party coming up, then plan for it! Going on vacation? Figure out where you are eating PRIOR to your trip. Research their menus and pick the best options. I'm living proof that this works!
Try to get the processed foods out of your house. If you don't have them to reach for when you are hungry, then you'll choose better options! Limit alcohol. It's empty calories and can make you eat MORE! Be sure to drink your water. Learn to eat in the calorie range that is right for your body and goals. My Fitness Pal (.com) is a GREAT tool for helping with all of this.
So, don't give up the good things. Just learn how to manage them in a healthy way. And enjoy them when you have them. Take time to savor. As I always say, "If it doesn't have flavor or taste good, I won't stick to it!"