I picked up a copy of this month's Ladies' Home Journal as I was waiting to board a flight to Tampa, on my way to visit with my mom and dad for a few days.
I'm not a regular reader but Ina Garten was on the cover and I'm a fan.
A few pages in was an article headline that drew me in - 12 Ways to Think Yourself Thinner - which had a lot of great advice and was in alignment with the way I have come to view weight loss
Weight loss really does begin in your head.
It's as much or more about your thoughts than your deeds, so until you have your head in the right place, you might as well not even attempt to drop a pound!
Here's what the article had to say, along with my two cents...
1. Ban the word "diet" from your vocabulary.
Diets are something temporary; something you go on and off, which is a dead end from the get go. "Diet" also brings up all kinds of negative associations - including two motivation killers - hunger and deprivation. It is much more effective to focus on the positives of eating healthy - more energy or less indigestion - for example.
I am so in agreement here. Repeat after me. "Diets Do Not Work."
2. Get beyond the superficial.
Yes, fitting into that little black dress or those skinny jeans can be a motivator and there is nothing wrong with a little vanity. But studies confirm that you are more likely to be successful if you have something deeper and more meaningful motivating you. Write down your goals and refer to them often.
Yes. Yes. Yes. I have health and weight goals and affirmations that I review most every morning. They help to keep me on track during the day. Get out a journal and write about what being slim and healthy means to you. For me it's all about having more energy and growing old gracefully; being able to travel through life with ease and grace.
3. Get real.
Forget about losing 30 pounds in 30 days. It isn't going to happen and only leads to unnecessary frustration. Aim to lose ½ to 1 pound a week. Even better, throw away the scale. Focus on taking healthy actions instead. Take a 10 minute walk. Have whole wheat toast instead of a blueberry muffin. Order a side salad instead of the fries. Reward all the little positive steps you take in the direction of health.
This has worked for me time and time again. This summer I simply played with using smaller plates, bowls and glasses, eating more slowly and avoiding seconds and guess what? I lost the ten pounds that had snuck up over the last year with absolutely no pain and suffering.
4. Pay attention to what you drink.
Beverages can be a big source of unsatisfying calories. Most people underestimate the calories they drink. Think of soda, sweetened coffee drinks and other high calorie beverages as occasional treats just like you do cookies and candy.
In my world water is my primary beverage with moderate amounts of iced tea and sparkling water. Soda, juice and other calorie laden concoctions have become occasional treats, that I rarely miss.
5. Make room for your favorite foods.
Don't deny or deprive yourself. It only leads to more intense cravings and bingeing. Allow small portions of your favorite treats.
Why is it that as soon as you say, "I am not going to eat pizza, all you can do is think about pizza? Well, at least that is how it works for me. That is why nothing is off limits in my brain. Not pizza. Not ice cream. Not wine. Not french fries. With this way of thinking I can go months without wanting pizza and be satisfied with an occasional spoonful or two of ice cream after dinner.
6. Give up perfection. Give up guilt.
Yes, you will splurge. It's not the end of the world. Consider it a learning experience. Let it go. You are human. Humans learn through trial and error.
It is so exhausting trying to be perfect. Life is so much more fun when you expect that you will slip up from time to time. I like to say I sometimes eat too many chips so I can remember how many is enough!
7. Use visualization.
Picture yourself as you want to be. Try to feel it. Imagery is extremely powerful in helping you attain what you desire.
I spend a few minutes each morning visualizing how I want to be and how I want may day to unfold. It keeps me inspired and makes it easier to bypass those temptations that often unexpectedly appear throughout the day.
8. Be mindful.
Slow down. Chew your food. Stop multi-tasking when you are eating. Savor the taste, texture and aroma of your food. Take a few deep breaths before beginning your meal. Stop a few times during your meal to take a deep breath or two. Put down your fork between bites.
This is one of the most important things you can to to improve your relationship with food and yourself. You will find yourself satisfied with less food. Your digestion will improve. You will experience less bloating and indigestion. How you eat may be just as important as what you eat.
9. Be a picky eater.
Don't waste calories on food you don't love. Be selective about how you use your calories.
I now love to call myself a "food snob" and I'm proud of it. My body deserves to be fed delicious food that I really really want. Really good dark chocolate and really good sourdough whole grain bread will make you wonder how you ever settled for the other stuff.
10. Delay gratification.
When a craving strikes, wait 15 to 20 minutes. Have a glass of water. Take a walk. Have a bath. Distraction works. Think about something else, unrelated to food.
Having a glass of water or doing a few yoga poses are two of my favorite craving distractions. Most of the time I completely forget about what I thought I wanted.
11. Avoid peer pressure.
Social eating can be real difficult, especially for women. Think about what you will order before arriving at the restaurant. Order first so you can avoid being swayed by what the others are having. Don't even look at the menu, which is designed to tempt you.
I love deciding what I am going to eat ahead of time. It makes things so much easier. Just say I will have grilled fish and a salad or grilled chicken and vegetables. Enjoy the food and the company and take pride in knowing how good you will feel having fed yourself food that will love you back.
12. Acknowledge yourself.
Stop the negative self talk. Change the way you think of yourself. This can take practice, if you are caught in the cycle of berating yourself, but be persistent.
Affirmations can really help here. Tell yourself, "I am a healthy eater." "I love fruits and vegetables." "I enjoy exercising and moving my body every day."
You will be amazed at the power of your mind to move you in the direction of your weight loss goals. Think It. Do It. Be It.
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