Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What's been working for me.....

This is a list from my friend Guenevere who reached her goal weight and has been maintaining for over 1 year.  Hopefully there is something useful here to incorporate into your healthy living plan.
• I tried to create a healthy living plan, rather than a diet.

• Generally, I look for filling foods with the most nutrients for the least calories. My meals consist of a ton of vegetables, large portions of lean protein such as fish or egg whites, quite a bit of fruit, small portions of high fiber whole grains, a lot of low-fat dairy (I love nonfat Greek-style yogurt – it’s higher in protein and lower in sugar than “regular” yogurt), a little bit of sweet treats once or twice a week, and a little bit of unsalted nuts a few times a week.

• I try to eat at least 5 servings of veggies and 2 servings of fruit a day, every day. And I try to eat my veggies first so that I eat less of the other stuff on my plate.

• I try to keep temptation out of my home. Anything I have a tendency to over eat (sweets and salty snacks) I keep out of my home.

• Instead, I stock my home with easy to grab veggies, fruits and low-sodium/low-calorie soups.

• If I have treats I make sure to buy and eat only a small, single serving and I make sure to eat it outside my home (see above).

• I roast a lot of vegetables in the oven (on a baking sheet coated with olive oil). Whatever I don’t eat right away I put in the fridge and eat as a snack later or the next day, cold right out of the fridge with a little balsamic vinegar.

• I try to limit my carbohydrates to mostly beans/legumes, sweet potatoes and fruit, and the occasional sweet treat.

• When I do eat carbohydrates, I avoid anything with white flour and I keep the portions small. (I avoid supposedly innocuous things like pretzels because eating pretzels makes me crave more and more pretzels. When I ate pretzels I tended to eat the entire 16 ounce bag over the course of a day, which has almost an entire day’s worth of calories!)

• For everything except for fish, vegetables and fruit, I stick to smaller portions, using proper serving sizes as a guide. I use small plates to help me control portion size.

• I count calories. I always read labels.

• I limit my alcohol intake to a glass of wine a month. (Alcohol is high in “empty” calories and loosens willpower.)

• I drink at least a gallon of water a day every day. (And I take a lot of bathroom breaks!)

• I try to eat only when I am hungry. (I had to re-learn what hungry feels like.)

• On the other hand, I try to go no more than 4 hours without eating something. If I am “starving,” I am more likely to binge.

• I try to eat slowly.

• I weigh myself once a week, on the same day at the same time of the day every time.

• I used a spreadsheet to record and track my weight loss goals and my weight. I set small, achievable goals, such as losing in increments of 5 pounds, and I celebrated reaching these goals.

• I try to exercise at least a little bit every day. I’ll take a 15 minute walk when I can’t find the time or the motivation to do more. In addition to my exercise classes, I’ve made an effort to incorporate physical activity into my every day life, like walking more and take the stairs more often and carrying heavy bags of vegetables home from the grocery store.

• I remind myself that although eating can be a very pleasurable experience, food does not give me happiness or a happy life. I am learning to stop associating emotions with food, or rather, to unlink my food with my emotions.

• I also try to encourage others (who ask for it), and in doing so it turns out that I am also helping myself stay positive and focused. So thanks for helping me!


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