Healthy Weighs of Thinking and Doing

Having a healthy lifestyle involves how we “think” and how we “do”.

HEALTHY WEIGHS OF THINKING

  • Normalize eating patterns. Try to focus on healthy eating. Eating should be an enjoyable experience. The goal is to adopt a healthy attitude towards eating in addition to lowering fat and calorie intake.
  • Do not deprive yourself. Try not to forbid any specific foods. The concept of dieting carries a lot of negative feelings of guilt such as “can’t haves”, “I can never have that”. Whenever you tell yourself you can never have something you’ll become obsessed with having it. If you eliminate all of your favorite foods you may end up bingeing and eating out of control when come face to face with those foods. Instead let yourself enjoy the food once a week or month and prevent the guilt that will later lead you to that the dreaded binge.
  • Avoid classifying foods as good or bad to prevent negative thoughts. Labeling foods as good or bad can lead to such thoughts as “I’m good when I eat some foods, but I’m bad when I eat others.” You may use this reasoning to act out behavior or to demonstrate how you feel about yourself. You might think, “When I want to be bad I’ll eat chips and soda pop, when I want to be good I’ll eat fruit and vegetables.” Or “I feel bad, so it doesn’t matter if I eat a lot of cookies because I’m really bad.”
  • Focus on making a healthy lifestyle change-not following a diet. Instead of telling yourself that you are on a diet, tell yourself you are making a healthy change in lifestyle.
  • Set short-term and realistic goals. It is not as overwhelming to want to lose a pound this week rather than 50 pounds by the end of this year! By setting realistic goals, it results in more confidence, higher self-esteem, and a better outcome.
  • Make gradual changes instead of drastic changes. It will be easier to adjust to change if done gradually. Instead of modifying all eating habits at once, concentrate on one habit at a time. Focus on changing one habit at every meal or at least once a day. For instance, if you usually have 2 pats margarine on your toast for breakfast, have one pat margarine or skip the margarine and have jam. At lunchtime, instead of having French fries with your meal have a small baked potato. Just concentrate on one change at a time, it won’t seem so hard that way and you won’t feel so deprived.
  • Avoid quick fixes. You may be able to fast, take pills or go on a “fad” diet to lose weight but you are losing water rather than fat. And there is no magic pill or diet that will make you lose weight.  You have to  learn healthy life style changes to make weight control lifelong.
  • Do not set yourself up for guilt. The concept of dieting carries a lot of negative feelings of guilt such as “shoulds”. For instance, try not to tell yourself that you should exercise everyday. That may be too drastic and then if you miss a day or two you may feel guilty and feel like a failure. It then may be hard for you to get back to exercising. Instead, tell yourself that you will exercise at least 2 or 3 days/week, so if you exercise more than that you will have surpassed your goal. This positive approach will prevent negative thoughts and will set you up for success.  Sometimes, when something happens that you can not follow your meal plan as you would like to, make your goal to maintain your weight. So instead of getting frustrated that you did not lose those 2 pounds that you were to lose, you can feel relieved that you did not gain any weight. You will not be setting yourself up for failure.
  • Allow for occasional slip-ups. Nobody is perfect. Having a lapse is not failing. Falling off your diet once or twice does not mean the effort is hopeless. If you are too strict with your self it may eventually lead to failure. Remember it is the combination of all foods eaten over the course of about a week that counts.
  • Stop being perfect. Ask yourself, “Would I treat a child who is learning this way?” Slow down and take time to remold yourself carefully.
  • Think positive. Positive self-talk and an enthusiastic approach to weight management will set you up for success.
  • Do everything in moderation. It is much easier and healthier to live in moderation than in extremes.
  • Customize your approach. What worked for your best friend may not work for you. And what works for you today may not work six months from now. You need to decide what you need.
  • Learn from the past. Most people have tried to lose weight before. Part of their success was that they learned from past failures. Some diets focus on weighing, measuring, and preparing food, which sometimes can cause you to be too focused on the food and lead to overeating. You may then want to succeed with a program that offers prepackaged foods.
  • Reward yourself. Treat yourself with a massage, or a movie or whatever, for each week that you maintain your new weight.

HEALTHY WEIGHS OF DOING

  • Dieting isn’t enough. Exercise is essential. Increased physical activity is essential to any successful weight management program.
  • Eat a variety of foods from the Food Guide Pyramid. By eating a variety of foods, you will feel more satisfied. Focus on eating the serving amount from the lower end of the range for each food group.
  • Do not miss meals. Frequently missed meals can lead to unplanned snacking and unhealthy eating patterns. You will only be hungrier for the next meal and may lead to impulsive eating. Eating at scheduled times will help you avoid impulsive eating. Try to establish a routine that includes three nutritious meals with between meal snacks. You will be in better control when your stomach is not so empty. On average, weight loss winners eat five times a day.
  • Eat what your body requires. Make sure you are taking in what your weight and activity level requires your body to have so that you have the energy and the will power you need. For example, if you find that you can lose weight on 1800 calories a day and yet you are trying to follow a 1200 calorie/day diet, why not follow the 1800-calorie diet. You may lose the weight faster on the 1200-calorie diet but the chances of staying on the 1800-calorie diet are much greater. In the long run you may end up losing more weight by following a higher calorie diet since you may feel more satisfied.
  • Keep a diary. Self-monitoring is an essential part of behavioral modification and has a high correlation with success. Research shows that people who keep a food and exercise diary are more successful at weight management than those who don’t. You can gain a more realistic view of how much and why you eat by keeping a food diary. Study them to identify your patterns and triggers.
  • Write down every just-one-bite. You’ll probably cut back on those bites just to avoid writing them down.
  • Strategize. Prepare food in advance for quick grab meals. Give it the priority you give other important projects.
  • Do not weigh yourself. Try not to use a scale. Instead go by how you feel and how your clothes fit. It will prevent a lot of unnecessary disappointment.
  • Eat only the foods you like. Nothing makes a diet more difficult than having to eat rice cakes or celery sticks when you can’t stand them.
  • Indulge sometimes. When you really crave a high calorie food, eat a small amount and savor it, instead of resisting until you give in and gorge on it. If you do not trust yourself with just a little, do not eat it at all.
  • BYOF. Bring your own food. Tote portable, healthful snacks to avoid the lure of unhealthful choices.
  • Make specific changes. Perhaps you will drink a glass of non-fat or 1-% milk instead of a milkshake with your fast food lunch or eating skinless chicken rather than with the skin. This is an easier approach than “Ill eat lower fat foods.”
  • Designate one place in the house for eating.
  • Only eat if you’re sitting down. You’ll feel pretty silly on the floor by your secretary’s candy jar.
  • Do not do anything else while eating (this includes television). Make eating the only event and enjoy what you are eating.
  • Drink up. Your goal should be at least 8 cups a day. Fill an empty 2-liter soft drink bottle with water when you wake up. Keep pouring and drinking throughout the day until the bottle is empty. Take a bottle of water with you in the car.
  • Start with seltzer, water or tea. Start your meal with a glass of water, tea, seltzer, or water or seltzer-juice spritzer to take the edge off your hunger.
  • Drink from every water fountain you pass.
  • Become a breakfast eater. People who eat breakfast generally feel less hungry throughout the day. When you eat a healthy breakfast it keeps you motivated to continue to eat healthy as the day goes on. If you are not a breakfast eater, gradually build up your breakfast. If you eat only one or two foods at breakfast, add another from a different food group. For instance, if you eat fruit or drink juice, add yogurt or a slice of toast. You do not have to force feed yourself as soon as you wake up, breakfast is considered anytime before early afternoon.
  • Eat your meal in courses. Begin the meal with the lowest calorie foods such as fruits, vegetables, and salads. This will help stop those urgent hunger feelings. Finish the meal with higher calorie foods such as bread, pasta, and meats.
  • Make meals last more than 15 minutes. By eating slowly, you can be more satisfied with less food. You need a certain amount of tasting, sucking, chewing, and swallowing to experience feelings of satisfaction. Eating slowly gives your body time to release the enzymes that tell your brain when you are full. It takes approximately 20 minutes for your brain to register that you have had enough to eat.
  • Put the utensil down between bites. If you’re eating finger foods like a sandwich, put the food down on the plate every so often while chewing.
  • Swallow what is in your mouth before taking the next bite. Take time for talking, resting, or taking a drink.
  • Stop eating for a minute once or twice during a meal. This will help break your eating rhythm and help you to keep pace with slower eaters at the table.
  • If you want a second helping, wait 5 minutes. The desire may go away. Also make the second helping 1/2 the first. If you must have seconds go for the complex carbohydrates -bread, rice, potato (of course skip the toppings) or fruit.
  • Try to leave some food on the plate.
  • Stop eating when you leave the table. Avoid nibbling on leftovers while you clean up.
  • Plan for a party. Think ahead of time what you can do to make it easier to eat right. Have a piece of fruit or a slice of toast before you go to a party or the restaurant to curb your appetite and feel more in control. Do not starve all day thinking that you will save up for the calories. It doesn’t work that way because feeling hungry can sabotage even the strongest willpower. By eating right before the party gives you more control so you can be around your favorite foods and the temptation wont be that great.
  • Plan and carry snacks with you to avoid being hungry and preventing high calorie temptations.
  • Do not eat from food packages. When you nibble from food packages, you do not know how much you have eaten. You will probably eat more than you think!
  • Do not shop when you are hungry and always use a shopping list. If you do not buy the high calorie, high fat foods then chances are you won’t eat them. Remember, out of sight out of mind.
  • Respond in other ways to life’s stresses. Take a brisk walk, start a new hobby or meditate.
  • Regroup. Learn how to adapt. Know how to handle a stressful situation before it happens, so you can deal with the inevitable roadblocks of daily life.
  • Seek support from others, including social groups.

 

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