Sunday, March 20, 2011

What Works For Me

I am still amazed at my ongoing weight loss and devotion to this journey. Since I started this trip on Jan. 1, 2011, I have managed to stay focused on my destination: Thinville. I don’t know why I have remained vigilant, but I know what I am doing differently.

The formula is simple. Added calories = added pounds. For every 3500 calories consumed, we gain 1 pound of fat. Eliminating 500 calories a day will contribute to 1 pound of weight loss each week. Everyone has success stories and my story is not unlike many others.

Some reasons for my current success:

1. No Quick Fixes.
I decided from the beginning that I did not want short term success. I’ve tried quick fix methods in the past hoping to achieve big losses in short amounts of time. Unfortunately every time I tried to starve myself or follow rigid diet plans, I failed. This time, I just started out taking small steps.

2. Set reasonable goals.
Since I wasn't looking for a drastic change immediately, I set manageable goals for myself. I first decided to try and lose 1-2 pounds a week. This is not an overwhelming goal and it allows me to easily get back on track if I veer off a little from time to time. Ultimately, I hope to be 25-30 pounds lighter by summer.
I also hope to build a regular exercise regimen into my schedule. Thus far, I have not been as disciplined about exercise as I have been about my food intake. Still, whenever I eat more than I know I should have, out the door I go for a long walk. You could say exercise is my safety net, when my taste buds go astray.

3. Keep good foods in my kitchen.
Starting on the first day, I went to go to the grocery with a list of foods that would get me started on the right track. I have continued to shop regularly for more produce (including frozen fruits and veggies), nuts, whole wheat products and low calorie snack foods.

4. Count calories.
I read all my labels and keep track of every calorie I eat now. I’ve even started separating good calories from bad. I now focus on eating more high protein, high fiber foods. At the same time, I have cut down on salt, sugar, processed foods and fat.

5. Eat small meals and snacks throughout the day.
Eating small amounts throughout the day has helped me to balance my eating patterns. I do not feel famished after work and I can focus on good calorie choices. Most of my meals include vegetables and/or salads. When our bodies feel starved, our cells instinctively want to store fat. Eating small amounts of food keeps our metabolism working and that is where long term results show up.

6. Eat breakfast.
I used to just grab a cup of coffee and head out the door each day. Now, I try to eat something before starting my day. My favorite breakfast food has become oatmeal (See POST: The New Man in My Life). It is natural, high fiber and low calorie. I can add milk, fruit, nuts and even a little honey or sugar without feeling guilty. It also fills me up and carries me through the morning hours. AND it gets my metabolism started!

7. No more random snacking.
I used to come home from work and eat 200-400 calories in snacks before sitting down to dinner. Sometime after dinner, I usually had a snack as well. Now I’ve learned to limit my snacks and focus on healthier choices like nuts, olives, low fat cheeses, hard boiled eggs or low calorie snacks.

Part of making changes in my eating habits was asking myself ‘How did I get here?’. The easy answer is that I was eating more and exercising less.

I am still working to establish an exercise plan that I can stick with. I continue to read up on exercise tips frequently, but my main focus right now is still food intake. I am thrilled that the above steps continue to propel me towards my ultimate destination: THINVILLE.

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