Last year I was rocking the whole weight loss thing. I’d lost a steady twenty-five pounds, found that sweet spot where I knew what to eat and what not to without struggling, lost most of my cravings and generally felt like I was headed in the right direction.
Then my excuses started. Christmas cookies. New Year’s Eve champagne. World Nutella Day. National Donut Day. Ice Cream Month.
To offset my unhealthy eating, I worked out harder. But you can’t outrun a donut and, of course, I ended up with an overtraining injury. With the balance shifted, I stopped losing steadily and started maintaining. Then gaining. Before I knew it those 25 pounds were back – with friends. So I regrouped and re-evaluated. Was my gain as simple as every day is a food holiday? Or was there more? Here are the answers I found, in no particular order, and what I’m doing to solve them.
I Don’t Have a Plan
Instead of going back to what worked last year, I started searching for “the perfect plan.” While I spend time researching, I’m walking through my days without any plan at all. I include a lot of healthy foods in my grocery list, but I don’t plan recipes or meals, which means I don’t have a feel for how much I’m eating. There are some great quick-start plans, like our Paleo(ish) plan, that are quick and easy to follow. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to get me started.
I’m Not Preparing
Last Fall, on Sundays, I would steam a batch of rice, sous vide a pound of chicken, chop up veggies and fruit and lovingly stack it in the fridge. When I was ready for a meal I simply opened the door and grabbed the right serving amount from each category. Now, when I open the refrigerator door, there may be veggies but I’d have to wash and chop to eat them. So much work! I’ll just grab something fast (and likely unhealthy). I need to pay more attention this time around, so I’m going to prepare full meals using these.
I’m Not Moving Enough
When I was rubbing my sweet Beaglier Maddie’s belly the other day, I noticed I wasn’t the only one with a growing midsection. I’m inactive right now, which means she’s inactive right now. So we are going to start taking short walks. Even a little movement is better than none.
I’m Listening to My Body
There is a tipping point where, when you ask your body what it wants, the answer is healthful and nurturing. But right now, my body wants pizza with a side of macaroni and cheese. Not the best idea. I will gradually shift back into a healthy mindset, but, in the meantime, I’m going to have to tell myself no.
I’m Not Eating Mindfully
Dinnertime is family time. However, my other meals are frequently eaten with my eyes on my phone instead of my food. More than once I’ve looked down, surprised to find my plate empty. I’m rushing through my day and my meals, which doesn’t allow me to recognize hunger cues or enjoy what I ate. At the end of my meals I feel unsatisfied and start looking for more, so I’m going to disconnect, sit at a table, and pay attention to each bite.
I’m Waking Up to Failure and Negativity
Next to my bed are a stack of books designed to motivate … but I haven’t read a single one of them. I start my days with a visual reminder of the things I haven’t done yet. Then I continue my day pointing out all I’m doing wrong. Instead, I’m going to surround myself with positive imagery, recycle those darn books, and get out of the habit of focusing on the wrong things. Starting my day with a positive mindset helps me make positive choices all day!
I’m Not Sleeping
Yeah. I’m a Mom of two. With a job. And a school volunteer position. And four pets. And friends and family. And … ok, there is only so much I can do here. But I could spend 20 minutes fewer on my phone throughout the day so that I can go to bed 20 minutes earlier, right?
Right – see above about why I’m not sleeping. Life can be stressful. Stress can lead to weight gain. If I can’t remove the stressors, and honestly right now I cannot, I can at least change how I respond to them. A few mindful breaths each day will help, as will five minutes of meditation or just time in a quiet space. I can do that.
Look, if I’m in Paris being served the most incredible pastry ever to grace the culinary world, you can bet it’s worth eating every morsel then licking the plate. But the store-bought cake I grabbed on a whim because I went to the grocery hungry is not an indulgence. It’s not even a treat. If I’m not enjoying it fully, then I can let some of it go.
I Finish My Kids’ Plates
Part of the reason I knew I was gaining weight was that, when my kids were done with their meals, they put their plates in front of me to finish. Am I really so hungry that a quarter of a cold hot dog that’s been held in a warm hand for twenty minutes is something I absolutely must shove in my mouth? Nope. So I’m going to let that small amount of food go to “waste.”
I’m not a nutritionist or healthcare professional, but I do know that these ten ideas are intuitive, easy to follow, and a great way to shift into a more healthful mindset. The choices I make daily, that seem small at the moment, have the greatest impact on my health and my weight. Time to start losing again!
I feel ya sister!!! I am gaining the weight back that I lost last year ever so slowly…why do we let this happen. We know how to lose it. It just takes so much effort. You and WE can DO IT! You have a plan, that is all you need right there! GOOD LUCK!
Wonderful article. I’m a grandmother who now has all three grands at school so I’m on my own. Darn my neighbors for giving me the treats they don’t want to eat! Also, I’m occasionally taking care of a mother-in-law with dementia that doesn’t want sitters. Stress eating on the Cheetos when I’m at her house. I need to lose more than 25 pounds but you are an inspiration. You are so spot on with having a plan. Good luck to all of us. The holidays are knocking at the door. Keep us updated and inspired, Jen.