Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Weight Loss - what works for me

I thought it would be nice of me to share what has been working for me as far as weight loss goes. Most of you probably already know I am on Weight Watchers, which is a plan I highly recommend. Everything I do is within those plan guidelines, but I hope you can utilize some of my secrets even if you aren't following WW.

First tip, or how I can be satisfied on very few calories
WW is a low calorie plan which assigns points to food based on the number of calories, fat and fiber the food contains. Most veggies are zero points, fruits are 1 point, and it goes up from there. The last month or so I have only had about 21 points a day, which considering a point is about 50 calories, give or take, less than 1200 calories. But when you add in fruits and veggies, you increase your calorie intake without impacting your points too much. If I have no points left, I can always eat veggies with some vinegar or lemon pepper. I happen to like vinegar and lemon pepper a lot, so this totally works for me. Also, I totally believe eating fresh fruits and veggies helps with weight loss beyond the calorie savings.

Second tip - exercise is key
I like to eat. I really like to eat things that aren't so healthy or low calorie. I LOVE cheese. I love olive oil. I love butter and bread and tortillas. The list could go on and on. There is no way I would have lost any weight without running. Really, any exercise works - Running just works for me because I burn a lot of calories and I have a very specific goal. I am inherently lazy - if I didn't have a marathon looming ahead of me, I would have skipped at least half my runs, if not all of them. The more calories you burn, the more you can eat. And I do not believe in eliminating your favorite foods - it just makes you want them more. Exercise allows you to eat them relatively guilt free.

Tip three - enjoy in moderation
This is a really hard one for me, but if you can master it, your body will thank you. The trick is to combine your favorite foods with healthy ones and only eat until satisfied. For example, I LOVE cheese enchiladas, but a plate of cheese enchiladas with rice and beans would kill my weight loss. So when I go to a Mexican restaurant, I will often order a big salad with salsa as dressing (0 points!) and one cheese enchilada a la carte. Don't get me wrong, I love rice and beans too, but the cheese enchilada is the piece de resistance. And that way I can have a margarita too! Also, ordering smaller dishes (a la carte) helps prevent you from stuffing yourself. I can hardly even stop eating when I am satisfied - if that food is in front of me, I want to eat it. So I try to prevent that by ordering smaller portions.

Afternoon munchies and things to eat to get through it
I often have the afternoon munchies. In fact, there are days when I have the "all day munchies" and end up eating my lunch and all my snacks for the day before noon. Now, if I have packed well, I probably have some carrots, celery, broccoli and even pickles somewhere in there to fill me up and slow me down. If not, or it was a particularly munchy day and they are already gone, I have a stash in my desk that keeps me from the vending machine. Sugar free candy and gum. I have sugar free Werther's hard caramels, sugar free life savers, and assorted gum flavors. It's something to stick in your mouth without impacting your calorie intake too much. I also avoid keeping money in my purse so that I have no way of buying anything from the vending machines. This unfortunately does not work as well when you have CW's that bring in snacks. That's where the minty gum comes in. H+P

Planning ahead
Planning ahead helps me all the time. If I am going to a restaurant I always look on their website for nutritional information. If they don't have it listed (which I hear is going to change in 2010?) then I look at the menu for something relatively healthy. Since I work in the restaurant industry, I know all the hidden places chefs like to add fat, so I usually stick to cold salads. I will look for a salad that has the most healthy items (a variety of veggies, maybe some legumes) and the least amount of bad things like cheese, bready things like croutons and tortilla strips, and bacon. I will write everything down on a post it and bring it with me to help me stay on plan. Then I will order like a crazy person - no this, no that, and dressing on the side. Dressing always on the side. Even if they say the dressing is awesomely low fat/calories. I don't trust them.

Planning ahead can also help with just your day to day eating. I have found that it is very easy for me to overeat on even healthy things, or get a bit lax about getting my veggies, dairy and healthy fats in. If I plan out my days meals in advance, then I don't get into a situation where I run out of points or even go over. It also helps me stay on plan because I know what I am supposed to be eating rather than walking into the kitchen and reaching for the first thing I see. It even helps me logically plan out my splurges, because I know if I have a little wiggle room.

My Biggest Obstacle
My support system, or lack thereof. Don't get me wrong - I have so many people who are supportive! But they aren't usually there when it is time to eat. My husband is the absolute worst. He has no idea what is healthy and what isn't, nor does he have any idea on portion sizes. He would like to lose weight, but isn't very motivated, and when he wants to eat bad food, I have three choices: 1. Be a major BITCH about it until he gets mad at me and gives up, 2. Give in, or 3. Let him order the pizza/open the wine/etc. and watch him indulge.

I need to have a heart to heart with him about this, I know. Fortunately, it doesn't happen often enough to have really derailed my progress, but it pisses me off.

Anyway, I hope this has helped some of you, at least to think about your biggest obstacles and how you might be able to deal with them in a way that works for you!

4 comments:

  1. Exercise is my stumbling block.

    Literally.

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  2. thanks for sharing. this helps a lot, seriously. i need to eat more veggies.

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  3. These are some great tips.
    I am going to get some Werther's this weekend, I forgot how much I love them.

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  4. thanks for sharing! These are great tips.

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