Tried and True Tools For Weight Loss

14 Nov

After 15 years of yo-yo dieting, I feel that I am a pro of sorts in what works and what doesn’t work in the realm of dieting. I have lost 25 lbs in the last 10 months. It was slow and steady and that is why it hasn’t crept back on even in the most trying of times.  I would like to lose more…about 40lbs more but the fact that I am able to maintain in the season in which I tend to pack it back on is remarkable.  I can say that after ten months there tools that work and some that don’t.

Tracking food:

First thing that is essential is to track your food intake for the day. I would say first plan what you will eat and about the range of calories that it is. That will help you to know what substitutions you can make and it keeps you focused on sticking to your goal. When I plan my day of eating first thing  in the morning or the night before, I stick to it much more than I would if I had casually thought about it and wrote nothing down.

If you aren’t so much of a planner, you could track your food intake at the end of the day. This too will give you an idea of whether you were on target or not. It is a bit of a shocker at times if I don’t plan ahead and then tally the food and calories and see how much I actually ate and how much I went over my planned calories for the day.  It will help you to keep in mind the changes you need to make for tomorrow.  Tracking your food intake is a big reality check. I used to think that I didn’t eat so much and often claimed that I couldn’t understand why I would gain or not lose weight. Well, once things were added up, I was way over my recommended daily allowance..way over!

I track my food on a food tracker on SparkPeople.com, an informative and fun site. I also have used a food journal which I would plan my meals for the following day, and then check in after all meals were had to see if I stayed true to my plan.

Portion Control:

Portion Distortion was the next culprit for my years of being overweight. I would eat 3 times the recommended portion of cereal!! Once I started to look at an actual serving size~and they are small, I really had to cut things down. I did it gradually and added more veggies to omelets or fruits to cereal. It was no easy task! I also had to use different dishes. I was using a soup bowl for a cereal bowl and if I filled it, I at least upped the serving size 4 times!  I use smaller plates, smaller cups, smaller bowls and even smaller spoons. I think this was the hardest hurdle for me and I still go over my portion size regularly but by half or one time rather than three or four times.

Awareness:

I would gobble my food down in seconds. It still shocks my husband how fast I can inhale a meal if I am hungry enough.  I have tried mindful food preparation, as in planning portions and using less meat and substituting it for veggies or mushrooms, or trying to have a salad or fruit before hand. I am pretty good at that. But mindful eating is a toughy for me!  At times I have made a point of trying to eat more slowly, chew more, take smaller bites, and put my utensils down between bites. It also includes letting yourself truly taste the flavor and feel the texture to get the full experience and joy from each bite. Tricky I say, but it works!! When I have put this awareness into action, I have felt full sooner, and been satisfied with eating less. It works so well, so I can’t understand why I don’t do it more. I believe I would have more luck losing the next 40lbs than the last 25lbs.

Tracking Positive Actions:

I made this chart that I called Magnificent Magnets. In the left column down I wrote my goals such as sticking to calories, exercise, tracking food, listen to subliminal weight loss track, write in my journal, mindful eating, keeping to proper portions sizes, fruits and veggies.  This paper was put on the fridge.  For each goal that was met that day, I would place a little magnet next to it and I could easily see the progress I was making and where I was lacking. This was a great tool for me as I am a visual person and I really like to check off lists. So by checking my goal with a colorful magnet, made it rewarding for me.

Reward yourself:

Something I should do more of!  I used to think that just losing the weight in itself was a good enough reward, but it isn’t! It should be celebrated! I would go for a pedicure or buy a new pair of jeans, or earrings or treat myself to a comedy or something that was fun. This made it joyful because I had something to look forward to that wasn’t related to weight. I don’t do it enough and am making myself do it more and enjoying the entire process more. I try to make it unrelated to food or diet.

These tools have kept the 25lbs from coming back.  I go on and off them from time to time, but I know that putting them back into place after a weak moment has always gotten me back on track and motivated to keep going.
Give them a try!  Get creative, and make your own!

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