Weight Loss: P.L.A.N for success
P: Preparation. Whether you are the CEO of your home or CEO of a fortune 500 company, you know that the odds of success increase with preparation. One of the biggest missteps is to depend on “will power.” If you are stressed after a long day at work, you didn’t sleep well the night before and you missed your afternoon snack and you get home and your choices are chocolate chip cookies or having to prepare a sensible dinner- guess what choice you are going to make? If on the other hand there are no cookies available and you have already prepared dinner, then what do you chose? That is the difference between will power and preparation.
First step- go through pantry and fridge and dispose of tempting left overs. You will not help starvation in Africa or any other country by over indulging yourself. Restock with your favorite fruits and vegetables, raw nuts that make easy snacks. Remember to divide nuts into appropriate single serving sizes. Remember preparation not will power.
Second: Take one a day a week to prepare for the week ahead. If you already know what you are going to have for breakfast then you are less apt to skip breakfast thus setting you up to over indulge the rest of the day. If you know that eating out is in your future take the time to look at the menu items and nutrition facts for that restaurant. It is as simple as going on line to access that information. You can also plan at that time what substitutions are appropriate. With this strategy you accomplish 2 things, making better choices and appearing spontaneous and decisive to your dining partners.
L: Identify your limits. This is the key to success for many weight management programs. They may present it as daily points, calorie count or prepackaged foods but the take home message is the same, know your limits. A simple rule of thumb, eat your vegetables first perhaps with a 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil or crushed nuts to ensure absorption of all nutrients vegetables offer, then consume your protein source (size of your palm) then finally the carbohydrate. Keep carbs whole grain, high fiber and limit to ½ cup. Eating this way has several advantages, slows down the absorption of sugar therefore preventing insulin spikes and reactive hunger, helps you to feel fuller more quickly and maximizes absorption of nutrients.
Other things to consider are limiting sodium to less than 2000mg a day, limit alcohol to 1-2 drinks a week and put all sauces and dressing on the side so you control the amounts and limit to 1 tablespoon. Avoid fried foods, trans fats and foods whose primary ingredient is sugar.
A: Increase activity level. You want to increase activity not because it will help you to lose weight but because it will improve your energy, moods and muscle tone. All important ingredients to any weight loss program. The first rule of thumb is to pick an activity that you like. If that feels too much then pick one you don’t hate. Next shoot for consistency before quantity. Starting out with an hour a day may not only feel overwhelming and exhausting but may also create injury thus derailing all good intentions. If ten minutes 4 times a week allows you to be consistent then start there and build on that. Rome was not built in a day.
N: Finally, cut the negative talk. Remember when your grandmother said you could attract more flies with honey, well I think this is what she meant. Beating up on yourself gives you the excuse you need to continue the habits that have kept you in the same place you have always been. We have just left a season where hopefully we have been reminded of the importance of being kind to others, why not extend that kindness to ourselves. Instead of constantly looking for proof of why you are going to fail, look for proof of success. I exercised 10 minutes 4 days a week last week and already I am feeling a bit better, wow imagine when I can do it for 15 minutes. I hear all the time, “but it’s been a month and I have only lost 3 or 4 pounds.” This is not defeat, this is success. In 12 months that would be 36 pounds. Another thing I hear frequently is “it has been 2 weeks, I feel better but I haven’t lost any weight so why bother. Try- it’s only been 2 weeks and already I am starting to feel better, imagine what I can accomplish in 3, 6, 12 months. Remember Einstein, you can’t solve a problem from the same mind frame in which it was created.