Have you ever noticed that when we write things down they somehow become more real? The transcription of a thought or idea to paper can transform a mere intention to a commitment. The written word is enduring. We can come back to it and stare at it. It can be a constant reminder. This is exactly what I found when I started my 2 week food log. Recording every little thing I ate or drank, everyday achieved two things. First, it laid out my intake in black and white – there was no escaping the reality of my diet “quality and quantity”. Secondly, it made me think twice ( Ask Why?) about eating something because I knew I had to record it. I could look at the record for a day, see that I had made good choices for breakfast and lunch. Did I really want my next entry to be “Snickers bar”? (What if someone walked by and read my log? Yikes!) Tip #9 – Monitor Intake, is a highly effective and proven strategy for helping you maintain the healthy lifestyle and eating habits you’ve adopted. Yes, it can be tedious, so focus on the benefit – and no excuses! If you’re not the pencil & paper type, you can always download your favorite food log app ensuring quick and easy logging wherever you and your SmartPhone go.
Completing our list, coming in at the tenth spot, is Be Real. Start Now. It’s great that you’ve decided to abandon you current routine of skipping breakfast, super-sizing your fast food lunch and chugging a litre soda at dinner. But don’t think you can just flip a switch and replace those meals with some green puree from the blender! BE REAL! Everybody could do something like that for a week, perhaps a month, which can easily result in weight loss. But the question is, can you sustain that change? You don’t just want to lose weight, you want to make permanent lifestyle changes that will carry you well into the future. A plan that constantly denies you of certain foods typically results in a plan you can’t adhere to! Don’t be a saboteur! And Start Now. No time like the present. Don’t wait until after the wedding feast. Don’t start after you get back from vacation, or once Thanksgiving is over. Start now, with realistic changes and you’ll find managing your diet and exercise throughout the calendar year will be surprisingly doable!
Did you miss the other tips in this weight loss series? Jump to them now using the links, and let us know what tips you would add to the list!
Find tip #8-Be Optimistic! and #7-Know Thy Friend in Lose weight with Tips 7 & 8, #6-Turn Off the TV and #5-Ask Why? in Tips 5 and 6 on the weight loss list, and tip #4-Eat Breakfast! #3-Check the Scale, #2-Portion Control, and #1-Exercise, in Weight Loss Tips – can you name all 10?
Remember when you were a kid, and your mother gave you a hard time about one of your friends? “I don’t want you hanging out with him. He’s a bad influence!” she’d say. Or what about all those “dull programs” your dad wanted you to be part of because the “smart, good kids” belong to those. We’d be annoyed because “our friend wasn’t like that”, and our parents were simply judging the book by its cover. On the other hand, the parental view was simply about promoting positive social associations, to best of their ability. And this brings us to weight loss Tip #7 – Know Thy Friend. In a 2007 report on a study conducted by Cristakis and Fowler which followed 12,000 people over a 30 year period, they concluded that obesity spreads through social ties. That is, overweight people tend to have overweight friends. The report attributes this to the person’s perception of the acceptability of obesity. So the thought process works like this – “if my best friend is obese and my sister is overweight, but I love each of them… maybe it’s not so bad if I gain weight or if I’m obese too.” If your overweight friends are inactive, eat out a lot or eat too much, then it is more likely you’ll do the same. At least when you are with them. So what can you do? Stick by your friends, but encourage some new behaviors. Invite your friend to join a gym with you. Become workout buddies. Introduce more walking or biking when you get together. Walk to the movie theater or bike to a park for some Ultimate Frisbee!
Whether you’re talking about adding more activity into your daily routine or modifying your diet – Change is hard. Tip #8 – Be Optimistic! reminds us that maintaining a positive, can-do, attitude will make you successful. Set smaller, realistic goals for yourself so you can easily see your progress and feel the success. When you maintain control and a fighting spirit, eliminating negative behaviors and losing weight will be your new reality!
Only two more tips to go. Don’t jeopardize the healthy, active life you want to live! Be sure to review tip #6-Turn Off the TV and #5-Ask Why? in Tips 5 and 6 on the weight loss list, and tip #4-Eat Breakfast! #3-Check the Scale, #2-Portion Control, and #1-Exercise, in Weight Loss Tips – can you name all 10?
Until next Friday, … keep your body in motion!
Last week in Weight Loss Tips – can you name all 10?, we covered #1-Exercise, #2-Portion Control, #3-Check the Scale and my favorite, #4-Eat Breakfast!
This brings us to Tip #5. Imagine for a moment that fueling your body is like a manufacturing process. Successful businesses understand the value and benefit of lean, optimized processes. They strive to eliminate the “muda” or waste because it simply drives their costs up. Lean thinkers have learned to look at processes and ask “why”? Why is so much scrap produced in step 5? Why is material sitting in the queue for 5 hours? Why does it take 5 days to transport parts? Why this? Why that? Why??
And by now you have surely guessed that Tip #5 is… Ask Why? Why am I eating right now? Is it because I’m bored? Am I eating because I’m stressed or frustrated? Am I depressed? If your answer frequently matches one of these, then congratulations! You’ve identified waste (emotional eating) in your process that has been wreaking havoc on your weight management plan! We need to eat when we are hungry and stop when we are full. And find other forms of relief, preferably legal ones, for stress, boredom and sadness that don’t include food. Becoming mindful, lean thinkers when it comes to eating can quickly translate into a leaner you!
Tip #6 – Turn Off the TV, is closely related to 5. Unless your doing sit-ups or jumping jacks during Modern Family, typical TV time is sedentary time, where minimal calories are being burned. And compounding the problem, TV time is snacking time. Being glued to the tube results in mindless consumption of food. Mindless because your fixation on the program causes you to lose track of why you’re eating and how much you have eaten. Even if you started eating because you were hungry, you’ll continue eating simply due to distraction. According to the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) people who have successfully managed their weight watched, on average, less than 10 hours of TV a week.
Now you’re armed with 6 out of 10 tips to help you manage your weight. Check back next Friday, when we explore 7 & 8!
Until then, … keep your body in motion!
Most of us can guess that Exercise will be on the list along with Portion Control, but the tried-n-true tips occupying positions 3-10 are a lot less obvious. At least they were to me when I was first learning about this as part of my GFI Certification. So let’s start with two tips that border on “counter-intuitive.”
3. Check the Scale. How many of you have been told to throw away that bathroom scale! If all I did was gauge my weight by the fit of my clothes, a few additional pounds could easily take up residence around my hips and my forgiving jeans, the ones that start out snug in the morning and go expand-o on me during the day, would never know the difference. And what about the 2% of the population (yes I made that figure up so don’t try to verify it) that only wear dresses? They would never feel the tightening waistband! So it makes sense to weigh yourself. Based on studies conducted by the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) weighing yourself once a week has a positive contribution to weight control. A weekly, not daily, check enables a person to keep tabs on small weight increases without becoming obsessive over the numbers, and affording them a timely opportunity to take some corrective action if warranted.
4. EAT Breakfast. Eat to lose weight! Talk about music to my ears! Eating breakfast has NEVER been an issue for me. I ALWAYS want to eat breakfast. I always have the time and appetite for breakfast. (Those who know me well can confirm that my favorite meal to eat out is breakfast!) And of course, this is a good thing since NWCR studies have also shown that breakfast eaters tend to weigh less than non-breakfast eaters. What’s more, there also appears to be a link between eating breakfast and having a lower incidence of chronic disease. Why is this the case? Eating (a healthy) breakfast typically curbs your hunger later in the day. If you can avoid the “I’m starving!” come noon time, you’ll likely eat less at lunch. The other downside to skipping breakfast is that it increases your insulin response, which increases fat storage… ending in weight gain. Other advantages to eating breakfast include more energy – energy that will get your mind and body active, and making the choice to eat breakfast has been linked to making healthier food choices throughout the day, with more nutritious and lower fat foods being top choices.
So there you have it. Four of the ten “tried-n-true” tips for weight management. Tune in the next 3 Fridays to see the complete tips list unfold!
Until then, … keep your body in motion!
I love it when I can translate some of the training and insights I’ve gained from my work to my personal life and interests. Take my current role in IBM, working on development transformation. Transformation is all about radically changing how you do things or what you do, to bring about a significant, positive change. But as we all know, change can be scary. It takes you out of your comfort zone. Change can be hard, especially when we try to change too many variables at the same time. In business, the more variables you change concurrently, the riskier your project is deemed to be. This business example can easily be applied to someone trying to make positive changes in their overall health and fitness. When a person suddenly says, “Enough is enough! I have to drop this 20lbs,” they’re highly motivated and looking to make big changes. They dust off the treadmill, buy some new dumbbells, swallow their last beer and swear they’ll never eat out again! They make it through their first week, feeling pretty good, though a little sore. The second week comes and goes… (that beer would really take the burn out of my quads right now), and week three… you know how the rest of the story goes.
Although some people can be successful introducing several changes at once around diet and exercise, I believe, just like the risky project, the more things you change, the more opportunities you create for failure. So what’s the solution? Well just like in business, you need to create small wins. Pick up most any resource on leadership or change management, and the concept of creating small wins – achievable interim goals – along the path to the primary objective (e.g. drop 20lbs.) is essential. Small wins are about creating opportunity for you to succeed. Feeling successful is what fuels your motivation to continue down the path to your goal.
Here’s an example. Rather than adopting some drastic change in your eating habits which will shock your system and be difficult to adhere to, you instead define your first goal. Change #1: focus on portion control for the next two weeks. Continue to eat all the foods you normally would, but eat the appropriate serving size. Since most Americans today simply eat too much, focusing on portion control alone will yield weight reduction benefits. By the end of two weeks you’ll feel successful and motivated to introduce your next change. Change #2: (in addition to portion control) eliminate two to three obvious enemies (high sugar, saturated fats), from your diet, such as soda and potato chips. Not sure what to eliminate? Consult myplate.gov. Then your next change could be around making smarter food choices…
And so the cycle of introducing smaller goals and allowing yourself to be successful changing one thing at a time, can significantly improve your chances of achieving your overall objective.
So whether you’re looking to eat healthier or adopt a more active lifestyle, get big results with small wins!