How do you keep on track with your health goals? This magic question seems to elude and allure us to weight loss programs and gimmicks. Water cooler conversations focus on the person who lost weight – how they did it, what are they eating, how long did it take? AND in the midst of the COVID19 virus many of us may be wanting to throw in the towel and say – it doesn’t really matter anyway.
I’ve thought about and wrestled with both the question and answer to weight loss since I was a little girl, which is the reason I became a dietitian. I was a little round as young as second grade and always wanting the second ding-dong or ho-ho after school (who knew what a trans-fat was in the 70’s?). Why was I always hungrier and bigger than my skinny friends – was it just that I needed to eat less calories or exercise a bit more?
We’ve heard endless statements about reading labels, eating 100 calories less or burning 100 calories more and it’s true that little changes add up.
But is that enough? The challenge of weight loss is unique in that we are genetically diverse as human beings with different metabolisms and lifestyles. And our food supply and large restaurant portions does not play to our advantage.
It might be time to stop looking for a simple answer and come up with a solution tailor made to your needs. Ask yourself:
- Where do I store my weight? If you have a lot of belly fat you may be eating too many carbohydrates (processed and starchy) and need more lean protein and good fats to keep your appetite under control. Learn about insulin resistance and how to manage it with time-restricted eating and/or fasting a meal or two per day.
- Instead of focusing on calories, think about how much food your body requires to be NO LONGER HUNGRY versus full. Studies show when we shift into mindful eating it actually starts re-wiring our brains to be satisfied with less food. If your hunger is still a problem it might be time to look at the balance of your macronutrients – carbohydrates, protein and fat and see if an adjustment it needed.
- Exercise and activity are not really an “option” if health and weight loss are your goals. Make exercise like brushing your teeth every day -something you do to keep all the systems in your body – including your metabolism working at full capacity.
- Sleep – you’ve heard it a zillion times but sleep really does set the foundation for health. If you’re sleeping less than 7 hours per night your body does not have a chance to reset all your systems for “go” the next day. AND with the virus you have the luxury of more sleep time than ever!
Think about what will work for you and focus on the REWARDS of what you want rather than the limitations. That is how I found my answer. Although I needed to look like my job, my driving force was to feel comfortable and healthy in my body. Finding the path and answer to your water cooler question becomes your own individual recipe for weight loss.