Stay Positive While Going Negative

Staying on a healthy track, meaning nutritious diet and regular exercise, takes serious focus and mental strength. You’ve got to be able to step outside your comfort zone—especially if your goal is to lose weight.

A friend recently inspired me to get back to my fighting weight from one of our previous phone calls. The words that caught my attention: I need to take care of myself. I thought about that for a minute. We get busy, we eat at restaurants to save time. We want to celebrate a milestone, we call a friend to raise a glass at a happy hour. (And if that happy hour is at my favorite Mexican restaurant, then we chat it up over chips and salsa, and next thing I know, those dang chips are gone…)

I told my hair stylist about this at my last appointment and she says, “10 lbs? That’s nothin’. Anyone can lose 10 lbs.” And I was thinking damn straight I can do this, and I chomped on that #truth!

I am not a dietician or a weight loss guru, however I do know that when you want to get back to your optimal weight it takes some mental fortitude, taking stock of our eating habits and goal setting.

Habits are the things we do without thinking, and most of us are creatures of such habits. Take a minute and think of how many things you do out of routine in a typical day. Now ask yourself why. Do you do it because it is the easiest way of doing things? Or is it because it’s comfortable?

“Many people are skeptical about changing their diets because they have grown accustomed to eating or drinking the same foods, and there is a fear of the unknown or trying something new,” says John Foreyt, PhD, director of the Baylor College of Medicine Behavioral Medicine Research Center. “Over time, habits become automatic, learned behaviors, and these are stronger than new habits you are trying to incorporate into your life,” says Foreyt. (WebMD, 2015)

But even when you want to change, old habits die hard.

If you travel a lot or dine out often, it’s not easy. You have to squeeze it into a block of time when you can make your own food and control your calories. Restaurants slip in extra butter, oils, salt, sauces and toppings. For example, if you’re the one sprinkling cheese on your burger, then you know how much! It’s hard to see exactly what you’re getting once it’s melted.

The first couple of days of portion size change and swapping big meals for light, energy-boosting snacks begins with your need to make time for it. It’s a conscious effort.

If you’re looking for long-term success, it can’t be a flash in the pan attempt or the weight will come right back on. Knocking off 10 pounds is an art form in its own right! Good habits = productive behaviors, and breaking your own mold can only make you stronger and more confident to reach higher levels in both your professional and personal life.

Recent posts of mine have been about travel and dining out, however these are the 3 things that worked for me to give me the mental strength to lose weight and keep me on my health track:

1. Prepare meals at home—from scratch and with quality, fresh ingredients.

More meal plan and grocery preparation is needed, so set yourself up for success and go for the glory by directly planning what you are going to consume each day. Buy locally, in season, the best quality food when possible. When cooking from scratch you know exactly what is going into your recipes. The choices you make can keep you healthy and help prevent weight gain, digestive troubles and allergic reactions. Cooking at home also allows you to control serving sizes and prevent overeating. 

2. Eat within two hours after exercising, especially in the morning. It seems to be the best time to get an optimal work out in.

Morning exercise tends to increase our energy for the rest of the day, and we burn more calories post-workout. It’s also been shown that people who work out in the morning are overall more likely to be consistent with their workouts. One of the most common reasons cited is that when you exercise in the morning, you get your workout out of the way before the day gets away from you. When we have more to do, we’re more likely to feel overwhelmed and therefore sabotage our efforts and self-talk our way out of exercising!

3. Eat only when you’re hungry, and until satisfied.

I follow Diet Doctor on Facebook. I don’t read all of his stuff, but I love his low carb proponent. He also posted this one thing that totally worked for me: “It’s okay to skip a meal”. What he means by this is that you eat only when you’re truly hungry. Do you have to eat lunch? No. Not if you’re not hungry! And this goes for any meal.

Forget the clock and listen to your body. Curb hunger by staying hydrated, eating slow and staying mindful of your bite sizes and portion sizes so that you’re not completely famished by your next meal.

To tell the difference between hunger and thirst, simply drink a cup of water. Wait a moment, and if you feel satisfied you know it’s not hunger. Drink water before snacks and meals to keep hydration levels optimal and ward off deceiving hunger pangs that are really signs of thirst.

I don’t weigh my food each meal, but I follow a few things for snacks. A handful of nuts is not what you think! Measure out an ounce. Get some Ziplocks and portion it out. A small kitchen scale works great. Read the calories on the packaging. You’ll be much better off than pouring those healthy (but caloric!) nuts into a bowl and eating until they’re gone. It’s just smarter. People tend to eat in handfuls of small snacky things like popcorn or nuts. However as silly as it sounds, it’s better to eat one at a time. It slows things down.

Have a cheat meal, not a cheat day
Remove sugar… faraway 
Do an alcohol interruption 
Keep veggies and fruit around for easy consumption 
Then try a low-carb, no carb introduction
Portion size deduction 
Divide not multiply, it’ll make you feel light on your feet and alive 
You took it down a notch, you specialized 
One of the only times 
You want to go negative
Instead of positive
It’s a good way to live!

#truth #lostit #stayinpositivewhilegoingnegative #alittlehelpfromourfriends

About Jet Widick

Jet Widick is the founder of Gluten Free Sage, a weekly publication that promotes healthy food, healthful lifestyle, mindfulness and minimalism. She believes that each of us longs for artful experiences and that we need to be well and inspired to help us become the best, most beautiful versions of ourselves that we can be.