Losing just a little weight can be so much harder than losing a lot! If you’re at this level of the game, I’m guessing you probably don’t have a doughnut habit to kick that will bring immediate results. It’s more about fine-tuning, really cleaning things up, and, ultimately, getting really in touch with your body.
The good thing is that if you can master this, you will have a much bigger chance at maintaining your weight loss. And isn’t staying at a happy, healthy weight really the main goal, anyways?
Back several years ago when I consciously decided to lose those extra forty pounds I had been carrying around, the final ten pounds were killer! I fought for weeks just to lose a couple of them. Then, once I reached my goal weight, as soon as I relaxed a little bit, my weight started a gradual incline back up. Eventually, I gained back twenty pounds, and my weight was still creeping up despite a solid workout schedule and a whole-foods vegan diet. I was frantic and felt out of control.
It wasn’t until I removed gluten, soy, flour products, and all processed foods from my everyday diet that I ended the weight creep, dropped those extra pounds, and kept them off.
This isn’t to say that I eat as much as I want now. My body easily stores fat, so I do watch my portion sizes. The most important weight loss tool for me was tracking calories. I don’t want to perpetuate disordered eating so use it only as a tool and don’t get too obsessed. But there’s a reason programs like Weight Watchers and Sparkpeople (both which I used and were very effective) are based around this system.
I tracked calories for a few years (it was hard to break without feeling out of control), so by now I know how much of what I should be eating at each meal.
So, what are some guidelines that have brought me success?
Fill up on fruits and vegetables
You don’t need to sprinkle something on your food to make you feel full. Since fruits and veggies are full of fiber and water, they will trigger your satiety quicker because they actually fill the volume of your stomach.
Eat whole foods
They are more satisfying and generally lower in calories. Plus, your body easily recognizes them and knows what to do with them, which means they get processed fully and not stored where you don’t want them.
I make bread, pasta, cereals, etc (flour products) only an occasional addition to my diet. I used to be a bread lover and addicted to cereal. Even though I ate only whole grain, low sugar versions, I was never able to stabilize my weight until I removed them from my regular diet.
Of course, I may indulge in one of those items at a friend’s house or restaurant. But I don’t bring a lot of them into my house. I don’t say “never” because if you’re “allowed” to have it, it’s easier to relax and think I’ll have it later… If later never comes, even better!
Base your diet around plants
For the most part, plant foods are nutrient dense but not calorie dense. This means that you get all the vitamins and minerals your body needs without compromising your weight.
Weight loss may be made in the kitchen, but it will be a lot easier to maintain if you do at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise 3-5 times a week. I workout for an hour 5-7 days a week, but you can do less and still lose/maintain.
If you don’t already have a regular workout routine, the most successful way to develop one is to Make Fitness Fun or Easy So You Actually Do it. That way you keep working out even when you just don’t have the energy.
Now your turn. Share how you dropped the last few pounds in the comments below.