Wednesday, January 17, 2007

What You Really Need to Know.

It is that time of the year again. When every piece of equipment at the gym is being used, every swimming lane is occupied, and most health clubs make the most money they will all year. You guessed it. It is New Year's Resolution time.

And what is the no.1 thing people resolve to do: get healthy. So they buy a pass for a gym that they will use for about 3 weeks, 4 if they are really unhappy with the way they look and feel, then drop off like flies and repeat the whole process next year.

I have spent years in the hate myself > need to lose weight > can't fight nature battle. Let me save you some frustration. There are only 3 things you need to do to lose weight and get healthier.

  1. Control your portion sizes. In North America we eat TOO MUCH. I swear by the Portion Teller, her book changed my life. It wasn't until I started to understand how out of control portion sizes are that I started to see the connection to my inability to lose weight. Here are some scary facts: the small fries at McDonald's used to be the large size in the 50's, Starbucks doesn't even advertise their smallest cup - the short - even though they still carry it, and dinner plates have grow 3 times in size since the 60's alone. If you're eating properly and can't lose weight. This is why.

    First things first. Don't go hog wild. Try to change one or two things at a time. For me it was getting rid of my large size dinner plates and using the medium ones I have. The second, and at the time more painful, was going from a Venti (lg in Starbuck speak) Mocha to a Tall (sm). I thought I would die of a broken heart. But I survived and 6 months later Mark suggested I swap the whole milk for skim. I agreed, and to my suprise it didn't taste any different! Plus, it knocked 100 calories off the drink! Now I am drinking my mocha in a short, as I found I can hardly ever finish a tall. But like I said, this change took 1.5 years. So make incremental steps.

  2. Get rid of processed foods. I know you have heard this aplenty. Don't I understand that you are busy? I do. I used to feel the same way. I hated cooking. It took to long to put something together so I lived off of whatever could be microwaved in about 5 minutes. The problem is that when you choose these kind of meals you are giving up control over what goes into your food. Have you looked at the calories on the back of some of those fabulous frozen dinners that seem to be such life savers? Do you realize that you are eating probably close to or over your allowed calorie rate per day on one meal? If you made lasanga yourself you could actually eat more because it would not contain all the extras that the frozen one does. Sad, but true.

    But you hate to cook and who has time? What worked for me is making cooking an experience. I took me a long time to change my attitute. But I simply kept telling myself that I deserved to enjoy a good quality meal. Plus, now making supper has become an event at our house. Mark and I usually have a glass of wine and we talk about our day while one of us cooks. So supper has become a fun event, where we get to relax, enjoy a drink and debrief. If your single I know this probably doesn't help you all that much, but making supper special will help you learn to stop hating making it. You might even find you are open to trying some new recipes.

  3. Get active. I don't care what you do, but get moving. Take a class, take the stairs, walk, learn to run, become a cricket player. It doesn't matter, but find something you can get involved in that will get you moving. And make it at the most convenient time and place for yourself even if it costs a little bit extra, because if you don't it will be easy to not go. Also, don't go crazy and try to run 5k in your first week. Set bite-size goals and when one is achieved move onto another, this way you won't hurt yourself; which will stop you moving altogether.

    Finally, if you lack motivation find a friend who is already doing something or wants to do something and set-up a weekly date. Remember that it takes 6 weeks to form a habit. In the meantime a little peer pressure should help keep you on track.

Resources I swear by: The Calories Counter Database; What 200 Calories looks like, who knew that you could eat more of a donut than a bagel; French Women Don't Get Fat, French Women for All Season both full of easy, but fun recipes. I mean you can cook French cuisine, usually in 20 minutes or less, with these excellent books. Forget complex sauces! These recipes are all very easy to make. Plus, the author gives tons of great lifestyle tips aimed at helping you adapt to the changes your body goes through as you grow older.

Picture from Flickr

1 comment:

Muffy said...

Well put me on the list of starters (and hopefully not quiters). By the way Heidi there is no such thing as, a little peer pressure, when it comes to you.