ADVISORY: I am not a doctor certified nutritionist. The information in this article is a result of personal experience. Please talk to your doctor or nutritionist before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle that may affect your overall health.
I was a fat kid. I can remember the day I had to face this fact. You see, like most early teens, I was about 14 at the time, I had a crush on a boy. But he did not return the feelings. In fact, it was on the last day of school that I overheard him talking to a friend about the fat blob (me) that had a crush on him and how glad he was that school was over. I walked all the way home in tears. I ran to dad and told him what happened and he told me I could continue to feel sorry for myself or I could change things. So I changed what I could. I changed me.
Granted it took the entire summer to lose almost 60 pounds,but I did it, and without the benefit of a safe diet or exercise program. Actually I made myself quite sick. It was the doctor that told me what I didn’t know I needed to hear. He said, now that you have lost all this weight, you need to change how you think about food.
You see,I had essentially starved myself while drastically increasing my physical activity. This lead to my body feeding on itself. I had become anorexic at a time when the term didn’t really exist. And my stomach had shrunk so that I was physically unable to eat more than about 1/2 cup of food at a time. I DO NOT ADVISE is approach,by any means. You should talk to your doctor or better yet, a nutritionist first if you need to lose some weight. But, once you reach your ideal weight here are some of the things I learned that made it possible for me to never again have to suffer through any diet.
- Drink lots of water – water helps fill you up and with no calories, sugar, salt or carbohydrates to convert to sugar in your system it is a great alternative when fighting the munchies. Grab a bottle of water when you feel the need to reach for something you know you don’t really need.
- Eat lots of fruit and vegetables, preferably raw.m I keep carrot and celery sticks around all the time. I also keep low-fat dressings and dips that I can dunk them into. The fiber in the fruits and vegetables is filling in addition to being helpful in keeping your system regular.
- Don’t eat after about 4pm. This allows me to work off that evening meal before bedtime
- Eat whatever I want, but only when I feel hungry, and limit the amounts.
The last of these four points is probably the most important. I eat anything and everything. Chocolate, sweet desserts, lots of breads, potatoes with butter and sour cream,pizza,pasta, even potato chips,whatever I decide I want at a specific moment. And I eat many times during the day and only have one big meal, usually before 4pm. But again I stress these two points:
- Eat only when you are really hungry and eat when you feel hungry
- Eat in moderation – control the amounts you eat
And try to finish your day’s food before about 4 or 5 pm. By limiting when you eat you will be able to reduce the calories that are stored because you are now inactive. Most people eat their biggest meal at the end of the day. Not only is this a good way to put on weight but it can also lead to heartburn and other digestive problems. By eating your final meal of the day early, and if you can make your mid-day meal the biggest meal and keep your evening meal smaller, you are able to finish out the activities of the day and burn off a good portion of the calories you have consumed.
When I got pregnant I sort of forgot these rules I had set for myself. I ate constantly and as a result I needed help to take off the weight again, but, as long as I stick to this plan I have no trouble keeping my weight under control. I do not and I will not diet. It is just too much work for the return, and the return of the weight and often additional pounds is just so frustrating.
The other point to stress is to eat ONLY when you are hungry. Do not reach for that bag of chips because you are frustrated, bored, or upset. Leave that dessert alone if you are depressed. If you MUST chew on something when stressed or upset, try the celery or carrot stick idea. It satisfies the need to chew without adding the guilt of some high calorie, indulgence. Save those for after a good meal.
This may sound simplistic, but then again it should be. I have a sister who is model thin and I watched her my entire life. She eats everything, and a lot of it. But, she does not do any exercise other than her normal daily activities. Why her and not me. Well, I will admit i am not model thin, nor would I really want to be, but I am within my ideal weight and I do not suffer from large weight gains and losses which are harmful to my system.
Even now as I begin my downhill ride through this life I was blessed with, my lifelong eating habits have allowed me to maintain a healthy weight while those around me of my age are getting rounder and they aren’t eating more or exercising less.
My body tells me when it needs fuel. I eat to live, not live to eat. You might not believe this if you visit some of my websites, but even though our family celebrates everything with huge amounts of food, and even though I eat all of these festive delights, I do not gain more than a pound or two and I lose that quickly after the festivities are done.
I hope this article provides you with some encouragement and gives you some ideas about how you can maintain a healthy weight. As always you should follow what is best for you, and not make drastic changes without consulting your doctor, but if you can retrain yourself with regards to how much and when you eat you stand a good chance of keeping that weight off, for a lifetime.