You were likely excited in the beginning. You were ready to start a new lifestyle and lose weight. You filled up the shopping cart with fruits and vegetables, read articles about losing weight, and began walking every night after dinner.
For the first couple of weeks, it seemed everything was going great. You lost a couple of pounds, felt more energetic, and learned to prepare some new healthful meals and snacks. Then, somewhere in the 2nd month of your new lifestyle, things started to fall apart. You stopped losing weight or even more frustrating, you actually gained a few pounds. You started to miss the foods that you used to eat. It seemed that the honeymoon was over. What should you do now?
“I am a little stressed! We all are, right?”
It seems like stress should make us lose weight. Anxiety is exhausting, and it sure makes many of us feel hungry. Unfortunately, stress can contribute to weight gain, especially if you are a person who eats more food or eats less carefully when you are under stress.
“No one needs to know about this handful of candy.”
You started out with measuring cups and maybe a food scale. You wrote down and planned everything that you ate. Then, one day, you had three pieces of chocolate or a spoonful of peanut butter. You did not gain weight from this, so you did it again. Maybe you went to the gym and came home really hungry, so you ate a little extra.
However, now this has become a habit. You still write down the food that you remember eating, but what about those little “food bonuses” that you doubt are really adding up to anything? This is a fact—everything that goes into your mouth counts. Yes, even if you eat it fast. Yes, even if you do not even remember eating it. Yes, even if you did not really enjoy it—it still counts.
“It says fat free. Great! I will have seconds!”
Fat-free foods can instill eaters with a false sense of security. When people are given cookies and told that they are low fat, they eat far more than they do when given cookies with no such claim. Fat-free, organic, all-natural, low-fat, reduced-fat, and lite foods still contain calories.
Do not get fooled by bright colors and bold words on food labels. Read the Nutrition Facts and the ingredient list. Pay special attention to the serving size.
“By skipping breakfast, I will save a couple hundred calories!”
If you save 300 calories by skipping breakfast, you are likely to consume an extra 400 calories at lunch. People who have lost weight and kept it off were studied—they always ate breakfast.
Breakfast has many benefits, including:
“I should have lost more weight by now.”
Of course, the sooner you hit your weight goal, the happier it will make you. The thing is that making a lifestyle change is for life. Once you have reached your goal, you cannot go revert to your old diet.
The good news is that no foods are off limit to you. You can work all foods into a healthful lifestyle, even when weight loss is the goal. Many people who have successfully lost weight are surprised to find out that they simply cannot eat the amount of food that they used to, because of either a shrinking stomach (literally) or changes in taste.
After the initial and exciting loss of water weight, you should lose an average of 2 pounds (lb)/week. Some weeks you will lose 1 lb, and other weeks you might lose 3 lb. Getting angry or upset at yourself is likely to backfire. You might give up and say, “I am not losing any weight anyway. I might as well…” Once you start this mind trick, it is all uphill.
Reference and recommended reading
NWCR Facts. National Weight Control Registry Web site. http://www.nwcr.ws/Research/default.htm. Accessed March 27, 2014.
Review Date 3/14