Let’s talk about weight loss positively instead. What rules/tips/tricks have you found that actually help(ed) you to lose or maintain your weight?
I’ll start off with the three that played a big role in my own losing weight and keeping it off:
- Do NOT drink calories.
You can down a zillion calories in some ritzy coffee drink or just regular soda without really noticing or having them make you less hungry at the next meal. I feel stupid admitting this, but until I was thirty I swore I couldn’t possibly drink diet soda – it all tasted nasty to me. Well, when I finally got serious about losing weight I cut out all soda, and stuck with water/tea/coffee and, most of all, Crystal Light Lemonade. Then, after three months of this, I really craved a coke, so I tried a Diet Coke, and my heavens! It tasted wonderful to me.
Clearly it was a matter of my taste buds being ‘retrained’ and not having recent memory of the sugar version to make the diet seem worse. (I bet just a couple of weeks would have been long enough to ‘fast’.)
2) The glass of water rule.
Whenever I want/plan to eat something, I drink a full glass of water and wait at least ten minutes. I’m sure it makes me eat less at meals, and for snacks…well, often I have forgotten about the urge to eat the snack before the ten minutes is up and it never gets eaten.
I found this a great help. I don’t have strong willpower, it’s hard for me to just flat-out tell myself “You can’t have that doughnut.” But wait just ten minutes? That I can do.
Um. If you try this, don’t sabotage yourself. As in, if what you’re craving is a candy bar from a vending machine, don’t buy it when the craving hits and then leave it on your desk in plain sight while waiting the ten minutes. That guarantees you will be reminded to eat it! And (maybe equally responsible for my being able to follow this rule) whenever I later realize that I successfully ‘forgot’ to eat the snack, I put what it would have cost (or a reasonable price if it was an office freebie) into my “I love me” fund. Which money I can spend freely on any (non-food) luxury without feeling guilty. New computer game? A pedicure? That new sweater I don’t really need?
- The No-Seconds for an hour rule.
Take a normal sized serving of whatever. If, after you’ve eaten it, it tastes so good (or you’re so hungry) you want more, you can have it…AFTER you wait one hour. Just like the glass of water, the key is that when it isn’t a real, physiological hunger making you want to eat something, the craving just sort of evaporates after a little while while you’re busy with anything else.
Take lunch today: we had some left over sausages so I grilled one up and ate it on a bun with sautéed onions and peppers. I inhaled it, it tasted so good. I looked at the rest of the sausages and wanted another. But instead of simply cooking it up and eating it (as I would have done back when) I went ahead and cleaned up the kitchen and left, content in the knowledge I could come back at 1:30 and eat another…and, as mostly happens, I didn’t give the sausage another thought until I got to typing this up.
BTW, if you try use either the Glass of Water or One Hour Wait rules, don’t cheat yourself: if after the ten minutes/hour wait you still want the whatever, absolutely you should go ahead and eat it! The ‘inner craving you’ has to learn that it can trust the ‘outer controlling you.’ Otherwise the inner you will ‘know’ that “wait ten minutes” = NO, and your willpower to wait at all will wane.
So, those are my best tips. What has worked for you?