- DON’T go on a “diet”
I know that this probably sounds counterintuitive. Don’t go on a diet?! How on Earth am I going to lose weight then? Simple… by changing your mindset. I know when I mention the word “diet”, your internal frown is already forming at the thought that you will have to give up yummy foods and start chewing on lettuce for the next few weeks. Therefore, I don’t want you to tell yourself you’re going on a diet. Actually… I would encourage you not to “diet” at all. If you want to make true, lasting changes in your life, you need to think about this as a lifestyle change, rather than a “diet.” The word “diet” conveys a sense of shortsightedness as well as the restriction of certain foods. Your goal is to make your changes long lasting, and to maintain a healthy balance. Otherwise, you will quickly burn out and become discouraged.
- DON’T cut out treats and desserts.
Of course it’s not the best idea to begin a weight loss program with the intention to keep eating cake, brownies, and donuts everyday but the idea is that you don’t want to cut these items out completely. If you don’t allow yourself an occasional treat or “cheat meal”, you will find yourself quickly losing motivation and binging on an entire batch of cookies. The goal is to find a healthy balance that allows you to eat mostly healthy, with an occasional treat to prevent binges. A simple way to do this is by “crowding out”. The idea is to fill yourself with as many healthy, whole foods as possible so there won’t be much room left, either on your plate or in your stomach, for the unhealthy, sugary, processed foods. Really, this is just a way to easily achieve healthy portion control. Rather than cutting out the items completely, you’ll simply trick yourself into eating less of them while still feeling satisfied.
- DO find ways to move throughout the day.
Most of us work in an office job, and with the extended hours spent sitting, hunched over a computer screen, this is not exactly an environment conducive to
losing or even maintaining a healthy weight. It can be especially difficult to find time to exercise during the day when we have a pile of paperwork that must be completed or a day that’s chock full of meetings, but there is always an opportunity to get moving. The best idea is to find simple ways to keep moving. Every time you go to the bathroom, do 10-20 squats in the stall. Drink more water during the day which will encourage you to walk to both the water cooler and the bathroom more often. Request a standing desk, or in the least, stand while you read emails or talk on the phone. Sit on a stability ball rather than a chair which will activate your core. When and if possible, suggest to your co workers the idea of walking meetings. And lastly, there is the old classic which is to always take the stairs rather than the elevator!
- DO eat foods with 5 or less ingredients.
The idea behind this strategy is that most healthy, whole foods will not contain more than a handful of ingredients. If you fill up on whole fruits and veggies, lean
meats or proteins, and unprocessed snacks such as nuts or popcorn, you will feel much better than if you choose foods high in artificial preservatives and harmful additives. However, the important thing to note here is that this rule should not be followed religiously. Sometimes a perfectly healthy option, such as hummus or whole grain bread, may contain much more than the 5 ingredient limit. The intention is simply to make you more aware of the ingredients that you are putting into your body. If the label does contain a laundry list of ingredients, it may be important to find out why. Are the ingredients harmful or necessary? If you are more mindful of what goes into your body, you will find yourself choosing much healthier options.
- DO eat meals with your non-dominant hand.
This trick is psychological and is successful by encouraging you to become more
mindful of your eating. Everyone has experienced mindlessly snacking on chips or crackers with the intention to only eat a few before realizing somehow half of the container is suddenly gone. A simple way to combat this is to eat with your non-dominant hand. Since the motion will not be as automatic, you will be forced to notice how much you’re actually putting into your mouth. A few other psychological tricks to encourage mindful eating is turning off the TV, eating on smaller plates, and immediately putting away leftovers.