Don’t Make A New Year’s Resolution! Make A Lifestyle Change!
As the new year approaches, everyone is making their resolutions. The number one, like most years, is to lose weight. This will be the first year that isn’t my resolution. I’ve lost close to 100 pounds in the last two years. No, I didn’t do it by counting carbs or calories. Instead, I made a lifestyle change.
My weight loss has been a struggle. I developed stomach issues that gave me no choice but to eat better, but I can still eat food that is “bad for you.” And I do. I put that phrase in quotations because I learned the secret to my success doesn’t mean I can’t indulge in pizza or cupcakes.
I’ve always been a heavier woman. Years ago, I tried Weight Watchers, and it worked for me. I lost thirty pounds within three months. Then gained it back within a year. I found that counting points helped reduce my food intake. But I got hungry. The secret was finding something with zero or low points in between meals. My go-to was green beans. I’d take a can with me to work in case I needed a snack. There are tons of options, but this diet gives you an ample number of resources at meetings and online. I know the Lean Cuisine microwave meals are high in sodium, but for lunch, those were my quick go-to meals. They used to print the points on the boxes, which made it simple.
I think when doing any diet; you need to keep things simple. It’s very easy to grab a bag of chips and start munching. I never realized I was eating the entire bag! But my trick to still being able to indulge in Weight Watchers was portioning out snacks in baggies. Every Sunday, I would count the amount allowed and how many points. My baggies of snacks would be easily accessible in the pantry, and it didn’t seem like work to just eat one snack. Who wants to sit and count out each chip they eat? I certainly didn’t. Or, if you make dinner, portion it out, and write the points on the storage lids so you can grab and go. Yes, this takes time away on your Sunday. But I felt more prepared to tackle the week of dieting and not stress-eat when work got crazy.
Keto is also a great diet, but I found limited food options. I did dirty Keto, which incorporated some carbohydrates. This diet seemed easier because my husband and I were both on it. I couldn’t indulge in my favorite sweets, though, which made me mad. Any diet that makes you angry, you probably won’t stick with it. I lost a few pounds, but this diet gave me a sense of feeling trapped. An array of options with a diet is a key factor for me. And this diet didn’t offer that. There were tons of recipes online, but they all incorporated the same foods. Keto is essentially no or low carbs, and I love my pasta. My husband loves meat, so this diet was ideal for him.
A sure-fire way I’ve learned to incorporate my favorite carbs, no counting points, and still having “cheat days” is by fasting. I fast for 16 hours a day, and I don’t consider this a diet. Fasting is a lifestyle change! I don’t eat after five o’clock at night and eat breakfast around nine o’clock in the morning. My doctor recommended this to me years ago, but I wasn’t mentally prepared to go so many hours without eating. So, I started small. Whatever fasting hours you choose, eventually, you can work up to more. When I eat, I’m not eating cupcakes and pounds of pasta. But I get to eat those foods, and I’ve kept my weight off.
I’m sure there are limits within fasting if you research it. However, I’ve not felt limited at all. There are articles that say to only drink water within your non-eating hours. I drink pop and coffee. I’m not downplaying the research, but I did this on my own terms. If I want to take one day and eat an hour earlier than my non-eating time, I do it. Limiting myself is one way to get me to quit any lifestyle change.
Every diet works differently for everyone. People are stricter than others. With any diet, start small and be realistic. There are weeks you may gain a pound, and that’s okay. Regroup and move on. It took me two years to lose the weight, and I could still lose ten more pounds. One phrase I live by is, beating yourself up for indulging will not make you lose weight faster.
Photo by Deanna Jackson via Canva