Ask yourself if you really want it!

I once read the weight loss advice that was something to the effect of “don’t tell yourself you can’t have it; tell yourself you don’t want it.” This was supposed to be a more empowering version that re-framed how the mind looks at the restriction (by no longer seeing it as a restriction) and places the control back to the individual and what he or she wants.
The trouble with this approach for me was that most times I did want it and to tell myself otherwise seemed like a lie that I had a hard time believing. So what helps me to re-frame how I view the desired item is to acknowledge: “Yes, I want it. But do I really want it?” Most times I want the item, but don’t really want it. So it helps to delay gratification and to “cash in the calories” for something I really want.

Be Selective in Your Sins

We should not view eating in a “good/bad,” “saint/sin” way, but the truth is we can and will eat badly. While this can be avoided with the will of steel, sometimes we will decide to give our wills of steel a day (or two? Or more?) off.

When this happens or when you decide to eat as you should not be eating, be selective in what you are eating and when you are eating it. A treat does not hurt every now and then, but it is a waste to eat a sweet or food item that we do not really care for just because we can.

If you are going to cheat, cheat sparingly and selectively. Do not waste your cheating opportunities on stuff that you do not really want to eat and are only eating because you are craving something sweet/salty/etc. or because it happens to be around.

 

Keep a food, weight and exercise progress journal

I’m not really one to keep a calorie and food intake journal, but there is something to keeping general track of what goes into our bodies, how often we veer off the path/how often we stay on the path, the changes in our weight, how often we exercise, and how long we exercise. It terms of memory recall, it can be easy to forget how often we eat poorly or indulge and to think that we exercise and eat more healthily than we do.
Keeping a food-weight-exercise-progress journal helps for giving you a sense of the progress that you’re making, without having to track everything that you’re eating. When used in conjunction with the other weight loss tips on this page, it also should not be necessary to track everything that you’re eating as it should be (for the most part) consistent and portioned. Keeping a food-weight-exercise- progress journal also gives you insight into your behaviors and eating patterns, and identifies areas that you can target for improvement so as to better support your efforts

Be selective with your sins!

We should not view eating in a “good/bad,” “saint/sin” way, but the truth is we can and will eat badly. While this can be avoided with the will of steel, sometimes we will decide to give our wills of steel a day (or two? Or more?) off.
When this happens or when you decide to eat as you should not be eating, be selective in what you are eating and when you are eating it. A treat does not hurt every now and then, but it is a waste to eat a sweet or food item that we do not really care for just because we can.
If you are going to cheat, cheat sparingly and selectively. Do not waste your cheating opportunities on stuff that you do not really want to eat and are only eating because you are craving something sweet/salty/etc. or because it happens to be around.

Use fruits as deserts

Fruits are a healthy and natural source of sugar and in so would be perfect for dessert. Another idea with this is to try your fruit frozen as dessert. It will be sweet and tasty!

Don’t buy junk food!

If you do not buy junk food, you cannot eat it. It does not matter how much I am craving chips, ice cream, or something that I would feel guilty after eating, I cannot eat it if it is not physically in my house or within my reach. And if I do not pack it in my lunch, I have to make a significant effort to get it from elsewhere if I decide to buy it. And so if your willpower ever gives out or if you feel yourself being lenient on your self-discipline, this one does not fail (unless you have decided that you are indeed going to eat what you should not be eating, that you are going to eat it no matter what, and that you are going to pay too much for it wherever you are going to buy it).

Eat the same thing every week!

I have not been able to convince everyone to jump on this bandwagon, but it really works and it helps to support all the other components of this hub.

Eating the same thing every week for weight loss helps with portions and food planning. I do not have to think about what I am going to eat as I have already determined it and as it is more or less the same thing every week with some variations and modifications (and to be honest, with some cheating). Eating the same thing everyday also helps to control how much money is spent on food and also how much food is eaten and helps to eliminate food waste. It is mostly a win-win! The main downside is food-fatigue, and the lack of excitement in eating but otherwise it works pretty well.

Benefits of Eating the Same Thing Every Week

  • Portions are controlled and maintained.
  • The body adjusts to these portions and quickly recognises when you are eating out of proportion (but does not stop you from eating out of proportion.)
  • You spend less time thinking about what you are going to eat as you already know.
  • Grocery budget is maintained and controlled.
  • Provides structure in what you eat and in how you eat.
  • Makes you less likely to overeat as your eating has already been determined and you recognise what your food is supposed to be.
  • Allows for the occasional dietary “splurge” (assuming that you maintain a consistent healthy dietary structure).

Fun Fact!

Eating the same thing everyday is an effective method for weight loss that is supported by science. According to research, eating the same thing everyday causes “habituation” which is where the body has a decreasing response to repeated stimulus over time. Food fatigue and food boredom make you consume less calories. Boom!

Plan your meals!

Planning your meals takes away the stress of having to figure out what you are going to eat for breakfast/lunch/dinner. Planning for meals also allows you to incorporate healthy eating within what you can afford. It is important to take into account your lifestyle/schedule/commitment. If you are not willing or do not have have time to make an elaborate healthy dish, then do not plan for that dish and buy groceries for that dish if it is unlikely or unrealistic for you to have or make that dish.

Portion Control

This one relates to eating to nourish as opposed to eating for other needs or to fulfil other functions but gives a way to go about doing it.

As a general rule, your stomach is the size of your closed fist and will expand to accommodate everything you eat. Opening your whole hand gives the size of your stomach when it is full. So as you keep eating, your stomach will keep expanding.

Chances are that you are eating more than the size of your closed fist and quite possibly that you are eating more than your open hand. Eating in portions controls what you are eating to ensure that you are eating the right amount and eating in rations/rationing what you eat ensures that you make your groceries last if you are on a budget.

Buying food and buying healthy food is expensive so in addition to wanting to eat healthy.  You will often find that “rationing your portions” as I am calling it, will allow you to eat in portions and eating in portions will make your food last longer than indulging in whatever you want/buy.

Portion eating/rationing your portions has another benefit which is that while eating in this manner will not shrink your stomach it can reset the “appetite thermostat” which affects how hungry you feel and in turn how much you eat based on hunger.

Please Note: This is not a starvation approach. This is portion-eating and portion-planning (rationing) so that you eat according what you should be eating and what you can afford.

Portion Tip: Eating Out

Are you eating out? Chances are that if you are eating everything that is served to you, you are eating enough meal portions for two and enough meal calories for three.

Get water to drink and divide everything you have in half. Share the other half with a friend to save calories and money, or save the other half to take home and have it as another meal.

Actually eat what you pack!

This relates to the “If I don’t pack it, I don’t eat it” rule but it adds to it in that if you do not eat the healthy food you pack, you are not doing yourself any favors financially or in terms of health. It also does not do you any favours if you opt out of eating what you brought and instead spend money on unhealthy and overpriced food.

Only eat what you pack!

I have a rule that I try not to break and that I break only on certain days during the week and on occasions when people bring food to the workplace or when there is an occasion for veering off of what I had planned and that rule is: If I don’t pack it, I don’t eat it!

Benefits of Eating Food From Home

  • Save money by not spending it on food that is unhealthy and overpriced
  • Save time that would be wasted commuting, waiting in lines to get food, etc.
  • Be ready to go and eat for lunch
  • Ensure food preparation and selection safety
  • Manage your time and finances

 Actually Eat What You Pack

This relates to the previous “If I don’t pack it, I don’t eat it” rule but it adds to it in that if you do not eat the healthy food you pack, you are not doing yourself any favours financially or in terms of health. It also does not do you any favours if you opt out of eating what you brought and instead spend money on unhealthy and overpriced food.

Sometimes I pack food that I am not the most enthusiastic about but I still make myself eat it. When I am tempted to opt out of what I brought and buy chips or something that I did not bring, I remind myself of how it is a waste of money and food, and how overpriced the other food is. I try to remind myself of the fact that it is also healthy and better for me to eat what I brought but normally wasting money and resources is what keeps me in line for the times I do not feel like eating what I pack.

You will figure out what works for you but for anyone who is truly on a budget or who is truly in a constraint of resources, this should be manageable.

When you do not have the money to spend, you do not spend it. When you know what it takes to make resources work, you are more mindful and careful with them…even if they do not taste great!