The winter layers have given way to shorts and t-shirts, revealing the other winter layers—the ones that hang over the waistline and strain the seams. (I have good excuses, but won’t list them here.) Perhaps, like me, you aren't aiming for a beach body as much as a way to fit into your summer duds again.
That’s what I want to do, and here are some common sense weight loss tips to lose that overhang. It seems to be working.
Slow and steady wins the waist(line). No extremes. Managing your weight and health is not a sprint. Every day, a little less higher-calorie food, a little more exercise. For me, that’s meant giving up a daily peanut-butter-on-whole-wheat toast and my habit of grabbing a snack of dried fruits every time I go by the cabinet. What is it for you?
Also, I’ve stopped snacking when I’m out of the house running errands. Think about when you snack without focusing on your food. For example, if you are eating in front of the TV, it’s easier to consume more. Stop distracting snacking.
We rarely eat out, especially during the growing season, when the gardens are overflowing with delicious fruits and vegetables. Eating out is expensive and never as enjoyable or nutritious as what comes out of our gardens. Avoiding eating out!
I eat only what I enjoy. Many years ago, I made a long list of all the foods I love and would gladly eat every day, then crossed off the ones I knew I could and should do without. That left me with a long list of tasty, nourishing foods to choose from every day.
I never spend my money on commercial “diet” foods or drinks or “meal replacements.” I eat real food and drink (mostly) plain tap water.
Our large garden allows me to fill up my plate with green/colored vegetables, using herbs for flavor and a little dressing, olive oil, or butter. Tasty, nutritious, and filling. Even if you don't have a garden, try filling half your plate with vegetables, then split the other half into carbs and protein. Watch your carb portions; a serving should be the size of your fist.
I never say I’m “on a diet.” The phrase carries a hidden assumption that my it’s something I’ll eventually “go off.”
I try not to make my spare tires the focus of my life. I don’t weigh or measure myself. Walking by mirrors and finally fitting into my old clothes is all the truth I need.
I take a day off once in a while, indulging in my forbidden favorites (pie and ice cream, stacks of pancakes with butter and maple syrup, strawberry shortcake, etc.). If you eat well 80 percent of the time, you can afford weekend and holiday treats. But I box it off, buying or making only what we’ll eat that one day. No leftovers.
With a new hip (much less pain) and plenty of warm weather, I’m putting more hustle to my muscles, greatly increasing my daily exercise component. In my case, that's a lot of hard physical labor, planting and mulching my large garden and splitting and stacking next winter’s wood.
Plus, after a long siege of pain, surgery, and recovery, I’ve gone back to the weight room at the local YMCA. Diet experts say you can’t exercise your way to weight loss. Maybe so. But one thing I know is that, without protecting—even building—those muscles, a percentage of the “weight” that comes off will come from them. If you don't have a gym, add some resistance training after a brisk walk. Try squats, push-ups, and planks. (Obtain medical advice and clearance from your doctor.)
So, have some fun today, enjoy real food, and work only those muscles you want to keep (and grow).