“Everything in moderation, including moderation.”― Oscar Wilde
Updated Progress Photo: On the left, me, prior to losing 100 pounds. The photo on the right was taken Dec. 2014.
Listen, I’ve always said I don’t like feeling deprived. I could never lose weight on a consistent basis until I figured out that doing it right didn’t mean ALWAYS eating right. It meant eating right most of the time, and just paying attention to how much I ate all the time.
Bottom line, if you love food and you don’t want to live on lettuce and carrots, it’s all about HOW MUCH you eat, not necessarily WHAT. As long as it all adds up to a calorie deficit by the end of the day, you’re all set for weight loss. If not, at least burn as much as you take in–and you won’t gain any weight when you splurge a little.
Portion control is key to losing weight without feeling deprived.
So, can you really eat what you want and still lose weight? Well, yes, you really can. For example, you can eat chocolate cake and other foods you love if you just reduce the serving size – or eat less calories elsewhere in your day. Try these strategies to reduce your portion sizes and lose those extra pounds.
1. Plan weekly menus. Sketch out your eating plan for a week at a time and use it to guide your grocery shopping. Many people underestimate how much they eat. This system will make any discrepancies obvious. If you run out of food before the end of the week, you may need to re-evaluate your diet.
2. Read the package labels. It’s easy to assume that convenience foods would be packaged in single servings. Check the label to be sure. A single bottle of juice often contains 2 or more servings, so find out how many calories you’re really consuming.
3. Learn to eyeball. A three-ounce portion of grilled fish is about the size of a deck of playing cards. A cup of breakfast cereal looks about as big as a tennis ball. You may want to measure and weigh your favorite foods while you’re learning to visually estimate portions.
4. Count your bites. Counting each bite is another temporary method that can help. Notice how many bites you’re eating. By eating more mindfully, you may find that your taste buds are satisfied with just a few spoonfuls of ice cream.
5. Divvy up your plate. As you learn to visually estimate portions, you’ll discover about how much of your plate they typically cover. Keep this in mind when you dish up your food. Health experts recommend that most adults get about 2 to 3 cups of vegetables daily, so get used to giving them the most room.
6. Use smaller dishes. Smaller plates and bowls will make servings look more generous. Keep big platters off the table to remove the temptation to help yourself to more. When snacking, put just a few chips in your bowl at a time. Force yourself to walk back to the kitchen again if you want more.
7. Package or freeze leftovers. You can save time by baking big batches of lasagna. Just put the leftovers in the freezer right away so that you don’t succumb to the temptation to have just a little more.
Tips for Dining Out:
1. Set aside leftovers immediately. The same strategy works when you’re eating out. Cut your hamburger in half and push the remainder to the side. If your powers of resistance need a little support, ask ahead for half of your meal to be packed to go.
2. Ask for sauces on the side. Sauces and dressings can add a lot of calories to otherwise healthy dishes. Request that condiments be served on the side so you can control how much you use.
3. Order the smallest size. You can minimize the damage at fast food places by ordering the smallest size on the menu. Hot French fries taste better so you can actually have a more satisfying experience by eating less.
4. Share a meal with a friend. Splitting a meal is often more fun than having leftovers. Ask your server to divide it or just bring two spoons if you’re very close friends.
5. Ask questions. Some items are obviously dangerous to your diet, but others may require clarification. Ask what’s in the salad or how big the seafood platter is. You may want to leave out the bacon or decide that the appetizer has enough calories for a whole meal.
These new eating habits are effective and easy to learn. By reducing your portions sizes, you can manage your weight while enjoying a wide variety of delicious and healthy foods.
What are your best tips for eating what you want and still losing weight? Share your thoughts in the comments section, below, or join the discussion on our Facebook page.
As if you didn’t have enough diet data already, here’s some more that you might actually want to know.
A recently released report from US World News and Rankings listed the top 35 diets, and the number one diet – the DASH Diet – may surprise you.
Most people say they’ve never heard of it – and when I say “most” people, I’m including myself.
I had a slightly vague recollection of having heard the term, but that was about it.
So I checked out the website – it says this:
The healthy DASH diet plan was developed to lower blood pressure without medication in research sponsored by the US National Institutes of Health. The first DASH diet research showed that it could lower blood pressure as well as the first line blood pressure medications, even with a sodium intake of 3300 mg/day! Since then, numerous studies have shown that the DASH diet reduces the risk of many diseases, including some kinds of cancer, stroke, heart disease, heart failure, kidney stones, and diabetes. It has been proven to be an effective way to lose weight and become healthier at the same time. It is full of fabulous, delicious, real foods. All of these benefits led to the #1 diet ranking by US News & World Report in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014. (Read more)
Anyway, the study also lists the top 34 other diets out there, but notes that the top 6 are, in the study authors’ opinions, the healthiest.
Below are the top 10. Click the ‘read more’ link below for more on this story.
“I personally battled with my own body image for years. I used to tell myself, You can’t wear anything sleeveless or strapless. And all of a sudden I was like, What if I just didn’t send such negative messages to my brain and said, wear it and enjoy it? And now I’m more comfortable in clothes than ever.” ~Drew Barrymore
Do you struggle with your body image? If you do, you’re far from alone. In fact, about 91 percent of women are unhappy with their bodies, according to a study published at DoSomething.org, a non-profit that describes itself as “the country’s largest not-for-profit for young people and social change.”
Listen, I can relate. I have been there–and being human, I’m kinda still there sometimes. And according to researchers, only 5 percent of women naturally possess the body type often portrayed by Americans in the media. So what’s a girl to do? How can you learn how to improve your body image?
The fact is that how you feel about your body affects your confidence, overall self-concept and personal value. It is, whether we admit it out loud or not, a HUGE part of how we define ourselves, right?
It can be hard to feel okay about what you look like when you’re constantly bombarded by insanely perfect images on TV, the internet, and magazines that depict people who are too thin or even (gasp!) digitally enhanced to mask flaws. It’s just unrealistic!
But here’s the deal. While we can’t make that pressure go away, we can certainly decide how to respond to it. Stand up and recognize that you will be your most beautiful when you are your true self–not some random copy of the average Hollywood starlet/streetwalker/whateveritisthatmakesyouhateyourbody.
It’s not just you–I know exactly how it feels. My body type has never been and never will be the Hollywood ideal. I am too short and my boobs are too small. Don’t laugh! It’s true. OH! And now, I’m too old (38). But I’m ok with it because I understand that no matter how much I worry and stress over the fact that I don’t look awesome in most skinny jeans or that I have to buy a lot of my clothes in the juniors section (including sometimes bras!)–well then I wouldn’t have noticed all these awesome things about me.
Yeah, I know it sounds vain. But it’s true–there are plenty of awesome things about me. But don’t worry–I’m not going to list them. This post isn’t really about me–it’s about you!
So let’s go there and talk about you. I’d lay money on the fact that there are probably lots of awesome things about YOU too.
So step outside of your head with me for a moment, won’t you? Take a look at yourself from a whole new perspective. What are the beautiful things about you–inside and out?
How to Improve Your Body Image: Start With Perspective
You ARE Beautiful: Let Us Count the Ways
“I think beauty can’t simply be described as physical, but it’s your entire package. In the long run, physical beauty fades, and then what will you be left with? Your true beauty is what shines from within: your confidence, attitude, outlook, intellect, and love. These are the qualities you should nurture; they are what make you unique, and will ultimately enhance your own personal outlook, which is the most important. ” ~Cindy Busby
You already know that it’s important to love yourself for the person that you are. Everyone is made differently, but beautifully, in their own way. Sure, your beauty may be different than that of a fashion model, but you’re still beautiful! Once you accept yourself, you’ll be a happier person.
Focus On Yourself First
When you’re learning to love who you are inside and out, you first need to start with the inside. This simply means that you need to work on changing the way you think about beauty.
No one’s absolutely perfect–and yet each of us is perfectly ourselves–we are the living embodiment of the perfect version of ourselves, right now in this very moment.
There may always be something that you don’t particularly like about yourself, but it doesn’t negate your beauty, and it’s certainly no reason to have an unhappy life over it. Shift your focus onto the things that you do like about yourself–seriously.
Try having a little faith in humanity. If you people watch in a public place, are you constantly pointing out everyone’s flaws? Chances are that you’re not. You probably don’t judge your friends about their imperfections, so why should you be so hard on yourself?
Beautifully You: How to Love Yourself, Inside and Out
Once you’ve worked on your inner feelings, you can then move on to loving yourself on the outside. Unfortunately, in today’s society, people feel ashamed of what they look like to the point of having all sorts of procedures and surgeries. Don’t be fooled! You don’t need this in order to feel good about yourself–in fact, it might make you feel worse.
You can attempt to make changes if you have a problem like acne or weight gain, but there are also things that you can’t change, like having wide hips or freckles. The best thing you can do is embrace yourself for the unique individual that you are. After all, there’s no one else on this planet quite like you–not a single person. Not even a twin, if you’ve got one–you’re still 100 percent yourself, and no one else can claim that.
Beautifully Healthy: Making Changes in a Healthy Way
If you wish to make changes in your appearance, you can certainly do so. You just need to be doing it for the right reasons. You might need to lose weight in order to get back into a healthy weight range. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to change your hair color every now and then either. Variety is the spice of life.
But some people are tempted to go too far and do things like losing too much weight. They convince themselves that even a healthy weight is “fat” and they strive to be underweight. And listen, ladies.
While our skinny sisters definitely have their fans out there, so do those of us who have a few more curves–trust me!
Even though I’ve lost more than 100 pounds, I still have some (pretty bangin’) curves–and while it sometimes frustrates me (especially when it comes to fashion!), I have learned to love it. Like I said–we’ve all got our fans.
It’s important for your health to avoid these types of problems. If you’re stuck in a situation like this, you need to explore the reasons why you feel this way. You also might want to discuss your concerns with a professional.
Pay it Forward: Pass On a Healthy Body Image
One thing you can do for the world is to help pass on a healthy body image to others. The way the media portrays beauty truly is outrageous, and everyone should be doing their part to promote health and beauty in an undistorted form.
If you have children, teach them that they’re beautiful just the way they are. Since children learn by example, ensure that you never put yourself down in front of them. Avoid complaining about your own body because they might overhear and you might inadvertently teach them something you never intended to teach.
A healthy body image is something we can all strive toward. You’ll make yourself and others feel better by complimenting your friends and family. Everyone likes to get a compliment every now and then (and remember that you get back what you put out there!). You just might make someone’s day, and your own in the process.
So what do you think? How do you feel about the way you look today? What can you do to feel better? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section, below!
Using Affirmations to Make the Healthy Food and Nutrition Choices
When everyone around you at the office is indulging in burgers, fries, and sugary drinks, it’s awfully tempting to join in, isn’t it?
But what if you could stop that temptation in its tracks and actually choose to make a healthy choice? You don’t need me to tell you that fatty and sugary choices are not the kinds of food that your body needs – you need to tell yourself!
It can be hard in moments of temptation to make the right choice, but with the help of positive affirmations, you can re-train your brain to replace the desire for junk food with healthy choices.
Affirmations can help you stick to your diet, say no to temptation, and eat nourishing and satisfying foods. How? By replacing the negative spiral of thoughts in your mind with powerful, positive ones.
But first you have to believe that it is possible to gain control over your thirsts, desires, and cravings. The first step in making a lasting change in your life is to make the commitment to success. Are you committed? Do you believe that you can overcome your cravings?
Once you’ve set your commitment in stone, you’re ready to learn the top 10 affirmations to get you through moments of weakness.
Top 10 Food and Nutrition Affirmations
Before reading the list below, you should know that affirmations are most successful when you internalize the saying and repeat it frequently. Whether you’re having a good or bad day, you need to be constantly repeating these positive statements in your mind. Temptation will strike when you least expect it, so it’s better to be prepared!
1. I can neutralize bad habits with good food, exercise, and healthy living. 2. I am proud to reach out to my support network instead of leaning on food for comfort. 3. I am losing weight for me because I love me. 4. I set aside time just for me. 5. My good health and productivity are the rewards for the nourishing foods I eat. 6. Weight gain happens over time, so my weight loss equally requires time, patience, and lifestyle changes. 7. I use self-care, not self-control. 8. The more I take care of myself, the better I feel. 9. I am firmly committed to staying active and healthy. 10. I deserve a healthy body and mind.
When you look at these food and nutrition affirmations, they may seem like ideals – behaviors and thoughts that you only wish you could have – but each time you reaffirm them by saying them aloud, you’re slowly changing your mindset. Over time, these ideals will become a reality through your thoughts and actions.
But remember, you must first believe you can change. Once you make the commitment to your success, you will change your attitudes about food and you’ll be thankful you did!
What are your best ways to stay motivated on your fitness and weight loss plan? Share your thoughts in the comments section, below!
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” ~Thomas A. Edison
It’s easy to get motivated to start a weight loss plan at the beginning of the summer. Many people, motivated by the sunny weather and excitement that summer brings, resolve to get in shape over the summer months. With the summer comes a new beginning and new enthusiasm.
After a while, however, it can be difficult to maintain the same high level of motivation you need to keep going. When the motivation of an upcoming vacation or looking your best in a swimsuit is no longer in front of you, you can easily get discouraged and fall back into old habits.
Instead of giving up, choose success.
Stick to your weight loss and fitness goals even after the swimsuit season with these tips and tricks:
1. Take baby steps. After you’ve been on a diet for a long time, you might feel like giving up if your ideal weight still seems far off. Instead, break your large goal up into tiny pieces. Seek to attain small objectives every few weeks or so. This way, you can reward yourself along the way and stay on track.
2. Work on maintaining weight. Instead of thinking in terms of dieting and weight loss, seek to maintain a healthy lifestyle. If you’ve been dieting for a long time, give yourself a break and try to focus on nutritional changes that you can maintain for the rest of your life.
Weight maintenance is an excellent alternative to “giving up” because you maintain the progress you’ve already made instead of yo-yo dieting. You’ll still feel like a success every day when you look at yourself in the mirror.
3. Splurge. Even when you’re on a strict diet, allow yourself to indulge in a moderate amount of your favorite foods every now and then. You’ll experience fewer cravings and stay on track that way.
4. Control your portions. You can eat healthy, but if you’re eating too much you can sabotage your chances of losing weight. Just watch the amounts you’re eating. If you’re still hungry after a small portion, wait 20 minutes and see if you’re still hungry afterward. Often, you’ll feel full after that time has passed.
5. Watch what you drink. Pay attention to how many calories are in the drinks that you consume. If you’re drinking lots of soda, coffee, or other sugary drinks, these calories can add up quickly. If you drink lots of water, you’ll be less hungry and have more energy. You’ll also avoid the crash that comes from those sugary drinks.
Weekly Weigh In
If you’ve become accustomed to weighing yourself every day, consider stepping on the scale less often. When you shift your focus from the number on the scale to your level of physical fitness, you’ll make wise decisions without the added stress that the scale provides.
(FYI: It’s not too late to join the free Dare-to-Bare Challenge–you can win prizes weekly while you get healthy! Talk about motivation!)
Remember that if you’re working out, muscle weighs more than fat. The scale is only one indicator of how you’re progressing on your fitness journey. Do your clothes fit better? Do you have more energy? Are you receiving compliments about your appearance? Focus on those things and weigh yourself less often.
Above all, be kind to yourself. Set yourself up for success by focusing on the reasons why a fit body brings you joy. A compelling reason will drive you forward, and small steps will keep you moving forward. Small steps and healthy decisions will help you to maintain or regain the motivation you had at the beginning of summer.
HERE’S THE FUN PART: HOW TO GET $5* TO SPEND IN THE MTM BODY STORE, PLUS A FREE SAMPLE PACK OF AN MTM BODY PRODUCT
1. Comment below and tell us how you stay motivated to keep losing weight during the summer months–OR tell us what you plan to do this winter to keep going.
2. Send an email to me at [email protected] with the subject line “COMMENT TO WIN” and I will send you your free $5. Let me know if you’d like the free sample mailed to you as well, and if so, please submit your address as well.
So, what do you say? For $5 to spend in the MTM Body Store and a free sample pack, tell us in the comments section below: How are you going to keep your motivation to get or stay healthy during the winter months?
*Five dollar cash credit expires on Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013–so HURRY!