I’ve often been asked how I maintain my weight. I normally shrug my shoulders and say I watch what I eat. Which is not completely true. I do a lot more than just watch what I eat. I know we all have our unique stories about our body image. We all care about having a healthy, functioning body. We are even willing to pay lots of money to get the results we want.
This post is about creating a healthy body. I don’t think our weight should hold any power over us. It was something that I had many battles with. I was constantly obsessed with checking the number on the scale. I would go on 2, 3 or even 4 times a day hoping to see a different number.
We go through many seasons, even with our weight. There are times when we feel wonderful and we are flying high and there are moments of struggle. Nothing stays the same forever and this is true for our emotions, weight, family, work and so on. This post is about the steps I use to help me maintain my weight and health when life has got me unmotivated, super busy or even overwhelmed. So, for whatever season you find yourself in, you can apply these steps.
It’s not about what you didn’t eat, it’s about what you did.
When I was a teen I used to make the excuse that when I didn’t eat some pizza, I could now eat a bowl of ice cream I am craving. Sure, It’s good I denied the some slices of pizza but, my motives were displaced. I didn’t deny it because it wasn’t nutritious, I denied it because I felt that even 1 slice would make me gain weight. I had the idea that I couldn’t enjoy it because I had to keep losing weight. Since I wasn’t eating enough throughout my day my body was lacking calories, so naturally I would crave sweets late at night. Which is not ideal if you are watching your health. As I got older and I wanted to change my eating habits, I learned it’s not about what you don’t eat, it is about what you do. This simple switch makes a huge difference. Instead of focusing so much on what you can’t or didn’t eat, look at what you are eating. What is in front of you right now? Will it make you feel good after? Do you actually want to it eat? When you think about what you are eating, you start to make better decisions about what is going into your body.
Limit sugary drinks and replace with water.
This was so hard for me. Growing up I was usually forced to drink water. My mom was always telling me to drink water, but would I listen–nope! I just didn’t crave water and it seemed very boring to drink. I didn’t taste anything. It wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I started to drink more and saw the benefits of it. Not only did I feel good, my face also started to clear up and I started to eat less. I watch what I drink as well. When I’ve had more sugary drinks than water, I make sure to drink water for the rest of the day. Sugary drinks spike your blood sugar and insulin levels which results in inflammation, making you breakout. Plus, sugar is very addicting, so when you have some, you will want more.
Cook more often at home than you eat out.
I know most of us don’t have much time to cook at home. It does take a while to cook and clean after. I don’t have time to cook everyday, so I look at my schedule for the week and pick 3-4 days where I can fit in an hour or so of time to cook and clean up after. I like to make food that I can also make into different meals. For example, I might make some beans, quinoa with chicken and mixed veggies. Often, the chicken is the first thing to go and I am left with beans, quinoa and veggies. I add some eggs for breakfast or I even grill fish or beef to go with the leftovers. This makes more meals throughout the week and I don’t feel like I am repeating the same kind of food.
Eat your biggest meal for breakfast or lunch.
Eating your biggest meals throughout the day keeps your metabolism moving. You are constantly moving and this allows your digestion get to work. When your metabolism is working your food is no longer sitting in your stomach longer than it needs to, therefore helping you maintain your weight.
Sometimes we do not have time to workout so if we intentionally move throughout the day this helps keep our body in shape. For example, you are about to go to the restroom, once you are in there do 5 squats before and 5 after. Or if you are brushing your teeth you can be doing side leg-ups. Moving intentionally helps keep your body flexible and energized.
It’s all about portions
I have read that you should eat what fits in both your hands per meal. We think it’s not much, but try it and you will see you get full. We tend to order a lot of food and over stuff ourselves–stretching our stomach (the stomach is a muscle). There is no need for this. Eating in portions will help you keep any unnecessary weight off. I do the same with snacks. I grab a small bowl or bag to eat it out of. I try my best to not eat out of it’s packaging because I then tend to overeat and get a stomach ache. The mentally I have is, I can have some now and I can also have more tomorrow. It’s never no, just later.
Replace bad carbs with good ones instead.
We’ve all been there, we get these crazy cravings!!! So, what should we do!? My answer, make something at home or eat some fruit. Certain fruits and veggies can satisfy any carb cravings. These kind of carbs are easier for your body to digest and have more nutritional value.
Be intentional with the snacks you bring home from the grocery store.
A rule I live by is not shop at the grocery store hungry! When you are hungry you end up wanting to buy all the snacks you see. What I like to do is limit my snacks to 3, I get one for myself, one for Eric and one we can share (this does not include fruit). Often, we already have snacks at home that are not finished. So, buying more means we will spend more money and eat more ‘processed’ snacks than we should. Everything is better in moderation.
Eat foods, snacks and drinks that curve your appetite.
I like fruit smoothies, coffee, salsa, eggs, avocado and even certain fruits like apples that help curve your appetite. You don’t feel the need to eat as often and you feel satisfied for a longer period of time.
Pick up a new hobby.
Pick up a new hobby instead of sitting at home. When you are home for a long period of time, you end up eating more. When you have an awesome, new hobby, especially if it’s active you are not spending time munching or looking for food. Look at your schedule and see when you find yourself doing nothing, bored or just eating because you are bored (which is what I used to do– A LOT).
When you eat determines a big part of what you eat. If you eat a heavy breakfast and miss out on lunch, you may find yourself craving more carbs or sweets later. I don’t like calorie counting but it is important to realize if you haven’t eaten enough. Your body will crave those calories, often by sugar or carbs. When you pick up a new hobby your schedule changes for the better and so do your eating patterns.
Get enough sleep.
Getting enough sleep is so important for your weight. This helps curve your appetite, make better food choices and your body burns calories as you sleep. We literally have “hunger hormones” (ghrelin and leptin) and when sleep enough they do their job properly. Sleep is one of the things we always tend to need more of. Try to get 7 or more hours of sleep.
Spend time cleaning
Let’s say you didn’t have time to get a good workout in, you can start to clean the house. When you vacuum, do the laundry, clean the dishes and so on, you burn a lot of calories. Plus, you get a lot done. Doing this really works up a sweat, especially if you add some workout moves in between. When I do the dishes I do side and back kicks which engages your butt and thighs. When I do the laundry I do sets of squats. All this adds up.
Chew slower and more often.
The more you chew before swallowing helps you digest your food faster. This helps your metabolism work better. Your body is able to break down the food faster, absorb the nutrients and exit your body in a timely fashion. Don’t underestimate the power of just chewing your food more often. When you swallow bigger chucks it takes your body more time to break it down, thus settling into your stomach for a longer period of time. Take your time eating.
I know this one is weird and yes I do this. Spend some time naked!!!!
This is beneficial not only to your physical health but also your mental health. When you spend time naked you are not hiding. You can see the parts you do and don’t like. This helps you be realistic and treat your body better. When you accept and love your body, you want to treat it better. You want to nourish your body with water, movement and good food. This shows appreciation for what you have.
I realize everyone’s schedule looks different. These are steps that can be easily added into your daily schedule. Many of them are really just swapping one for the other. Many of these steps can even help you lose weight if applied over a long period of time.
Please don’t use these steps in thinking you need to lose weight. You don’t need to lose weight (unless for health reasons).
There have been periods in my life when I don’t have time or don’t feel up for working out, so doing these steps keep me moving in the right direction. When you stop and don’t do anything, it is difficult to gain back momentum. Taking care of yourself is something you should never stop doing. Even slow movement is progress.
I like this quote by Dara Chadwick, “It’s easy to see how young girls can get the impression that not only is every woman trying to lose weight, but every woman should be.” This can definitely be applied to all of us, no matter our age or gender. There is this idea we need to look a certain way, when we don’t need too.
As long as you are happy and healthy, don’t let anyone convince you, you shouldn’t be.
I hope these steps help.
Until next time,