Summer Weight Loss Program

For those readers who are trying to lose weight, how's it going? Are you having success? I'm here to support your efforts, so I thought I'd do a few periodic updates in order to offer more ideas for easy weight loss this summer.

In my last post, I suggested you start by writing down everything you eat and drink. That's correct. Everything. I realize water has no calories, but it's still a good idea to note how much you're drinking. Another thing this journal will help you realize is how many times per day you put something into your mouth.

Do you find yourself mindlessly snacking, popping one chip or cookie or grape or macadamia nut into your mouth after another? Do you eat in front of the TV or the computer? Are you distracted while you eat, unaware of how much is actually going in?

Here's your next assignment: Whenever you eat, think of it as a MEAL. It might be a mini-meal. But try to banish the word "snack" from your vocabulary. Especially in its verb form. Because "snacking" tends to mean the mindless consumption of endless handfuls of non-nutritious and addictive junkfood. (Definition is mine; you might not find this in the dictionary...)

I like to eat 3-4 meals per day. I almost always eat breakfast, as studies show that eating within 30 minutes of rising raises the metabolism and helps burn more calories over the course of the day. On occasion, when I have bootcamp early in the morning for example, I might skip breakfast and just have coffee. The combination of coffee and vigorous exercise will release fat and also burn extra calories. Make sure your breakfast contains enough protein. (About 20 grams for a small woman. 30 grams for a man or someone trying to build muscle.) Eating a high carb breakfast (cereal, muffins, doughnuts, toast, pancakes, waffles, bagels) will set you up for a quick rise in blood sugar followed by a quick crash. You will be hungry sooner than if you consume a good balance of protein, carbs and fat. Great choices include eggs, turkey sausage, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, leftovers from dinner, etc.

As much as possible, try to schedule your meals ahead of time and stick to a consistent schedule. Do not go more than 5 hours between meals as this will cause your blood sugar to dip too low. Excessive hunger and low blood sugar can lead to poor choices such as junkfood and overeating. No bueno.

If you normally snack in the evenings in front of the TV (as I used to do) just plan to have a full or mini meal instead. Decide on a healthy combination of foods that contain protein, carbs, and good fats. Dish out the correct amount of food. When you're finished with your last meal of the day, feel free to drink herbal tea or sparkling water, but do not consume any more calories. I try to cut off my consumption of calories by 8pm each night. Even when I get home from teaching at 7pm and still need to eat dinner, I try to finish by 8pm and then just drink decaf green tea.

Avoid foods that encourage mindless snacking. My go-to snack used to be pistachios. These are delicious and very healthy. By all means, eat them in controlled amounts. But if your habit is to shove one after the other down your throat (as I did!) then I suggest making a switch. Choose foods that are easy for you to control. Some foods are clearly triggers for overeating. Discover what these are for you and then STAY AWAY! Do not bring those triggers into your home! Triggers for me include: whole grain rice chips, pistachios, any kind of potato chip but especially the kettle chips and salt and pepper chips, cereal, dried fruit, cookies, cakes, basically all baked goods especially homemade ones. I can usually manage to ration fresh fruit, as long as it is not going into a wine glass along with wine! And speaking of wine, alcohol is another trigger. Drinking lowers inhibitions, including those that keep one from overeating.

Have I ruined your summer plans yet?

I'm only halfway kidding! I don't want to ruin anything, but becoming more mindful of your eating and drinking habits is the only way to make a change for the better.

Let's lose weight this summer! I'm available for one-on-one personal weight loss coaching. Post a message if you'd like some support. We can do this face to face or long distance. I'm here to help!