Weight loss is hard. The behaviors that caused the weight to pile up must be changed in order for the weight to come off, and change can be quite difficult. I was overweight for many years, nearly all of my adult life. I did not like the way I looked, I was not happy when I outgrew my already-plus-sized clothing, and I was concerned about my health. But, permanent weight loss did not occur until I stopped the behaviors that were keeping me overweight.
One of my favorite things to do with my children is cook. We especially like to bake together. I have bonded with my kids over many a bowl of cookie dough. It’s fun, and when the warm cookies come out of the oven, yum! But, I do not help ‘lick the bowl’ anymore. I tweak recipes to contain healthier ingredients, and I limit myself to a moderate portion of what we make.
Another habit I saved up was cleaning my kids’ plates. I think most of you moms know what I’m talking about here. We can not let that last bite or two go to waste, right? Multiply your no-waste thinking by the number of children whose plates you are cleaning. For me, that could be another whole meal’s worth of food! Waste is not desirable, but I’d rather feed that last couple of bites to the chickens than have it end up on my waist!
I had to start thinking about what I was drinking. Many beverages have calories. I used to drink flavored coffee habitually through the day. I just did not give it much thought. Then, I realized that each cup I was drinking contained about 80 calories. That really adds up. Many of the diet beverages contain chemicals that I choose to avoid. So, even though it took some getting used to, water has become my beverage of choice through the day. I now enjoy my afternoon cup of flavored coffee, because I have not been sipping it absentmindedly through the whole day.
I learned to recognize emotional eating, which usually occurred when I was not even hungry. The problem was, it did not matter what emotion I was experiencing; food was the solution! Happy, excited, mad, sad were all reasons to have a little snack. Getting the emotional eating under control was a critical step to getting my weight off.
I love cookbooks and I read them for fun. I had to stop doing that while I was losing weight. Thinking and thinking about food just made me desire it more, and it made it much harder to switch to eating in moderation. Occasionally, I was able to return to my cookbook reading habit, but not until I got the weight off. I needed to learn to cook and eat for health, not for entertainment.
These are just a few of the changes I had to make in my eating habits in order to be successful in weight loss. Lots of little steps really do add up to one big leap toward fitness. The nice thing about making changes in my habits is that by the time I’ve lost my weight, my healthier habits had become second-nature. The me of today severely recognizes the overweight me of the past. That feels great.
2010 Julie Cazier