Time to stop hibernating

I was chatting with one of our clients before class this week, and she mentioned that our bodies naturally tend to drop weight as the weather gets warmer. We are “programmed” to hold onto pounds in the winter and shed it in the spring. Wouldn’t it be nice if it were really that easy!

If Nature wants to give us a little head start, why not take full advantage. Right now is a good time to take stock of the way you eat. Not just what you eat – but when and how you eat. Losing weight and keeping it off is all about clean eating habits. Life-long poor eating habits are hard to break. It takes time and constant vigilance to ingrain clean eating habits into the way you live your life. But the rewards are worth the effort.

We see many clients in the Studio who have successfully lost ten to forty pounds and have done a great job keeping it off. Clients, who lose weight successfully, do not diet. They make a fundamental change in their approach to eating and fueling the body for physical activity. Making these kinds of changes are tough.

Start by being your own best private investigator. Put your eating behaviors under a microscope and figure out what you are eating on a daily basis, and more importantly why you are eating. For two weeks, keep a diary of food intake, physical activity and emotional wellbeing. There are excellent commercial food record applications available. Find one and use it (for instance MyFoodDiary.com).

The tricky part is getting the portion size correct. If you want to be successful, get a scale and weigh your food. If you eat chips, count them. If you drink alcohol, measure it. Be specific and accurate with portion size and don’t cheat! You don’t have to share the information with anyone but yourself.

Record your daily activities and cardiovascular exercise. Most programs have detailed calorie estimates for a wide variety of physical activities. Get a pedometer and count your steps. Weigh yourself every day first thing in the morning and record your weight.

Chart your behavioral patterns. This is where it starts to get a little tougher but it’s also the meat of the matter. Start with when and with whom you eat and try to count all the small swipes at the candy bowl and nibbles from the snack bar or vending machine. Don’t forget the liquids.

Figure out whether you are eating something every 20 minutes or “saving up” and eating most of your calories at night. Note the people with whom you share a meal and whether you are preparing meals for more than just yourself. Record how the food was eaten-at the table, in the car, or can’t remember but I know I ate it. Make a note of triggers for existing habits. For instance, “We always have ice cream before bed”.

Decide on a couple of emoticons that reflect your range of moods and use them to record how you felt that day. Maybe you choose happy, sad, tired, energetic, bored or overwhelmed. Make special note of feelings while eating.

Successful clients don’t diet-they change the way they live their lives. Most of us eat in an unconscious way from habits we have developed over many years. Losing weight is a marathon not a sprint. Knowing where you need to start is the first step and a thoughtful comprehensive food diary will provide just that.

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