Problem: A few biscuits while you're cleaning the fridge, finishing off juniors last bit of toast and constantly taste testing the Bolognaise sauce for salt. This is nibbling and it ALL ADDS UP!
Assessment: When we nibble it's done in such small amounts that we don't see it as a meal, but in actual fact the calories will probably add up to a whole meals worth. Unconscious snacking and nibbling is the downfall for anyone wishing to lose weight. It is simply a matter of stopping and thinking before you grab that bit of left over cookie. And don't confuse nibbling with healthy snacks in between main meals - the two are different. Snacks are planned, sat down and eaten, nibbling is often and grab and go situation.
Nibblers must also re-program themselves to not associate certain activities with nibbling - like reading the Sunday paper or going to the movies - especially if you have already had a your main meal or snack. Just because popcorn is sold at the movies doesn't mean you have to buy it! Don't get me wrong, as small quantities of food at several times of the day is important. Why? A) So that you aren't famished at mealtime and pig out. B) To keep your energy levels high, especially if you exercise a lot. C) To keep the metabolism working.
Solution: Set ground rules for yourself. Tell yourself that nibbling in the car, in front of the TV, at the sink, or while watching the kids at swimming lessons is no longer for you. I also suggest that you keep a diary and note absolutely EVERYTHING you eat. This will help you realise how much you are snacking and what it adds up to in terms of fat and calories. You will be shocked to realise that a little bit here and there will add up and the reason why you can't seem to shift the dial on the scales.
The Food & Exercise Diary for Allan Borushek is fantastic. I went through three of them when I embarked on my new food and fitness lifestyle. It is available at most newsagents. Pick up his pocket calorie counter at the same time.
7. Drastically Cutting Calories:
Problem: You will do anything to fit into that gorgeous halter dress on Friday night because you want to stick it up an ex-beau that dumped you for being frumpy? You are so desperate that you decide to fast track your weight loss by skipping breakfast and lunch! Well, you make it through Monday and Tuesday okay, but by Wednesday, you're not only hungry, irritable and fatigues, you haven't dropped a single bit or fat, fluid or anything.
Assessment: Skipping meals DOES NOT lead to weight loss. It leads to weight gain as your body is actually storing the fat that you consume during the one meal you are having in order to see it through to it's next feed. By not eating you are putting your body into famine mode and the fat stored during famine mode is more often around the mid-rift. I am sure you have noticed those starving in Ethiopia. They eat once a day, if they are lucky, but they all have swollen bellies! As well as a poor nutritional diet when they do eat, their body is storing what it can for the sake of not knowing when its next meal is.
Solution: Cutting Calories during you r three to six nutritionally balanced meals is the sensible option. What you may also want to do is actually get off you're backside and exercise f you're not already or increase your level of activity if you already are - if you really want to lose weight quickly (something I don't prescribe to, myself). After all, Marilyn Monroe wasn't a size 10 stick when she wore her halter neck dress in that classic shot of her standing over the street air vent?
Anyway, an extra ½ a day of exercise, combined with smart calorie reduction will get you what you want and it may also prove to you that if you could go one week you could perhaps take it further and go the whole month!
Eat sensibly and remind yourself that you are a healthy, intelligent person who chooses to trim up because you want to be healthy and feel better about yourself, not because you want to make a good impression for one night.
8. Hooked On Your Scales:
Problem: It's 6.30 in the morning. You stumble out of bed and weight yourself. There hasn't been a change since the last time you weight yourself - which was last night before bed at midnight! Come early evening, as soon as your home from work or school you jump back on the scales to see what damage that piece of cake did - even though it was the ONLY thing you ate all day. To your horror, you are almost half a kilo heavier since your 6.30am weight in. Upset and disillusioned you ditch your eating plan and head straight for the 'forbidden' section of the pantry and hoe into a bag of chicken chips.
Assessment: Your body's weight fluctuates at different times of the day. You need to factor is if it's that time of the month, the weather, if you are drinking more fluids, if you have increased your weight training - as muscles weight more than fat.
Solution: If you find comfort in scales, then limit your weigh in times to once a week at the exact same time of the day. In the meantime, invest in a tape measure and measure yourself for loss in inches, as no scale will tell you that you actually lost one centimetre around your waist. You don't even need scales to gather weight loss, as the way your clothes fit is the BEST indication. I have never owned scales and never will. I dropped 4 dress sizes and didn't weight myself once, so I don't even know how much I lost in kilograms, but I did know I was losing actual fat by the way my clothes were getting baggier and baggier.
9. Expecting Too Much Too Soon:
Problem: after several months of dedication, you're down in the dumps because you though you look like Sara O'Hare by now. Sure you've weight, but in your eyes, not enough to reflect the hours you spent in the gym and all the time you said no to Tim Tam nights with the girls.
Assessment: Don't stress! The best and most effective way to lose weight and keep it off is by being patient and losing it a little at a time. It is commonly suggested that half a kilo a week is ideal. In the beginning you were losing at a rate of knots, but this is actually fluid, not fat. Don't aim for unrealistic goals. You have lost weight, right? So you are on the right track. Plus Sara is blonde and you're pitch-black, so the re-growth will be a killer to hide! Seriously, it probably took you years to gain the weight you wish to lose, so give yourself the same time to lose it. Also ask yourself if you are not being too hard on yourself and that you probably look fantastic - in fact YOU DO!
Solution: Make 'one day at a time' your Mantra. It was mine. If you think that losing one kilo in 10 days doesn't amount to much try this. Empty out two 500g tubs of butter into a plate and tell yourself as you stare at it, that that is how much fat you lost. Looking at it through this perspective will amaze you and be all the encouragement you need. Another great encouragement trick is to carry a kilo bag of oranges in a nap-sack all day and at the end see how great it feels to take it off. That's how much light you are!
10. Expecting Too Much From Family & Friends:
Problem: "You're the one who wants to lose weight, not me, so why should I stop eating chocolate in front of you?" says your partner. As un-supportive as that may sound, he or she is right.
Assessment: Yes, support is a key factor when embarking on anything new, let alone a new lifestyle of eating, but if it's to be a long term change, you have accept the good with the bad. Remember that people have to adjust to the new you as much as you do. While you are re-educating yourself, do the same for your loved ones. Explain to them that their support in the beginning would be valuable and appreciated until you are confident in yourself to be able to handle any condition thrown your way - like the chocolate scenario.
Solution: If you are not getting the support you need from home, seek out a support group within your area or at your local gym. Don't expect too much from family and friends. As I learned, often they are so envious that you have the stamina and will power to see it through that they disguise it by being un-supportive and cynical - just to overcome their own inadequacies, more often than not! People will say, "Oh, come one, one piece won't kill you." No it won't, but why then battle the guilt pangs afterwards just because of the pressure from someone who hasn't got the will power to say no themselves? Don't succumb to pressure. Don't give people the opportunity to break your spirit. Nicely tell people that you are re-assessing the way you eat and live and until that 'assessment' is over you would rather decline their offerings. Tell people that their support would be appreciated. In time those around you will come accept the new you and soon you will find that they are accommodating. One thing springs to mind for me. When I decided to cut out sugar in my coffee and turn to Equal instead, I found that after a few weeks, those family and friends I visited often had bought an Equal dispenser for when I was over. Even though I always carry my own, their actions demonstrated support. You will receive this too in time.