Monday, October 7, 2013

Thinking Straight about Weight loss

I'm a little over 3 months postpartum and about 10 lbs away from my pre-pregnancy weight. I honestly don't have anything to complain about at this point. Most of the pregnancy weight melts off easily thanks to those extra calories breastfeeding knocks out. However the last 5 -10 pounds often require a little mental focusing. I've found that weight loss doesn't have to be all that difficult if you're thinking straight. We all know that we're supposed to be eating as clean as we can and exercising, but I think getting your head in the game is the most important factor in long term weight loss.

The single biggest mental exercise that has helped me lose weight has been the ability to distinguish between true hunger and cravings. What is hunger? Hunger, according to the Oxford dictionary, is, " a  feeling of discomfort or weakness caused by a lack of food, coupled with the desire to eat." Hunger is not a sensation most of us experience regularly here in America. The very American tendency to snack all day prevents us from ever truly feeling hungry.  Do NOT fear hunger. You will not starve, you will not die, you've got a pantry full of food. A craving on the other hand is just a strong desire for food. A craving is a want but hunger is a need. If I can respond to my needs more than I respond to my wants then the battle to lose weight is won.

 So how can you tell the difference? Skip a meal (don't do this if pregnant or nursing, your baby needs to eat).  Again, you will not die and it will help you to know what mild hunger feels like. If that's too extreme, limit yourself to three meals a day and no snacks for one day.  Try distracting yourself, if I'm craving something my mouth may be watering and I'm getting all the signals that I need to eat; but if I give it 5 minutes and get involved with something else the craving often goes away. Sometimes my cravings are super strong so I just take a bite of whatever it is that I think I can't live without. I chew slowly and assess whether or not its really worth eating. If I think its worth it, I eat it. If its not worth it and nobody is around I spit it out. If I'm in public, I just don't take another bite. I find that the thought of indulging in a certain treat is often more pleasurable than the reality itself. This is how I discovered that I don't like most chocolate. Don't get me wrong; I LOVE chocolate but chocolate with a bunch of added fillers is not worth it in my opinion. I can pass on Hershey's and Reese's. My mantra is, buy higher quality chocolate and eat less of it.

Eat well, but don't be a food Nazi. Do some exercise that you can look forward to and enjoy. Walking consistently is better than running 5 miles once a month. Say no to cravings more than you say yes. That's the way I enjoy losing weight. Wanting to lose weight is not selfish or frivolous. Beauty matters, being a good steward of what you've been given matters. Enjoy the process!

1 comment:

  1. Very nice article. Thank you for posting it.