Friday, February 4, 2011

Tricks and tips for weight loss

The past 10 months have taught me a lot about weight loss. And apparently I still have more to learn as my little slip up this week (gain) at my WW meeting taught me. Oh well, a truly awesome dinner at Georges was well worth the increase.

Full disclosure: I stole this blog topic from a regular reader of mine, so please check out her blog post as well.

I have never really dieted on my own before. This is my second go around with Weight Watchers. I have never tried any fad diets or other weight loss programs. I think that was a good thing because I didn't have any bad habits to break. It's a commitment to lose 50 pounds (going for 55 total but I'm not sure I'll get there or be able to maintain it...but that's another blog post). It requires completely changing the way you eat, at least it did for me.

The first thing I did was to get rid of my "trigger" foods. Salt & vinegar chips, Cheez-Its, ice cream, etc. I do have a husband who can eat whatever he wants so I couldn't get rid of his favorite foods. Fortunately what DH likes wasn't top of my list so I could resist.

I try to shop the circumference of the grocery store, not the inner aisles. This isn't always feasible with a toddler and husband but now my cart is more weighted towards fresh foods and less than half is dedicated to staples (unless there is a big sale going on). At first I found myself throwing out a lot of fresh food that went bad. But as time went on I got a little better about meal planning (for lunches anyway) and less food went bad.

Another good tip is to measure, measure, measure your food. I will freely admit that I half-assed it for a long time and did eye ball measuring. Now I pull out the measuring cups, spoons and I even have a scale. This is a lot easier when I'm preparing food at home, of course, but the longer you measure, the easier it is to eye ball when you are eating out and more accurately track your PointsPlus (or calories). Dovetailing nicely with measuring is tracking. I like the WW system (duh) but this would also work for people who calorie count.

I eat more when I work out. I know this is probably a very obvious thing to type but the WW system allows you to "bank" your activity points. This does not work at all, mostly because if they are banked then I usually use them for booze on the weekend and not using them when I should - the day I exercise.

My weigh in is Thursday nights. Having a late week weigh in is wonderful for me. If I go a little crazy over the weekend then I can get back on track starting Monday and have 4 full days to get my crap together. WW tells you not to weigh yourself except for your weekly weigh in. Personally I weigh myself almost every day (at the same time). It really helps keep me on track if I see the numbers start to creep up.

I mentioned meal planning above. I am still not good about planning out dinners for an entire week. For grocery shopping I think about 2-3 days worth of dinners and 4-5 days worth of lunches in advance. I try to bring my lunch 4 days a week to work. When I bring food with me to work I bring a big bag. My lunch bag typically looks like this: breakfast, mid-morning snack (fruit), lunch, mid-afternoon snack. I leave the office around 4/4:30 so I usually have a piece of fruit when I get home too. I try to calculate my PointsPlus for my breakfast/lunches the night before.

Two more tips to share: drink a ton of water and trick your brain into thinking you have more food on your plate than you really do. I eat my dinner with small utensils and on small plates (like salad plates). It's a little OCD but it seems like there is so much food on the plate. Plus it helps you to eat more slowly. In terms of drinking water oftentimes we think we are hungry but we're really thirsty. I'm not very good about drinking water but I see the effects immediately when I am good. Try to drink a full glass of water before you eat. You will feel fuller faster.

So those are all my tricks and tips for starting and maintaining the weight loss journey. What would you add? I am still learning so please share!!


Donna said...

I like the idea of shopping the perimeter of the store. This is also important for eating healthier for those of us trying to do that!

Amanda said...

I totally do the small plate too. I also try to not eat after 8 pm and not take seconds. Usually if I eat after 8 its just because I'm bored not because I'm hungry. I might need to pull my scale back out and remeasure.

Miss Madison's Mommy said...

So glad you did a post about your tips, measuring is something i'm trying to add in. Ha, I grabbed a small plate to eat off today and totally thought about you :) The thing with WW's is I don't get the 'banking' of points after you workout, it doesn't make sense to me to workout really hard on say Monday and eat those calories on say Thursday. That never worked out in my favor. Everyone is different though! I also agree with Amanda's comment about not eating late at night, I try not to eat after 6 {but I go to be around 9}. Whatever you are doing is working, you look AWESOME!

Glucosamine said...

some cool tips for weight. i have trying to loose weight for last six months with heavy exercise but cant control my diet.

susanne13 said...

Something I try to do is make a lot of soup - chicken and veggie, lentil, etc. Or else buy the healthy, low sodium boxed kind and add more veggies and some water. Keeps you full for longer and you can usually eat a larger bowl without the large amount of calories :)

Congrats again on your weight loss!!