Life got in the way of my plan to continue with step 4 of How I lost weight easily, so I only posted 1 – 3. Here are all 10 at once, before I get another custom order for a walker pouch or yoga bag. As I said before in How I lost weight easily, step one, it is only in hindsight that I am able to look at the steps I took to lose weight easily. I rarely get on the scale as long as my clothes fit, so I was pleasantly surprised when I found that I had lost 7 pounds without trying!
Step 1. Meditate. I started with a few minutes a day out on the back deck, since it reminded me of the relaxing days on the beach. I also did guided meditations available for free from Fragrant Heart. These are great ones if you are stressed and/or have trouble clearing your mind. Then Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Choprah did a 21 day Meditation Challenge on health. After completing that challenge, I changed my diet without giving it a second thought! I cut sugar out for 3 weeks, a miracle for me with my sweet tooth! I felt so good that I began to meditate on my own for 20 – 25 minutes each day.
Step 2. Focus on your goal, keeping your thoughts positive. Tell yourself, “Jane, you will feel healthy and energetic every day!” Do not say, “I am so fat, I really have to stop eating.” Why not? Because that is setting yourself up for failure – you are focused on what you should not do. You are starting from a place of weakness, telling yourself that there is something wrong with you. If instead you imagine yourself feeling energetic, you are coming from a place of strength, where you accept yourself. You decide to set an intention – to feel great – and you are more likely to make it happen!
Step 3. Drink 40 – 64 oz. of water every day. This replaces drinks with calories and helps you feel full. If you don’t like the idea of plain water, toss a few slices of your favorite fruit into it. I like 3 cucumber slices and 2 drops of edible lemon oil. Lemon juice has to much acid for me, so I use doTerra oil – it is my favorite edible essential oil. Drink 8 oz. before you eat your maal, and you will eat less.
Step 4. Switch to a smaller plate that contrasts in color with your food. If you see that the food fills up the plate, you feel like you are eating more. Avoid using red and gold plates – they are close in color to many foods in the American diet. If the food is the same color as the plate, you will tend to eat larger portions. Why? Because it blends in with the plate and seems like less food than it really is. When your food is a different color, it shows up more easily against the plate, so you have a better idea of how much you are actually eating.
Psychologists studied this and found that there is a visual perception bias called the Delboeuf Illusion. The people they studied tended to eat more when they had bigger plates. When helping themselves to spaghetti with tomato sauce, the subjects with white plates took to smaller portions than those with red plates
Step 5. Eat a variety foods that have not been highly processed. Avoiding sugar and making sure you have different colors on your plate are 2 easy ways to do this. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, a few servings of whole grains, and limit your plant based protein and lean or organic meat to an amount about the size of a deck of playing cards. Including dark greens and reds insures that you get fruits and vegetables.You are more likely to get all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that your body needs if you don’t cut out any specific foods.
Whole grains are high in fiber. Fiber has greater volume, so that you feel full faster. And since it takes longer for your body to digest, you feel full longer. There are so many to choose from that you can pick the ones you like the best. Popcorn is a great high fiber snack in between meals.
Your body needs protein to regulate your metabolism and reduce your appetite. Beans are great because of the fiber, and lean meat in moderation provides your body with iron. It also reduces the hunger hormone while increasing the hormones that make you feel full. 1 2 I like to put some chopped black beans into most recipes that call for ground beef – that way I increase fiber without changing the taste.
If you have a sweet tooth, like me, try assorted berries with granola for a snack.
Step 6. Eat healthy fats – oils olive, almond, coconut and canola. Your body needs fats in order to function properly. Fats make it possible for your body to absorb many important nutrients, like A, D, E, and K. Without fats, you won’t have healthy skin and hair. Fats are also important because they provide your body with energy.
Step 7. Slow down and focus on eating. Have you ever eaten popcorn or potato chips while watching TV and then realized you ate more than you thought? That’s because your mind is not on the food. The TV distracts your attention from the snack you are eating. This applies to your phone as well. If you are distracted by calls and texts, you will eat more than if you put the phone down until you are finished eating. If you concentrate on the scent, sound, and taste of your food you will feel satisfied sooner. It takes the body about 20 minutes to recognize that the stomach is full. If you slow down, you give your body time to let you know when it is time to stop.
When I was in my 40’s, I noticed that I did not feel full until after I ate. At the same time, my acupuncturist told me that chewing my food more thoroughly would benefit my digestion. I focused on chewing which made me more mindful automatically. This was before I even knew what mindfulness was. Now it has been studied by many psychologists, enough to be reviewed by the National Institutes of Health.
Step 8. Do some form of physical activity that you enjoy. If you hate to get on a treadmill, go for a brisk walk, play tennis, swim, or do Tai Chi. I do Qi Gong because I found an easy routine that can be done in a wheelchair. If you have trouble getting motivated, arrange to meet a friend or sign up for a class.
Step 9. Be aware of what you are feelings. Are you actually hungry? Or is there another reason you are reaching for that cookie? Try to eat only when your stomach is growling. I also notice if I am hungry for breakfast in the morning. If not, I know I ate too much for dinner the night before.
When I am upset I want sweets, especially chololate candy and anything from the bakery that has cinnamon in it. I heard that putting yourself into a story about what you are doing makes you take the 3rd person perspective. This creates a little distance in your mind, so that you are more likely to be objective. So when I find myself reaching for a pastry or some chocolate, I say to myself. “Betti is reaching for a sweet treat because she is upset about _____.” Sometimes I indulge, but more often I have a cup of tea.
Step 10. Reward yourself. If you feel deprived, you eventually pig out. When I eat a salad for lunch, I get a few potato chips. I also have a small piece of chocolate with almonds after dinner every night. And I savor that one piece of chocolate!
Now when we go out for dinner, I eat whatever I want. I earned the right to splurge, but I also ate well all week so that one plate of pasta with alfredo sauce is a treat that won’t do much harm.