by Judy Weitzman
I have been avoiding the scale knowing that I have been eating more than usual but nothing too extreme. So I made myself get on the scale this morning. I almost had heart failure. I have been staying in my maintenance range of 123 to 127 forever. Then out of know where it is at 129. OMG OMG OMG!!!! I do the “scale dance” – you know, where you get on and off the scale at least four or five times to see if the number changes and this time it held steady. No fluke. OY. First instinct, I can’t eat. Panic sets in and nerves are a flutter. Get calm and make a plan. But first I need to figure out how the scale jumped up so high so I know what to fix.
I have not been overeating at meals. They have all been portion controlled and healthy. As I contemplate what was amiss, the light bulb goes off. I realize I have been sabotaged by 100 calorie treats.
Let me start by saying that I think 100 calorie packaging is a great step in the right direction. They make it easier for people to control their portions. However, here’s what happened. After dinner when my husband and I are watching TV and unwinding from the day we will usually have some kind of treat for dessert. I keep “100 calorie” ice cream treats around and lately I have been buying the 110 calorie light kettle popcorn at Trader Joe’s (absolutely delicious!). Having one treat is perfectly fine. But since these little guys are only 100 calories, it is too easy to justify having another one or two or more. There in lies the problem. Being honest with myself, I realized that I was having 3-4 of these “little” snacks instead of one or maybe two each evening.
Lesson learned: When eating 100 calorie pre=packed treats, remember to limit how many you have on any given day. One or two will do.
Another way to look at this same scenario, is to realize idle time is the devil’s workshop. Or another old saying that comes to mind is, “Dear stomach, you are bored, not hungry. Please shut up!” So true!!! If I am bored or have time to kill, it is very likely that I will start thinking about food and what to eat next. Picture yourself sitting on the couch after a long day. Dinner has been consumed and a maybe a little dessert too. Why is my mind thinking about what is in the fridge? Or the cabinets? I need something. Those cookies I bought and hid in the freezer are still there. Hmmm. Sounds awfully tempting. The longer I sit here, the louder those cookies are screaming my name. I hear them loud and clear. How do I shut them up?
What am I to do? If I start, I know I can’t eat just one. So what if they are frozen…..I like frozen foods that are frozen. How do I stop this craving? Okay, desperate measures take desperate actions…..time to pull out the nail polish and change nail color. The art of distraction is very powerful. Polishing my nails is guaranteed to take about an hour to do and it is very challenging to eat while my nails are wet…..so new color it is. The list of activities to distract from eating is endless, here are just a few:
- Clean house – soapy hands do not work with food
- Go for a walk
- Dance to your favorite music
- Call a friend
- Put photos in albums (I know, old school)
- Write in your diary
- Clean out a closet or drawer – purging makes you feel thinner J
- Go to bed – we often mistake exhaustion for hunger.
Lesson learned: By re-directing one’s thoughts and keeping busy, it is easier to overcome the urge to eat mindlessly and to over indulge when not hungry.
We still haven’t addressed how to make those extra pounds go away. First of all, get over it. There is no magic pill nor is there a quick fix. Starving and not eating enough will cause our bodies to hold onto our weight and make it harder to lose. So that takes starving off the list.
Fad diets, what’s the point? By doing some extreme diet, the pounds will come right back and a little more. Sad but true.
To lose those extra pounds you need to go back to the basics. Eat less and move more (the real ‘magic pill’). Track your food daily by writing down EVERYTHING you eat. If you bite it, write it. There are many great apps available for tracking daily food intake. Myfitnesspal.com is very popular and user-friendly.
Lesson learned: Cut calories, make a plan, drink lots of water, get enough sleep and be active to achieve your weight loss results.