I’m getting pretty tired of hearing people make comments about losing weight, whether its for themselves or for me. There’s a lot of ignorance out there, and I don’t like it. I’d like to debunk some of the weight loss myths that have been bugging me.
1) You have to starve yourself.
Do I look like I’m starving myself? I keep my calorie budget between 1100-1300 per day, and very rarely do I feel hungry. Why? Because first of all, I eat things that aren’t super high in calories or fat, which means I get to eat more. Second, I snack constantly. I go through a ton of various types of snack bars and cereal bars. This isn’t to say I’m snacking mindlessly. If I feel hungry, I look at my list of food consumed so far that day and determine if my body really needs it, or if it’s a response to being bored. If I can’t afford the calories, I’ll drink some water and go back to what I was doing. Thus, I feel full.
2) You deprive yourself of all your favorite foods.
No, no, no. If Cheetos are your favorite food, you could still eat them, as long as there’s room in your budget. However, once you start eating better, you begin to realize that you would much rather have twice the amount of something else and feel much more full throughout the day, than have a tiny bag of Cheetos that will be gone very quickly and leave you wanting more. Likewise, you discover healthy foods you like!
For instance, I love Boca burgers. Each large one only has 100 calories and 1/4 of the protein I need for the day (protein helps keep you feeling full, in addition to building strong muscles). I eat my favorite cereal for breakfast most mornings and have my favorite ice cream for dessert just about every night, because I leave enough room for it. You don’t have to feel deprived of your favorite foods in order to lose weight. You just have to be smart about it. It’s actually good to include these foods, because you don’t feel like you’re missing out and you’re less likely to have a weak moment and binge, which you’ll only regret later.
3) Exercising is horrible and I have no time for it!
Bullshit. Nine times out of ten, that’s the lazy person’s answer. Exercising is great, and if being healthy means enough to you, then you do have time for it. You can lose weight without exercising much. In the past three weeks, I lost 5 lbs while exercising very rarely, due to my busy end-of-the-quarter schedule. It is possible, but it’s not healthy and it’s harder to keep your weight down without yo-yo-ing.
Once you make a committment to yourself to exercise on a regular basis, you’ll feel so much better. Mixing up the strength training and cardio will result in you feeling happier and healthier, even if you haven’t lost weight, yet. You won’t pant as much going up a flight of stairs. That’s something, isn’t it? And if you really think you don’t have the time, how about making use of the hours you sit in front of the boob tube and do some work with free weights or push-ups against a wall? It’s not that hard. People are just lazy.
4) I eat all organic. Isn’t that good enough?
Just because your food is organic doesn’t mean it’s low in calories or fat. Yes, the food is better for you overall, but you still have to be aware of how much you’re consuming. Think about it. Eating an entire stick of organic butter doesn’t make much sense, does it?
5) But you can’t eat out at restaurants and get fast food.
First of all, it’s cheaper to cook a meal at home than it is to eat out. If you start focusing more on cooking great, healthy meals at home, you really won’t miss eating out. Ty and I aim to eat out once a month, on the 17th. That’s our day. We go to whichever restaurant we want and don’t worry too much about the price. We order whatever we feel like having (I try to go for something healthy but tasty) and you know what we do? We savor it. We relax and enjoy the meal and each other’s company. And we don’t feel deprived.
As for fast food, most chain restaurants post their nutrition facts online, these days. Take a second to check out the menu before you go, and stick with your guns once you get there. Last night, we brought dinner from Wendy’s for Ty’s family, and I got an Ultimate Chicken Grill sandwich, mandarin oranges, and unsweetened iced tea. My total was 390 calores, 7 grams of fat. Sadly, that’s about the best you can do with fast food. But not only was I able to have that chicken sandwich (which was quite good), I was also able to fit in my ice cream for dessert a few hours later and not exceed my calorie limit. Again, if you’re smart about it, you can make it work. You just have to put in the effort.
Other helpful tips:
- Quit buying cookies and junk food. If it’s in the house, you will snack on it. If you have to have some cookies, make a small batch from scratch (remember: substitute at least half whole wheat flour when possible), keep 2-4 for yourself, and give the others away.
- Be honest with yourself about what you’re eating. Try to avoid justifying things, if you’re not honestly going to keep with the program. Don’t get yourself into the “Well, I’ll be better tomorrow” trap. Tomorrow never comes.
- Track what you eat. SparkPeople is great for this. Even if you don’t modify your eating habits intentionally, seeing exactly how much crap you’re putting into your body will do you a world of good.
- Make yourself aware of the ideal portion sizes for different foods. You may have to use measuring cups at first, which is fine. That’s what I do, because I never really learned portion control. Using a smaller plate helps, and definitely don’t go back for seconds. Drink sips of water between bites, and actually take the time to enjoy your food, instead of simply shoveling it down. How fun is that?
- Stop causing traffic jams by trying to get the parking spot closest to the door. You have feet and legs, and if you don’t use them, you’ll forget how. Park a little further away and feel happier with yourself, because you just made a conscious decision to do one small thing to improve your health. You won’t see instant results (who does?), but a lot of little things add up over time.
- Go fly a kite, go for a bike ride, or go for a walk. Make a conscious effort to sweat. Sounds gross, sure, but when you sweat, it means your body is working. And that’s a good thing. Ladies, there’s nothing wrong with sweating. Call it “glistening,” fine. As long as you do it.
You don’t have to “diet” in the conventional sense to lose weight. You do need to be responsible, though, and if you’re hiding behind the phrase “I’m on a diet,” you’ll never get anywhere and you’ll be miserable in the meantime.
So in case that made no sense whatsoever, let me clarify it for you: I am not on a diet. I eat what I want, when I want to, and I don’t feel deprived. I’m not miserable. And I’m losing weight. I’ve made a conscious choice to live my life in a more healthy way. This is not a phase that I’m going through, which will end once I reach my target weight. I’m not aiming for perfection; I’m aiming for health. Don’t insult my intelligence and my choices by brushing off my hard work and proclaiming to someone, “She’s on a diet.” You couldn’t be more wrong.
End of rant. Thank you for listening.