Family holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving can trigger painful memories of the past.
Don’t you agree?
We exile these memories to the darkest corners of our minds believing that if we ignore them, they’ll do the same for us.
But they keep popping up and throwing us into a well of despair when we need them the least – in the moments of stress, depression or grief. And around holidays, when all we want is to relax and enjoy ourselves.
Compulsive eating brings us emotional relief. It compensates for the lack of “happy” hormones – a cocktail of endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin. It helps us to cope.
So here we are – eating and drinking too much and dropping out of our fitness routine.
Briefly, we lose control and wake up with wobbling rolls around our waists that rebelliously resist every effort to squeeze into our favourite jeans.
Have you been there?
Getting Rid of Unwanted Gifts
What do you do with useless gifts from last Christmas or your birthday?
I give them away. And what’s left of them gets an appointment with a recycling bin.
But what about the unwanted weight?
That requires a different approach.
After years of learning and trying, I finally found the way to shed the unwanted weight – aftermath of stressful holidays and deadlines, heartbreaks and grief.
Want to know my secret?
Take Back the Reins
1. Understand your reasons for losing weight.
Ask yourself a simple question: “Why?”
Is it because you want to please your boyfriend, who wants you to look like the models on the front page of his favourite magazine? Do you need to drop weight for health reasons? Or, like me, do you simply feel better in a smaller skin?
Write your reasons down and keep the list.
Set Up Your Mind For a Change.
2. Set a realistic goal and visualize it.Don’t aim to lose 10 pounds in a week—you might kill disappoint yourself.
Instead, let’s say you want to drop a size and wear your favourite dress for Easter. Picture yourself in that dress. Or, even better, find a favourite picture of you and stick it to the fridge.
Look at it and notice how you feel. Does it feel as good as eating a delicious cake?
When your answer is yes, you’re ready!
3. Learn a trick of self-distraction.
When you feel a compulsion to snack, tell the “hungry” part of you, “I hear you, love. We will get you something in a moment, but first I need to vacuum the office/water the flowers/go for a walk.”
Reading doesn’t work for me, though – I have to be physically active.
4. Stay busy.
Boredom makes us search for the excitement that also can be found on the kitchen shelves. Make sure to have a busy schedule. That will keep the sympathetic part of your autonomous nervous system on its toes. Plus, you will use more energy.
That’s how it works for me.
5. Drink more water or your favourite green tea.
Do you know that drinking a glass of (preferably hot) water before meals helps you eat less?
By filling your stomach, water relieves your hunger so you eat less. It might also help you to skip a snack, too.
Spice up your water with a few slices of lemon or some mint leaves. Drink a few cups of green tea every day. Have healthy beverages always at hand.
6. Leave your favourite products in the store.
Don’t buy them and save yourself from a later struggle.
You might feel frustrated, not finding your favourite snacks when the cravings start. But it’s nothing compared to the horror of the moment when you realize that you’ve emptied a bag of sweets or salty snacks.
Make sure not to shop when you’re hungry (you already know why, right?).
And what about your family?
Buy stuff your family likes, but you don’t. Like strong liquorice – my husband’s favourite sweet that I can’t stand.
I leave them easily to him.
7. Hide stuff you like as far away as possible.
Make it difficult to get the foods you tend to snack on. Or even ask your spouse to hide them for you. Do you think he can keep a secret?
8. Track what you eat.
Write a list of everything you put into your mouth during a day for at least a week. You might be surprised at the length of it!
9. Count your calories.
Use apps or a nutritional analysis scale to keep track of the calories you consume. Counting calories has never been easier.
Calculate how many calories per day you should eat to maintain your weight. Then subtract 15 to 20% of this number to get rid of unwanted weight. Use it as your guideline. Or try one of the apps here.
Don’t overdo it, though. Eating too few calories will prevent you from losing weight, according to research. Your brain will be like, “Oh my God, she’s starving!” and slow down your metabolism to keep you alive. Can you blame it for doing its job?!
10. Eat slowly, eat mindfully.
How often do you eat absent-mindedly?
Do you eat while talking, solving puzzles, or playing Candy Crush Saga on your iPad at the same time, unconsciously swallowing huge chunks of food?
“…[Mindful eating] involves becoming aware of that reflexive urge to plow through your meal like Cookie Monster on a shortbread bender. Resist it. Leave the fork on the table. Chew slowly. Stop talking. Tune in to the texture of the pasta, the flavor of the cheese, the bright color of the sauce in the bowl, the aroma of the rising steam.
Continue this way throughout the course of a meal, and you’ll experience the third-eye-opening pleasures and frustrations of a practice known as mindful eating.”
~ Jeff Gordinier
Tune into the qualities of your meal and enjoy the process.
Walk to your office, take the stairs instead of the elevator, swim or go to the gym. Choose whatever physical activity you enjoy and keep your muscles strong.
12. Hide your scale.
Constantly controlling your weight can become an obsession of its own. It can also have the opposite effect like my scale does. It doesn’t matter if it shows a good or bad number—I feel the urge to eat something. Dark magic, wouldn’t you say?!
Last week I buried the scale in the back of my closet and started using my clothes as a compass instead.
13. Skip restaurants.
It’s easy to overeat in the restaurant. It’s harder to say no to a dessert and a glass of wine.
Ignore processed foods and diet product, as they are full of bad fats and sugars. Yuck…
Make your own meals. Choose simple recipes and natural products. They’re easy to prepare, cheap and tasty.
14. Spice up your meals.
Kick your meals up a notch with the taste of ginger, chilli peppers and turmeric. They not only add flavour but stir up your metabolism too.
15. Use smaller plates.
Trick your mind to eat less. Your meals look bigger on smaller plates.
16. Intermittent fasting.
You’ve always been told to eat your breakfast, haven’t you?
But recent research shows that it might be a good idea to skip it over, completely.
Want more information on intermittent fasting?
17. Get enough sleep.
It also cleanses your brain of toxins, preventing strokes and dementia. Have a look.
Want to maintain your weight loss results?
Make Changes to Your Lifestyle
To get permanent results we need to address the root problem, according to life coach Tony Robbins. We need to change our habits and lifestyle.
Let’s say you only go to fitness classes when you can’t find an excuse not to.
Make a schedule and find an accountability partner. Make a plan for your intermediate fasting or find someone to practice mindful eating with.
Bigger Than a Few Pounds
What if one day you slip?
A friend wants you to taste the amazing cheesecake she spent hours creating. Will you blow her off by refusing to take a bite?
Or would you sit at the wedding table watching people sweep delicacies off their plates and into their mouths, suffering quietly under their quizzical eyes?
Enjoy these moments – they are precious. You can keep the reins in your hands as long as you make conscious decisions and stick to them.
Life is bigger than a few pounds of stubborn fat.
Enjoy your meals.
Enjoy your life.
And enjoy yourself.
Want to know what my favourites tips and my results are? Click here and join me on my Facebook page. Let’s talk!
More related reading – check it out!
Disclaimer: I’m not a nutrition expert or fitness coach. There is no way I can guarantee that you’ll lose weight by following my tips. This is my personal experience I am sharing with you in the hope that it might help you to lose a few pounds.
Images by Pixabay, Unsplash