Category Archives: Weight Loss

Weight Loss Thoughts

Every so often I receive comments and emails about weight loss and any advice that I can provide.  I thought I’d write a post on my thoughts and opinions on weight loss to share with you all!

First and foremost, I have never had (or chosen) to lose a significant amount of weight. I’m content with my body and I don’t desire to be a size 2, 4 or smaller.  It’s not worth it to me. I enjoy having a womanly and strong figure with curves and muscles, so if you’re looking for me to tell you how to be a stick figure, this is not the place!

I’m not saying these smaller sizes are bad in any way, as some women are built petite and that is great! We should all be happy with ourselves.  My point is that I am not advocating weight loss for those of you already at an appropriate weight for your body.

Weight Loss: My Tips and Advice

Make it a Lifestyle

This is crucial.  Diets don’t work long term.  Lifestyles do. When I was prepping  for a figure competition I was on a diet.  I followed a meal plan that was calorie and portion controlled.  Simple science of weight loss is that you have to consume less calories to lose weight.  My diet was around 1700 calories and I lost about a pound a week (and I was also exercising 6 days a week, sometimes 2x a day).  I found it simple to follow a diet.  Being on a diet is the easy part and anyone can do it.  Maintaining your loss is where the hard work comes in and it never stops! You have to continue to be aware of your body.

But I hated the way I was eating during my prep.  It was high protein and I am not a fan of that.  I just don’t enjoy eating that much protein! I love carbs! So I knew that when my diet was over, I would go back to how I was previously eating.  And that meant I would gain back the weight I lost.  And I did.  I couldn’t keep up that diet as a lifestyle and therefore I fell back to my old habits and the weight came back (I was not overweight before though and was fine with gaining that weight back).

It’s important that when you do decide you want to lose weight that you do it in a way that is smart.

You have to eat for your NEW body…not your OLD body

When you lose weight you get smaller.  Therefore your calorie requirements are going to change. You will have to eat less than your former body weight.  That’s why it’s important to make changes and habits that you can stick with for life to maintain your new body.

Calories in and Calories out

This is weight loss 101.  You have to consume less calories.  You can do this through eating less, moving more, or a combination of both.   Most people choose to do a combination of eating less and working out more.

Lift Weights

Keep in mind that when dieting, it’s important to maintain lean muscle mass.  You should continue to lift weights to maintain your current lean mass or start lifting weights if you don’t do it.

Pump that Iron!

You don’t want to lose your muscle for the sake of seeing a number on the scale get lower! Plus, losing muscle mass means lowering your metabolism and no one wants that.  Pump that iron!

Increased Cardio = Increased Hunger

When dieting you are most likely going to feel hungry, at least in the beginning until your body adapts.  Doing too much cardio can increase your hunger and can also sacrifice lean muscle mass.

Cardio

I recommend not going crazy with the cardio when dieting.  Keep it moderate to control your appetite and make it easier on yourself.

Food Diary

When it comes to calories, some people find it helpful to keep a food diary and track calories.

Food Tracking

I am not one of those people.  I get irritated when I feel I have to track my food.  Therefore if I ever wanted to lose weight, I would not count calories.  However, others find it helpful to track and actually enjoy doing so.  It becomes like a little science project for your body. Do what works for you!

Intuitive Eating

I personally find the “intuitive” method more my style.  Here is a great book on this to get more in depth with this style of eating.  It’s all about listening to your body’s hunger signals and not making any foods ‘off limits’.  And when you are trying to make your diet changes last forever, you need to eat what you enjoy.  Limiting certain foods only makes them more appealing.

Stop Obsessing Over a Number

The number on the scale is not the most important thing while dieting.  Take measurements or have a pair of pants you want to fit into.  Stop putting so much energy into a number.  Because that is all it is…a NUMBER.

Unless you know what that number is made up of (fat and lean mass) then it’s useless.  Get your body fat assessed to see what your body fat % is.  Continually monitor that as well as measurements to assess weight loss.

Take Measurements

Now, the scale is an indicator of weight loss obviously, I am not saying it’s not, it’s just not the only thing.  Stop the number obsession!

Be Patient

Weight loss should be slow and steady.  Be patient with yourself and take it one day at a time or even on meal at a time.

Maintain a Happy Weight

I believe this is the hardest part of the lifestyle.  Maintaining.  I’ve seen countless friends and even my own parents lose a significant amount of weight only to gain it all back (sometimes even more) because they dieted.  The diet they chose to do was too harsh and unrealistic to keep up long term.  Eventually old habits come back and the weight comes back.

Your happy weight is a weight that should be easy to maintain for YOU.  Saying that you want to be 120lbs is useless if that weight is not meant for your body.   Be honest with yourself and your goals.

When at a happy weight you shouldn’t go to bed hungry, you shouldn’t feel restricted with eating and have food-consumed thoughts, and you shouldn’t need to exercise 2+ hours a day to maintain it.  At least these are my opinions on what a happy weight is and how I personally feel day to day.

What is Normal Eating?

What the heck is normal eating!?

I think that the definition of normal eating is completely skewed.  And words like “diet” and “restriction” have become the norm.  We always want to be leaner, fitter, and thinner.

We want our bones to show or our 6-pack to be visible. So called “health” magazines seem to preach having “willpower” and eliminating “bad” foods from our diet.  Or they are coming up with strategies to eat less and restrict. Normal eating has become lost and I don’t think many of us know what it is anymore.

I spent some time googling the internet for some possible answers and stumbled upon a few good explanations of what others think normal eating is.

I found this by a woman named Karly Randolph Pitman,

I eat foods that make me feel good. I like a steak every now and then. A pizza is a favorite treat. I love colorful salads. Risotto is my idea of heaven. These things make me feel good, so I eat them. Sugar makes me depressed and wacks me out. Fried eggs give me the willies. Too many fake foods—think lots of processing and packaging—make me feel icky. So I usually abstain.

I eat what I really want. What I want to eat today may be different tomorrow. What I want in the winter may be different than what I crave in the summer. How nice that I can choose; that I don’t have to eat the same four things from a “good foods” list over and over again. Right now I’m in a raw fruit and vegetable phase, stemming from the heat wave we’re currently experiencing. But as the weather cools I crave warm, cooked vegetables and hearty soups. A few weeks ago, when my baby was going through a growth spurt (I’m a nursing mother), I had a hankering for nuts and nut butter. I followed my craving, got a spoon, and dove into the almond butter, without any guilt, shame, remorse or thoughts of calories.

I enjoy my food. I love food. I always have. And I’ve come to glory in that, rather than feel ashamed by it. Who started the lie, anyway, that women shouldn’t have an appetite? I’ve always had a hearty appetite, especially when I’m exercising regularly and nursing, as I am now. I have no qualms about getting a second helping, rather than undereating to be socially acceptable.

Ellyn Satter had this to say,

“Normal eating is going to the table hungry and eating until you are satisfied. It is being able to choose food you like and eat it and truly get enough of it—not just stop eating because you think you should.

Normal eating is being able to give some thought to your food selection so you get nutritious food, but not being so wary and restrictive that you miss out on enjoyable food.

Normal eating is giving yourself permission to eat sometimes because you are happy, sad or bored, or just because it feels good.

Normal eating is mostly three meals a day, or four or five, or it can be choosing to munch along the way. It is leaving some cookies on the plate because you know you can have some again tomorrow, or it is eating more now because they taste so wonderful.

Normal eating is overeating at times, feeling stuffed and uncomfortable. And it can be undereating at times and wishing you had more.

Normal eating is trusting your body to make up for your mistakes in eating. Normal eating takes up some of your time and attention, but keeps its place as only one important area of your life.

In short, normal eating is flexible. It varies in response to your hunger, your schedule, your proximity to food and your feelings.”

My Definition of Normal Eating

To me, normal eating means the following:

Eating what I enjoy and truly want

Honoring my cravings, not eating what I “think I should be eating” or what is the “right choice”

Being mindful that I am getting enough nutritious foods

Eating a variety of foods, not the same “safe foods” day in and day out

Not counting calories or being a slave to the food scale.  I know that my appetite is different each day

Listening to my hunger cues and feelings of fullness

Understanding that I eat for other reasons other than hunger and giving myself permission to do so

Not going on an all out- binge because I “blew it” by eating too many cookies or ice cream.  It’s being able to stop and move on.

Not restricting when I feel I ate too much the day before by eating too little or exercising too much

Not having unrealistic expectations for my body

Not being afraid of food

Above all, normal eating is truly enjoying each meal, whether alone or with others

Question:

What is YOUR definition of normal eating?