Well, it’s that time of year again. Time for a second helping of mashed potatoes, a few extra cookies with your tea, and enough booze and sugary drinks that you risk drowning in the punchbowl. The season of eating is upon us.
So, let’s front-run it by doubling-down on our dietary efforts! If, like me, the start of another school or fiscal year hit you with a horrible case of the munchies, you might be grateful for some reminders of the good, the bad, and the ugly…
About Not Being Fat
First, the good part. It’s slightly difficult to lose weight, but relatively easy to keep it off. (Yay!) The fact that people struggle with keeping it off has mostly to do with the fact that they don’t like to exercise and they do like to eat. If exercising is not one of your hobbies, but eating is, then you are probably fat. Sorry. Reality bites.
Now, for the bad part: losing weight does take some effort. If you want to be slender (healthy weight), but don’t know where to start, here are some of our favorite basic rules:
- Use smaller dishes. Using a salad plate for your dinner and sticking to dessert bowls for your morning cereal is something you can do RIGHT NOW, and it’s probably the one thing that will have the biggest positive impact upon your waistline. Pile these plates and bowls as high as you want, but take no seconds. This is the famous “eat less” diet that kept women from turning into tubs of lard for the past few millenia. Because we’re all used to over-sized portions and measuring food is tiresome, just switch to dishes that don’t hold as much food.
There are people who insist that you shouldn’t do this, as it will cause you to gain weight once you go back to eating “normal portions”, and they are right. That’s because normal portions will make you fat. That’s why you’re fat right now: you eat normal portions. The smaller portion is the amount you should eat to lose weight, and the amount you should eat to maintain your weight. It is the correct amount to eat and, if anything, you should continue to decrease the amount you eat as you get thinner and older (as smaller and/or older people need fewer calories).
Yup. You are a total glutton and you need to stop stuffing your face. Save the planet from mass starvation, one meal at a time.
- Get more and more-regular sleep. Try to go to bed at the same time every day and wake up at the same time every morning, take a nap at the same time every afternoon (Wouldn’t that be nice?), and try to get around 7 hours total. There’s a lot of science behind this, but I’m too lazy to link to it, so just take my word for it.
- Avoid anything with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in it. If you do that, you’ll eliminate most of the worst junk food from your diet, including the vile sodas that are destroying your waistline. If you’re going to drink something sweet, drink something traditional and relatively wholesome like a beer or a cup of whole milk.
- Cut your sugar intake in half. Then, once you get used to that, cut it in half again. Then again. Then stop buying sugar altogether. Seriously. Why do you add that crap to all of your food and drinks, like some sort of junkie? There is no redeeming value to it and it rots your teeth.
- Cut the rest of the carbs, while you’re at it. Anything over 150g of carbs per day is way too much. You’re going to give yourself a heart attack that way.
- Increase the amount of fat and protein in your diet. Yes, that’s correct. No, that’s not paleo, that’s just simple math. If you want to be satiated on a lower number of calories, cut the carbs and up the fat and make sure you get plenty of protein and fresh veggies.
- Track what you eat. I know you say that you’re trying to lose weight, but until you start writing down (or typing, at a site like Sparkspeople) what you actually eat everyday, you probably have no idea why you’re still fat. Track your food intake and it will become clear rather quickly that the coffee creamer and breakfast cereal are sabotaging your efforts. Face the truth and throw out the frosted flakes.
Also monitor how your diet and energy levels change over your menstrual cycle. We all tend to overeat during certain phases, and it keeps our spirits up to know that it’s “just hormones” and not simple lack of will on our part.
- Eat real food. Like, buy recognizable ingredients that have to be properly cooked. Do not buy precooked meals or diet food.
- Drink more. A lot of the time we eat because it’s a bad habit, like smoking or chewing on our nails. We get bored and our society is practically overrun with snacks, so we eat. Break the habit with substitution: chew some sugarless gum or sip at unsweetened tea or a bottle of water whenever you get the urge.
- Don’t let people discourage you. Just as the anti-bullying pogrom is supposed to make homosexuals feel better about being homosexuals so that they don’t have to admit that they’re just another brand of fornicator, “fat acceptance” is supposed to make obese women feel better about being obese so that they don’t have to admit that they’re committing suicide by cupcake.
Once you start losing weight, you might find a negative reaction coming from a surprising source: your husband. Truth is, most husbands of fat women don’t eat well or work out themselves, and they resent their wife’s attempt at reform. I know, it sucks. *group hug* Just try to keep your eye on the prize (like those thinspo jeans you’ve got in your closet, just waiting to be worn) and try to prepare foods you can both enjoy without an argument breaking out.