Let’s look at some more small powerful habits to introduce for lasting weight management in part two of this series. Habits work with setting the neuroplasticity of the brain, as it loves patterns. We want to do habits that can become nearly automatic which means they’ll last for a lifetime. There’s no point starting a habit unless it has long term potential. And we want to do the chosen habits often enough so they become the default pattern, and thus you’ll be able to keep the weight off. This is explained in depth in Part One. I’ve also created a printable checklist of habits for you to keep on your fridge or in your diary. You can get this at the bottom of the post.
So, let’s dive deep! Last time we spoke about treats. That is, working out how many treats you can have each week. There is a knack to this.
Delicious Treats and all Kinds of Goodies
As explained in part one, knowing the number of treats you can have each week is my secret weapon. It’s powerful and measurable. This sets up a new system in your mind. It’s a perspective shift. It puts you back into the drivers seat. It is measurable and therefore easy to keep track of. My quota is two.
It works in two ways.
First, plan out your treats. If I know I’m going to an awesome restaurant on Saturday night I will save up my quota for then. This helps in all kinds of situations – like when you are staring into a bakery window and am being tempted. You say no to that bakery window. You are not denying gratification, but delaying it. This makes it so much easier to say no.
I know what I’m like. I love treats. So, I’m going to eat them in a way that serves me. You are choosing when and how much. The alternative is to say no, no and no, until you hit a weak willpower moment, say yes and then feel guilty afterwards. You don’t feel in control. I know I’d rather enjoy my treats 100%, not feel guilty afterwards. Then life gets smoother.
Second, don’t consume “dumb calories”. This is my name for treats that don’t taste any good. I don’t want to eat that dried up looking chocolate muffin in the café just because the sweet pang has hit me. If I’m having two treats that week them I want them to be good! Scratch that. I want them to be awesomely delicious! I want the most bang for my buck. Treats really are about the taste, the decadence, the deliciousness rolling around on your tongue. You want to feel satiated afterwards. This goes for everything you eat.
Light Kilojoule Days
Let’s say you go out for dinner. You have 2 glasses of wine, entree and a main. You ate normally for breakfast and lunch, but now you have effectively eaten more kilojoules than you need for that day. If you don’t even it out, you will over time, have creep setting in. That is, scales creeping upwards without you noticing.
When I eat rich food I have low calorie food the day after or before. I’m a big fan of sushi for a light calorie day – and if you ask for chicken teriyaki and brown rice from the menu, as opposed to sushi laden in mayo or deep fried coverings, then you can’t go wrong.
My other go-to meal for a light calorie day is a massive salad of some kind with a tin of tuna dumped onto it. Eaten with bread or rice. No dressing.
I do love dressings, oils and butter but I don’t eat them on a light calorie day. Restaurants meals usually come with a sauce or delicious olive oil. There’s no need to go overboard with it the next day.
If you chop up a tomato, cucumber, lettuce, red onion and let’s say mushroom it will only take you 5mins. I’ve timed it. I’m mentioning this for all those out there who get annoyed with preparing food all the time. I go through phases of cooking lots and then not so much. Sometimes, I want to eat straight away and the only thing I want to wash is the cutting board and knife. You could go one step further and cut it all up on your plate if you want! But I digress.
Another easy meal is to cut up a load of vegetables, put them in the baking tray. Spray them with the olive oil – you want as little oil as possible – and cook them for 35 mins. Eat them with some relish or mustard or whatever takes your fancy. You can also throw spinach leaves onto them for the last 5 minutes of baking. They will wilt and cook.
When you do this habit consistently you should see a few kilos or pounds shed. When I began this habit I certainly did.
Injuries, Illness and Exercise
I have 2 injuries right now so I can’t exercise as much as I’d like to. I normally eat 2 treats a week. So, I’ve reduced the number of treats I have each week to 1 or 0. This way I can maintain my weight until I can exercise more. This goes for when you are ill too. If you are exercising more, you can eat a little more, in fact you will have to, but keep your goal in mind.
Remember we talked about the 80% food 20% exercise ratio in the last issue?
You can read Part One –> Small Powerful Habits for Lasting Weight Management.
Eating in Social Situations
Social situations can be tricky. I find the energy I give out affects the outcome. If I say no and they see me eyeing the delicious treat, they will keep the platter under my nose for longer. And say coaxingly, “Are you sure you don’t want some? It tastes great!”
It’s human nature to do this. Also, the longer I stare at the delicacy, the more likely I am to change my mind. Suddenly, I see my hand reaching for the tray. How did that happen? And now I have to eat it because it’d be rude to put it down. And then it’s like, ‘Oh well, I have to eat it now. Doh.’ Been there. Done that. Not good.
A better approach to this is to simply sit in your power and conviction. Then say, ‘No thank you.’ When I do this people accept my no. They believe my NO 100%, and know trying to persuade me won’t work. They can also tell I am not actually interested in eating it.
What I mean by sitting in my power, is I tap into my strength. It doesn’t need to fierce or anything like that. Personal power works best when you feel at ease, know what you want, and how you are going to get it. Now, this comes back to the issue of treats. If I know how many treats I will eat and when I am going to eat them I can say no very easily.
And remember, what you put in your body is your choice, and no-one else’s. It’s your body. Your life. Your choice. If others know they can cajole you they will. It’s just the way we are wired. In that, we love getting together and eating together.
Sneaky Hidden Kilojoules
I had been doing everything right but was putting on weight and I’m like “Why!!?”
I cast my mind through all I’d been eating and could not find the culprit. Then after some detective work in my pantry I decided to check my protein drink. I have it sometimes with breakfast. When I first bought it, I read the instructions and it said use a full scoop everyday. I ignored that but decided half a scoop was a reasonable amount. An instant decision and never thought of again. Until the dreaded weight gain.
It turns out I was consuming 20 grams which was 3010 kilojoules or 720 calories! And I was having this with toast for breakfast! Eek!
So if you think you are doing everything right but still have extra weight on, put your detective hat on and look for the hidden. It could be anywhere.
Fats are a vital part of any diet but lots of hidden extra calories can hide here. One tablespoon of coconut oil is half a tuna salad sandwich.
Do you drink alcohol every evening to wind down? You will never lose the weight you want until you sort out this pattern.
Another culprit for me was muffins. They have huge amounts of calories although I thought of them as healthy. A quick search on Google showed a muffin is 426 calories or 1782 kilojoules while a friand is 186 calories or 778 kilojoules. Easy to change to that. What thing is tripping you up? There could very well be something holding you back that you don’t know about.
Choose 1 or 2 of these habits. It’s better to do 1 habit well and make it permanent, than 3 habits that last for a week. So, for example, choose to add in light calorie days after eating at a restaurant. Make sure you do this consistently for 3-4weeks. If you don’t you will forget about the habit, as life can move fast. Don’t do it for 2 weeks then forget. You need to do it often enough so it becomes part of the daily routine.
We are setting up long term gain here, not short term. Think smart. Action well. Make the habit nearly automatic. Remember what I said about the neuroplasticity of the brain in Part One and creating habits?
I hope you are going well with the new habits we introduced in Part One. And are taking the steps I wrote about how to reset the pattern of your brain. Remember, ….
Your key goal is to work out how much you can eat for your desired healthy weight.
Next issue we will look at your relationship to your fridge, how I eat breakfast to set me up for the day, your particular diet, and lot’s more.
You might like my very popular post 8 Top Habits That Create A Bad Relationship to Self.