In my practice as a wellness strategist, I focus on what people eat and their relationship with food. They go hand and hand.
I’d like to give you a quick insight on a common trend that may be working against you. It comes from the New Year’s resolution – more specifically around the healthy eating and weight loss vow.
Let me share my own version of what happens with that resolution. First, the initial drive and motivation where you buy lots of fresh produce and make nutritious home cooked meals.
That lasts about two weeks and then a winter storm hits, and you’ve been stuck in traffic for far too long and are too tired to cook. You’ve had a hard day at work and it’s time to order a pizza. The kids have their various lessons and you’re getting fast food on the run.
What most people don’t realize is that we’re fighting against the tide when it comes to weight loss in winter. This is when the skies are grey, the days are short, and most days, the physical energy is low. I don’t know about you, but during the winter months, I’m more like this.
I’ve often said that I must have been a bear in a previous life because in the winter I want to do more of this.
Weight loss in winter counters evolution. You don’t see skinny bears go into hibernation. If they did, they’d likely die before Spring. Humans don’t hibernate, although I often wish I could.
In the past, winter meant a scarcity of food and possible starvation. So, going into winter, the body stores fat…just in case. This probably explains why in winter I am less tempted by this.
It’s beautiful, isn’t it? I know that I should desperately want to eat this. But at this time of year what I’d rather have is this.
I’ll want that pretty salad in the spring and summer and less in the fall. It’s during these seasons that I feel more like this.
I’m not discouraging you from eating foods that are better for you or that you shouldn’t try to lose weight if that’s your wish. I encourage you to adjusting your eating habits now and delay the start of your weight loss to a time when you’ll have greater success and that your strategies will work with nature – start in March or April.
To help you along, here are a few points that I picked up from an article titled: The Worse Diets Ever: Diets That Don’t Work.
1) Take inventory of what you’re doing now and identify your “weakest link.” Most people know immediately where they are vulnerable — 3 p.m. snacking, monster portions, too much alcohol, (an) insatiable sweet tooth, or snacking all day long. These are what I term as your food demon.
Try to identify what led to your weight gain and address it. For example, if you overeat because of stress, consider a stress management course. Develop a strategy to address areas where you’re vulnerable so you can set yourself up for success.
In my case, I have a constant battle with the See Food Demon. I see food, I eat it. It took some retrospection but I know why I’m tempted and know what steps to take to minimize the temptations to eat all the food in sight.
2) Identify one to three small changes you can make right now in your diet and exercise habits. Even though you want quick results, this method has proven to be safe, effective, and sustainable long term.
If you have an insatiable sweet tooth, then once or twice a week, replace eating cookies with eating fruit. Gradually change from eating pastries to eating more fruit. You can and should allow yourself to have the cookies or pastries…just not as often.
Instead of a glass of wine, have a spritzer made with soda water. You cut the calories and alcoholic intake by half.
3) Reassess in a few weeks to see whether your changes are working; then make a few more small changes. It takes about 12 weeks for you to see progress, and that is about the time you should incorporate a few more changes so you keep pushing the bar.
- Dawn Jackson-Blatner, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (ADA)
Working with your body’s, and evolution’s, natural rhythms is a surer way to success. Ease up on the heavy comfort food in March; eat lighter meals in April, May and beyond.
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