The snow is melting, and the sun is shining a little brighter in the valley today. I don’t know about you, but the second the snow starts melting, I look ahead at all the spring and summer upcoming events.
Wedding season is almost upon us, and with it, the pictures that will haunt us for the rest of our lives. If you are anything like me, you have had this realization in horror (Sister’s wedding for me) and have bought the gym membership and vowed to shed the winter weight before the summer months begin. It’s weird because I ski pretty regularly in the winter, but it must have something to do with the pizza and beer during apres!
Now, it seems like there are so many opinions and diets and options to lose weight. Over the years, I feel like I have not lost a significant amount of weight, and when I did, the weight loss was short-lived, and I would gain it all back and then some. It wasn’t until I decided to approach my body in a new way, a way where I could lose weight but still love myself wholeheartedly.
So began my journey into loving myself into a healthier body which I am convinced will be an ongoing practice. I have successfully lost 20 pounds, and I am very much on my way to feeling better.
Paying attention to how I am feeling has been so helpful in finding my way. Mindful eating and asking myself how does this food make me feel? Pausing and genuinely savoring the food I am eating. Doing this practice led me to want to eat more vibrant and healthy foods. I have enjoyed taking the time to cook for myself and thoroughly tasting the foods I am eating.
What I found that worked along with the self-love and mindset shift are simple things that make sense.
1. You can eat carbs, but the type of carbs make all the difference.
Complex and whole-grain carbs are great for energy and keep you feeling full. Super processed carbs make me feel sluggish and overly full. Carbohydrates are made up of three components, fiber, starch, and sugar. Fiber and starch are complex carbs that are packed with nutrients. Examples of complex carbs are nuts, beans, fruit, quinoa, or whole-wheat pasta.
- These complex carbs are also packed with potassium, magnesium, and selenium. Complex carbs are more easily processed in your body and give you a healthy jolt of energy to make it through your workday and still have enough energy to get some exercise in. Do I still eat a bag of Doritos every now and then? Absolutely! I have found that once I introduce more complex carbs into my diet, the taste of the heavily processed carbs does not sit right with me anymore. It took three weeks to stop refined sugar and overly processed carb cravings. Now that they are gone, things seem much easier, and I don’t wake up with a belly ache from what I ate the day before.
2. Eat small meals throughout the day
Starving yourself does not help your hormone systems. People who skip breakfast tend to make poorer food decisions later. Before the intermittent fasters come for me, this is my opinion, but many doctors and nutritionists agree with me. If you still want to try out intermittent fasting, do so wisely. Don’t plan a big workout on an empty stomach. Wait until you’ve at least had a little protein.
3. Stay in a calorie deficit.
Even if you eat a ton of veggies and complex carbs, eating large portions can sabotage your ability to lose weight. This can be very triggering for some people but stay with me! Don’t rely on these internet calorie calculators. They don’t consider all of the critical factors and often recommend unhealthy maintenance numbers (the number of calories you would eat to stay the same weight you are now). If you are really serious about losing weight, I recommend going to a nutritionist to determine the number of calories a day you should be eating to lose weight. I know staying in a calorie deficit seems challenging, and I can get grouchy when it feels like I am restricting myself from eating the food I want. This is why health professionals recommend losing weight slowly. Try to stay 100 calories underneath your maintaining calorie number to prevent the burnout that triggers binge eating. You can lose 1-2 pounds a week at this rate without killing your spouse or children. Health professionals also say that people who have lost their weight slowly are much more likely to keep it off than those who do extreme calorie deficits with rapid weight loss. Also, I would like to say that 1200 calories are an appropriate number for a toddler! Don’t starve yourself! You will have no energy, especially for those of us who live in the high Rocky Mountains. You will be FREEZING all the time if you aren’t giving your body enough energy.
This one seems obvious, but this doesn’t mean you have to wake up before the sunrise and climb a mountain. Regular exercise is much more powerful than intense exercise. Basic cardio for 40 minutes a day can help speed up your metabolism. That 40 minutes doesn’t even have to be consecutive. You could break it up into 10-minute intervals 4 times a day. But moving your body daily is incredibly important for targeting stubborn fat that breeds illness and disease. This also makes staying in a calorie deficit easier!
5. Eat your veggies!
I feel like this is another seemingly obvious one, but I can not stress this one enough. There is a reason that every diet out there pretty much agrees on this one. Vegetables are a great source of vitamins and minerals and fill you up while still low in calories. When I eat more vegetables, I feel my brain fog clear and have more energy in general. I feel more creative and can show up better for my loved ones.
6. Drink lots of water!
I told you these things were simple, but they make all the difference! Sometimes, I see influencers with giant water bottles that hold a gallon of water. After speaking with several doctors and researching college studies, a gallon of water is definitely considered a little excessive. However, water does help you speed up your weight loss and your metabolism. So, how much water do we need? It varies from person to person. 1-2 liters a day if you are not working out and 3-4 liters a day if you do a moderate to a vigorous workout. These seem to be the numbers most professionals agree upon. Listen to your body and always drink a glass of water after eating a meal!
Weight loss is hard, and it often seems impossible. But, I promise you, you got this! And remember, weighing less is not just about looking good. It’s about feeling your best and being able to show up and live your most vibrant life possible! Taking care of your body is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. However, eating disorders are very real, and sometimes the suggestions I made above won’t work for you and your past relationship with food.
If you are struggling with an eating disorder, consider working closely with a professional to help you determine how to lose or gain weight in a way that is good for both your body and mental health. We only have one life and one body. Let’s treat it like we would treat our most precious loved ones with love and respect! And don’t forget, whatever your current weight or size, you are beautiful and radiant no matter what!