Over the past 10 years, I have seen my weight fluctuate up and down. As an emotional eater, in times of stress I get heavier, and in times of happiness and contentment, I am lighter. I guess I wear my feelings on my hips, butt and tummy. After years of yo-yo dieting, binge eating, starving myself, and trying every new diet fad out there, I have learned a thing or two about successful weight loss, and weight management. I am going to share 7 tools that I have found to be essential to maintaining a healthy weight.
1. Eating Frequently
Yes eating often seems to fly in the face of weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight but it really is key. Of course, you have to eat healthy foods, but if you eat frequently (5-6 times per day), you won’t get hungry and then overeat when you do have a meal. I can’t count the number of times I skipped a meal only to overindulge in another meal later in the day or late at night before bedtime because I was starving. Once I started eating frequently, I stopped this unhealthy behaviour.
2. Bulk Up Your Meals
I started to add an extra cup of non-starchy vegetables to my meals. Leafy greens, broccoli, peppers, and mushrooms are examples of the extra veggies I add to my plate. This fills me up with healthy foods and not empty calories, and makes me less likely to grab an unhealthy, high calorie snack between meals.
3. Schedule a Weekly Meal Prep
I block 2-3 hours per week on Sundays to do my meal prep for the next week. This is marked in my calendar as a weekly, non-negotiable item. If I don’t block time in my schedule I know it won’t happen. I prepare a variety of vegetables and meats and combine them in different ways. I cook a whole chicken and use the meat for salads, stirfrys and wraps. I mix vegetables with different combinations to give myself some variety. I make egg muffins so that I have an easy grab and go breakfast for the week. If healthy, easy meals are on hand it is easier to eat nutritiously.
4. Load Up On Water
We all know we should drink 8-10 glasses of water a day but sometimes this is hard. Take a water bottle with you everywhere as this will help increase your H2O intake. If you don’t like water, you can ease into it the same way that I did. I started first by drinking carbonated water and flavoured water because I like the bubbles. From there I switched to plain water but I would add slices of lemons, cucumbers or strawberries. Next, I switched to plain water with nothing added. The switch was gradual but it worked, and now I am much better at staying properly hydrated.
5. Find Creative Ways To Exercise
If you can’t get to the gym every day, there are other ways to increase activity level. Walk where you can, take the stairs where you can and find creative ways to add exercise. When I am doing chores such as laundry, unloading the dishwasher or cooking I incorporate squats into what I am doing. After folding a piece of laundry I do a squat, after taking a dish from the dishwasher I do a squat. There are easy ways to add activity to every day life.
6. Portion Control
Bring out the measuring spoons and cups and actually measure the portions of food you are serving yourself. This helps ensure that you aren’t over-eating and that you are mindful of your serving size.
7. Change Your Attitude
Instead of telling yourself, that you are over 40 or 50 and it is impossible to stay slim or it doesn’t matter at your age, tell yourself that you are a sexy, man or woman in the prime of your life. Remember that maintaining a healthy weight is completely doable and that you owe it to yourself to make it a priority so that you can be the best version of yourself.
Try incorporating as many of these tools as you can into your life on a consistent basis, and you will find that losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight are realistic outcomes at midlife and beyond. If you would like some help with finding ways to incorporate these and other healthy living tools into your life, I’d love to chat. I have a great coaching program that will help you achieve your goals.