I’m a fan of four-letter words, but diet happens to be a four-letter word I just can’t get behind. Not only do diets not work, they usually only end up making things worse.
For the past 7 years, I’ve helped countless clients ditch the diet mentality and forego deprivation in favor of losing weight in a healthier way.
While I have a myriad of tips and solutions to help clients achieve their optimal weight, I’ve noticed that the ones who most successfully managed to shed pounds—and sustain that weight loss—have something in common. Each of them implemented these three strategies:
1. Keep a food journal but don’t bother counting calories
Counting calories can often be tedious and frustrating. Instead keep a basic food journal to increase your accountability and help you get real about what you’re consuming. Be as detailed as possible by including all of the ingredients you eat and the approximate portion sizes. The weekly food journal spreadsheet I use with my clients includes columns to track breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack and beverage consumption, as well as weight. Yes it’s basic. But it’s highly effective. It not only encourages you to be more mindful of your food consumption, it also allows you to notice trends in your weight. You can add in additional rows to record the quality of your sleep, energy, physical symptoms, mood, stress, or whatever else you feel is important to measure.
2. Plan ahead.
Planning ahead isn’t just for Type A folks—though, boy, does it ever make us happy! It’s a necessary tool for managing your food and honoring your healthy eating intentions.
Especially when you are trying to lose weight, it’s important to think ahead about what you’re going to eat—whether at work, in your home, or on vacation. Plan your meals so you stay in control. Make a grocery list to keep your kitchen well stocked. Prepare snacks in advance and always have an emergency healthy stash on hand. This will lessen the likelihood of skipping meals or chowing down on whatever you see first when you’re in a hurry or hangry.
3. Don’t be carb phobic. But be carb mindful.
I generally like to focus on what you are eating versus what’s being excluded. But it’s also true that all of my successful weight-loss clients pay close attention to how much flour and grain containing products they consume. The strategy I have found to be the most effective in allowing people to lose weight without feeling deprived is to consume these foods only one time per day. Maybe it’s a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, or a sandwich for lunch, or a rice bowl for dinner. But not all three in the same day. Skip the flour and grain products during those other eating occasions and instead fill up on lean proteins, healthy fats, fruits and veggies.
If you’ve been struggling to lose weight or keep it off, try these strategies and see how they work for you! You can also download my free Weekly Food Journal at http://jillginsberg.com/freeresources.