Why isn't it working? I bet you already know....
Monday, April 22, 2013
From my friend Nancy - just hit me right today:
“No one needs to know about this handful of candy.”
You started out with measuring cups and maybe a food scale. You wrote down and planned everything that you ate. Then, one day, you had three pieces of chocolate or a spoonful of peanut butter. You did not gain weight from this, and so, you did it again. Maybe you went to the gym and came home extra hungry; so, you ate a little extra.
However, now this has become a habit. You still write down the food that you remember eating, but what about those little “food bonuses,” which you doubt are really adding up to anything? This is a fact—everything that goes into your mouth counts. Yes, even if you eat it fast. Yes, even if you do not even remember eating it. Yes, even if you did not really enjoy it—it still counts.
“One mini candy bar does not even count.”
Actually, it does count. Everything counts. It is the cold, hard truth about weight loss. Even the creamer in your coffee counts. One piece of Hershey’s Bliss® milk chocolate candy contains 35 calories (actually the same as 1 tablespoon (Tbsp) of French vanilla coffee creamer). If you have one piece of chocolate and 1 Tbsp of coffee creamer every day, you have accrued 490 calories in 7 days.
“I am sure that my exercise more than makes up for this.”
A person who weighs 150 pounds burns 358 calories in 1 hour of low-impact general aerobics, 573 calories in 1 hour of riding a bike at a speed of 12–14 miles per hour (mph), 1146 calories running at a speed of 10 mph for 1 hour, and 215 calories in 1 hour of walking at a leisurely pace (2.5 mph).
“This food contains many nutrients, so I should not feel guilty about eating it.”
Sure, that smoothie might contain some real fruit and milk, but a 16-ounce smoothie usually contains 250–300 calories, depending on the restaurant, and while a salad can provide many vitamins and minerals, a hand-tossed Asian sesame chicken salad at Panera Bread® contains 418 calories and 20 grams of fat. That is maybe fine if it is your meal, but not a good idea for a snack if you are trying to lose weight.
“I know that my portion sizes are small or at the most average.”
People are consistently shocked by the size of standard portions, even if they think that they know exactly what a serving looks like. Have you ever actually measured out ½ cup of pasta or ice cream? How about 1 teaspoon of margarine or 2 tablespoons of salad dressing or maple syrup? Try it for a day. What is the worst that could happen?
“I do not need to keep track of what I eat. I can do it in my head.”
Think about the creamer and the piece of chocolate previously mentioned. Would you think to count that in your mental tally? Most people would not. Yet, 500 calories in 1 week is enough to hinder a weight loss plan. In fact, study after study has shown that the average person dramatically underestimates calories consumed. This is linked to the belief that if a food is nutrient rich, it cannot hurt your weight loss plan
“I should have lost more weight by now.”
Of course, the sooner you hit your weight goal, the happier it will make you. The thing is that making a lifestyle change is for life. Once you have reached your goal, you can not go revert to your old diet.
The good news is that no foods are off limit to you. You can work all foods can into a healthful lifestyle, even when weight loss is the goal. Many people who have successfully lost weight are surprised to find out that they simply can not eat the amount of food that they used to, because of either a shrinking stomach (literally) or changes in taste.
After the initial, exciting loss of water weight, you should lose an average of 2 pounds (lb)/week. Some weeks you will lose 1 lb, and other weeks you might lose 3 lb. Getting angry or upset at yourself is likely to backfire. You might give up and say, “I am not losing any weight anyway. I might as well…” Once you start this mind trick, it is all uphill.