Why I Like Hungry Girl’s “5 Weight-Maintenance Tips That Work”

I got this Hungry Girl article in my e-mail a few days ago: 

“5 Weight-Maintenance Tips That Work”

I’ve followed Hungry Girl for years – literally from the beginning. I was recovering from two severe eating disorders and found the site’s positivity both helpful and encouraging. To this day, I still get the newsletters, and still appreciate what she (Lisa, the founder) is aiming to do – help others live a healthier life beginning with THE key factor —-> nutrition.

Nutrition is something I think about all the time – not only because of my experiences, but because I am still an athlete. At 40, things are vastly different then when I was 20 – I’m constantly tweaking my routine  and my nutritional intake in order to achieve my goal(s) of maintaining a healthy life. One, I might add, that is sustainable (what’s the point if you can’t stick to a plan?!)

Anyway…I really liked her article because these ARE tips that can help when trying to maintain weight, or lose a little extra. She isn’t launching into unreasonable means of achieving these things, and therefore not insinuating that anyone need to do anything drastic. It’s about little, overall changes. It’s about learning why / how those changes work, and being able to stick with them for the longer haul. 

Here are Lisa’s tips (click on the link above for her take!) paired with a few comments of my own:

1 – RE-EVALUATION OF OUR DAILY, CALORIC INTAKE

I don’t advocate necessarily counting every…single…calorie, every…single…day. With a past like mine, I know that’s dangerous territory for many people (even those who haven’t dipped into eating-disorder-land.) This kind of hyper-micromanagement can lead to paranoia or OCD / addictive / controlling behaviors for certain personality types. Rest assured, that can only end poorly – trying to control to the umpteenth degree on a daily basis can cause a program to fail (impossible to maintain over time) OR a rebound (“let me just eat everything in sight because I can’t take this stringent restriction anymore!”) Restriction doesn’t work.

HOWEVER…

Being aware of our caloric needs, and focusing in on what the foods we eat contain calorically CAN help us to reprogram. We can paint a better picture of what our personal best nutritional plan is by:

  1. Making an effort to understand what an appropriate portion really is.
  2. Learning how many calories certain types of foods contain.
  3. Checking into what our specific bodies need calorically (Lisa shares a calculator in her article.)

Keep in mind, we are all different. Calculators, too, aren’t 100% (the best basal metabolic calculator is generally a test done at the hospital, or using one of those new, fancy-pants “pods” designed to account for other factors beyond height, age, and activity level.)

The point is, it is crucial to understand whether we need 3,000 calories a day, or more like 1,500 – we may be sabotaging ourselves without even knowing. Exercise can help you boost this number, by the way, so don’t consider a super low number a horrible fate. You can help it along.

2 – KEEP WHAT WORKS FOR YOU

I love that she points this out. Jumping on the diet-fad bandwagon isn’t going to save you – even if you lose a few pounds short-term (summer beach season is coming up – don’t be tempted!) you may well find the weight you lost coming back. Why? A “fad” isn’t a lifestyle change by definition! 

What works then? Take a look at your history… Is there a time you remember (beyond being a teenage-metabolic-furnace!) where you found you were feeling and looking your best? What were you doing at that time to achieve those goals? As above, things change as we get older BUT…if you were exercising more, think about adding some movement back into your schedule. Think about the KINDS of exercises that work best for you…

You may love long runs so you can zone out and decompress… Maybe you like cycling outside, or doing zumba with a group. If HIIT for only 20 minutes seems to help your body shed the most effectively, look at finding room for that two or three times a week.

Along these lines, if a certain nutritional approach worked, maybe it’s time to revisit it. I can’t eat processed carbohydrates without feeling horrendous, so that’s something I avoid, as one example. Maybe a Weight Watchers type approach works for you because it holds you accountable, and helps you recognize how much you are really taking in. Perhaps it’s Mediterranean in flavor….that’s great too. We are not all going to respond to the same plan. If it worked for you in the past, break it down and think about WHY and HOW it worked. Find ways to incorporate those hows and whys into your current routine.

3 – 80/20 = SUCCESS LONG TERM

The “80/20” rule is a far more realistic approach to changing our not-so-healthy habits to good ones with success. What this entails is that you stick to your healthy eating and exercise 80% of time. There are going to be days where you are completely over your eyeballs. There are going to be others where you’re simply too exhausted (to the point that exercise might not be your safest best – bad form can mean injury potential.) There will also be days where you might be traveling for work and can’t maintain your home routine…

Life HAPPENS, and sticking to the “perfect diet” 100% of the time isn’t realistic for anyone. Instead, aim for being on point 80% of the time – this allows you a 20% buffer where you can deviate without sabotaging your many efforts to achieve your personal goals. 

4 – BE ACCOUNTABLE and HONEST

Accountability and honesty are absolutely integral when it comes to personal progress. NO ONE likes criticism. No one likes to admit shortcomings. BUT…if we don’t’ address personal concerns we know to be true, we are doing ourselves a huge disservice. 

We ALL have room to grow – it’s okay to have areas that need improvement, and it’s okay to not always stay on track. What will never be okay, however, is lying to ourselves. Honesty is the best policy not only with others, but in our internal dialogue as well – we know what our goals are, we know if we are falling short, and denial will only perpetuate the problem.

Own up to whatever it is that needs some tweaking and watch how much you can progress once you take that ownership. Even small progress is a step forward, and it is astounding how much those gains can contribute to overall self-motivation and confidence. 

You don’t need to live up to anyone else’s standards – what other people think is their business only. And you definitely don’t need to be hard on yourself! This is simply about owning our truths and recognizing that we CAN make changes once we are open to admitting them.

5 – REWARD YOURSELF

Equally as important as the rest! Maintaining and losing weight isn’t always super easy, especially as we get older and we see that our tried-and-true doesn’t work anymore. Make sure to take time to do something nice for YOU – buy a non-food goodie, repeat some extra affirmations, take a day to do a special activity you don’t always have time for, take a trip to the spa…! Whatever it is, treat yourself and remember how many things you are doing right. 

 

McCormick Spices Up Breakfast

I’m so happy to see this!  I don’t deviate a whole ton in my nutrition – I can’t say I get bored, thankfully, but having a variety of spices really helps me avoid that trap to begin with.  I typically use whatever savory seasoning I feel like in the morning, and generally prefer that to sweet.  That said, it is always nice to have more…and new…options!

Enter McCormick’s “Good Morning” breakfast enhancers! These newbies focus specifically on breakfast and are designed to add a flavor boost to your yogurt, oatmeal, smoothies, slow-cooker breakfasts…or whatever else you might desire.  

I personally LOVE spice blends and dry seasonings because they tend to be a lot less caloric, giving me the opportunity to eat more of the protein, for example, instead of bulking up on empty condiment calories and less food.

Even more exciting…there are purportedly 18 items in the lineup, scheduled to hit stores later this year.  BOOM!

 

 

 

Thankful For Healthy Options

I feel like there was a time – somewhere back in my childhood and teen years – when you couldn’t find healthy food choices as easily as you can in 2016.  The availability of clean options is something I am incredibly thankful for because sometimes you just don’t have time to pack a snack (and I am the QUEEN of snack packing!) 

I recently found myself at the ER for a loved one, and again at the hospital twice more for follow ups.  I remember visiting my grandmother many, many moons ago in a hospital in my hometown – it was a wonderful facility but there wasn’t much in the way of healthy foods.  You had a cafeteria with food selections, of course – but the options weren’t exactly health conscious.  Let’s keep in mind, the food for visitors is not the focus, nor should it be!  At the time, it wouldn’t have mattered an ounce!  I was a figure skater who couldn’t’ have kept pounds on me if I tried!

But at almost 38, I do my best to fuel my body with healthy, nutritious foods, staying mindful of my overall caloric intake (and calorie makeup, equally if not more important) because it WILL stick.  Though we may schedule well and prepare accordingly, Life sometimes changes things up…and it ISN’T the end of the world!

So here I am in an inner City hospital, waiting until I am allowed to head back to the recovery room – for me, that was all I cared about!  I was told I HAD to wait 40 minutes at the minimum so, as I was feeling a bit peckish, I ran upstairs to a little coffee outpost.  I was delighted to find hard-boiled eggs, an item I doubt I’d have seen even five years ago.  I recall first seeing these (with a skeptical sneer, admittedly) in an airport – since then I have made the plunge and given them a whirl (hard boiled eggs vs gigantic bagel?  Clear winner for me!)  They aren’t made ten minutes prior, necessarily, but they are fresh…and they are a WONDERFUL option.  Full amino profile in the yolk, plenty of protein, and some healthy fat to keep me satisfied for a while – good choice!

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I was really thankful that there was something more than sugary muffins, and calorie-dense carbohydrates to choose from – when clean options are part of the the selection, it makes sticking to our goals and plan MUCH easier!

I wouldn’t necessarily have found myself seeking out a snack had I not be told I had to sit and wait…but since I didn’t have the choice, it was a treat to find some snacks I could enjoy.  They ALSO had soy milk – not in a carafe, but to buy – which I use for coffee.  That was pretty awesome too. 🙂

Healthy options EVERYwhere.

#thankful

For more of my goodies, click here!