Today I would like to welcome again to Skinny Mom’s Kitchen, Heather from Feel Good About Dinner. You can read the post on 13 low calorie substitutes she shared with us last year.
Heather has been a SMK reader from, what seems like, the beginning. We have shared many tips with one another and I loved hearing about her weight loss progress this past year. I am absolutely thrilled that has reached her 40lb weight loss goal!! Go girl!
This time around she wants to share the different ways she plans on changing her thinking in order to maintain her weight loss. Okay, let’s get to it.
Last August I found Skinny Mom’s Kitchen. Tammy’s story inspired me as it sounded all too much like my own slow weight gain over the years. On August 26 th of 2011, I started using my fitness pal faithfully. Since that time I have met my weight loss goal by losing 40 pounds. You can read my weight loss journey here.
Now I am faced with a new goal. I need to maintain this weight. My initial reasons for wanting to lose weight were mainly health reasons. I turn 40 this year and I wanted to enter my 40’s at a healthy, maintainable weight. Wanting to avoid type two diabetes and other health issues caused by being over weight and knowing the risks increase with age, were huge motivations for me. If I only gain my weight back once lost, I have done nothing to help my body in this way and am actually far worse off for making my body go through the stress of losing and gaining weight.
When losing weight it is exciting to see the number on the scale shrink and the need to buy a smaller dress size. My weight loss goal is finished, but I can’t think of this as the end, but the beginning. If I go back to old habits I will go back to 40 pounds heavier.
A lot of my eating habits and weight loss issues are tied with my emotions, feelings, and mental games. From talking with others, I don’t think I am alone in this. It is so easy to talk ourselves into eating ten cookies only to regret it later. Being honest with ourselves and identifying our weaknesses are crucial at any stage of losing weight and especially when trying to maintain.
I have been asking myself, How do skinny people think in comparison to people who are overweight? And, How does my thinking need to change in order to keep off my weight? The following are several things I have thought or said (and have heard others say) that reveal my fat person way of thinking. Whether you are just starting your weight loss journey or you have met your goal, I hope the following helps you learn to think like a skinny person.
How the Fat Person Inside of Me Thinks and How I Should be Thinking:
1. This is a special occasion, so I’m just going to eat whatever I feel like. Definition of special occasion: my birthday, my son’s birthday, my husband’s birthday, all holidays, going out to eat, going to a church dinner or retreat, eating at someone’s house, having a bad day, having a great day, it’s Friday, my husband’s out of town, etc., etc., etc.
I am not saying that you can never enjoy a treat, but we should never throw off all restraint. Saying I will eat whatever I feel like really means, “I will eat as much as possible since I have an excuse.”
2. I’ll just have one more small piece. I said this to my son the other day about a leftover dessert and he said, “Mom I hate to break it to you, but having several small pieces is the same as having one or two big pieces.”
I have come to learn that willpower is way overrated. Yes, I should be able to eat in moderation, but I have to be honest with myself that certain foods I like too much and then need to be avoided. We all have “those foods.” For me it is sweets, for you it may be potato chips. Like, really, who ever eats just 7 potato chips?
Some strategies that have helped me:
- Don’t keep foods in the house that are too tempting. When buying snacks for my family I try to find things they like that I have an easier time avoiding. My son asked me if I would buy some ice cream at the store the other day and I said, “I will buy you a cone at McDonalds if you like, but I just can’t trust myself to have a half gallon of ice cream in the house right now.”
- Don’t bake without a reason. I love trying out new recipes, but baking just to bake is too dangerous for me. If you really want to bake, think of someone who is sick or discouraged that you could encourage by dropping off a treat. A whole dessert like a pie or cake is the safest option because you can’t taste test a pie like you can a cookie.
- Don’t bake when nobody is at home. Have many witnesses and many taste testers to help you to not overeat. I have baked when nobody is home and after “just one more” there was embarrassingly too little left of the dessert to offer my family. To cover my tracks I have eaten the rest. After all, if I eat it all then the temptation is gone, right? Do you see the twisted thinking of the fat person that lives inside of me? Please don’t tell me that I am the only one who has ever done this!
- Don’t take the first bite. I’m not talking about all treats, but those treats that you typically don’t have the willpower to eat just a little. I was on a walk with my son around the neighborhood and he wanted to stop to see if the light was on at Krispy Kreme so he could get a free doughnut. He wanted me to go in with him so he could have two free doughnuts. He offered me a bite. I told him that it was far easier for me not to eat it at all than to just take a bite. I knew after one bite, I would be eating the whole doughnut.
- Find a lower calorie substitute for your favorite foods. Ice cream has always been my favorite treat. I have been making almond milkshakes which are much healthier and lower in calories than ice cream and they totally satisfy that craving. Almond milk is comparable in price to ice cream and these shakes have become a favorite for our whole family. Sour cream is another savory favorite that I used to incorporate into many of my dinners. Now I use strained non-fat plain yogurt as a healthy substitute with way fewer calories.
3. This is healthy, so I can eat as much as I like. One of the biggest lessons I have learned from using my fitness pal is that healthy foods have calories too. I love to add all sorts of healthy ingredients in my recipes to boost the nutrition, but flax seed, whole wheat flour, coconut oil, and honey have calories just like white flour, sugar, and shortening.
4. She is so skinny, why does she need to exercise? I have said and thought this about people and then realized, “Duh, that is why she is skinny.” I can’t just exercise in order to lose weight, but exercise needs to be a part of my life to maintain a healthy weight.
I am far from an exercise queen. I lost most of my weight without exercising. Now that I have lost those extra pounds I have so much more energy to be active. Exercising doesn’t have to be torture. The treadmill is still dusty, but I love taking bike rides with my boys and walks with my husband are like going on a date. Find a way to keep yourself active that you enjoy. I even try to pace the house when I’m chatting with my mom on the phone.
5. If I don’t eat the cookies my coworker brought in, I will offend her. I am a people pleaser by nature, so this is a hard one for me. I will admit that there are times when not eating food could be offensive and we should be considerate. However, sometimes we over think this sentiment no matter how genuinely felt. If there is a crowd of people in a break room or a baby shower, nobody really cares what you do or don’t eat. In many circumstances it won’t even be noticed. If it is a small gathering or you are a guest at someone’s home, taking a small portion might be necessary. But let’s be honest, that second helping is for you not for the sake of the host.
6. I just don’t have a high metabolism, so I could never be as skinny as her. We make all sorts of excuses for being overweight: having kids, taking medication, getting older, being too busy to cook at home or to exercise, etc., etc. When you hear yourself making excuses, stop yourself. I am not the only person who isn’t the energizer bunny, has ever had a baby, takes medication, is getting older, or has a busy life. Do these factors play a roll in being overweight? Yes. Can they be overcome? Yes! I have and could use every excuse above. I had my thyroid removed and take medicine for it. The thyroid majorly effects the metabolism and yes, I was able to lose weight. (I do realize that some medicines have greater side effects than others, but don’t give in too easily.)
I have by no means mastered this list. Many of my above negative examples happened very recently, but being aware of my faulty thinking and having strategies to overcome it is a start. I’m sure I have just scratched the surface on this topic.
I would love to hear some ways you have learned to reprogram the way you think about a healthy lifestyle.
Heather lives in a Detroit suburb with her husband, Mark, and two boys, Jonathan (16) and David (11). Heather is a full-time wife and mother and a part-time substitute teacher. Heather shares how to make delicious, healthy meals for the family that are time and budget friendly at Feel Good About Dinner.