Snacks to help you lose weight

Some may be wondering what I did to lose 97 pounds (so far, I’m 15-20 pounds from goal weight, starting at 245 at 5’3″ and it’s been a year and a half since I started. )

I increased exercise, though not as much as everybody says I should. I cut calories too, but for the most part I was between 1300-1500 calories, not the ultra low calories some fad diets reccomment.

One way I kept hunger at bay was by always having good snacks, a variety that would fit my macros in whatever I was low on. I generally tried to keep my snacks at 150 calories or less so they would be easy to fit into my day. That way, if I had a sudden craving, or just was a little peckish before dinner, I wouldn’t have to suffer.

I’m only recommending things that I actually used in my fitness journey. I am including links to buy them, and if you use my links I might make a little bit of money, but they are suggestions only so if you find a better deal somewhere else, feel free! However, since I like saving money, I’ll be linking to the best priced versions of everything to save you time.

Meat Snacks

“Chomps” are simply amazing. The turkey is my favorite flavor as it only has 60 calories and 10 grams of protein. I also like that the meat is responsibly sourced and not full of additives. You can find them in natural foods stores, or right here.

Lately I’ve also been enjoying these turkey sticks made by “The New Primal”, I like the flavor and the price is good. 45 calories each for these and 7 grams of protein.

These are just a couple examples. I also use jerky, Epic bars, and other forms of meat for snacks. I like using turkey because it’s very lean and usually not as expensive.

Shakes

While I don’t recommend using shakes as a meal replacement, they can be nice as a snack. They are also great to add to things like protein pancakes, oatmeal, or other things. You can use various forms of protein powder but for an all in one, low calorie shake that has vitamins and other things, this mix by Designer Protein. The flavor is good and mixes well with berries and other ingredients to make smoothies. It’s also not super expensive.

Nutritional Yeast is another thing to add to shakes – it’s tasty, savory, and can be sprinkled on food as a seasoning as well. I get this at my natural foods store.

Protein Bars

Protein bars are good as a snack or if you are running around and can’t have a proper meal. For low cost and a good protein content, usually 19-20 grams, as well as a pretty good taste, I like Pure Protein. Their variety packs are nice and I really like the lemon flavored ones too.

The absolute tastiest protein bars, bar none, in my opinion at least, are made by Built. They basically taste like you’re having dessert and the calories range from only 130-180 depending on flavor, plus some fiber. Protein is usually 17-20 grams. I love them so much that I have them for dessert and don’t miss a thing. They also have a ton of flavors – eating one is like having a high end candy bar with a really good chocolate coating. The coconut flavor is just like a Mounds bar, for example. My only issue is cost, but I’ve found they are worth it because the ingredients are good and I don’t feel gross after eating them, or have blood sugar issues. You can get a variety pack here.

Quest protein bars are pretty good too, I’ve had them off and on, and I like their fiber content. They taste pretty good too. If you haven’t tried them, you can see them here.

Vegetables

When I’m going to mindlessly nibble, I cut up some red bell pepper, or carrots, or seasoned jicama, or something else. Snap peas or snow peas are awesome too, especially with hummus or a dip made using Greek Yogurt.

Sometimes I’ll use berries, a small orange, or an apple as a snack. Usually I’ll pre-log the fruit I need and eat it at snack time, to increase my enjoyment and keep myself from getting hungry. There are a ton of good fruits and vegetables out there that make great snacks, just steer clear of dried items because they don’t satisfy nearly as well and it’s easy to overeat them.

I love seaweed snacks. They are crispy and fun to eat, like chips, but don’t load me down. There are a ton of kinds you can buy online but here is one that I like.

Speaking of veggie snacks, they are all improved TREMENDOUSLY by sprinkling a bit of popcorn seasoning on top. There are a ton of flavors available. For example, today I had some cut up red bell pepper with ranch sprinkled on and it was amazing! Using the low calorie sprinkles saves you from most of the fats in dips and is also a little neater and easier to clean up. Varying the flavors makes things even more interesting.

Dairy

I love Babybel Lite cheese wheels. They are 50 calories each and as a bonus you get some cool red wax to play with!

Greek Yogurt is a staple in my household. If you mix it with a little zero calorie sweetener and some vanilla extract, then mix in some berries or cut up fruit, you have a fantastic snack or dessert. 3 ounces of fat free greek yogurt with 3 ounces of berries is only around 100 calories and really good for you.

I love making a dip for fruit by mixing 3 ounces of nonfat Greek yogurt, a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder, and some zero calorie sweetener. Vanilla flavored Stevia makes it absolutely delicious.

Fat free cottage cheese is great too! Sometimes I have a little before bed if I’m caught with a bad case of the nibbles. Plus it’s slow acting protein so it’s good for if you’re building muscle. Adding a little dill, black pepper, and salt can make it a fantastic dip or spread.

Teas and coffee

Not really a snack but they are fantastic for if you just want something to drink. Most have zero calories. I’ll drink green tea, oolong, black tea, various flavors of Celestial seasonings, as well as home blends, hibiscus tea, dessert teas from Republic of tea, and more. For coffee, if it’s preground I really like Bustelo, or I’ll grind my own. I like doing cold brew. Cold brew is REALLY easy to do in this pitcher.

Also, for tea lovers, I’ve had great results with this tea kettle. It heats quickly, it’s affordably priced, and it has lived on my counter for a few years and not worn out.

Sweeteners

I will use Stevia packets, though lately I really like to use vanilla creme liquid stevia. A few drops of this is fantastic in a vanilla caramel tea. Also one bottle lasts you a good while!

I hope this list has been helpful. I may add to it from time to time. Some items that I use I haven’t included because they are much better to buy locally.

This is six months of progress – started losing weight January 6 2020, and this was taken in July.

Dealing With Partners While Losing Weight

Today I’m going to write about a subject that can be touchy – it’s gonna be a long one.  I’m talking about spouses, family members and living partners.  They are a huge factor in your weight loss journey.  They can undermine and sabotage, usually unknowingly but sometimes completely on purpose. They can also be incredible supporters and the key to your success.   Sometimes whether you have a supporter or a sabotager depends on how you approach the situation.

In times past, the opinion of my partner or roommate has totally derailed my progress.  Or more accurately, my perception (often inaccurate) of their opinion has been an excuse I’ve used to derail my own progress.  I have worried about jealousy, about taking away things they love, and more. Once I gave up weight training because I didn’t like the advice my partner was giving me.  That was stubborn and honestly pretty foolish of me.  Their advice wasn’t bad, but I wasn’t prepared to listen. So instead of thinking about what they were saying, I gave up, and started gaining weight again.

I am lucky because my spouse is very supportive, and doesn’t act jealous of my success.  I’m really grateful for that.  Even if she did, at this point, I think I would probably continue my journey – because I’m ultimately doing this for myself and no one else. However it has taken a LOT of work to get to that point.   Self respect and self care are like anything else, habits you have to build up if you aren’t good at them. The good news is, you can do it with enough persistence!   For example, in the past I have had some long periods where I didn’t think I should put my foot down and follow a healthy plan because it was selfish, while at the same time I was also acting completely selfishly in other ways and in deep denial about it.  Yep, I have some serious warts there. The truth is, it’s not selfish to care for yourself because then you can care for others in a better way. You can’t pour from an empty cup.

When your partner is undermining your progress

In weight loss forums I hear quite a bit about people who have spouses who bring in unhealthy food or snacks that they then have trouble resisting.  I understand the desire to not disrupt another person’s life in the quest for health.  I’ve been terrified of becoming THAT health nut, the one who made life miserable for other people around them.  

Compromises are totally possible though.  They usually start with a little honest, open conversation. A lot of people will just live in the same way until acted upon by an outside force, so that’s why communication is great! Something I’ve often had a hard time remembering is, most spouses and partners are actually pretty happy to help if you can come up with a clear way to do so.  For example “could you please keep your snacks in the cupboard so they are out of my sight and I’m less tempted by them?  I don’t want you to have to do without something you enjoy but I’m trying to avoid that stuff right now.”

If you have a spouse, partner, family member, etc who isn’t supportive of your weight loss journey it can also help to talk about why you are doing it, so they know more about what you are doing and that you aren’t going on some extreme crash diet. “You know, I haven’t been feeling very good lately, and I could stand to lose a few pounds. Would you mind if we ate some more salads?” It can start as simply as that.

A hard truth is that sometimes we use our partners, spouses, family as excuses so we can get out of something we don’t really want to do.  I’ve done this.  I’ve used someone else’s eating habits as a reason to eat more, have things that aren’t good for me, or keep treats around that I find hard to resist.  It’s because I wasn’t truly motivated to change, and I was often afraid to advocate for myself.  Afraid of what?  Nothing direct, but I grew up with an issue around asking for things.  I’m still working on that.

What I did in my case was use a weight loss contest as a bribe!  I said to my spouse, “look, this is a really good prize, and I think I can win.  If you help me out, and support me with what I need to do, I’ll split it with you.”  Later when the contest was canceled (I really was winning, but Covid) I continued my healthy habits and she didn’t mind because she saw what kind of a difference it was making for me.  A year and a half later and I’m 97 pounds down, which is about three times what I’ve ever managed to lose before.

What do you do when they want to lose, but can’t?

There’s one other problem that comes up.  In my case my dear spouse would love to lose weight, and is having some success, but isn’t doing all the things required to lose weight.  I’m not very comfortable counseling her about this kind of thing, so I will drop bits of information here and there and try really hard to avoid lecturing.  So when she consumes extra calories in the form of sugars and carby snacks, and continues to use a lot of oil to fry with, I bite my tongue – but continue to suggest healthy meal ideas.  Yesterday we had good talk about her needs, which are very different than mine, and I was actually able to advocate for my needs too.  Sometimes that’s all that is needed, is a good conversation.  

Another thing I have to remind myself constantly is that her journey is not mine, and vice versa.  I can enjoy being active and eating lots of low sugar foods, and lots of vegetables, because I am a lot lighter than my spouse, who has many health problems that I don’t have.  She deals with arthritis, neurological challenges, social anxiety, issues with digestion that are exacerbated by too much fiber, and has a really bad reaction to most protein powders and non sugar sweeteners.  She doesn’t need me bugging her about things she can’t control. Instead we need to focus on other things we CAN control like portion size, and making more of my famous loaded salads. 

Sometimes the people in our lives just get tired of hearing about our healthy journey. I can understand that, I would have before I got on my journey. So I limit what I say about it, so my spouse doesn’t get overloaded. I channel part of that energy into blogging to try and help others, and giving support to my MyFitnessPal friends. That helps a lot and gives my energy and enthusiasm a good direction.

So if you have a spouse or partner who really needs a health makeover, I think gentle, non confrontational conversations are best – depending on the person of course.  Succeeding will prove to them that what you are doing is right, and you can also extend the hand of help.  If the situation is dire you might want to tell them that you care about them and want to help them have a healthier life, but they won’t start until they are ready.

Above all, for whatever reason, don’t give up a healthy journey because of anyone else.  This is YOUR life and your health, after all!

What if they won’t even try?

A person WILL NOT lose weight or gain health until they choose to for themselves. They must see, deep down, what’s in it for them, choose to do it, and think it’s possible.  I can say this from both sides of things.  If any of those three things are missing it won’t work.  If a person wants to get healthy but doesn’t think they can, they won’t!  Or they’ll try, halfheartedly, give up when it gets difficult, and say “see? I told you I can’t lose weight.”  

So, in those cases where someone wants to get healthy but isn’t doing anything about it, it can be useful to figure out where their barriers are, just as you may have at the beginning of your journey.  For example, do they think weight loss means you have to sweat all day and kill yourself doing cardio?  It doesn’t.  Maybe they think you have to eat like a rabbit and give up all flavor?  It doesn’t.  Maybe they think keto, or Paleo, or going vegan, or doing juice cleanses, is the only way?  Well they aren’t!  Or maybe they have a messed up idea of what weight loss means and think if they don’t lose five pounds a week, every week, they are a failure?  Well it’s not!  Very successful people lose a pound a week, or half a pound a week, and do just fine!

So, screwed up ideas of weight loss and what it means can be a serious detriment, especially since quite a few beginning dieters haven’t done the massive research on the subject that some of us have, and may believe the ads and magazines giving bad advice out there.

Still, just as you didn’t lose weight until you decided to, they won’t either until they believe they can, and want to do it.  Gentle, non pressuring persuasion is probably the best way to go.  Cooking healthy, flavorful meals for them when you are together, inviting them on walks, suggesting healthy activities to do together, being a good role model – without lecturing – usually works best.  Let them see the joy that you take in life.  Invite them along for the journey but don’t overwhelm them with detail at first.  Baby steps.  

For me I think about how I would have reacted to myself if I came along to the me of two or three years ago – I wouldn’t have trusted me at all!  I wouldn’t have believed what I can do!  I would have said “you’re nuts, now let me get back to my snacks!”

And yet… here I am.

The Most Important Aspect of Weight Loss

What is the most important aspect of weight loss? Is it diet? Nutrient Balance? Exercise? Calories in/calories out? Keto? Intermittent Fasting?

Not quite.

Today I want to talk a little about the mental and emotional work that is needed to lose weight, gain health, and keep it off. It’s a subject that I don’t think is covered well enough in many books and resources – people focus more on the details of macros, calorie counting, exercise programs, etc. Without handling the mental aspect, all success will be short lived.

So, here is what I have found so far in my journey from 245+ to 150 pounds.

Never Give Up

I think the most important thing I had to do in my journey was to give up on the idea of giving up. Quitting stopped being an option. Part of that was a decision that I made, but what kept that decision from being forgotten was MFP, because every morning I will log in and read all the updates, and I don’t want to let everyone down. I also had to realize that I am doing this for myself, and nothing, not depression, not scheduling, not stress, not boredom, would make me quit.

Forgive Yourself

I have had to learn to forgive myself too. If I have a day where I go over, or if I don’t exercise as much as I planned to, I say to myself “I will do better, I won’t repeat that two days in a row.” Then I try and take a little time to notice how my body feels when I get off track. Whether if it’s a heavy feeling of having too much in my stomach, a lack of evergy, or a feeling of stiffness from not exercising enough, I notice that feeling and I let it show me why I keep my good habits. In the past I used to say “well, I messed up this day, so I might as well enjoy myself and come back to it later” then later never came.

Be Positive

Another thing that has helped a lot is thinking in terms of challenges to overcome and solutions to be found, rather than obstacles. Once I did really weal on a healthy journey, lost thirty pounds or so, but it was all derailed when I had a broken tooth and could no longer eat the healthy things that had gotten me there. At that time it was insurmountable, partly because other stress in my life was also high, and I just quit. These days if that happened again I’d break out the protein shakes and make a bunch of green soup, sugar free protein pudding, and other things . If my stress levels are really high I have an assortment of herbal teas that are very soothing. I also can feel how exercise helps me relax so I will usually get some minimum amount even if I don’t get in a huge workout.

Connect with how your body feels

Being in touch with my body has helped. Really feeling if I am actually hungry or just “have a case of the nibbles,” for example. Feeling if my body is asking for exercise. This isn’t so hard to do, it just takes a decision to notice more. Perfection isn’t immediate, you have to work at it, but the awareness will come. Another example of this is when I am stressed and inclined to nibble, and I realize that what I really need is a hug, or some kitty cuddle time, or a nap. Food becomes the cure-all, that proverbial hammer that makes every problem look like a nail, but we all have so many more tools than just that one.

How much is enough?

I learned portion control, too, and this is a tremendous tool. It was hard to give up the idea that I could have as much food as I wanted. Having grown up in deep poverty, that was a way I had of making myself feel safe because food equaled safety and comfort. So why shoouldn’t I have a whole bag of chips? I could afford it now. Yet, that wasn’t doing me any favors, it was still too much. My own solution for this is to buy smaller amounts of really high quality food, portion it out ahead of time, and take my time to enjoy it.

“This is the good stuff,” I tell my brain, “I don’t need a lot of it because it’s high quality nutrition and it tastes great.”

And it works.

Celebrate!

I learned to celebrate small victories, not using food but just noticing them and thinking ‘Hey! That’s great!” Going over onto the NSV thread has been a great way to do that, it makes me happy every time I have something to report. Celebrating other people’s small victories in the same way has been great too, it makes me realize that I’m not alone in the journey and it makes me feel good to support other people. So many times we feel like we were the only one to be this fat, or the only one to have this problem, and seeing that we aren’t alone helps us stay motivated and keep going because we see other poeple having success.

Gain Inspiration from Success

Speaking of success, the forums on My Fitness Pal have been a fantastic place for inspiration. I love reading about people’s success stories, and their in-process wins. I can see that there are folks with the same challenges as me, or worse ones in some cases, and they are winning too. I know that I don’t have any excuses, that this thing is possible, not the insurmountable task that I once thought it was. My success or my failure comes down to my choice so why would I choose to fail?

Be Patient

With success comes patience. We return to persistence as the key to success. There will be plateaus, there will be ups and downs. Sticking with it, and tweaking things a bit when results aren’t being found is essential. It took a long time for this weight to get on to our bodies, it’ll take a while for the weight to come off. Quick fixes aren’t permanent. Sometimes we even need to take little breaks to renew our focus. If we learn to be kind to ourselves, to forgive our own failings, then temporary setbacks won’t halt our progress.

How does this all work?

Now the question comes to HOW to do all this? The answers are going to be different for everyone. Part of it comes with time and thought. Brainstorm with yourself. A lot of these realizations came for me when I was writing about my journey but not everyone will have the same exerience. Maybe ideas will come during a drive, or a long walk. Maybe after reading a book. Just beginning to ask yourself these questions will help you think of your own answers. “What are some of my victories during this journey?” “How can I inspire myself to continue after I’ve had the worst day ever?” “What is my most compelling reason for weight loss?” Etc.

The Number One Tip

If I could tell everyone one thing to do, to help them be successful I would leave them with this. “SEEK THE MIDDLE PATH.” Avoid extremist thinking – the idea that if something isn’t an absolute success it’s the worst failure ever. This is still a challenge for me. I still tend towared being a bit polarized but I’m working on it and every time I do it helps me in all aspects of life.

I hope this was useful and helpful to someone. If there is a particular topic anyone would like me to explore further, I’ll be happy to do that. In future I might start thinking about specific examples of different challenges I had and ways I overcame them, because honestly, if there’s a diet mistake to make, I’ve probably made it!

What it’s like to lose 100 pounds

I started my healthy journey on January 6 2020. I had lost weight before, with mixed results, and always gained it back with friends. I was around 250 pounds at that time. At five feet, three inches with fine bones that was a lot of extra weight.

245 on January 6 but I have no doubt that I was higher previously considering the holidays had just gone by. Now I’m flirting around the 150 mark. Many people want to lose 100 pounds, for me it was an impossible dream. So, what’s it actually like to do that, and what does it take?

The first thing that you need is persistence. To be persistent, it helps to understand yourself and what your personal weak points are. That way you can plan around them. It also helps to have a sustainable diet plan that isn’t miserable to follow. My first 85ish pounds were done by simple calorie restriction, ranging from around 1200-1600 calories depending on the day. Though I limited refined sugars and refined carbs, I didn’t cut out any major food groups and I occasionally had treat days. Usually averaging less than 1 a month.

You also need at least a basic understanding of what your body needs in terms of nutrition, both vitamins and also macronutrients like proteins and fats. Awareness of any health challenges helps a lot too. For instance, diabetics might want to pay more attention to how their body reacts to different kinds of carbs. People with things like PCOS or IBS might need supplementation on certain nutrients. I had a problem with low blood sugar which I found was really tied to eating too many refined carbs early in the day. I quit doing that and my problems went away.

What’s it like though?

Generally, it has been a pretty rewarding experience. I feel victorious every time the scale drops or my tape measure reads out smaller. I’ve had to cut way back on certain less-nourishing foods, and I had to learn what portion control actually meant, but generally I feel good. After the first drop of ten pounds or so I felt more energetic and the more weight I lose, the easier it is to exercise and the more energy I have. So it basically keeps getting better and better the more I go.

There’s more room in my car, I can bend over to touch my toes really easily, I can stretch much more easily. I don’t run out of breath walking a half block. If I have to stand for a while it’s not an issue rather than having to sit down every ten minutes. My resting heart rate is in the fifties, my blood pressure is low. I fill up faster when I eat and I’m better at stopping, I no longer hate how I look in the mirror. I don’t have a super hot beach body but I wasn’t aiming for that. I get more respect in public.

Most of all though I’m really proud of myself because this is something I had thought was impossible for so long. It’s not impossible, and if I can do it, you can too.

Was I hungry?

Generally, not. People get the idea that when you have to be starving all the time when you are dieting properly and eating nothing but rabbit food and that just hasn’t been true for me. Actually, I feel LESS hungry much of the time because I don’t eat as much for entertainment and I’m not dealing with all kinds of blood sugar crashes. Even when I’m doing Time Restricted Eating I feel some hunger but I don’t have that STARVED feeling that I did when my blood sugar was out of whack.

How much did I exercise?

On a good day I’ll do an hour or so but that includes errands and household chores. I generally log any activity as exercise that challenges my muscles or gets my heart rate up for a good amount of time. I do some weight lifting though nothing very sophisticated, some calisthenics, some stretching, some pedaling on a mini-pedaler, and change it up as I get bored. When the pool is working I swim. I try to get at least 20 minutes of something every day.

What about the emotional aspects?

Since I ate primarily from boredom or need for comfort, I learned to do different things when I was bored. For comfort I’ll have a hot cup of tea as that’s very soothing. I started getting in to all kinds of interesting herbal blends for that. I rotate my tea selections regularly and that does a lot to keep my palate entertained and my belly satisfied. I also had to deal with some of the emotional issues that had sabotaged me in the past, and start learning to prioritize my own health instead of putting it on the back burner.

How did my tastes change?

When a person changes their diet, they also change their gut microbiome. You can actually train yourself to have different cravings. For example, there’s this one low cal protein bar that I love and I genuinely crave that. I don’t mind though because it’s low sugar and high protein, and I have it for dessert. I also crave different kinds of vegetables now, and when I make a really healthy meal I find that it tastes fantastic. When I have one of my old processed high fat meals, it doesn’t taste as good. Now, there are certain foods that are absolutely zero nutrition but I still like, so I will have those occasionally but control the portions.

For example I learned to make my own pizza, which looks better now than the one in the picture did. But I’d keep it to two slices and make sure I used reduced fat cheese and turkey pepperoni to help keep the calories in line. That kept the spouse happy too because she didn’t have to give up a bunch of stuff. We have homemade sushi rolls every Sunday for the same reason, also portion controlled, and that gives us some wonderful nutrients and healthy fats.

By the way, I eat pizza every friday.

What about goal weight?

I want to lose about 20 more pounds. Basically I want to get rid of this big floppy belly I still have. That’s one hard truth about weight loss, it still may not make you look like a picture in a magazine, but you’ll feel so much better and be able to do so much more. Even though I have that big floppy belly for example, I can still put on medium shorts when I started around 1-2XL shorts. My shirts have gone from 2X to medium also. That’s just to give you an idea. Still, as I have learned about my body and how much weight I actually need, my goal has gone from around 150 (which I just achieved) to around 130. That’s simply because I see how much extra I still have at 150.

What about inspirations?

I went on MyFitnessPal and logged my calories, which not only gave me a better understanding of portions but also showed me the stories of people who had faced some really serious challenges and overcome them anyway. There was someone who was totally wheelchair bound with muscular dystrophy and this wonderful lady still lost over 100 pounds. Another who was born without legs and did something similar. People with health conditions of every type, usually the types where doctors say “you can’t lose weight like this” and they did it anyway. I looked at these beautiful, victorious people and thought “if they can do it, I can too.”

That’s why I’m telling this story, finally. I work an office job. I’ve been stuck at home the last year and a half. I have a thyroid condition. Hormonal issues. I struggle with depression. Despite that I still lost roughly 100 pounds in the last year and a half. I did it, YOU can do it. If one person can be inspired to transform their life I’ll be overjoyed!

Weight loss isn’t a magic fix…

I still have some issues, I still have some things about my body I’m not happy about, but I am very proud of my progress. It hasn’t always been easy but it hasn’t been as hard as I thought it would be either. I look back at my early pictures and stats and think “was I really that big?” And I know that I was, but I always told myself it wasn’t as bad as I thought, I was just fine. Still, with all the energy and freedom I have gained, I can’t imagine going back. I’m going to enjoy my tasty new foods and healthy habits and never go back.

Your turn!

If you have questions or want me to follow up on this series, let me know. I’d be happy to write more articles but don’t want to cover territory that has been done to death. I would like to focus on the creative aspect of weight loss, to fit with the general theme of this site.

Genkijima Update – One Year Later

So you know how some bloggers get all excited about a new weight loss strategy and then a while later you stop hearing about it?

Yeah, I’ve seen that.

I’ve DONE that.

Many times, actually.

NOT TODAY!

This map now has stars all the way up to the house. I’ve lost 86 pounds so far. I have roughly 20-30 to go. I’ve gone from a 50 BMI down to a 29. I want to get to 25 or maybe a little lower. I have so much more energy and can do so many things I couldn’t before and my blood pressure has gone from borderline high, to the low end of the scale. My heart age has gone from 50 to my true age if not lower.

I feel good every day. Even though I’m not to goal yet, I’m still so much better of than I was. A year ago, I was not doing so well. 254 pounds is way too heavy for a fine boned female who’s only 5’3″. I’m not even talking aesthetics or any kind of self worth issue, I’m just talking health. I could feel the strain in my body. My heart would pound with even minor exertion. I was easily overheated. I had to rest constantly when doing active things.

The only reason why I haven’t failed at more diets up until this point is because I haven’t tried more diets. I’ve been really, really bad about losing weight. Everything from excuse making to lack of motivation to deluding myself about how bad the problem really was – I’ve done all that. As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve been heavy ever since I was a kid. Plus I’m female and have thyroid issues and PCOS and a sedentary job and I’m over 40 – all reasons why I should have a really hard time losing weight.

Okay, so this is where I sell you some magic powder or supplement or weight loss program…

…only I won’t.

But I will tell you how I did it!

Here are the things that have helped me the most.

Learn what portions should be. I used measuring cups and a cheap scale to train myself what I should actually be eating because my concept of what a portion should be was way, WAY off.

Time to adapt. Eventually, the body gets used to smaller quantities and different foods. With consistent effort, eventually these healthy foods begin to be DELICIOUS and you start craving veggies more than junk food.

There is no such thing as magic. That is, no magic pills, no magic supplements, no magic shakes or diets or programs. Weight loss takes work and time and consistency but it’s very doable. The thing is, once I accepted that there was no magic pill/quick fix, it became easier to settle down and do the work.

Learn what works for you. Everybody has something that works for them. For me, it was learning what foods made me hungrier than they should, and avoiding those. I personally used a high protein, moderate carb, relatively low fat plan and tried to avoid refined sugar and carbs as much as practical. I ate a lot of lean chicken and veggies and cooked a lot from scratch. I still have a sweet tooth so Stevia was my best friend.

Research and learn. I did a lot of studying, partly because I needed the information and partly because I was curious. I have read about various issues of diet, exercise, muscle building and fat loss from a number of perspectives. Doing that helps because you will learn more about the nuts and bolts about why things work.

Eat less, move more, and track what you do. This is critical for me. I have to know what I’m putting in my body and how much movement I’m getting so I don’t underestimate my intake, and overestimate what I’m burning off. Keeping up with this means I will know for a fact that I’m still doing what it takes to lose weight.

DON’T GIVE UP. If your efforts aren’t succeeding, change something. Maybe Keto isn’t for you. Maybe you’d do better on Paleo. Or maybe you would do better on a balanced diet with portion control. Maybe Intermittent Fasting works well for you. We all need different things. If a diet is too hard, maybe something needs to change so it can be adhered to more easily.

MOVE! Exercise doesn’t have to be a laugh a minute but it shouldn’t be torture. There are so many ways to move your body. It’s important for building muscle, general health, and maintaining balance and flexibility that the weight loss benefits are almost a bonus.

Remember that you DESERVE to be healthy.

I know I’ve barely scratched the surface here – there is so much more to this topic, but these are the main principles that have kept me going, more than a year after my last New Year Resolution.

Here are the three most useful sites – they all have a ton of information and tools for you and all are free.

NerdFitness – a great site for nerds who want to be healthy. Awesome articles and programs about all aspects of fitness and weight loss, including a community and a cool RPG like goal system.

MyFitnessPal – a calorie tracker (with an app if you want one), community and forum with lots of good health related information. It’s basically fitness social media with a distinct lack of drama. I use it to track my calories, nutrition and exercise, and the community keeps me accountable.

Art of Manliness – a great archive of articles and podcasts with all kinds of interesting information, quite a bit of it fitness elated. Well worth a read by people of any gender, it is a treasure trove of old fashioned skills as well.

By looking at my map you can see that the house is well into the Island of Genkijima, the land of vigorous good health. That was by design. When making the map, I realized that losing weight would help me to feel better, long before I even got near my goal weight. It’s turned out to be true. I noticed some pretty big difference after the first 20 pounds or so.

I still get excited whenever I get to put a new sticker up!

(Side note about the header image: It’s a screenshot of one of the ranches I’ve built in Horse Isle 3, a giant multiplayer open world game. )

Journey to Genkijima

This is going to be a personal post but I hope it still benefits those reading it.

I’ve been overweight since I was roughly ten years old.  It started getting out of control in college when I could eat what I wanted, when I wanted.  However, I was getting exercise through Kendo and lots of walking, so it didn’t get too bad.

When I eventually got my first car, a few years later, the weight really started to pile on.  Add to that a couple of incredibly stressful jobs that involved lots of sitting and being yelled at over the phone and it got even worse.  Now, I’ve always had the most atrocious sweet tooth you could imagine and also a really good nose for bargains, so that combination didn’t help at all.

I tried, various times, to lose weight.  Once I tried Atkins and lost ten pounds rather quickly – but that was an expensive diet and so it didn’t last long.  Plus the fruit cravings were terrible.  I swear I could smell a mango from the produce section as soon as I entered the grocery store.  Another time I did Paleo and that worked great but was too expensive, and also I broke a tooth so all those veggies were out for a while.  I’ve tried shakes, tried fasting (a little bit) tried just restricting my calories without logging.  For a while I lived in Nevada in a tent and ate lots of beans and rice and very little else, and lost a bunch of weight.  I managed to keep it off for a while too but then money issues continued and more stressful work and I gained it again.

My biggest issues were the fact that exercise is super, SUPER boring, which I have little tolerance for, walking is rough during hot Arizona summers, and my life was seemingly consumed by stress and long commutes.

Well.  I got a better job, and more money started coming in, but I still gained because all the cool, nice people I work with LOVE to cook and they just LOVE potlucks, and of course the candy bowl, and it’s still kind of hard to walk while at work.  I had little motivation.

At the beginning of this year a “Biggest Loser” competition came around, with a $400 prize, and that was enough to make me really, really want to win.  I figured a three month period of aggressive weight loss would be enough to get some good habits started.  In December I’d finally gotten a weight set and started seriously trying to become stronger, because I wanted to be more self sufficient, and let’s be honest, also wanted some moderately buff arms.  I began to see results.

On January 6 I started logging my calories with a goal of 12-1500 calories a day.  Just existing in a sedentary state I burn 2200 calories so this could give me a solid two pound loss every week, and I intended to maximize this with what muscle gain I could manage and with plenty of movement.  However, I didn’t want to blog about it on here till I was well begun on my journey.  Because I really, REALLY hate to be a stereotype.

As of this writing I’ve been on plan with no lapses for 26 days.  I’ve lost about 13 pounds.  I feel more energetic, I fit better behind the wheel of my car, my waistbands are looser, my watch slides around more, and I’m stronger.  I’ve recently started making my cardio days my lower calorie (12-1300 calories) and making sure that I get at least 100 grams of protein per day.  No food groups are forbidden though I minimize processed starch or sugar.  I weight train three times a week with stretching and bodyweight stuff like squats on my rest days, and I walk 4-6 days a week, trying for about a mile.  Mostly it’s laps inside my  building where there’s air conditioning.  I love weight training, it makes me feel really good and I don’t have to do it for hours.

Here’s the really interesting thing.  One of the hardest things about pretty much every diet I’ve ever tried has been the cravings.  But I just realized today that I have actually had very nearly NO cravings or excessive hunger even though I’ve probably cut my daily calorie intake in half (at least.)   And I have cravings all the time when I eat what I want, when I want!  I haven’t even looked longingly at the candy bowl.  I’ve had chocolate twice (2 squares of ultra dark) and sugarless gum maybe three times, oh and I think three cough drops.  In 26 days.

I don’t want to go back.  I feel so good.  I snack all the time, but maintain portion control and always keep it healthy, and I know for a FACT that over the long term I’ll hit my numbers as long as I stay on plan.  I don’t deprive myself.  Since my weakness is freshly baked bread, when I bake some I’ll have ONE slice of it, log it, and leave it alone for the rest of the week.  If I want rice I’ll have a cup of it or less.  Knowing that nothing is totally forbidden has kept me from wanting most of it.

I’ve gained some muscle, and lost fat at the same time, because I keep my protein high and lift heavy.  No puny five pound weights for me.  At the moment I’m doing sixty pound weighted squats, twenty five pound kettlebell swings, and thirty pound dumbbell rows, plus a bunch of other stuff including exercise bands.  Plus lots of countertop pushups, because I’m still too heavy to do proper pushups.

I have a goal of converting 95 pounds of fat into carbon dioxide and water, and I’m thirteen pounds along.  Now we get to Genkijima.  That will bring me down to about 150 pounds, when I should be 130 ideally, but that extra 20 pounds of weight will hopefully be mostly muscle.

Since I haven’t been slim in so long, I have been doing a lot of thinking about all the things I’ll be able to do when I don’t have a small person’s worth of weight draped over my frame.  I started calling it the Land of Slim, but realized that was a pretty lame name.  So I picked “Genkijima.”  “Genki” is a japanese word roughly translated to mean “energetic health.”  A person who is “Genki” isn’t just healthy, but they are cheerful and have an upbeat outlook on life.  “Jima” means “Island.”  Tomorrow I’m going to buy a big piece of posterboard and draw a map of the land between where I started and this mystical island. with little spots I can color in for every pound lost.

Genkijima may be a place I’ve never visited in adult life, but I know the way.

jumping off the head
What it kinda feels like to begin this journey….

 

Unleash the power of snacking

If you’re anything like me and a bunch of other people, you want to start 2020 on the right foot.  For many of us, healthy eating habits are something we’re working on.  One of my biggest pitfalls was snacking… what I call “getting a case of the nibbles.”  I wasn’t really hungry but my mouth was bored.  It would often happen when I was working online, or at my actual job working, or driving.

I’ve started seriously logging my calories lately as well as working out a lot more (okay, working out at all – I didn’t start till December 10)  so that’s been pretty eye opening.  The logging is working because I’m finally being honest with myself about what I’m putting in, what macronutrients it’s made of, and what vitamins, etc, I’m getting.

Since I’ve started thinking of my daily 1700 calories as a kind of budget, I’ve naturally started thinking of snacking in a different way  Basically, if I were to eat something not so great for me, like a bowl of my wife’s fantastic stroganoff or a slice of pizza or something, I want to really enjoy it, right?  Because I can’t in good conscience go back for seconds.  I don’t want the calories to just go into my mouth and not even notice them.  It would be like saving up to go to a concert then not listening to the music!

Since I’m prone to mindless snacking though, I use that as a time to get good food into me.  For example, I’m honestly not super duper fond of mini bell peppers.  However, they don’t really taste bad and they have amazing amounts of nutrients in them.  So when I’m bored I bust out my daily six mini peppers.  I can mindlessly eat those – when I’m done I’ll feel better, have a shot of vitamins, and my mouth will have had something to do.  I also won’t be on the carb spike/crash cycle that will just have me snacking again.

So yeah!  Mindless snacking, when used correctly, can be a weight loss strategy!  Who knew?

Some good items to mindlessly snack:

Mini bell peppers

Regular red, yellow, and orange bell peppers (more nutritious and green) cut up with seasonings on them

Jicama matchsticks with appropriate seasonings

An apple, cut up with cinnamon on it

Carrot sticks

Cucumbers

Celery

Snow Peas or Sugar Snap Peas

Broccoli florets

…and more!  Just watch out for the high cal sauces and dips.

 

shallow focus photography of yellow and red bell peppers in basket
Photo by Nick Collins on Pexels.com

Profuse Excuses

Do you have a profusion of excuses for why you aren’t succeeding?

I know I do!

The secret to success is eliminating those roadblocks to success.  The first step is to admit they’re there, the next step is to identify them, then you admit it’s possible to overcome them, then you find ways to do so.

Sounds like a lot of work, right?  Not so fast – the first three steps take maybe a minute. 

Let’s use weight loss for an example.  And my own excuses – I make a great guinea pig.  After all, I’ve been known to squeak loudly at opening refrigerator doors!  I know I won’t really lose weight until I figure out what my excuses are, my roadblocks to success.

A good way to do this is to find times where I failed in the past, figure out why I failed, and come up with strategies to avoid the same problems this time.  Usually, there’s an excuse behind everything.

“I can’t stay on a diet, I get too hungry.”

Okay, I got too hungry.  That was my roadblock.  So I design a plan with lots of low calorie foods so I can be constantly eating.  Or I stay low carb and high protein, because that naturally makes my hunger go away.  Excuse nullified.

“I don’t have time to work out.” 

There’s about half a million ways to sneak in exercise, as seen in this article for example, and they are all great excuse busters.

“I get bored.”

Great excuse as that has been the biggest roadblock to many of my weight loss efforts.  So I switch out my healthy snacks, I use music when I work out, I seek variety.

“I don’t have enough money to eat healthy food.”

Another really good excuse.  Good thing vegetables are cheap, so are eggs, and it costs less to cook at home!  Roadblock removed, excuse nullified.

Once I have my biggest excuses identified, I am free to think of creative strategies to stop them in their tracks.  Then all that’s left is to take action!  A well planned strategy to overcome your own difficulties can eliminate your excuses.  This idea works for many personal struggles.  Budget, working out, losing weight, improvements at work, playing with your kids, and really whatever you want to do.

 

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/profuse/

Wake Your Taste-Buds from the Snack-Trance

I struggle to lose weight.

One of my biggest barriers to doing that is – guess what?  Too many empty calories.

Too many calories, period.

I get into a “snack-trance” where I’m eating and not really noticing how much.

Thinking about this recently, I considered the difference between Tuesday and Wednesday of this week  Tuesday, I blew my calorie budget while I was at work, eating things like Red Vines, a muffin, a peppermint patty, and extra rice. I ate most of that mindlessly.  I was hungry when I got home.

Wednesday, I was much more on target.  I ate more vegetables, stayed on target, didn’t have a muffin even though I could have.  Guess what?  I was actually slightly less hungry when I got home.  Either way, though, I was still hungry when I got home, so why didn’t I pick better foods to eat when I was at work?  And why didn’t I notice what I was eating so I could actually enjoy it?

Some time I’ll write an article about this, but for the moment we’ll leave it at this: it’s really important to be able to tell whether your mind is making you hungry out of habit, or whether your body actually needs fuel.  Filling your body up with water rich, nutrient rich food will help reduce your cravings, make you feel fuller, and leave less room for unhealthy food.  Snacking can actually be good for you as it helps fight hunger and prevents blood sugar crashes.  You simply need to do it in a healthy way.

Just as there are lots of things holding us back from exercising every day, there are lots of things that can sabotage our desire to eat healthy foods in a healthy way.  So I’ve listed some common ones.  If you like, skip down to whatever catches your eye first.

The Basics:

The simpler, the better – the fewer ingredients you see on a package, the better.  Better yet, no package.

The easier, the better – keep your healthy snacks near you so you grab them when you’re hungry, and keep them simple so they’re easy to make.

The more water, the better – which is more filling and satisfying, a bunch of grapes, or the same grapes, made into raisins?

Make it easy to eat – prepare your snacks in batches, cut vegetables small, and invest in a few small containers to pack them in.

Be aware of high starch or high sugar fruits – especially if you are sensitive to them, it’s best to avoid grapes and bananas.  Better to have apples, berries, or melon.

Don’t get in a rut – just like with exercise, change it up.

Buy seasonally – it’s cheaper, and you can try out new foods.

Cut veggies, cheese, or other snacks into small pieces – you will eat more slowly.

I forget

Make your healthy snacks memorable.  Use colorful foods and containers.  Leave yourself notes.  Put healthy foods in the prime ares of the fridge, cupboard or pantry.  Make sure you bring your snacks with you by keeping them with something else you need – if this means you keep your keys in the fridge for a while, so be it!

The flavor is boring

Spices can be your best friend.  Cinnamon on your oatmeal.  Curry powder sprinkled on zucchini slices or carrot sticks.  A squeeze of lime on that chicken breast or baked fish.  If you are tired of boiled eggs, try them with yellow or spicy mustard.  Another trick is to have turkey pepperoni with your boiled eggs – with each bite, have a slice of pepperoni.  Low calorie flavorings like mustard and hot sauce are your allies.  If you don’t mind salt, soy sauce or tamari are great options too.  They add flavor without extra calories, and studies have shown that bolder flavors cause us to be more satisfied with less food.  Don’t forget lime and lemon juice, or flavored vinegars!

I can’t chew very well

There are ways to make healthy snacks easier to chew.  For instance, if you can’t eat carrot sticks, steam them lightly or microwave them in a closed container for 30-45 seconds.  Or cut them into “coins,” microwave lightly, and sprinkle with your favorite spices.

If you like them, cucumbers, zucchini, eggplant, cooked squash, cooked sweet potato, or lightly steamed cauliflower are all easy to chew.  Cut into small pieces and sprinkle with your favorite spices.

I’ve found that soaking nuts in water makes them a lot softer, too.

Nut butter on peeled apple slices is also good.

A shake made with frozen fruit and yogurt, and perhaps a scoop of protein powder, is very easy to eat and can be kept in a thermos.  Just keep track of what you put in it.

I need something easy to carry

Luckily, small Tupperware style containers are not only cheap, but easy to find too!  If you buy a few of them, they are pack-proof, convenient, easy to clean, and you save money in bags too.  I like the kind that are basically a snack cup with a lid that screws on.  I keep nuts, cut up veggies, cherries, cherry tomatoes, and any number of things in mine.  Another easy to carry snack is a meal bar, or even an orange or apple.  Oranges are especially good for their portability.  Protein shakes can be portable, just reuse your old drink bottles.  The wider the mouth, the better.

I don’t have much money

I feel you!  Vegetables are both cheap, and healthy, but often seen as boring or gross.  See the “Boring” section for ideas on adding interest to cheap ingredients.  If you always buy in season, and also buy larger containers, you will save money.  You will also save a lot if you do all the processing yourself.  Cut up your own celery sticks and carrot sticks, slice your own bell peppers.

Generally, the old fashioned version of a food is cheaper than the newer variety.  For example, ready to eat sweet peppers cost a lot more than plain bell peppers, which are easy to cut up.  If you crave nuts, peanuts and sunflower seeds can be bought in bulk, usually at low prices.  Hard boiled eggs are weight loss champions and cheap at the same time!  If cheap fruit is boring, jazz it up with home made dips and by sprinkling them with spices.  Or take a few kinds of cheap fruit and mix them for a salad.  Same with vegetables – several kinds of cheap vegetables can be a lot more exciting as a salad.

grocery-store-2119701_640

I love junk food

So do I!  The best thing to do to help control cravings is to figure out what your cravings actually are.  Sure, potato chips are fatty, salty, crunchy and often irresistible.  But what is it that’s the greatest thing about them?  What do you miss the most if you don’t have them?  If it’s the crunchy, salty aspect, you might try lower fat crackers with bold flavor, pretzels, or some smoked almonds.  Watch your portions, of course, but this can help you make healthier choices.  If it’s the fat you crave, thin slices of hard cheese might do the trick.  Then you are getting calcium and protein too, as well as curbing your hunger.  If you yearn for ice cream, try Greek yogurt with fruit, frozen yogurt, or a fruit shake, perhaps even with a scoop of protein powder added.  If you just want to be able to nibble for as long as you want, air popped popcorn with spices can be a great thing.  Try popcorn with cinnamon, paprika, cayenne, nutritional yeast, parmesan powder, or dried oregano.  A little salt is fine too depending on your own needs.  In general, changing to healthier options isn’t hard if you are creative.  Swap out milk chocolate for dark, candy for berries, Ramen for bean thread noodles, and so on.  Healthier food will start tasting better, too.

I hate water

That’s pretty common.  Luckily, there are plenty of ways to jazz plain water up.  Here are some ideas:

Lime – squeezed into plain water, it’s pretty good.  You can also use lemon.

0 calorie drinks – be aware of what kinds of sweeteners are being used and how your body reacts to them.

Green Tea – it also comes in powder packets that you can stir in, giving you a host of benefits.

Iced Tea Mix – you can buy it in jars, unsweetened, and add your own flavors.

Juice – thin it out to give water flavor.

Seltzer – have seltzer instead of tonic water to help with that soda craving.

Cocoa powder – you can make a great cocoa with this, along with non fat milk and your favorite low calorie sweetener.  Add cinnamon.

Herbal Teas – experiment with different strengths.  Or, throw some oregano or mint leaves into plain water.

Get a Brita – if your water is cold and clean, you might like it better.

Infuse with Fruit – some water bottles have little baskets in them where you can put fruit to flavor your water.

Recipe for DIY energy drink:

Thin orange juice with water, half and half.  Sprinkle with salt.  Mix well.  This has much more potassium than the name brand sports drinks, tastes fine (especially when cold) and works well on hot days.

Snack Ideas

Cubes of hard cheese

Cubes of hard sausage, but watch your portions

Cut up lean chicken breast, baked or dry-fried

Nuts (sunflower seeds, almonds, or pumpkin seeds are lower in calories)

Hard boiled Egg (eat with mustard or turkey pepperoni)

Carrots – baby carrots, carrot sticks, raw or lightly steamed carrot coins, with or without spices

Cut up sweet potato – bake or microwave, flavoring optional

cauliflower – lightly steamed or raw

Bell peppers – get the colored ones for interest

Sweet Peppers – a nice, lightly flavored snack

Tomatoes – grape, cherry, or cut up tomatoes

Cherries – eat with dark chocolate if you’re craving candy

Tofu – cubes of Tofu are great with either soy sauce or mustard – or roll them in sesame seeds!

Celery – chunks or sticks, nut butter and raisins optional

Pickles – dill or garden pickles are great as a snack and have probiotic benefits too!

Dried Apricots – A good source of nutrients

Berries – any kind of berry, eaten fresh

Popcorn – air popped, sprinkled with your favorite kitchen spices

Fries – cut red potatoes or sweet potatoes into fry shapes, season, and bake.

Jerky – low in fat, high in protein.  Watch the salt and sugar.

Greek Yogurt – with fruit to sweeten

Rye crackers

Of course, this is just the beginning.  I hope you see a few on here that you haven’t tried before, and try them!  Or put a suggestion in the comments, and I’ll add it to the list.

 

Bonus Tip: DIY “weight loss surgery”

This trick works surprisingly well.  It’s pretty simple.  Keep your portions small and try to eat small meals as often as you can.  If you have to eat frequently, do that, but keep the portions at least dense.  So no huge bowls of pasta or Dagwood sized sandwiches.  Keep this up for a week or so.  Pretty soon your stomach will shrunk and you will feel uncomfortable when you eat larger portions.  You can stretch it back fairly quickly of course, but this can give you a valuable reminder that you’re eating more than you need, because you’ll feel full.  Combine this with drinking plenty of fluids, and eating more slowly so you notice your food, and it will help you tremendously!

Here’s a link to some thoughts I had about dieting and how we often fight against our inner selves. Don’t Lose Weight, Win Health!

Here’s my article about different forms of low cost, convenient exercise. Spice Up Your Workout

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/trance/

 

 

 

 

3 root causes behind food cravings and how to beat them

Is it possible to walk past a bakery without a craving? Even as a confirmed  doughnut addict, I’ve done it. You can too.

We’ve all had food cravings. They can really be murder when you’re on a diet. Dieting would be so much easier if the cravings were gone, wouldn’t it? Luckily, if we understand the causes of those cravings, we can do a lot to tame them.

I’ve found that cravings have three main causes.

 

Physical cravings – nutrient lack and blood sugar cycles

When the body doesn’t get what it needs, it triggers cravings. If a person continues to eat empty calories, the cravings will increase because it’s still not getting what it needs. This can develop into a vicious cycle and is really no fun to go through.

Also, if you eat a lot starches with no protein, your blood sugar will spike – then it will fall off rapidly, triggering more hunger.

Some foods also cause cravings by being too processed or having things in them that cause hunger signals in the body. Some people feel this effect from sugar free sweeteners, for instance.
Mental Cravings – Psychological addiction

A person can get used to eating certain things and really miss them when they are gone. That’s normal enough, but sometimes we can feel like our day isn’t complete without a certain food or drink. This can become a real problem if the food or drink is high calorie or bad for us. Think of the daily soda, the daily coffee with extra cream and sugar, the daily doughnut.
Emotional Cravings – self sabotage and emotional pitfalls

Sometimes we overeat because we are stressed. When we are depressed, we crave carbohydrates because they can affect our neurotransmitters and make us feel better. Sometimes we also fear success or don’t think we deserve to change ourselves for the better. This leads to self sabotage.
Do any of these phrases feel familiar? “I’ve earned this.” “I deserve this.” “One won’t hurt.” “One more won’t hurt.” “I’ve blown my diet for today anyway so I might as well have as much as I want.”

Knowing how cravings work, what can we do about them?
Plenty!
Fixes for Physical cravings:

Watch the types of things you eat. I’ve found that if I limit my starches in the morning and avoid sugar at the same time that I eat more protein, my day goes better and I don’t start the blood sugar spike/crash cycle. I don’t get hungry as often and I stay full longer.

Generally speaking, if you eat more protein than carbs, limit your starches, eat a variety of vegetables and legumes, get healthy fats, and avoid processed food, you will have fewer cravings. If your body is getting what it needs, it will have less reason to make you hungry at odd times.
Fixes for Mental cravings:

Fight habits with habits. Use the food craving as a reminder to have something else that’s similar, but better for you. You can help this along by making sure your healthier alternatives are made ahead and ready to grab, so it’s actually more work to get the bad stuff.

Replace your behaviors. Use short bursts of physical activity to give yoruself something to do. Maybe ten wall pushups and a glass of water, or a short walk, or a few jumping jacks in front of the TV. Distract yourself.

Don’t give up. If you slide, get back on plan as soon as possible. Chew gum to keep your mouth busy. Drink more water or tea. Don’t give up.
Fixes for Emotional cravings:

Look for the root cause of why you eat. If you eat because you are lonely, think about getting out more, volunteering, being more affectionate with your family. Journal to help clarify your thoughts. Be mindful of your emotions, watch what they do, and figure out if it’s food you really want, or if it’s something else.

When you do eat, do that mindfully too. Really experience the meal and enjoy it. Studies show that people who do that are more satisfied and eat less.

Meditation, hot baths, journaling and walking are all great ways to beat stress, and beat cravings along with them. Caring for a pet can help too.

Finally, work on your self talk. Practice positive thinking. That can include looking for solutions to problems instead of complaining, or stating things in a positive way instead of focusing on the absence of something. If you slip up and think negatively, redirect, forgive yourself, and move on.

Instead of “I need to lose weight,” you can say “I am gaining health.” Instead of “I’m a loser,” you can say “I’m becoming a winner.” Treat yourself like you would a valued friend.
Putting it all together

By understanding ourselves and our needs, setting small manageable goals and not giving up, success is nearly guaranteed. If you have a temporary setback, start again. You can always start again.

 

You can be successful in beating your cravings.