#1 Stop Drinking Your Calories.
There are so many ways you can drink calories. Fancy, flavoured coffees, soft drinks, mixed alcoholic drinks, fruity beverages and the list goes on. Drinking your calories often results in overeating. There is little satiation when it comes to these drinks. Plus, they are often packed with sugar. This leads to a rush of glucose into your bloodstream followed by increased insulin and then fat storage – yuck.
Let me give you a few examples of how sugary some of these drinks can be. Have you ever tried vitamin water? It sounds healthy right? Water is the first ingredient but it is followed by sugar. A 591mL bottle has 120 calories, but guess how much sugar? There is 31 grams of sugar in a bottle!! Yikes!! That equals 8 teaspoons of sugar!!
Here is a simple formula that you can use when you read food labels:
4 grams of sugar = 1 tsp = 16 calories
Ok – so you don’t drink vitamin water, good for you. But take a close look at what you do drink. Do you have Iced cappuccinos at Tim Horton’s? That’s 150 calories with 32 grams of sugar – another 8 tsp of sugar. What about a vanilla latte from Starbucks? That’s 250 calories with 35 g of sugar. Nine whooping teaspoons of sugar! I don’t even think we need to discuss soft drinks like Coke and Pepsi. But here is what is interesting, there is 39 grams of sugar in a can of Coke – that’s pretty similar to the supposed “healthy” vitamin water.
#2 Stop Buying Low-Fat Products
Fat is not the enemy when it comes to weight loss. Sugar is our enemy. When a food item has been stripped of fat, the flavour gets lost. To make up for the lack in flavour, manufacturers have to add in sugar, artificial flavours etc. to make up for it.
How many grams of sugar should you aim for? Here is the recommendation by the American Heart Association guidelines.
Women: no more than 100 calories per day which equals 6 teaspoons or 24 grams
Men: no more than 150 calories per day which equals 9 teaspoons or 36 grams
Wow!! So, it is recommended that I have 6 tsp of sugar per day. That is not an easy task, especially when so many of our products have added sugar.
Manufacturers package their products in a deceiving way. They make claims that sound healthy and nutritious when they are not. You really need to read the nutrition facts before you decide whether a supposed “health” product is actually healthy. Let’s take low-fat yogurt as an example. The typical flavoured low-fat yogurt serving size has 110 calories with 17 grams of sugar. That makes 4 tsp of sugar.
Using the sugar formula:
4tsp x 16 calories = 64 calories!!
Here is the shocking news – more than half of your calories in this yogurt come from sugar!!!! So – how healthy is it? You can do the same math this granola bars and cereal and baked goods. It is shocking!
#3 Stop Waiting For The Perfect Time
There will never be a perfect time. Life will never stop throwing challenges at you. If you wait, you will wait forever. Eating right is not an all or nothing venture. Please stop trying to be perfect. This is my biggest frustration when it comes to helping people with their weight loss goals. You do not have to do it right all the time. Make small changes. Take baby steps. When you fail, get up and make your next decision a healthy one. When you mess up, don’t say to yourself: “Oh well, I will start again on Monday”. No! You will start again right now, this next second because you can and because you forgive yourself for being human. You will mess up – so what. Keep going. If you fall 7 times, get up 8. Do it. Otherwise you will never get there.
#4 Stop Depriving Yourself
One of the worst things you can do when you are trying to maintain long-term weight loss is to deprive yourself. You will be setting yourself up for failure if you think that you can resist all your favourite foods. And seriously – how fun is it to know that you can’t eat something you love? A more effective strategy is to indulge in your favourite “unhealthy” foods 20% of the time. You have probably heard the 80/20 rule. Eat healthy 80% of the time and eat your cheat foods 20% of the time.
There are different ways people live by this rule. You’ve probably heard of “cheat days” when people allow themselves a day to eat whatever they want. You could do this method if it works for you. I don’t find this method is effective for me. I feel gross if I have a whole day dedicated to eating junky foods. Plus, I like to have a little indulgence everyday. I try to reserve a small portion of my calories each to day towards my “treats”. Here is a formula that you can use to figure it out. If you eat approximately 1500 calories a day then take 20% of that and you will get 300 calories. This is what I will reserve for my “fun food”.
Also, make sure that you are really mindful when you are eating. This means you need to slow down and stop multi-tasking while you eat. Really taste your food. Most of us are guilty of being busy on our phones of being distracted while we are eating. If you do this, you will find that once you are done eating you won’t even remember how your food tasted. This is not helpful for feeling satiated. Taste your food, enjoy it. When you eat, don’t do anything else.
#5 Stop Eating Late At Night
It is likely that you are watching tv while you eat at night. This is not mindful. You are mindlessly munching away, not even noticing if you are full or not. The food you eat after dinner is probably due to emotional stress or cravings or boredom. It is not likely that you are hungry.
Studies have shown that eating late at night leads to twice as much weight gain!! A great reason to stop!!
This is probably one of my biggest weaknesses when it comes to eating healthy. I do eat at night. Vegetables are a great choice any time of the day and basically are considered a free food. But do I ever feel like eating a carrot late at night – not a chance. My goal is to keep my snack to 100 calories (but I’m not always successful, especially when my hubby brings home a bag of chips!!)
Be patient with yourself. Take baby steps. Try to reduce your intake. Make healthier choices. And try to come up with a healthy behaviour that replaces your bad one. Perhaps reading a book would keep you from eating. Or lock the door when your husband brings home a bag of chips!! Haha! Whatever you do, don’t quit. You can do it.