Monday is D-day for many women. D-day? The day of the week they begin a ‘diet’. The fact is, you can’t ‘go on a diet’ because you are already on one. Albeit one that may not be providing the nutrition, vitality and body weight you desire.
I’m writing about this because weight loss is a recurring conversation among some of my friends and family. And I’m not talking about ‘those last 5 kgs’ I’m 20-30kg kind of weight loss.
If only weight loss were as simple as mastering the energy in, energy out equation. It’s not. If it were, income for Australia’s weight loss industry would not have been $789.6 million in 2010-2011 as reported by IBISworld market research.
So, what to do?
Here are a few tips and tricks from my own experience of being a woman in our image obsessed, food abundant society. I haven’t had to lose 30 kgs but I have managed to stay a size 12 for twenty years even through working as a restaurant reviewer and food writer, and having had two babies.
1. Keep a food diary for at least a week. I have done this and any of my friends who have ever done this have found it very helpful to work out when?, why? (bored, sad, lonely, frustrated, happy, celebrating) and how much? they are eating. Writing it down makes it real. You may not think you eat very much, or that you eat ‘healthily’ perhaps that’s true, the diary will show you the quality and quantity of food and from there you can change direction.
2. Read ‘French Women Don’t Get Fat’ by Mireille Guiliano. Regardless of whether you are wanting to lose weight or not if you are interested in real food this book is an excellent read, Guilliano’s writing is very engaging and the recipes appealing and straightforward. Her philosophy and tips are easy to incorporate into your life, it is not a diet it is a way of living and she is a big advocate of the real food way of life such as buying local produce, going to farmer’s markets, using spices to flavour food rather relying on salt and sugar.
3. Eat at the table, off your own plate only. The ‘off your own plate only’ is for mothers. We mothers are renowned for finishing what our children don’t eat. Put it in the compost, feed it to the birds, put it in the bin. If you don’t have time to sit down and eat, make time. Munching down food standing at the kitchen bench, in the car, while you’re working means you are not consciously eating. This means you can overeat and tell yourself the calories don’t count. They do.
4. Check out Cyndi O’Maera’s fantastic e-book Changing Habits Changing Lives 21 day weight loss plan ($22). Cyndi is an Australian nutritionist and author who doesn’t believe in low-fat, low-calorie diets instead she writes about changing habits – the what, when, how you eat and exercise – and provides a delicious collection of family-friendly recipes that won’t leave you hungry and feeling like you are ‘on a diet’ being punished. Great tips and inspiration for sneaking exercise into your day, turning off the TV and changing your life.
5. Change how you see yourself: NOW. Don’t wait until you lose the weight to accept yourself, love yourself, be kind to yourself, forgive yourself. Do that now.
And if you find in a months time the weight loss plan you are following is not working then stop what you are doing and REALLY change direction. Seek new ways, not fad diets, meaningful new ways that see you live differently from your heart not just what you eat.
Good luck to everyone who has losing weight on their goal list this year, perhaps a goal to add if you don’t have it on there already is being fulfilled in your relationships and creative pursuits. You may find being fulfilled in other areas of your life takes a weight off your mind and body J