For the first time in about 20 years I got through the Yom Kippur fast without feeling sick and getting a terrible headache that rivals my migraines.
Then I found out, I've lost 20 pounds of ugly fat!
I put it on when I had my last job and a commute that sucked up all my free time. Sometimes it took 3 hours to go 25 miles, depending on how many tractor trailers had jack-knifed. I got out just about the time that traffic crashes tripled because of people using their smart phones while driving. Three of them almost hit my car during the last two weeks.
My secret? It's no secret. Doctors and registered dietitians have been saying these things for about 20 years now.
1. Get your sleep. If you don't get 8 hours of sleep, your body makes a hormone that makes you feel hungry. If you do get 8 hours of sleep, your body makes a hormone that makes you feel full. See my INSOMNIA post for how to get your sleep.
2. Get your exercise. My experience is that half an hour of aerobic exercise kills my appetite for an hour, and you need that hour to rehydrate. START SMALL. I knew a guy who never exercised and started a biking program and had a heart attack. Walk the block in front of your house if you can. If not, pace across your living room. If that's also hard, see if you can find a yoga program on TV and do that. Build up. I now do all my gardening with hand tools and use a push mower on my lawn. I just spent a week scrubbing the house, taking down curtains to wash and lifting the window sliders out to clean the tracks. I was whipped but I felt great.
3. Find out how much you should eat a day for your height and level of activity. There's a USDA program called My Plate that is free online. There are apps for your smart phone; a young relative of mine used one and had lots of success.
4. Divide that amount of food up across the day, getting most of it in the morning. My best success has come when I copied the serving sizes of my young relatives. I also copied recommendations of experts on the radio (not Dr. Oz and don't get me started) to eat protein at breakfast -- I ALWAYS EAT BREAKFAST -- and my fruits and vegetables later in the day.
5. Another radio expert (not Dr. Oz) worked with one of the radio personalities who goes to fancy parties where the food is always great. She helped him take off 50 pounds and one of her tips was YOU DON'T HAVE TO EAT THE WHOLE THING. She got him to take just a taste of whatever looked good. Whatever you have, eat enough to suit one of your servings from your program, and then stop. Put the rest away for later.
6. DON'T GIVE UP YOUR FAVORITE FOOD. There are two ways to deal with cravings. One is "just a taste." The other is one I just heard about but the testing has only begun. I did it with my favorite treat, chips. I made a bargain with myself. I wouldn't buy chips every week but I was allowed to buy them on Federal holidays. It cut 3/4 of those purchases out of my budget. The studies show that if you put your favorite food on the table in front of you, look at it, smell it, but WAIT a certain amount of time before eating, you can learn to put off your cravings.
7. I know some of you also have no-time lifestyles. No time to cook, no time to shop, no time to exercise, not if you want to be with your friends or play video games or tweet or whatever. I'm sorry for you. It sucks. But the same things you buy for emergency planning (another post) will help you with your weight. Buy energy bars (NOT energy drinks) that DON'T have sugar for the first ingredient, and eat those for breakfast. Instead of going to a restaurant for lunch, find out if there's a grocery store nearby and spend that same money on fruit and salad. You can eat the salad right away and save the fruit for the afternoon. Also get some milk -- cow milk, soy milk, whatever. You can have that at bedtime. You'll spend the same amount in one day that you used to spend at restaurants, get healthier food and be able to lose weight.
8. GET RID OF SODAS. Including diet sodas. Recent studies show that what causes diabetes and puts fat around your belly is having a sweet taste on the tongue. Your body reacts by pulling sugar out of your blood and that wears out your pancreas, promoting diabetes. Your body stores that sugar as fat. The phosphates in diet sodas leach calcium from your bones and cause osteoporosis. The BPA in the lining of the cans changes your DNA. So does the sodium benzoate preservative, especially in sodas containing vitamin C. The acid in the carbonation etches enamel off your teeth so that you have more cavities. Spend the money on bottled water ONCE and then re-fill the bottle from the tap. You'll cut back on the waste in our landfills, the money you spend, and the threats to your health.
9. EATING RIGHT IS NOT BLAND. Not when it includes sourdough multi-grain bread and fruit, adds onions and garlic and bell peppers and hot peppers to recipes, as well as all the bright vegetables like yams and broccoli and yellow squash. I used to post to an Internet group on dieting and we found that people who hated vegetables mostly didn't know how to cook them right. Cut up your veg. Put 1/4 cup water in the pan. Dump in the veg. Sprinkle with black pepper. Cover. Turn on the heat. 15 minutes later the veg is cooked and your hamburger or chicken is ready too. Stir-frying is just as fast. Now experiment with herbs and spices.
10. NEVER STOP. Skipping exercise or eating wrong one day will not derail the whole plan. Stop feeling guilty. YOU WILL START UP AGAIN THE NEXT DAY. String more and more days together when you do exercise and also eat right, and you'll eventually succeed.
© Patricia Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved