Did you gain weight over the winter? If so, you’re not alone; it happened to many people. But don’t fret. Spring is in the air and it’s finally time to shed your winter coat and reverse the winter weight gain. Get off to a good start by checking out the solutions to some all-too-common weight loss challenges.
CHALLENGE: Striving for perfection.
Solution: Every choice you make will not be perfect when it comes to dieting and weight loss. But that’s not necessary for you to reach your goal. Instead, strive to do your best on most days. If (when) you do slip-up, shake it off and get right back on track at your very next meal – or the very next day. And always remember, nobody gains weight from one rich dinner or a single slice of cake. The real trouble starts when you allow that one “splurge” to snowball into an all-out eating frenzy. Take it one meal at a time and learn to forgive yourself; every dieter has slip-ups, but the successful ones know how to keep those occasional lapses contained.
CHALLENGE: Eating breakfast every day.
Solution: Studies show that eating breakfast actually helps weight loss and is associated with better weight control over time. When you eat breakfast, your body feels nourished and satisfied, making you less likely to overeat the rest of the day. Breakfast doesn’t need to be complicated or time consuming – and healthy choices are endless. Make time for a quick and nutritious breakfast such as whole grain cereal, low-fat milk and fresh fruit; all you need is 5 minutes.
CHALLENGE: Staying energized and focused.
Solution: Many of the so-called “health foods” being marketed to people who are trying to lose weight are exactly the opposite of healthy. They are highly processed, filled with artificial ingredients, and lacking in nutrients. It’s no wonder so many people on diets feel fatigued, less focused, and wanting more. One of the best ways to stay satisfied, energized, and on track with your weight loss plan is to eat nutrient-rich foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables; whole grains; legumes such as beans, peas, and lentils; nuts and seeds; and lean meats, poultry and fish. Keep the highly processed foods, convenience foods, and fast foods to a minimum.
CHALLENGE: Dealing with cravings.
Solution: When you feel like eating at a time that is not part of your plan ask yourself the question, “Am I really hungry or is this just a craving?” Hunger is your body’s way of telling you that you need fuel; it’s a physiological response. A craving, on the other hand, is usually triggered by a psychological need. Learn to listen to your body and figure out what it is trying to tell you. See if you can delay eating and ride out the craving. If you can’t, and you find this happening frequently, perhaps you need something other than food. You may want to seek out psychological support.
CHALLENGE: Feeling deprived and tempted to cheat.
Solution: Making a commitment to lose some weight doesn’t mean you need to give up all of your favorite foods. In fact, this approach can actually work against you. Being too strict can lead to feelings of deprivation and this is a sure fire way to set yourself up for a cheat. And once that happens, you’re likely to feel disappointed, discouraged, and ready to quit. Instead of cutting out your favorite foods altogether, eat them in moderation. For example, buy one fresh bakery cookie instead of a whole box. To lose weight, make better choices overall, but don’t completely give up the foods you love.