Actually, there are three weight loss bullets-food documentation, limiting restaurant food, and regular eating. Dietitians have been aware of this information for decades, and a new study out this month supports these tried and true tactics for successful weight loss.
Here are my thoughts on the subject:
- Food documentation: Food documentation can happen on a smart phone with numerous apps, desktop computer, or iPad. I have clients who also mix it up a bit and even revert back to an old-fashioned small notebook and pen which is easy to carry around. It does not matter how you document, because the fact that you document your food means you are not shoving food into your mouth without paying attention. You cannot “run and hide” from your calorie consumption, and the sheer act of “facing” those calories gives you a winning edge on successful weight loss because pretending you did not eat those calories is accomplishing nothing!
- Limit Restaurant Food: Chances are pretty good that the meal you ate out for lunch or dinner contained many more calories than had you eaten at home. Making a conscious choice to dine at home rather than away from home will increase the likelihood you will succeed at weight loss. Those that think otherwise are either in denial about the calorie content of standard restaurant cuisine or uninformed. Remember the greasy bun you did not expect to come with your overly large burger or the really large serving of fries you probably would not have eaten at home? And, the cocktail and desserts typically not available at home but that you consumed while dining out are not helping your waistline either. Try as you may, it is an extreme challenge to constantly dine out and manage your weight. It is the first lifestyle change I recommend with new weight loss clients!
- Eat Regularly: Even a hungry dietitian can walk into the kitchen and want to eat everything in sight if she or he went too long without eating! Eating on a regular schedule keeps your blood sugar up and your hunger down. Going for very long periods between meals and snacks paves the way for a binge. Intentional stockpiling of calories to save for later in the day usually backfires as well. You will, in all likelihood, be so ravenous your guard will be down and you will overdo those calories and do so in a hurry as soon as you can eat.
No one ever said losing weight was easy. But facing your eating and lifestyle behavior are half the battle in this process. Being accountable, calorie savvy, and nourishing yourself on a timely basis will help make the weight loss process happen.
What tools do you use?