Now that we've discussed self-defeating attitudes which affect one from having a more positive outlook on their body, let's examine some ways we can alter our size literally and visually. We'll only briefly talk about the visual since clothing will be later.
As a background reminder, I've struggled with my weight my whole life. I go up and down every couple of years which is frustrating. I wish I could stay the same ideal weight all my life. However, this is probably not going to happen.
There are a few things which I do which have very much helped me. They're basic philosophies but they go far.
1) Do not take extremes.
I am against people cutting out an entire food group. Some people did Adkin's, then South Beach, then whatever other fad diet comes around. I don't agree with them. If I told myself I'd never eat bread again, I'd cry. Why? Because I love bread. So instead I think moderation counts for a lot.
Write down your daily typical diet for a week. Are there any extremes? Unless your extreme is a love for fresh produce, there's probably a problem.
One thing which helped me lose 5 lbs quickly was when I realized I used to drink 2-3 sodas a day. I couldn't believe it. I never realized I drank that much until I wrote it down and analyzed it. To me, 2-3 cans is extreme. So I swapped it for homemade lemonade if I wanted something besides water to drink. The homemade lemonade made with real lemons (or at least real lemon juice) and sugar is much healthier. I'd also add a handful of fresh berries as well to make it pink. (What gay boy doesn't secretly think pink is pretty? haha)
2) Make changes you're comfortable with for a long time.
Considering I have already admitted loving bread, I know I could never give it up entirely. I try to choose whole grain breads when I can. I also don't eat bread 24-7. I just have it occasionally for sandwiches.
Cutting out all meat, all dairy, all carbs... well, unless you're comfortable living with it for a long time... I don't think it is a good thing. If you're comfortable giving up red meat since you don't like it much anyway, then that's fine---
Once you give up bread for a long time and then go back to eating it, you might notice all the weight you've lost is regained. That is why I bring it up. ANY change to your diet will likely help you lose weight. However, it might not help you lose weight LONG TERM unless you make LONG TERM changes.
So be realistic. If you love dairy, don't give it up.
3) Be Realistic.
Are you noticing a train of thought with my posts? Moderation, long-term changes... its all part of being realistic. Unless you want to be a body builder, taking extremes won't work well. If you are 400 lbs and want to get down to 150 in the next year, that is probably not very realistic. However, if your goal is to lost 100 lbs in a year, that IS realistic. But you'll have to make some big changes for the better and KEEP IT UP LONG TERM.
Most of us are not looking to lose 100-200 lbs though. Most of us are looking to lose 10-50 lbs.
If your goal is realistic, you can achieve it. Come up with a good goal. "I want to lose 10 lbs in the next two months!" That is realistic, short-term and reachable. When you've hit that goal, maybe your next goal should be "I want to lose 15 lbs in the next two months."
When you start reaching your goals, you'll notice it is dramatically helping you improve your self image. Especially when others start to notice!
4) Change positions!
No, I'm not talking about sexual positions. Although if that gets your heartbeat going, then so be it. Just kidding!
One bit of advice I got was "Don't walk when you can jog. Don't sit when you can stand. Don't lie down when you can sit."
Basically meaning, do something a little extra. If you're going to your mailbox, maybe do a light jog down the driveway. If you have an extra 15 minutes, take a walk around the block. Don't lie down to watch tv when you can sit. (Sitting burns more calories than lying down.)
Sometimes when I am watching TV I say "Okay, during every commercial break, I'm going to do jumping jacks!" Its about 1-2 minutes of exercise. Its realistic. I'd otherwise just be sitting. And then my heart rate is goes up a bit which means that when I sit down to watch the show, my body is still pumping a bit and being more active.
5) Stop snacking!
I LOVE to snack. I truly do. I love to eat. But instead of snacking, I try to limit my food consumption to two-three meals a day. If I DO snack, I try to find something healthy.
6) COOK AT HOME!
Stop going so often to take out, even sit-down restaurants. Cook at home. If you have to spend the time to cook, you will be thinking, planning and MOVING. You'll be going to the grocery store and choosing the food to make.
Also, when I say to cook... it doesn't mean a microwave burrito. Even learning a few simple recipes for soups will save you time, money, and the extra calories and fat.
7) Find alternatives!
I love pizza! Always have. Always will. But its full of fat and calories. So I try to make my own pizza at home and find tasty toppings. Have you guys ever had chicken and spinach pizza? Its surprisingly good! Find a healthier alternative. If you're about to eat that microwave burrito, ask yourself "Couldn't I have something a bit better for me? Like a yogurt?"
Its fun thinking of alternatives to eat. Maybe with some planning, you can replace your TV dinner you eat at lunch with a vegetable lasagna you make at home. (If you're single, you can make a larger meal and then freeze portions in plastic containers for lunches later!) Or maybe a stir fry.
Cooking food can be very fun. So challenge yourself to find a healthier alternative.
I love going out for lunch... but today I'm eating: quinoa (never had it, we'll see how I like it! I love couscous and it looks similar...) A Greek Yogurt. Oranges. And some fried breaded eggplant. And some steamed veggies.
Now some might say "You fried and breaded eggplant? So unhealthy!" Well, its a healthier alternative to something like fried chicken, a hamburger, etc.
It took only about 15-20 minutes of cooking to make my meal. And it was fun. I made the eggplant yesterday so these are leftovers.
8) Eat Slowly.
Most of us overeat because we think we have to eat until we're stuffed to the brim. If you've eaten a baked potato, half of your steak, and some veggies and then you're full... take the rest and put it in the fridge for lunch tomorrow. Eat slow enough that you'll know when your body is FULL and then stop. Don't force yourself to eat more. Don't eat the dessert just because you can.
I do these even at Thanksgiving. No reason to gorge yourself on foods and then eat dessert.
Chances are, your body image is mostly in your head. But it can also be influenced by how you dress. Most people don't realize that there are ways to trick the eye not only for YOU looking at YOUR body but for others as well. If you have a poor body image, you might not even attempt anymore to find clothing which fits well or is fashionable. I bet if you DID you'd have an improved self acceptance. Clothing will be discussed further in the future!