Last time I went over some helpful tips on how to stay on track with your weight loss goals while living a busy life, like many of us do. I wanted to share a few more tips that are helpful to me. No one wants to be rushing through meals all day every day and shoving food into their mouths, racing to the next appointment. I spend a lot of time caring for others, and I do not spend a lot of time on self-care. I know a lot of parents out there are the same way. Try to take a few minutes each day to gather your thoughts and plan your day out. Whether its making a to-do list, or packing your lunch, or even taking a shower alone, we all need that time to think.
Check out these last few tips and let me know your thoughts:
6. EAT IN YOUR CAR SOMETIMES: Eating in your car all the time is not a good habit to get into. You want to be able to focus on your meal and become more mindful during your meals. You don’t always want to be mindlessly shoving your face in the car. Sometimes, you are stuck in the car all day traveling for work, or with your kids, etc. It is okay to eat in the car occasinally. If you have to make the choice between eating in the car, or not eating and skipping a meal, I would eat in the car. Skipping a meal can lead to low blood sugar, cravings, and bad choices later in the day. This is not good. If you know you will be in the car for a long period of time, pack your meal/snack. Sometimes I pack a cooler with a lunch for myself and the kids. This saves money (from eating out), and it ensures that I will stay on track with my weight loss goals. I typically pack a greek yogurt and some fruit, or a salad with tuna or chicken breast, or even a turkey sandwich with tomato and pickle. Like I said, eating in the car is not a good habit to get into. It is better for your mind and body to sit down and eat a meal and not multitask while eating. When you are busy, and you want to stay on track with your weight loss goals, in certanin situations it is better to stay on top of hunger and eat in the car.
7. STAY ON TOP OF HUNGER: This goes along with what I was saying above. It is so important to stay on top of hunger by eating every 3-5 hours. Try not to let yourself go too long between meals/snacks. If you do this, when it is time to eat, you will most likely be starving and over indulge. This can lead to bingeing and cravings. These things will quickly get in the way of your weight loss goals. If it’s 11am and I am not quite hungry for lunch, but I know I will not have the opportunity to eat again for another 4 hours (due to meetings, appointments, etc), I will make myself eat a properly portioned well-rounded meal to hold me over and stay within my ranges for the day. This way I will not be tempted to fall off track later due to impulse choices, low blood sugar and extreme hunger and fatigue.
8. LEARN HOW TO EYEBALL: Most people do not carry their food scale around with them all day long to meetings, restaurants and family gatherings. It is important to learn what foods are good sources of protein, carbohydrates, and which ones are high in fats. Once you get this down, you need to be aware of portion sizes. How much are you eating? Look at your plate/bowl. Restaurant sized portions are 2-3 times larger than the average portion that your body needs. Put half of it into a “to go” box before you even start your meal. Here is some info that is useful when not around your food scale or measuring cups:
A serving of cheese is 1 ounce or the size of a domino. A serving of walnuts is 1 ounce or a handful. A serving of cooked pasta is ½ cup or the size of half a baseball; the same holds true for whole grains (eg. brown rice) and beans. A serving of fruit or veggies is ½ cup or the size of a computer mouse. A serving of meat, fish or poultry is 3 ounces or the size of a deck of cards. Instead of avoiding dessert completely, integrate occasional treats into your diet and follow the same guidelines for portion control. A brownie serving is the size of a package of dental floss. A serving of ice cream is ½ cup or the size of a lightbulb. A serving of pretzels and chips is equal to a handful.
9. BE PICKY SOMETIMES: I like to be a little picky about where my fats and carbs come from. I only get so many a day, why waste it on food that I don’t absolutely love? When out and about the same rules apply. If you are at a work luncheon and there is pasta, bread, rice, and cookies. Do you have all of these? No, these are all starchy carbs, and they need to consumed in moderation. I would just pick one of these, if the cookie looks like it was freshly baked from a specialty bakery, I would personally choose that. Take a look at the food and think, “I can have that any old day” so I will choose what is rare and home-made. I am also a big fan of craft beers (when I’m not pregnant), I will skip my starchy carb with dinner so I can have a beer. Be responsible, and plan ahead when you eat, you are in control of what you put into your body.
10. AVOID EATING OUT TOO MUCH: Yes, we as americans like to eat out. No dirty dishes, no cooking, no shopping, a variety of choices, etc. It is not always great for weight loss though. When busy, sometimes you have to eat out. Your schedule would not function any other way. Many of us have unexpected changes in our schedules also, that can lead to missing a chance to come home for lunch like we anticipated. Maybe you have a work “dinner event” that you did not anticipate. I realize these and other circumstances can not be avoided and that is why I teach my clients about the healthy choices on the menu while eating outside the home. For those circumstances that you CAN control, it makes sense to plan ahead and pack something. Bring a bagged lunch to work, bring a cooler into your car for a healthy meal later. This way you can ensure that your portions are properly measured in advance and you will stay on track with your weight loss goals.
11. PLAN AHEAD: This is the number one thing to do! You will be more successful, but it is easier said than done. It takes time to develop the habit and learn how to measure and pack up properly portioned meals. I will admit that in the beginning it is hard and you have to force yourself to measure and plan and pack up all your meals for the week. Once you get into the habit of this, it will make a huge difference. You will not stress and worry about what you will have for lunch, or breakfast. You will know in advance what you will eat, and you will know that it fits into your plan. I recommend planning your weekly meals out on each Saturday or Sunday. Once you have a game plan, you can go grocery shopping. When you get home, cut up, cook, and measure everything that you will eat all week. Put the food into containers and store them in the fridge for ease. This may sound overwhelming to those of you that have never done this, and thats okay, baby steps. Start small with just planning out one or two days. Once meal prep becomes habit, it makes your life so much easier during the week. Also, once you start seeing yourself move closer to your weight loss goals, you are motivated to continue! That is positive reinforcement for everyone! So, planning ahead saves time, money, and helps you lose weight. Still, easier said than done! A lot of people just don’t know where to start. It can be overwhelming! I offer a ton of sample meals, tips, recipes, and grocery lists to my clients that help them get off to a great start. Please contact me if you are interested in some more tips!
I hope this information is helpful, I know these theings help me! If you have any suggestions of ideas that work for you that I did not cover, I would love to hear them!
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, or would like to get started on your weight loss journey. I would love to be your partner on your way to reach your goals!
Sarah Williams MS, ATC, SFN