It’s easy to derail. To go off the deep end and indulge a little too much – for some of us, way too much. You feel like you've been doing everything right, but it seems that you can't lose weight no matter what. But you’re working hard. You put in eight hours a day at your job, then you drive straight to the gym or the CrossFit box, to put in another hour of hard work so that you can maintain and build the body you want. You’ve worked hard all week, you’ve lost a few pounds, and your diet has been exceptional, so you feel like a guilt-free weekend is totally deserved. Being rewarded with food and booze has been built into our society for decades. When was the last time your birthday rolled around and your friends made you a decorated kale salad instead of a birthday cake? Or maybe you got a new promotion and you went out to celebrate and your friends decided that the celebratory tequila shots would be a lot cooler if they were wheat grass shots instead? The answer is most likely never.
Breaking the habit of rewarding yourself with food is a small change in your mindset and behavior that will have a huge impact on your life. Here are a few simple changes you can make and implement into your life, to help you on the right path to success. And they aren’t as hard as you’d think.
Make Healthier Food Choices
I’m not going to sit here and tell you to trade the doughnut for the apple because for most of us, it takes the fun out of things and it’s honestly just unrealistic. Eating out is definitely not as healthy as the food you can eat and prepare at home, even if you make a healthy choice. It's also one of the reasons, you can’t lose weight no matter what you do. Prepared food is cooked with hydrogenated oils, low-grade meats that contain soy, and highly processed foods that contain hidden sugars and pesticides. But there are definitely better options on most food menus than others. You wouldn’t believe how quickly you can lose a few pounds, by just eating at home consistently.
- Choose foods that are low in carbohydrates
- Drink water or iced tea instead of soda and beer
- Get a burger without the bun
- Choose foods high in protein
- Get a salad instead of something fried
- Trade your fries for a salad
- Get your dressing on the side
Make Healthier Alcohol Choices
Having a drink, a glass of wine or a beer isn’t a bad thing. But drinking a couple of beers or having a few glasses of wine every night can add up quick. Just two beers a night adds to over 2,000 extra calories per week. The worst is when you go out and end up having a handful of mixed drinks, which not only leave you with a terrible hangover but a ton of empty calories that will help you on a weight gain journey. Simple syrup, soda, juice, and malt liquors contain added sugars and simple carbohydrates that will raise your blood sugar and cause your body to secrete insulin, which will create more body fat. It’s the fastest way to the softest body that you never wanted. Not all gains are good ones.
- Have a drink on the rocks instead of a mixed drink
- Instead of 3-4 beers have 1-2
- Skip all the desert drinks (unless you like drinking alcoholic meal replacements)
(READ about the healthiest alcohol choices for more information)
Eat Smaller Serving Sizes And Slow Down
America is built on the notion that bigger is better. That more is better. But instead of supersizing, you need to start minimizing. Instead of eating two doughnut holes, eat one. It’s that simple.
One of the biggest problems we have as a society is eating too fast and too much. It’s also one of the reasons you can’t lose weight. If you just slowed things down a bit, you can give your brain a chance to catch up with your stomach and realize that you’re full. Opting for a second helping immediately after your first is a great way to overeat, gain weight, and feel like a pile of shit. Eat smaller serving sizes, slow down, and then wait a few minutes to see assess how you feel. Chances are you won’t eat as much.
Reward Yourself With Adventure, Not Food
Take a trip, go on a hike, ski, or opt for something outside that get’s your heart rate up. It doesn’t really matter what it is. More often than not, we’re confronted with financial excuses, and time crunches to push our adventurous self to the side.
The traditional American vacation of binge and booze is out. And if it’s not, then it should be. Most people think vacation is going to Mexico, drinking margaritas, taking body shots, and stuffing yourself like a spicy habanero pepper until your jeggings don’t fit. Instead of wasting your money on cheap tequila, go see the world and create your own epic adventure. There’s plenty to do, you just have to be creative.
- Take a hike to a beautiful destination
- Join a group exercise class
- Go snowboarding or skiing
- Play sports with your friends and family
- Take your kids to the park
- Go mountain biking
- Play Frisbee
- Go fishing
- Join a group exercise class
- Go to a museum
Nesting Is The New Going Out
The fear of missing out (FOMO) is a real thing. But I’m here to tell you, that you’re not missing out on anything. Really! Now in no way am I encouraging that you shouldn’t go out and experience the world, take epic adventures, hike Mt. St Helens, or go surf the British Colombian coast in Tofino. No! I’m saying that you’re not missing out by going out every weekend and, getting shit faced and not remembering you ate a full breakfast of biscuits and gravy at 3 o’clock in the morning.
The allure of staying home is greater now than ever before. With dozens of options for entertainment, healthier food choices, and spending more time with yourself or your partner, or your furry friends, your self-imposed confinement can sometimes be a better option than the former. However leaving the nest, is how we grow as individuals, and too much nesting is more like you just never left your parent's house. Finding a happy balance between the two is the challenge. Too much of one thing never ends well.
- Stream a movie
- Read a book
- Play a board game
- Build a puzzle
- Have your friends over
- Bake healthy snacks
- Make dinner with friends and family
- Listen to a podcast
- Listen to music
- Get back to your roots
Don’t be a victim. If your goal is to lose weight, look great, and feel amazing, then rewarding yourself with food after a productive week, is the easiest way to gain back the weight you’ve worked so hard to lose. Cheat days aren’t meant to be a 24-hour marathon of sugar-induced coma. Change your mindset and stop rewarding yourself with food. The smallest changes can have the biggest impact.
It's easy to get discouraged, especially when you feel like you've tried everything.