Hi everyone! I promised the rest of my “skinny rules” so below are rules #6-10. I have LOVED hearing feedback from everyone on what their own skinny/healthy rules are…just because something works for me doesn’t mean it will work for others so the more ideas, the better! But back to rules #6-10:
SKINNY RULE #6: Quit counting calories and practice intuitive eating
I used to count calories for a period of time when I was in college. After a while, I became obsessed with how many calories each food I ate had, and either congratulated myself for eating less than my designated amount, or felt ashamed of myself if I ate too many. Sometimes this led to what I like to refer to as the “What the Hell” response, where you figure, “hey, I already ate too many calories today so I might as well keep eating like crap because I screwed up today…I will start fresh tomorrow I swear”. As you can imagine, counting calories all day was stressful and exhausting, and was a hell of a lot of work to maintain the weight I wanted to. So when I heard about “intuitive eating” (which I will detail in another post someday), I was ready to ditch the counting and jumped on board. In a nutshell, intuitive eating follows the theory that our bodies are very intelligent machines, and if we stop and evaluate our internal hunger and satiety cues (along with making healthy food choices), we don’t have to count calories because our stomach will tell us when and how much to eat in an amount that appropriate for our bodies. While it took me awhile to accept that my body could possibly be trusted to know how much food I need, guess what? IT DOES. And it top it off, since I’ve adopted the intuitive eating way of life, I weigh just as much (actually a little less) than I did back when I thought I had to be so strict. However, I know some people that do like to count calories because it holds them accountable and helps them figure out why they aren’t losing weight, etc. and that’s fine too – just not my thing.
SKINNY RULE #7: Eat those veggies – no excuses!
This rule I stole right from Bob Harper, but I think it bears repeating. In order to eat a healthy diet, you are going to HAVE to eat your veggies – and I’m not just talking about corn, potatoes, and peas. Giving your body vegetables is probably one of the best diet choices you can make, as veggies fill your body with vitamins, minerals, fiber, water…and even some protein! Don’t like veggies? Then perhaps you aren’t preparing them in a way that could taste good to you. Try roasting, grilling, or steaming them if you don’t like raw, and look for a healthy sauce or condiment that you can top them with to make them tasty (some of my favorites are salsa, a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, or even a little BBQ sauce…hey whatever floats your boat). If it were up to me, veggies would go at the bottom of your personal food pyramid, as they are the food you should be eating the most of. I know it’s not always easy, and there are days where I barely eat anything green, but one can’t be healthy without veggies in their life.
Another point I wanted to make with this rule is to FEED your kids and family veggies too…not just yourself. I hear a lot of “my kids won’t eat veggies” in my office, but after I do a little probing, I find out that they aren’t trying to or offering their kids veggies either. I understand that to kids, veggies aren’t usually their favorite foods, but exposure to eating veggies early is so important. I used to babysit a couple of girls who were 2 and 4 that absolutely loved veggies because they were given to them EVERY day starting from a young age. It also helps that their parents were healthy eaters because kids look to parents on how to behave, meaning that if you don’t eat your veggies, neither will your kid.
SKINNY RULE #8: Don’t drink your calories, and keep alcohol consumption to twice a week
I admit that I am a sucker for a Starbucks iced latte, but in general, drinking lots of high calorie sugary beverages is the fast track to weight gain and down the road, diabetes. This also includes juice, which masquerades as a healthy drink, but usually isn’t. Stick to water, coffee, and home brewed tea (without sugar obviously) for your drinks. As for alcohol, I am really trying to stick to an “only drinking on 2 nights per week” rule, because I find that I feel (and probably look) better when I do. Not only is alcohol empty calories, but it usually causes the munchies (and a hangover) of some sort. Now that the 4th of July is over (for some reason, the 4th of July festivities and drinking binge lasted about a week…oops), I am also going back to only drinking wine, champagne, a Skinnygirl cocktail, or light beer – hey it’s swimsuit season, and I know those white Russians and regular margaritas aren’t doing me any favors! Again, I’m not saying that everyone needs to stick to a twice a week alcohol rule…this is just what works for me (your “skinny rule” might be a small amount of alcohol every day, once a week, or maybe even not at all).
SKINNY RULE #9: Comfort food doesn’t always comfort you
Sometimes when life hands us lemons, we go out and eat a lemon meringue pie instead of making lemonade. My point is that turning to food when we are stressed, upset or bored is a common way of dealing with feelings that will sabotage a healthy diet in the long run. Most people associate eating with a positive feeling, and the release of serotonin someone gets when eating carbs reinforces this behavior and makes it so damn hard to stop. It’s a lot easier said than done, but actually dealing with your feelings – or distracting yourself if it’s a situation you don’t have control over – is a lot healthier and will make you happier as well since you won’t feel guilty or ashamed of your indulgence.
SKINNY RULE #10: Remember “the hot tub diet” phenomenon
No I’m not crazy…there really is a “hot tub” diet out there, and even more crazy is the fact that I endorse it. In the book “The Hot Tub Diet”, author Bridget Praytor, who was a huge exercise enthusiast and marathoner, was sidelined by an injury sustained in a car accident and was unable to work-out for 6 months. During this time, Praytor still made trips to her gym, but could only sit in the hot tub instead of jump on the treadmill. While sitting in the hot tub, it dawned on her that she was sick of feeling guilty about eating certain foods and was tired of beating herself up every day over her weight and body image. She started to think more positively about her body, which in turn helped her make healthy choices that honored her body. Soon, the weight that she had worked so hard at losing came off and her health improved – all without a minute of cardio. She advocates constantly keeping a positive mindset and to tackle weight loss by first challenging the mental aspect…an approach I think is amazing. Changing habits and trying to eat in a more healthy way definitely requires a healthy mind. So next time you are stressing about your appearance in the mirror, or feeling bad about eating a cookie, think of relaxing in a hot tub and change your thoughts from “I’m so fat, I can’t do this, I screwed up my diet because I ate a cookie, etc.” to “I can do this, my body is amazing, and it’s more than ok to eat a cookie once in awhile – one or two cookies never made anyone overweight!”.
Any other rules I missed, or is there anyone that thinks a rule I have is awesome/totally off base? Feel free to let me know! :)
Thanks again for reading!