It’s a new year and I have my list of goals written on a post-it note. Some of them are probably pretty unique, others very common. In the latter bucket is one which I think almost everyone has on their list or even if they don’t, they have thoughts of it still.
Yes, it’s the dreaded lose weight/stay healthy New Year’s resolution.
I am proud to say that last year, this goal was not actually on my list. However, 2008, with all the business travel and eating rich foods at restaurants, top it off with a gluttony of shortbread cookies during the holidays, has rendered me 7 pounds over where I’d like to be. Alas, it was high-time I pay the piper! I made too many calorie deposits than withdrawals in 2008.
Sure, I could procrastinate until next year, but weight is something if you are not careful sneaks up on you. Hence in America, about 60 percent of people are overweight and 40 percent are obese.
Trying not to be too conventional, I started attacking this New Year’s resolution 2 days before the New Year. It also made sense because I wanted to try a new diet plan, Isagenix. Although a quick web search will find this diet plan is controversial in many arenas for many reasons, no one seems to refute the fact that if you follow it, you will shed pounds.
So here was my game plan. I was going to go on the Isagenix 9-Day Cleanse Diet which I will not lie, requires immense willpower. Then, I would reset to my normal routine of healthy eating and exercise.
The first 9-Day Cleanse period, think if it as an extreme way to drop some pounds, on average, people lose 7 pounds. I was a disbeliever but after 2 days (of basically a Cleanse solution, tablets called “snacks”, pills and plenty of water) I have lost 5 pounds and an inch off my waist. You don’t have to use this particular diet, you can just adjust your diet/lifestyle gradually, but I was looking for a hard kick in the butt early 2009 and Susan O. recommended this plan.
Now, as anyone who has been on a diet will tell you, the secret is not losing the weight, its keeping it off. When it comes to weight, no matter how much you exercise, about 70 percent of weight-loss is determined by what one eats.
So here are some of the key things I’ve done over the past years to ensuring I transition from temporary diets to long-term healthy eating habits.
1. You can’t eat what you don’t have. I’ve gone through my entire fridge and pantry and thrown away temptations such as ice cream, potato chips, french fries, and cookies. I have a sweet tooth and if those items are lying around the pantry, the temptation will win out, especially on a late night. Replace with vegetables, fruits, popcorn, non-fat yogurt, high-fiber cereal, etc. I still have french fries and cookies on occasion, but they are just not my everyday meal or snack selection.
2. Wean yourself off of fats and sugars. I remember when skim milk was first introduced to mainstream, it tasted watery compared to the defacto standard of 2% milk. However, after drinking it for a while, skim/non-fat became normal tasting and now 2% is too rich. Same with sugars, I challenge myself to use less and less sugar and oils in baking recipes and dishes. Non-fat yogurt is an excellent substitute for butter.
Another way to do this is to go cold turkey for a week eating no refined sugars and greasy food. Then once you are back to your regular diet, you will notice how overly sweet everything is and not require so much sugar in your diet.
I was just reminded of this these past two days as the first part of the Isagenix 9-Day Diet Plan is to drink and eat only what they give you which was quite bland. Today, when I was back on some normal food, I realize that some of the stuff I was eating was still way to sweet. I think taste buds get desensitized to sugar if you have too much of it.
3. Make it easy. I’ll admit, this one may not be for everyone, but I almost always have the same dinner every night — a salad. After a busy day at work, it is great to come home to an easy routine of making salads. I do enjoy cooking when I throw dinner parties, but on a regular day, I like the predictability of a salad. Also, since I make it routine, I don’t even think about having anything other than a salad which may lead me astray.
4. The “are you hungry” test. Sometimes, when I think I am going to grab a snack, I ask myself would an apple sound appetizing to me? It’s not that I would actually have an apple, but it is a great acid test to see if its appetite or really hunger that is motivating you to eat.
5. Watch portion size. I have even bought smaller dishes in order to achieve this. There is no doubt that the same portion of food looks smaller on a big plate than a small plate. Silly, but works!
Well, I hope some of the tips I’ve used will help you if you are also in the same boat as I am this New Year! Good luck!
P.S. If you are interested in more information on the Isagenix 9-Day Diet Plan, check out this photo gallery. I’ve included some commentary on this specific program. Choose the link to “View as slideshow with captions”.