Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tune Up Your Habits

Over the years, most of my clients have gotten frustrated at some point when the pounds stopped dropping.    They would complain about  the dreaded “plateau.”  In the weight loss world, we know that weight does not change systematically, in a nice linear fashion.  We could see no movement on the scale for a week only to wake up one morning three pounds lighter.  A true plateau occurs when weight does not change for three weeks.

When clients experience a real plateau, we examine their habits, because typically there is a behavior change behind it.  We can shift our habits so gradually that we’re barely aware of it, until the scale or our clothes get our attention.  If you’re not having the results you used to have, take a moment with the checklist of good habits below. See if you’ve gotten away from any of these successful behaviors.  If you never did practice these, pick just one to try this week.  And remember, you don’t have to be perfect!

  • Measure your serving sizes. Use measuring cups/spoons or a scale or go ahead and count out the number of chips you eat. (We won’t tell.)
  • Ask for your salad dressing on the side.
  • Choose unsweetened beverages.
  • Select the sandwich without the mayo or cheese.
  • Opt for marinara rather than Alfredo or cream sauce.
  • Order a side salad or fruit, not chips or fries.
  • Request that the server not bring the bread or chip basket to your table.
  • Order a small-sized everything except calorie free beverages.
  • Snack on fruits and veggies rather than cheese and crackers or candy.
  • Watch for the unexpected calories in seemingly healthy foods: dried fruit, nuts, cheese, peanut butter, granola, trail mix, cereals, and whole grain foods.
  • Take the dog for a walk every morning or evening.
  • Make it a rum and diet coke for 65 calories or 4 oz. of red wine for 80, rather than a 6 oz. margarita for 250. 
  • Park in the back of parking lot and walk in when temperatures permit.
  • Take the stairs when it’s feasible.
  • Schedule your exercise on your calendar just as you do your meetings.
  • Keep your old pair of gym shoes at your desk or in your trunk and look for opportunities to use them.
  • Go to the park or the pool with the kids, not the movies.

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