You finally lost the extra pounds you were holding on to for so long. You were really strict with your diet, worked out hard, and sacrificed a lot to get where you wanted to be. Now it’s time to get back to real life and you are scared that you will gain the pounds back and all your hard work will be destroyed.
Don’t worry, it is easier than you might think to keep the weight off. Keep being active and follow these simple rules to stay fit and healthy:
Portion sizes nowadays are way bigger than they were only 20 years ago. This means it is more important than ever to keep a close eye on them.
Here are some easy ways to control your servings:
1. Follow these “rule of thumb” portion sizes:
Fist = 1 Cup
Used for soups, raw vegetables, fruits, salads, beverages, and cereal
Cupped Hand = ½ cup
Foods rich in carbohydrates like potatoes, pasta, rice; beans, cooked vegetables, pudding, ice cream
Palm = 3-4 ounces
Best used for meat and fish
Thumb = 1-2 Tablespoons
Cream cheese, sour cream, salad dressings and gravy, peanut butter, hard cheeses
Thumbnail = 1 Teaspoon
Oils, butter, margarine, mayonnaise
Two cupped hands = 1 ounce
Chips, crackers, pretzels
2. Use smaller plates
It is better to fill up a small plate than put a smaller portion size on a big plate. Your eyes are part of the game and if they see a lack of food (which is suggested by big plates) they will report to your brain “hey, you need more food!”
3. No need to clean the plate
Remember when you were younger and your parents told you, you need to clean your plate, otherwise, the sun’s not gonna shine tomorrow? Yeah, spoiler alert, tomorrow’s weather has absolutely nothing to do with the amount of food you eat. Sorry! Get rid of this habit and stop eating when you feel satisfied. If you don’t want to waste food, don’t throw the leftovers away but put them in the refrigerator for the next day.
We eat for a lot of reasons. We are bored, so we eat. We are anxious, so we eat. We are stressed out, we eat. Before grabbing a snack or sitting down for a meal, ask yourself “Am I hungry?” If the answer is anything but yes, don’t eat. Find something else to do to distract you. Are you bored? Read a book! Are you stressed out? Take a nice bath, a hot shower, or go for a walk. Do you feel anxious? Do a little workout, play with the dog, or meditate. Only eat when you are hungry. You shouldn’t eat for any other reason.
Another part of practicing awareness is paying attention to when you have enough. Eat slowly and when you feel full, stop eating. It might taste so delicious that you want to keep eating but you know exactly how bad you will feel afterward. There is an abundance of food in this country, so no need to shovel everything in your mouth. If it’s really soooo good, you can make it or order it again another day. But when you’re full, you’re full!
Having breakfast in the morning gets your metabolism going and helps you keep the weight off. If you are not a breakfast eater, don’t worry. You don’t necessarily have to prepare a full blown breakfast with eggs and veggies. A smoothie, yogurt with fruit, or some oatmeal will do!
Keep a food log
I know this sounds tedious and it sometimes is but studies show that those who keep a food log are more likely to keep their weight off than those who don’t. You can create a simple excel spreadsheet to log your food, carry a notebook with you, or use an app such as myfitnesspal to keep track of your meals.
Don’t eat in front of the TV
We tend to mindlessly snack when we watch TV which leads to huge amounts of (often empty) extra calories. Make it a simple rule not to eat while watching TV. Cuddle with the boy- or girlfriend, pet the dog, hell, you can even do a little workout while watching your favorite TV show. If you can’t be without food and you absolutely have to watch TV, at least choose a healthy option like veggies with hummus, an apple, or some nuts.
It might take a while to implement these rules but once you made them a habit, you won’t even have to think about it anymore and keeping the weight off won’t be an issue.
Written by: Jen
The Online Personal Trainer for Women