When your goal is to lose weight, sometimes you just have to get creative.
I’ve needed to do just that as my weight loss journey continues. They say that losing weight is 80% diet and 20% exercise (I’m not sure exactly who says it, but I’ve heard it loads of times). Although I tend to be a general overeater (hence my weight problems), nighttime is the worst time of day for me. I love to snack while watching TV or reading. After dinner, I crave dessert. Or a bag of chips. Or something else that I
can’t shouldn’t have.
I have come up with many practical things to keep from eating myself into harm’s way. The most ridiculous (but most effective) of these is Pickle Time. It’s basically my favorite time of day. I love dill pickles, the big huge ones that come in big huge jars. Wrap one of those suckers in a paper towel, and I’ll work on it for at least 20 minutes. I take little bites and just enjoy it. When I’m done, I no longer crave a fatty treat. Besides, no one wants to eat brownies with dill pickle taste in their mouth anyways. (Don’t like dill pickles? Try this with a fruit like a banana or apple, or even a carrot. See how long you can make it last. It sounds stupid, but it works).
A few more:
- Bubble bath. I’m not one to soak for long, but when that after-dinner urge is irresistible, I can just head to the tub. Once I’m in there, relaxing, enjoying the bubbles and reading a book, I’m physically prevented from raiding the kitchen.
- Salad. Lettuce is my friend. I eat it like it’s going out of style. I make a simple dressing of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and I try to have a very large salad before every meal (as long as the salad isn’t my meal). Even if it’s just plain lettuce and a simple homemade dressing, like mine usually is, it’s delicious, hard to eat quickly, and helps to fill me up. Even if I’m craving a cupcake, it’s easier to resist the temptation when I’m already full off my dinner.
- Individually packaged sweets. This is a common concept, but it is still helpful to me. I don’t recommend this until you’re ready. Otherwise, instead of eating the entire big sleeve of cookies, you’ll just eat several smaller sleeves of cookies, and it’ll end up being the same number of cookies (been there, done that). Recently I’ve been able to transfer my slow, savory pickle-eating skills to individually-wrapped delicacies that are still pretty small but oh, so delicious. I read the label to make sure that one is ok (some processed foods pack quite a bad nutritional punch) and then enjoy it. I don’t have to be tempted by an entire open bag sitting there, longing to be eaten.
- Modify. Get those creative juices flowing to come up with healthy versions of a food you love! For example, I’ve been able to come up with a healthy version of taco salad that is simply delicious. I just had to think a bit about what makes a traditional taco salad unhealthy and what I could do to get around that. There are some well-known substitutions (mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes, for example) but you can also come up with your own. Don’t be afraid to try your ideas. If it doesn’t taste good, that’s ok! Modify it some more or try something else.
- Second dinner. No, I’m not a Hobbit (or was that second breakfast?). But if I’m really craving a treat an hour or two after my dinner, it could be that I’m just still hungry. I’ve learned that it’s ok to be hungry. After I make sure I’ve hydrated properly, I heat up some fresh leftovers or make myself a quick version of a different dinner. I don’t believe in going hungry. But sometimes I have to be creative to figure out what my body is trying to tell me and how to satisfy it.
- It’s not a race. This isn’t really something creative to do, but it is a creative way of thinking. I had to come up with something to preach to myself to keep from quitting. When I make a mistake and eat that whole package of cookies, I’m tempted to give up and eat even more because I’m obviously failing. I have to remind myself that tomorrow is a fresh day. I’m not in a race, except with myself, and I’m not ever going to be perfect, so when I fall all I have to do is pick myself up and keep going. And I’ll get to the finish in my own perfect time.
I’ve lost a lot of weight, and I still have a lot more to lose. It’s easier when I can come up with ways overcome each day’s obstacles. Are you trying to lose weight? What things have you come up with to help propel you toward your goal?