Weight Loss: Tips for Looking Good and Feeling Better

Weight loss is not just about cosmetics. For many people losing weight reduces pain by taking pressure off hips, knees and back. For others, losing weight is an important part of managing heart disease, diabetes and other chronic illnesses. And for some, weight loss is seen as a step in avoiding cancer. There are many ways to lose weight--and almost anyone can lose weight on any diet-- but the sad fact is that most people who lose weight will regain it.

The most successful weight loss behaviors have to do with Mindful Eating (it’s easy to remember--think Me!). A weight loss program needs to have foods that you LIKE to eat, even if they are not diet foods. The ME! Program distinguishes between ideal choices and real choices. An ideal choice is made up by a dieting guru who loves celery sticks and runs on a stair master for fun. This type of diet describes what you should eat in an ideal world where you have no taste buds and no food preferences and there are no birthday parties or family dinners. Ideal choices are fine as guidelines but they are not to be taken literally. Real food choices are about your taste, lifestyle and preferences. They are the SMART FOOD COMPROMISES THAT YOU LIVE WITH THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. They will help you lose weight and keep it off permanently.This month’s topic is weight loss and I will post one weight loss tip every day. 

Comments are welcome and personal problems may be sent privately to my email address: DrSandraHaber@gmail.com.

Topic of the Month:

Weight Loss: Looking Good and Feeling Better Through Mindful Eating (ME!)

MINDFUL EATING (ME!) TIP OF THE DAY

MINDFUL EATING (ME!) Tip 1. Most dieters think about the right foods but eat all the wrong foods. To the dieter, the right foods are all the low calorie foods they should eat to lose weight and the wrong foods are all the tasty high calorie foods they really like. In the long run, traditional dieting can never work because what a dieter thinks they should do and what they really want to do are opposite.

MINDFUL EATING (ME!) Tip 2. We are a country of failing dieters. Despite current health awareness, the availability of fat free foods, dieting programs and exercise devices, the U.S. population has become fatter. One third of our population is obese. As any high school kid could tell you “You don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure out that 

“TRADITIONAL DIETS DON'T WORK!”

MINDFUL EATING (ME!) TIP 3. A mindful eating program (ME!) does what other programs do not do: it asks you what you like to eat instead of telling you what you should eat. As a psychologist who has been working in the area of weight loss for 30 years, I can tell you that whether you are 2 years old or 62 years old, you cannot be told what to eat. The ME! Program asks you what you like to eat, how you like to eat, where you like to eat and when you like to eat.

MINDFUL EATING (ME!) Tip 4. With all the emphasis on “do your own thing” it is surprising how willing we are to go on a mass produced diet. Customization is the buzz word for the most desirable home, clothes, car and diet. What do celery sticks and 3 ounces of cottage cheese have to do with your life? If you’re like most people, absolutely nothing!

MINDFUL EATING (ME!) Tip 5. Write down everything you had to eat and drink 
yesterday and today. Give each item a score of 1 to 10, with 1 being something you really didn’t like and 10 being something you love. Your goal is to create a weight loss program that consists of foods that are 6-10. Basically you need to like what you eat in order to lose weight and keep it off.

MINDFUL EATING (ME!) TIP 6. What did you learn from looking at your food rankings? If you like foods on your weight loss program, you will be happy and contented and not be tempted to go off the program. If you hate the foods on your program, you are a dieting failure waiting to happen. Now construct a weight loss program with mindful eating ME! in mind. Let’s say that steak and french fries were a 10 on your list. In the ME! Program you can have a small portion of steak, some soup, salad, vegetables and fruit but forgo the fries. Or, try a portion of fries if you prefer, along with some soup, salad and vegetables as your meal of the day. 

MINDFUL EATING (ME!) Tip 7. If your scores show that you LOVE your carbs, consider for dinner a main dish serving of pasta with vegetables and red sauce. Breakfast can be pancakes with a tablespoon of syrup, lunch or dinner can be a chicken sandwich with a salad. Carbs are not bad if they are the main part of your caloric intake.

MINDFUL EATING (ME!) Tip 8. If your scores show you love fat, then have some corned beef but overdose on the cabbage that goes with it. Ice cream is fine following a simple vegetarian dinner. Cheese and crackers can be a staple, but consider it as the main course, not the appetizer.

MINDFUL EATING (ME!) Tip 9. Going off your weight loss plan is a good thing. If you were learning to ski, it isn’t a matter of never falling down, it’s a matter of learning how to get back up. The real skill in staying on a weight loss plan is assuming you will have times off your plan but knowing how to get back on it--quickly!!

MINDFUL EATING (ME!) Tip 10. Think about this: cheat to win. Perfect dieting is a recipe for failure whereas cheating on your diet can help you lose weight permanently. Learn to anticipate ice cream, birthday cake and Christmas cookies with pleasure rather than fear. And build them into your day’s eating plan.

MINDFUL EATING (ME!) Tip 11. Exercise is essential BUT it needs to be enjoyable and frequent. If you don’t like the health club, then joining, but not going, will not help you lose weight. Too many people think that buying the membership is the same as exercising. Remember, removing money from your wallet does not count as exercise! If you find an activity you like and engage in it frequently, it will go a long way to helping you lose weight. A consistent walker trumps a once- in- awhile jogger. Expensive equipment is unnecessary as a $3 jump rope can do the trick. Mall walking, ping pong, stair climbing, gardening, bike riding and swimming are all just fine. Just remember to think enjoyable and frequent.

MINDFUL EATING (ME!) TIP 12. I recently read some research which showed that exercising through yoga did not burn many calories. While this may be true, how many times have you seen a really overweight person do yoga? I think the instances are few and far between because yoga encourages a mind-body connection, so there is a greater awareness of food intake, feeling hungry and feeling physically fit. If you want to try yoga as your activity, definitely do so! I believe it will be helpful.

MINDFUL EATING (ME!) Tip 13. Dress well. Buy attractive clothing. Contrary to most thinking, do not wait until you lose weight to dress attractively. Improved self esteem through feeling good and being proud of how you look go a long way towards not overeating. Most people think that if they lose weight they have wasted money on their new outfit. This is not necessarily true. When you feel bad about yourself, you overeat and that costs far more than a new outfit!

MINDFUL EATING (ME!) Tip 14. If your dress or slack size really bothers you, cut the label out. Remember, it’s only a number. It is more important is to feel good about yourself.

MINDFUL EATING (ME!) Tip 15. Answer the following question: If I were thinner, then......
See what types of responses you have. Are they realistic? Must you be thinner to do what you want? Challenge yourself about your personal myths of thinness and start behaving now like the person you want to be.

MINDFUL EATING (ME!) Tip 16. Blindsided by restaurant eating? Make it easier by obtaining the menu from your favorite restaurants. Review them at home, away from temptation and figure out a low damage meal that you can enjoy with friends.

MINDFUL EATING (ME!) Tip 17. Starved by the time you get to a restaurant and going through the bread basket one roll at a time? As soon as you are seated, ask the hostess to convey to the waiter that you would like a house salad immediately, since you are extremely hungry. You will order your food later.

MINDFUL EATING (ME!) Tip 18. Whtaken from Dr. Haber's facebook page of tips published September, 2014.en visiting family or friends, always ask if you can make a green salad to go with the meal or bring a fruit salad for dessert so there is food you can comfortably eat.

MINDFUL EATING (ME!) Tip 19. All junk food is not created equal. If you are in a phase of munchy madness, choose rice cakes or pretzels over fat laden potato chips and dips

MINDFUL EATING (ME!) Tip 20. For whatever reason, if you mention that you are on a diet, people often engage in a commenting free for all. If you want to explain your mindful eating (ME!), it is often best to say “ I feel more energetic when I eat more carefully”. Keeping weight issues out of the explanation tends to limit the comments.

MINDFUL EATING (ME!) Tip 21. The large economy size of anything that is a dessert is not really a savings. Better to pay more and keep ice cream cups in the freezer than buy a half gallon of ice cream that you keep dipping into.

MINDFUL EATING (ME!) Tip 22. Cocktails or wine on an empty stomach is not a weight loss friend. It’s fine to have a glass of wine with your meal, but when alcohol is consumed before your meal, it tends to make you forget your mission. Better yet, if you can do without the alcohol, you will find Mindful Eating (ME!) easier.

MINDFUL EATING (ME!) Tip 23. If you are really desperate and your plate is overflowing, salt or pepper half your portion several times in the same place to render the food too salty or too peppery to actually taste good. If you space out this behavior, no one will notice and you will leave some of the food on the plate.

MINDFUL EATING (ME!) Tip 24. If you are not hungry, you do not have to eat! Our society is focused on dinner as a main meal but this is not true everywhere. If you aren’t hungry at dinner time, have something light. Your main meal can be a large breakfast or lunch depending on what your food preferences are.

MINDFUL EATING (ME!) Tip 25. Buffets can be an enemy or a friend. Mindful Eating (ME!) means knowing yourself.If you eat three times as much as normal and need to sample every dessert, the buffet is not your friend. On the other hand, if you love the variety of salad, fruits and vegetables and have no time to prepare it yourself, the buffet is your best buddy.

MINDFUL EATING (ME!) Tip 26. If you are an emotional over-eater, then you need to address your problems in a different way. Exercise, movies, bike riding, taking a bubble bath, talking to a friend, journal writing and hobbies are all effective. Eating because you have an empty heart, rather than an empty stomach is not OK.

MINDFUL EATING (ME!) Tip 27. Help yourself to stay motivated. Give yourself a pat on the back for each day that you stay on your new food program. Remember that enough good days add up to successful weeks. Reward yourself for each successful week with non-food treats such as new clothing, hairstyle, massage, manicure or special music purchase.

MINDFUL EATING (ME!) Tip 28. You would be surprised how mean people can be when they talk to themselves. Practice positive self talk. Speak out loud complements to yourself as you are going along on your food program. Offer yourself all the loving encouragement that you would give to a friend. Never be mean, harsh or punitive or call yourself names. Remember that love and kindness always get better and quicker results!

MINDFUL EATING (ME!) Tip 29. Aim for a weight goal that is real rather than ideal. Go for what you can achieve and then practice maintaining this new weight. Set your weight loss program up in a series of stages and “graduate” yourself after you complete each stage. Be sure to take some time off from dieting and stabilize your new weight loss.

MINDFUL EATING (ME!) Tip 30. Remember that anything worthwhile takes time, effort and learning: marriage, kids, education, gardening and sports. There is no instant fix and each achievement is done in small steps.

BONUS Tip 31. If your best friend is “Sara Lee” then you need to put some energy into socializing. If you can’t easily leave your house, join an interest or support group or book club all available over the internet.

BONUS TIP 32: STOCK UP ON QUARTERS TO GIVE AWAY THIS HALLOWEEN SO YOU DON’T STRUGGLE WITH LEFTOVER CANDY!!