A lot of us start the new year with an intention to lose weight. For most of us, that resolution will disappear by the end of January or shortly thereafter. I’m no exception. The last time I hit my ideal weight was in 2006, and that lasted for about five minutes. Then the kids had their birthday (twins, May 18), Hebrew school graduation, and high school graduation, all within a few weeks. A move followed, and before I knew it, I had gained everything back. This is a tough pill to swallow for someone who never had to watch what I ate when I was young.
I don’t have a lot of weight to lose — 10-12 pounds. Being petite, though, a few pounds make a big difference. Plus, the family genetics do not tolerate extra weight well, so I have to keep a close eye on cholesterol and triglycerides. While some in my family need medication even at a healthy weight, I seem to be able to manage my numbers via the scale.
And I would be lying if I said I didn’t want my pants to fit better! I’m one of those “apple” shapes, so extra weight hits me square in the belly and waist. Things are a bit snug these days, and I’m too cheap to buy bigger pants.
It would be easy for me to say, “Well, I’m over 50, and I have a thyroid disease, so it’s hard to lose weight.” That would be true. At 50+, I am losing muscle mass, which affects metabolism. While I take medication to regulate the thyroid, it’s tricky to get the right balance.
My big culprit is our travel. Even though our vacations are active, with plenty of hiking, biking, and more, we make up for it in the restaurants. Bread! Dessert! Wine! Oh, yeah, the entrees, too! We hope that with our upcoming move to Washington state, we can enjoy outdoor activities without having to leave home (and home cooking).
I started employing my 2012 weight loss strategies in December and lost 2.6 pounds in three weeks during the holiday season, so I think I’m on to something. I’ll write about exercise tomorrow, but here are my food strategies:
- First, I had a check-up. I am waiting on the results, but my doctor thinks we may need to adjust my thyroid medicine. Low thyroid is common among women of my age, so it’s worth checking out.
- I have returned to the tried and true Weight Watchers program. Some time ago they instituted a new program that didn’t work for me, but they’ve made some adjustments for 2012 that make sense. I do Weight Watchers online, but if I’m having trouble losing weight, I have promised myself that I will go to meetings.
- My goal is to lose about a pound a week. Gradual weight loss tends to work better for most people. In my case, that seems to be about the most I can lose anyway — but I am going to allow myself all the time I need.
- Helpful, though not required, is that hubby is on board, too. He lost 60 pounds several years ago before I met him, and he has to be diligent about keeping weight off. Having a buddy in cahoots with me makes a big difference.
- I’ve ordered a food scale! When I recently started measuring portions with cup measures, I would look at my plate and say, “Where’s my dinner?” Apparently what I think is a cup of spaghetti is more like…three. Funny thing is, the measured portions are always plenty! The problem is, some of the serving sizes are listed in grams, leaving me clueless, so the scale should help keep me honest.
- When I go out, I check menus ahead of time to create a plan. My sister-in-law prepared her annual Hanukkah dinner, complete with yummy latkes (potato pancakes). Because I knew ahead of time what was being served, I planned my choices and portion sizes in advance. Turns out that one latke is enough (I normally can eat three or four).
- If I’m unsure of the “point” count of a meal in a restaurant, rest assured I can usually cut my portion in half (or more) and bring the rest home. As soon as I get the food, I divide it. I’ve gotten two meals out of my New Year’s Eve dinner, and still have some left over.
- Speaking of New Year’s Eve, we avoided the fixed price multi-course special meal and instead ate earlier, when we could order the restaurant’s usual delicious fare. I checked the menu online ahead of time and walked in the door knowing what I would eat.
- I load up on fruits and veggies, which I love. None of this 3-5 servings per day for this girl! I usually go for double.
- I will not deprive myself. I simply cannot do diets that restrict my food choices. I served a chocolate cake at a family gathering on New Year’s Day, and yes, I had a small piece. I also had a glass of Chateneuf de Pape, which went well with my spaghetti and meat sauce, I might add. Weight Watchers allows for “discretionary points” so I don’t have to avoid the occasional treat.
- We make our meals as attractive as possible, with lots of color. I buy as much as possible from farmers’ markets, with herbs from my garden (I have lots of greens growing nicely, too, as I write this). We believe that eating well should be pleasurable and fun, with fresh ingredients and delicious scents filling the home.
- Each week I have foods high in Omega 3 fatty acids, often in the form of wild Salmon. I also take an Omega 3 supplement and have flax oil in my morning smoothie.
- I power up my foods with herbs and spices that can have medicinal benefits as well as making foods more tasty. For example, my morning smoothie includes cinnamon that may regulate blood sugar; nettle for detox and extra nourishment; and turmeric for brain power. And, I hear that cayenne can rev up metabolism as well. At the very least, my food smells and tastes great!
Tomorrow I’ll write about exercise; Thursday I’ll talk about the ways I sabotage myself along with ideas on how I hope to end the sabotage this time.
Do you have any tips to share? Let me know!