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Three Weight Loss Tips and Myths For Busy Moms with Pockets of Time

May 11, 2019

What’s up Mindful Warriors? So much discussion swirls around healthy weight loss, a healthy lifestyle and natural weight loss tips. There are a million schools of thought on how to make weight loss happen, and we all want to know the secrets of how to make weight come off fast and without discomfort. Well there is some discomfort and time needed to lose weight, so I can debunk that myth right there! Thanks to years of crazy messaging and misinformation, many busy moms assume the effort to lose weight is so big, and so time consuming, that we are destined for the mom jean status forever. Everyone’s body is different, but there are some general principles that will assist you if losing body fat is your goal. Today I want to dispel some myths about weight loss and give some successful weight loss tips that will get you on your way to dropping the pounds! 

Myth #1: I need to exercise daily to lose weight

This is a powerful myth. Somehow, we equate weight loss with slaving for hours in the gym or running on a treadmill until we want to poke our eyes out. Exercise is awesome for bone health, mental health and toning up our bodies. I love exercise, and now that my kids are older, (they are 8 and 7 years old), it is easier to exercise at home with them around.  But exercise is not actually very efficient for burning calories, so if you are strapped for time, exercise might not be the place you want to focus.  On average, a woman running 3 miles will burn about 300 calories (this is a rough estimate, your weight and how fast will determine exact calories, but let’s assume this rough estimate). 300 calories is the equivalent of one donut (because in my mind, everything is relatable to donuts, right?!). Depending on how fast you are, you just spent a half hour to 45 minutes running for a 300 calorie burn that you could easily eat in 5 seconds flat. If you were to run 3-4 times in a week, that is 2-4 hours of time that you spent burning some calories that you might eat right back.

Weight Loss Tip #1: Nutrition is more efficient than exercise for weight loss.

If you are strapped on time and your goal is to lose weight, I suggest you shift your thinking on how best to spend your time for maximum weight loss gains. Remember that 2-4 hours of time that I just mentioned that you spent running? That is 2-4 hours of time you could use to meal prep and cook for yourself. Yup- you heard me right. If you are strapped on time and are looking to lose fat, nutrition is the place to spend your energy. What you eat and put into your body is WAY more efficient in terms of fat loss. Take the example of eating 300 calories worth of donut. I love donuts, so sometimes it is worth it to eat it. But 300 calories worth of donut leaves you feeling hungry while two eggs on an English muffin is also about 300 calories, is nutritious and fills you up. Not all calories are created equal, and your time is best spent figuring out what you are going to eat in a day to keep you full but  also in a calorie deficit. Remember from my last blog post Healthy Meal Prep Tips, if you don’t plan what you are going to eat, your primitive brain takes over to do the work, and your primitive brain does not make the most informed, healthy decisions.

Myth #2: I have to eliminate food groups to lose weight

Listen, if you have been successful losing weight on a meal plan that eliminates food groups, I applaud you. Do what works for you. But chances are if you are reading this, nothing has worked yet, so let me help you out. What I have seen time and again with clients is that they eliminate carbs, or eat zero sugar, or eat no fruit, eliminate all alcohol, etc., and one of three things happen:

  1. You are so strict, you follow the plan perfectly, you lose the weight (yeah!) and then you finally start to add a food group back in. And you gain all the weight back and maybe more.
  2. You are so strict, you follow the plan perfectly, you lose some weight (yeah!) but you are obsessed with your food intake. You aren’t having any fun and you feel like you must choose between enjoying your life or losing weight. You are so restricted that you finally lose it and binge eat.
  3. The diet is so restrictive, you were able to sustain it for a week. You feel like you managed a whole week of white knuckling your diet and you still haven’t lost any weight and you’re pissed off and cranky. So you say, “Forget it - losing weight is too hard and I would rather be overweight than eat twigs and leaves”. You abandon ship and grab a bag of chips.

Weight Loss Tip #2: Keep your food choices sustainable. Use the 80-20 rule!

When you are trying to lose weight in a healthy, sustainable way, please throw out the word diet. You are creating a lifestyle, not a diet. You want something you can live with forever. You want something that you can take with you on vacation, when you are out on a date, when you are at a birthday party. So here is where you start:

  1. Drink 8-16 oz. of water before EVERY meal.
  2. Pile on the veggies. Let veggies be 50% of your plate most of the time. If you don’t like veggies or are getting used to eating them, start off with less and work your way up. I don’t care if you cook them a little bit of butter or olive oil or if you need to sprinkle some cheese on top; just eat your veggies.
  3. Eat foods that don’t require you to read the ingredient list. Those are whole foods and your body loves whole foods 😊
  4. Do the 80-20 rule. 80% of the time, eat your whole foods, your fruits, and your veggies. And 20% of the time eat your treats, drink a glass of wine, etc. And be honest with yourself. It is not the 50-50 rule; it is the 80-20 rule. If you know that you are going out with the ladies for a drink on Friday night, maybe you don’t eat the treats in the breakroom that morning because you are in weight loss mode and practicing the 80-20 rule.

 

Myth #3: The scale is the enemy

The scale is DATA. Nothing more, nothing less. I know the number on that piece of equipment pisses you off, but that number is your gravitational pull on the earth. It means nothing until you assign meaning to it. And now you are rolling your eyes at me but listen up. This is the mental work of losing weight. When we can objectively look at the scale and use it as data, we can start seeing trends and what works for our body. The second you start assigning your worthiness to that number, you are in a shame storm. And if you think about it, if we are assigning worthiness to a number, wouldn’t weighing more mean that we were MORE worthy? If you are saying that line of thinking is crazy, then I say it is just as crazy as assigning worthiness to a lower scale number. This is a whole other blog post for the future but start seeing your worthiness right effing now AS YOU ARE regardless of the that number. Remember, you can’t control the scale, but you can control your  behaviors that influence the scale.

Weight Loss Tip #3: Weigh yourself every day

As much as you want to, do NOT throw that scale away. Weigh yourself every single day, in the morning, after you have gone to the bathroom. No, you will NOT see the scale go down every day. Some days it will appear you gained 2 pounds in a day. And science (yes, SCIENCE) shows that there is no way you gained 2 pounds of fat in one day. The habit of weighing yourself serves several purposes:

  1. It helps you get acquainted and make friends with the scale as data. Think of it this way, in the above example of gaining 2 pounds in a day, there is no way you gained 2 pounds of fat in a day. Seriously, put that out of your mind. Even in your most irrational, I-am-going-to-crush-that-scale-because-I-ate all-vegetables-yesterday mind, you know it is not possible to gain 2 pounds of fat in a day. BUT, if you are only weighing yourself once a week, and you happen to catch yourself on the day where, for whatever reason, you gained those 2 pounds, you will assume that all your efforts are for nothing, this isn’t working and you binge eat. When in reality, that 2-pound gain was a blip on the radar, and you lost those 2 pounds again the next day or maybe even 3 pounds by the end of the week! The scale is actually your friend who tells you the facts. 😊
  2. It shows you trends over time. The scale will go up and down. Maybe you are constipated, maybe you ate sushi and the soy sauce is bloating you, Maybe you ate later at night than you normally do, or maybe you have muscle soreness and your body is retaining water. Whatever it is, daily weight numbers are not important by themselves. Rather, it is the trend over time that matters. Healthy, sustainable weight loss is between 1-2 pounds a week. There may be some weeks you lose nothing and then all of the sudden the scale goes down 3 pounds next week. So over time, if you are following your eating plan (remember the 80-20 rule?!), the trend will go down and you will have the data to back that up.
  3. It helps you understand what foods your body likes to lose weight with. Everyone’s body is different, so some bodies react differently to certain foods. For example, if I eat sweet potatoes at dinner, I know the scale will be up 2 pounds the next day. I have tested it a number of times, and yup, does it every single time. Does this stop me from eating sweet potatoes? No. But it does let me know my body doesn’t process those particular carbs well at night, and it reflects on the scale. So knowing that, I eat my sweet potatoes during the day when my body seems to prefer using that fuel AND if I do eat sweet potatoes for dinner, I am not losing my shit when the scale goes up the next day (because it is just a number after all, right??!). It is just my body processing the food I gave it and I know why the scale went up. The scale is a tool in setting you up for success!

Quit killing yourself at the gym and start focusing on eating whole foods with fewer ingredients. If you want to work out, great! Walk, lift weights a couple times a week or go to your favorite yoga class. And lastly, get yourself a good scale. Because you two are going to become great friends! Keep doing the work – I believe in you. Courage, Mindful Warriors!

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