Eat your Favourite Treats to Reach and Maintain your Healthy Body Weight!!

These days I am doing more fitness consults than I ever have in my life!  So many people lost motivation through the pandemic and are feeling pretty awful.  Working from home and no gyms means that people’s fitness programs and general daily movement is 10% of what it used to be.  Walking through your own kitchen frequently throughout the day can mean lots of extra snacking that wasn’t part of routine pre-pandemic.   The result: weight gain, sore body, loss of energy, many are feeling the effects on their mental health and not just in their bodies.

This is where I get to step in and offer support and guidance on how to make slow steady changes in order to slowly but surely make it back to feeling great.  When I first start off with people they usually feel like they need to do everything at once in a drastic way!  Instead, I encourage small sustainable changes – this is the best way to achieve lasting results.

If you are currently not feeling like your usual self and are ready to make some changes, here is what I recommend:  (please don’t make all these changes at once!  Pick 1-2 and when they feel like a habit, add in the next).

1 – All or Nothing will get you nowhere fast!  Remember when everyone did Atkins? (carbs are evil!) we saw a lot of people swear off carbs for life, lose a bunch of weight fast…. Then go back on carbs 100%, gain the weight back plus a little extra…. Next, they all felt like a failure for not being able to maintain weight loss.  This is a great example of why all or nothing doesn’t work.  Yes – crappy excess carbs are a great way to gain weight/maintain a less than ideal body composition.  However, good quality carbs in the proper proportions are a very important part of a healthy diet.  People struggled to maintain a 100% carb-free diet because our bodies need carbs.  Instead of eliminating anything 100% of the time – aim for 80-90%.  So using carbs as an example – avoid crappy carbs 80-90% of the time with lots of space for treats.

2 – Focus on the important things! Instead of focusing on eating less of everything, focus on getting enough of the important things.  Poor food choices often come from not getting enough of something we need.  So focus on getting a good quality portion of protein, carbs, and fat with each meal/snack.  This is very likely to lead to less hunger overall and better food choices.

3 – Don’t snack – eat!  If I am hungry, instead of getting snacky foods (that really don’t fill me up), I make a plate of leftovers.  Sometimes that means I eat a very small dinner because I made a plate of leftovers at 430.  The great thing about eating real food (rather than snack food) is satiety, you will feel full and then eat less later.  When we choose typical snacky foods like chips/crackers/anything carby it generally doesn’t satisfy you, you end up eating lots and then still eating a large meal afterward.  So – feed your body real food when you are hungry and eat less when you’re full!

4 – Figure out your HIGH-VALUE treats.  I love sugar.  Especially chocolate and cake with icing.  I used to swear off of it 100%, go months without eating it, then eat a little, then eat a lot (because I had ruined everything by eating a little… see point number 1 on avoiding all or nothing).  Then I realized something… I don’t want to go the rest of my life without cake and chocolate!  Life is way too short to not enjoy my favourite treats!  Instead, I figured out the frequency that I can enjoy these things without feeling like crap/changing my healthy body composition in a negative way.  Now I plan on enjoying my favourite things with reasonable frequency.  Feel no guilt when I eat them. And – it doesn’t turn into a binge because “I ruined everything so I might as well…”  If my cake story sounds like you:  make a list of your high value treats, consciously decide how often you’re planning on enjoying them, stop eating the treats that are low value to you.  No more guilt!!!

These steps are a great way to make small sustainable changes that will slowly bring your body to its healthiest place.  If you can’t do it 80-90% of the time for the rest of your life – then don’t bother.  I LOVE teaching clients how to focus on 1-2 little changes at a time that can become long-term habits.  This is how we LOVE and NURTURE our bodies into being super healthy – which we all deserve!