From One Friend to Another

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This blog post is going to sound harsh and very tough loveish…  BUT that’s my intention.  It’s certainly not my normal blog tone, but this post deserves the frank and stern nature that I’ve given it.  If you get offended easily or are sensitive, you may want to stop reading.

I have friends (and friends of friends) that try and struggle to lose weight.  I feel for them and totally see how frustrating this is.  But at the same time, I also see many of them making obvious mistakes that go against their goals.

BUT, and this is a big BUT,  I know, deep down, if they wanted my help, they would ask.  Right?  So I keep quiet until someone broaches the subject with me.

This blog post is the advice I WISH they would ask me for.  Maybe one person will read this and look at their choices and realize they are standing in their own way.

This is not a judgement, but a call to be real.

ask_us

Dear Friend,

Advice #1: Weight loss is all about food.

If I could broadcast this like a broken record, I would.  Every friend I have, that is reading this blog right now, is probably rolling their eyes.  I say it repeatedly.  It’s the most ignored fact ever.

You cannot lose weight while eating less of the same crap that got you there in the first place.  Your body needs healthy, nutritious food.  Period.

The next time you put something in your mouth, ask this question:

Is this food giving my body vitamins and minerals?

If the answer is no, put it down.

Example: You’re sitting in the neighborhood bar, eating peanuts.  The answer is “yes”.  It’s at least, a natural food.  There is no added disease-causing substances on it, hopefully (except maybe salt).

Example: You’re sitting in the neighborhood bar, eating chips and salsa.  The answer is “yes”.  Salsa is relatively good for you, or at least most of the fresh stuff is.  The chips aren’t terrible, but they do have a lot of fat, so don’t eat a ton.   The problem comes when you then leave the neighborhood bar and eat a full meal.

Example: You’re sitting in the neighborhood bar, eating pizza.  The answer is a big fat “NO”.  Save pizza for a splurge.  It’s not dinner.

The point of this is, eat natural, eat whole and fresh, eat nutritious.  A lot of what people eat, is not food.  It’s some version of food, that we’ve somehow learned to accept.  A grilled cheese sandwich with fries or applesauce, is not food.  Neither are chicken tenders with honey mustard.  These things are o.k., but rarely.  I know people who are eating these things once per week.  This is what is standing in the way of your weight loss and your healthy body, or, I’ll even go so far as to say, it’s aiding in your weight gain.  Is your scale inching up and up and up?

In order to weigh less, you need to eat better.  It’s simple, really.  It comes down to decisions.

Advice #2: Just because you are there, doesn’t mean you have to eat.

I’m going to give a few examples of this:

I go to a happy hour with my girlfriends, most Wednesday afternoon/evenings.  The food at this particular place is laden with fat, sauces and nutritionally void.  Basically, crap I wouldn’t normally eat.  To me, it’s kind of like, body pollution.  So, I refrain.  I enjoy the wine, but don’t eat the food.  I eat before or I eat after.  BUT just because I’m there, does not mean I have to eat.  I do not have to settle for that food just because it’s the designated happy hour spot.  Make a good decision.

Same with movie theaters.  I walk past the counter.   The movie is only 2 to 2 and a half hours long, we can all live without food for this amount of time.

Same with parties.  I can’t tell you how many parties I have been to this year alone, where I did not consume one morsel of food that I did not bring myself.  I did NOT have any less fun than anyone else.  I did NOT worry about offending the hostess.  I hope I didn’t offend them, but if I did, I hope they understood.  AND to tell you the truth,  most people don’t notice that I am not eating.  If they do, I explain, in a kind way.  If they judge me for that, they probably aren’t my friend anyway.  Friends who cannot accept your healthy eating standards, aren’t really friends.  Friends who judge you or make fun of you, may be jealous.  A lot of my friends think I’m weird, but they accept me anyway.

Advice #3: Don’t buy it.

This is hard.  Especially when moms buy things “for their kids”.  I understand this one, totally, because I do it too.  I buy cereals that I would never eat, for my kids to eat on their two days of sugar laden breakfasts (during the week, we are a zero sugar breakfast family).  Did you notice the part where I said, I’d never eat it?  I also buy the occasional box of Annie’s macaroni and cheese, because you can’t get through childhood on broccoli alone.  I get it.

However, I’d like to point out, while the adults are obsessing over their own diets, the kids are: learning how to eat.

We are teaching them to eat.  We are teaching them to eat!

Imagine an adult that grows up to prefer his/her broccoli without added fat; truly appreciating the flavor of the vegetable.  Imagine an adult that grows up to understand that white bread, white rice, white crackers and white potatoes are terrible choices.  That ice cream is only for occasion, a “special” thing, not a nightly thing.  That fruits in their whole form are better tasting, more portable and better for you.  That you can have meals without meat.  That you can prepare meals way healthier than you can eat them out.  That eating out is the splurge, so you don’t need to splurge when you eat at home.

In other words, stop buying it.  Buy fresh, buy natural, buy smart.  They will not eat what you do not buy.  AND neither will YOU.

They will learn what you teach them.

It’s not just moms.  If you are buying things at the grocery store that you know will tempt you to eat the entire box in one sitting, why are you doing it?

Advice #4: Accept what you cannot eat in order to stay healthy.

This is the BIGGEST thing that I see.  People think I am naturally thin.  This actually irritates me, a little.  I am thin because I don’t eat what most people eat.  I eat vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy, beans, whole grains, lean meats (occasionally) and drink water.  I splurge on candy and wine.  I only eat fries, cookies, drink soda, and use creamy dressings, occasionally.  Most days are void of processed foods, all together.  I eat whole, natural food for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The truth is, once you cut the foods out of your diet, you loathe the way they make you feel, so it’s easy to skip them.  Even when you splurge, it’s just a little, because you don’t feel well, once you’ve digested a little.

If you successfully eat clean for a few months, your energy level will be high, you’ll sleep better, have a better attitude, get more done, feel ready for exercise more often… 

Advice #5: Food is fuel, not a hobby.

If you find yourself eating because it tastes good, you are using food as a hobby.  If you find yourself eating because others are doing so, you are using food as a hobby.  If you find yourself eating, just because, you are using food as a hobby.

Food is fuel.  It is meant to energize your body.

Really meditate on this one.

I’m not saying you should never eat great tasting, rich food, just because it tastes good.  There is a huge difference in really enjoying a food (like a chocolate chip cookie) and indulging consistently, to the point of almost autopilot.  You don’t need cookies.  They are for special occasions.

If you’re denying this one, or thinking I’m unreasonable, you may want to look at the fact that you are doing that.

Advice #6: Don’t eat when you are: watching TV, talking on the phone or using the computer.

I have a hard time with this one because I like to eat when I’m on the phone.  My way of fixing this was to talk on the phone when I’m in the car, but then I realized my city discourages drivers to do that.  So now, I walk around my cul-de-sac when I’m on the phone.

I would sometimes get off of a phone call and feel terrible.  Mostly because I had over-eaten, even though the food was good food, too much is too much.

I’m sure you have a similar challenge.  Move on to the next piece of advice…

Advice #7: Find a solution.

Like I said above, in advice #6, I had a challenge and I realized it.  I then, found a solution.

Take a moment and decide to stop talking about it and actually find a solution.  I am sometimes blown away by the number of people who’ve decided, they don’t have time to eat well.  BUT they have time to watch Bravo.  I am also shocked by the number of people who make the excuse “I don’t like vegetables”.  Solutions can be in many forms. If you don’t like veggies, drink them.  OR eat only the ones you do like.  OR keep trying new ones…

The point is, stop letting things paralyze you or stand in your way.

Or, be o.k. with the size you are and stop wishing for a healthier self.  It’s not going to happen unless you make it.

Advice #8: Try something new.

Obviously, what you’ve been doing is not working.  So, let’s try a new way.  What’s that saying?  The definition of insanity is doing the same exact thing and expecting different results?  Accept the fact that your way is not working and move on.

Try a new gym, a new trainer, a new workout routine, a new class.

Try a new grocery store or totally revamp your food choices and make a new menu.

Try throwing everything away that’s in your pantry.

Try a new fitness magazine, motivational book or blog.

Try turning off the TV and unplug from the computer and tablets.

Try telling someone you are going to workout at least 3x this week.  Make yourself accountable.

Try calling on a friend that lives the lifestyle you strive for and asking them for help.

Advice #9: Stop the “something for nothing” mentality.

Diet foods are the anti-answer.  They are crap and they are poisoning you.  Think Slim Fast, Lean Cuisine, Smart Ones, various shakes, bars, smoothies, light cookies, sugar free, diet drinks, etc… The list goes on, but they’re all the same.  They all fit the “I’m going to get something for nothing mentality”.

Guess what?  It’s not true.

Stop believing it.

Nothing in this life is free.  The sooner we realize this, the better.

Advice #10: Just because they’re giving it away, doesn’t mean you want it.

If they give you a coupon for a free donut, who is this benefiting?

Do you really need the 2nd item free?

Coupons, in general, make us buy more stuff that we don’t need.   We don’t need Snackwells, Doritos and snicker bars.

Also, just because the meal at the restaurant comes with a drink, that doesn’t mean your kiddos have to drink it.  Soda is terrible for them and chocolate milk isn’t much better.  Try water.  Talking to them in the car, beforehand, is a better option than a confrontation in the restaurant.

Stop clipping the coupons.  I know it’s hard, but it is never anything good for you.  When was the last time you saw a coupon for grapes?

Stop saving the money on all the stuff that’s making you fat.

Go forth; choose better!

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