Steal These Strategies
I recently sat down for a goal setting session with a client and one of her goals was to “lose the jiggle”. Are you in a similar situation? You order a fitness hoop to help lose your belly fat and want to know where to start? Today I’m going to give you strategies to help move fat loss along. And these tips aren’t about the specifics of your exercise program or your nutrition strategy, but rather how you set up your environment so you can stop white knuckling it through the process. Because while both of food and exercise are important, one of the things that trips people up with weight loss is relying on willpower alone when they change eating or exercise habits. And this is so important because relying on will power is not sustainable, or effective in the battle against fat loss, and can contribute to rebound weight gain and episodes of binge eating.
There are certainly circumstances however, that make this rule a bit more difficult to adhere to. If you live alone or have a partner on the same “page” its easier. I have a five and six year old, so the rule of “don’t buy it or bring it in” doesn’t always work. If you DO have it in the house, use these strategies to help reduce the amount of “white knuckling”.
- If you bring it in, cover it with aluminum foil if it’s in the refrigerator. Studies have shown that food packaged in aluminum foil is much less tempting. On the flip side, your see through containers encourage consumption, so use those for your healthy fruits and vegetables, and protein sources.
- Move it to the back of the fridge or the pantry. Out of sight, out of mind. Don’t place it in the front of the refrigerator or pantry. Move it to the back, or the bottom shelf, or to the basement.
- Get it off the counter. Where a bowl of fruit on the counter encourages healthy food choices, other pre-packed, processed food that is on the counter will kick off the willpower circuit.
- Eating healthy doesn’t mean being 100% compliant all the time. When you do indulge, order it outside of the home. Don’t buy it and bring it home. Order it out, enjoy it, and move on. A classic example is buying a whole cake at the grocery and bringing it home versus ordering one piece out at a restaurant. Which do you think will do more damage?
Get Off Autopilot
- Focus on the food, Not the TV. Watching tv encourages the endless eating phenomena. We tend to time the end of our snacking or eating with the end of the show. And if you are watching an hour long show, NOT good. So WHEN DO you stop eating? One suggestion to help prevent overeating is to stop when we are 80 percent full , but that cue doesn’t always work. Rely on smart portion sizes to tell you when you are finished and then monitor cues such as hunger, energy, and cravings.
- Don’t consume snacks directly out of any package. This goes hand in hand with the never ending snacking. Take out your portion size, put the container away.
- If you are getting derailed in your office environment, try switching your route to avoid the candy jar on your coworkers desk. Avoid going into the break room all together if you have weekly treat days. In my corporate days we had donut Fridays. It’s better to skip it all together rather than try to willpower it through.
- Try journaling. What happens after a snack or a meal? How was your energy, cravings, mood? Through simple journaling you can uncover patterns that are unique to you that you may not be aware of. For me, I discovered that portion control with snack food never went well. My mantra of “just a few” turned into just a few dozen handfuls. So avoiding it all together was a much better strategy than moderation.
It’s not just smells that influence appetite. Believe it or not Color can influence appetite believe it or not. Try changing either the colors in your kitchen or your dishes.
- Blue in the kitchen decreases appetite. You can even try putting a blue light in your fridge if you are a late night snacker. The human mind has an aversion to blue food. Go figure!
- Red and yellow can increase appetite and blood pressure. Think Mexican restaurants and chips and salsa consumption!
- Adding green food to your plate or as a decorating color can help keep you calm.
- Use orange for an energy burst in your workout.
- Get organized. With so much happening in our lives these days, when we focus on having to get organized, other things fall by the wayside. We are just running in survival mode. Spend some time organizing your workout gear and put it in the same place so that its easily accessible. Lay out your clothes the night before. The idea is to make it as easy as possible to get up and go.
- Do it at the same time. Whether it’s preparing your food, doing your workout, doing your shopping, talking a walk. Whatever it is, do it consistently. One of the habits of superfit athletes is that they consistently perform training sessions at scheduled times. If the time factor is overwhelming, start with 5 minutes. It doesn’t have to be a big time commitment but by consistently scheduling time in at the same time you will set yourself up for success.
Plan for Success
- Don’t Leave it to chance. We are faced with an average of 220 plus food related decisions a day (most people guess they actually make about 15 decisions a day). Remember what I said about not leaving it to willpower? What would happen if you could get that down to 10 decisions a day? Would you have a greater chance of success? Of course you would. If you can prepare ahead of time and get the number of decisions down, you have a much higher chance of success. That might mean preparing meals ahead of time or mapping out what you will have at a restaurant.
- Every time we make a decision IN THE MOMENT, we run the risk of being influenced by our environment. A recent example is a recent episode of My Big Fat Fabulous Life. I love watching Whitney Way Thore and Todd dance (how can we get them to hoop??) and on this episode, her trainer Will was frustrated with her lack of progress. He had followed her out to her car for a heart to heart follow up discussion and noticed fast food wrappers on the floor board of her car. She thought she was making good decisions in the moment. So don’t rely on your willpower to come through – it’s kind of like the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other.
- Try freezing meals ahead of time. Soups work particularly well. Make double if you do if you do have the energy to cook so that you can freeze for those crazy weeks when you have no time to prepare. Think ahead about easy on the go options. Running into a grocery for deli chicken and a salad is just as easy as a drive through and let’s be honest. When we stare at board with choices of onion rings and fries or a salad, how many of us choose the salad?
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About the Author:
Leigh Little is a certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Nutrition Specialist and Precision Nutrition Certified. She is a hoop dance performer and regular Canyon Hoops contributor with blog articles and videos and is the creator of Canyon Hoops Hoop Fitness DVD. To work with Leigh one on one for hoop fitness, dance, or weight loss contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org