Revisiting My Weight Loss Strategies

I may not be very confident when it comes to running, but when it comes to weight loss and maintenance it's a different story. I know how to lose weight and keep it off and have been successful for the past four years...until recently. Why? I thought about this for a while and think I know the answer: I don't care about it that much.

When it comes to the time I finish a race, I care a great deal about those numbers. But the numbers on the scale? Not so much. When I was recently looking at my Weight Watchers information, I realized that I even had my goal weight wrong. It's two pounds more than I thought it was! If I fit into my clothes, why worry about the number on the scale? So when my weight started to creep up a little, then a little more, then a little more, I didn't really care that much.

That all changed last week when I was packing for a weekend away and tried on my size 6 Athleta pants I bought last summer and realized that they were too tight. I almost cried. When my clothes stop fitting--that's when I care!

So now I'm in full weight-loss mode and am 100% confident I'll get back down to my goal weight. While I planned to start going to Weight Watchers meetings again, I learned that the meeting I usually go to has been canceled. I might try to find another one, but for now I want to start on my own by using the same strategies that worked well for me before. There are a lot of them, but this week I'm focusing on these.

1. Eat a ton of fruits and vegetables. At my thinnest I was eating a ton of fruits and veggies--like, 10 fruits and 10-15 veggies a day. Fruits and veggies are so filling that I found I didn't have room for much else. This will be easy for me because it's summer, and in summer I pretty much graze on raw fruits and veggies instead of cooking. My family had a veggie farm when I grew up, and some of my earliest memories were of going out to the garden, sitting in the dirt, and eating the tomatoes and beans right off the vines.

2. Save my favorite fruits for after work. My danger time is when I come home from work, am hungry, and have a kitchen full of food to tempt me. Even if I have leftovers, I'll sneak a few handfuls of pretzels, nuts, or whatever before I eat dinner. My solution is to save something I love, like raspberries and  strawberries, as a snack. This has worked really well for me this week.

3. Break out my cookbooks. I've been a recipe tester for the past four Happy Herbivore cookbooks. The recipes are plant-based, have simple and few ingredients, are quick and easy to make (most take 5-10 minutes), are very filling, and have no or little added fat, so they're really great for losing weight. While I have a lot of tried-and-true recipes I love, I also want to try a few new recipes as well.

4. Snack smartly. I've said before that when I was losing weight, I had a treat every single day. I still believe that having a daily treat is important, but I want to incorporate better snacks instead of just cookies, baked goods, and pretzels. I like popcorn, and the bagged popcorn with little calories (like Angie's Boom Chicka Pop) is a great option, but I also pop up my own and add my own seasonings.

5. Have tea after dinner. We have a small table in the kitchen where I eat my meals. A bad habit of mine is, when I finish eating, to get up over and over for something else and just keep eating. I like to have a cup of mint tea after dinner as a way to signal that meal time's over.

6. Track everything, especially on weekends. This week, we had various celebrations at work that included bagels, donuts, a burnt almond torte cake, and crackers and cheese/hummus. Granted, many of those things are off limits to me since I'm vegan, but I wasn't even tempted. I am typically so good during the week. But come Friday at 5 p.m., it's a different story. The weekend/party/celebration mentality kicks in, and my resolve goes right out the window. Tracking what you eat is so powerful. At one of my Weight Watchers meetings, I remember the discussion was, "If a TV crew followed you around for a day, would you eat differently?" Most people wouldn't want to see others watching them inhale an entire bag of pizza Goldfish crackers, and the same is true for logging what you eat. When you track every little bite that goes into your mouth, you can really see just how much you're eating. Tracking on weekends has always worked really well for me, so I need to really commit to doing it. This weekend I have a family party to attend, so I need to make sure to plan out and log what I eat to stay on track.

7. Plan my meals. On Weight Watchers, you get so many Points a day to use on food, so if you use them all up on breakfast and lunch, you're pretty screwed for dinner (or you go over your Points and don't lose weight). When I was losing, I would track my food the day before so made sure to stay within my Points allowance. But I also plan out meals by week so that I can use ingredients wisely in different meals so food doesn't go bad. These are the meals I'm making this week. Each yields leftovers, so that I eat each a few times for lunch and dinner.  At each of these meals, I have a bunch of raw veggies with them (like tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers).
My kitchen and fridge are stocked with tons of fruits and veggies, and I'm motivated to use these strategies this week. Let the weight loss begin!