After dropping 37 pounds for health reasons, I also found the beauty and confidence benefits. I was skinny almost all my life until I got into my 40s. Life situation was such that everything came before me and held-in anger had me eating mindlessly. My job had me sitting 40 hours a week.
I had so many friends who lost tons of pounds on low-carb/no carb or vegan or liquid diets, but within months of reaching their goal, the scale went back up.
I thought to myself, other than committing and breaking the commitment to eat a certain amount of calories, avoid carbs, or workout like an athlete, how could I easily maintain a healthy weight without any sacrifice or fuss? How could I eat what I love and manage exercise while doing the sedentary desk job or TV watching that is inevitable?
Here's my 3 secrets -
Eat your food only on a dessert plate. Store the dinner plates (2" bigger in America than elsewhere and restaurants yet another inch bigger than American dinner plates!)
Eat with chopsticks - it's awkward at first and sometimes very frustrating, but it forces much much slower eating. If the Japanese can be so skinny using chopsticks, we can too. I used to put a timer on to be sure I took at least 20 mins to eat, but it's hard to do when you use a fork or your hands. With chopsticks, you can't gobble.
Put a rocking chair in front of the TV. Get a comfy one, but the rule is that you must rock. The use of the deep inner muscle in the calves increases metabolism a LOT. Simply rocking through a movie can be like exercising.
- OTHER OPTIONS -
I added a stand-up desk to my work station since I write for a living. I raise it and play music and dance one hour for every hour I sit.
Park your car in the far end of the parking lot.
Play music and dance to relieve stress.
Grow your own food for the exercise and health benefits or spend your weekends walking around a farmer's market.
If weather is miserable, consider putting on a YouTube video of indoor walking. These include marching, some arms and leg movements, but get your cardio in. Resistance videos using your body's weight or stretch bands are great too.
Eat all sandwiches topless. Not you - the bread! Open-faced sandwiches are works of art and actually tastier since there is less bread padding masking the flavors.
Put a pedometer app on your phone. Lots of folks are drawn to fitbots, but excessive hypervigilence of heartbeats and sleep habits and the like border on chronic hypochondriacal behaviors.. It's rather like going on WebMD and seeing symptoms and getting suggestible about your own condition.
Be a ping pong ball. Take one dish from the dishwasher and put it away, go back and get another dish, one piece at a time back and forth. Do the same thing putting away laundry and other regular chores.
Try not to sit for hours in a row. Get up, move. Walk around during phone calls. Walk the whole house or building each hour.
Sometimes we wear our homes like an exoskeleton. They sort of become a mental parameter. We stay contained within the same footage for long periods of time and don't think anything of it. Your home is rigid and immobile, so you remain, in a sense, immobile within. Make an effort to break through your shell and get outside daily and not just to get in the car and run chores, but to explore, get an outdoors perspective, inhale the wind, feel the temperatures. Our bodies love the opportunity to adjust to a new setting that isn't a thermostat stuck at 72 and to walk a straight line for more than 15 steps.. Sure, we can run on autopilot easily from within our walls and secure environment, but is that living or existing?
I work from home, so I put on my exercise clothing and exercise bra and sneakers in the morning. Now, I'm already outfitted for workouts.
My elliptical is in my office so on breaks I can run on it while playing YouTube videos of virtual runs on the TV. I can watch what it's like to run along a beach or in the forest. It's a great distraction that helps me plug along willingly. I also use the standing desk with music to give me a time to march and dance while typing.
Set up your world as if you're an athlete with a day job. It gets harder to make excuses when it's all there and ready.
To lose weight and maintain it, you have to devise something you can do the rest of your life without thinking. Not having dinner plates was a huge change for me. Remember, your stomach is basically the size of your fist, not a football. The dessert plate is ideal for satisfaction without feeling utterly stuffed.
Eating slowly was a mind-blowing realization. I always scarfed my food so I could get back to tasks on a huge to-do list. I didn't want to dally. I wanted to get it over with. By eating slowly, I also realized that I wasn't eager for the next lift of the fork. I could chat or read and then suddenly remember to eat more.
Stay interested in projects, activities, passions, hobbies, outtings, and such. Honestly, the more active times of my life, the less time to think of food as anything but a necessity when the stomach growls. When I have had times of forced rest or nothing on my agenda, I find meals become an activity and focus for "something to do."
It's not one particular diet that will keep you slender, it's more a combination of keeping the body moving throughout the day and eating smaller portions. The French stay in great shape with wine, butter, cheese, but they eat on small plates, socialize and take their time, and walk everywhere.
If you need more inspiration for making changes, here's some great videos I find inspiring. -