Most diets are all about taking everything away.
Take away grains. Take away legumes. Take away all fat. Take away cooked foods. Take away white foods. Take away processed foods. Take away sugar. Take away meats. Take away eggs. Take away ______________ (you fill in the blank).
Take away, take away, take away.
You see what I mean? We are constantly being told to take away and if you are anything like me, when people tell me I absolutely can’t have something, I often want it even more. (That’s probably a character flaw in myself. :)) Not that we don’t need to take away things when we lose weight, but it shouldn’t be the only thing we focus on.
When I finally decided to lose weight, I didn’t take much away at first, although I did give myself a moratorium on chocolate for awhile. While I paid attention to eliminating unhealthy fats from my diet (think Oreos and fast food), I also focused on adding healthy fats.
Instead of taking away a lot of things, I found myself focusing on adding things to my life.
This concept of adding to our lives when we lose weight instead of taking things away can be very uplifting and freeing.
As you go about your quest to lose weight, I’d encourage you to think about the “Addition Factor.” The beauty of this is that as you add healthy foods and healthy habits to your life, those unhealthy habits and foods you have may become less and less appealing. In other words, the healthy can begin to crowd out the unhealthy.
Here are some ideas when it comes to adding health:
1. Add sleep. Some studies indicate that good sleep habits may play a role in weight loss and weight maintenance. On a personal level, I found that once I started working out regularly, I slept better, which may have helped me lose weight.
2. Add vegetables and fruits. So simple yet so hard for a lot of people. Our society does not seem to embrace the “farm to table” concept but instead embraces the “box to table” concept. Try some new fruits and vegetables or reintroduce yourself to more common ones such as broccoli. You may laugh at that, but I know many people who haven’t had a fresh vegetable in years!
3. Add healthy grains. As you add healthy foods to your diet, look for healthy grains like oats, whole wheat flour, millet, buckwheat, wheat berries, brown rice, etc. Again, here is where our concept of adding comes into play. You add healthy grains and those soft breads and buns made from refined white flour that are spongy and fluffy begin to pale in comparison to hearty grains that are dense and full of nutrients.
4. Add activity. Although you certainly can lose weight without exercising, adding some aerobic, strengthening, and flexibility activities into your life only helps you feel better and look better as well. Adding activity was a huge step for me, because I used to spend as much time as possible sitting down.
5. Add stress-reducing behaviors. Emotions are a normal part of our lives, and stress can make us desire to overeat or make poor food choices. Add some stress-reducing behaviors to your life such as prayer, meditation, learning to say no, avoiding people who stress you out, learning time management skills, and focusing on the positive.
6. Add healthy proteins. You don’t have to eat meat to lose weight, nor do you have to avoid meat. But what you do need is healthy proteins. I learned to cook and love beans, stopped eating McDonald’s cheeseburgers, and discovered that I did like Greek yogurt after all!
7. Add time for you. It is so common for us to get so wrapped up in other people in our lives that we forget to add some time into our schedule just for us. Force yourself to do something for you each day. For me, I have carved out the early morning hours for myself. These hours allow me to read, write, and exercise before my day gets going. When things get crazy later on in the day I feel more relaxed than I did when I did not have time scheduled for myself.
What additions have you made to your life that help you with weight management? Diane
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