By Carlyn Montes De Oca
“I’ve tried everything and I just can’t seem to lose the #^$@* weight!” – Sound familiar? Well, it’s a common complaint I hear from my patients and usually accompanied by frustration, dismay and even resignation.
Having helped many patients lose weight in my Acupuncture & Nutritional Counseling Practice, made it ironic that at age 51 I was now carrying an extra 10 pounds. When I finally got around to addressing the weight issue, I found that it did not want to let go of me as much as I wanted to let go of it. In time, 10 pounds had turned into 14. So on October 3rd, 2012, I substituted my own frustration with determination and decided that regardless of the upcoming holidays, I would lose those 14 pounds by Christmas. And here are some of the things that I did.
7 Tips to Kissing the Pounds Goodbye!
1. Eat Plant Based and Low Glycemic -This combo is not only great for weight loss but for longevity too! With a plant-based diet, instead of feeling as though you’re depriving yourself, the opposite becomes true as your world opens up to many more choices of healthy and delicious foods. Humans tend to get into repetitive patterns of eating, which can often lead to allergies. A plant based diet, filled with tasty fruits and veges, beans, nuts and seeds – nature’s nutritional powerhouses and our best sources energy – gave me even more stamina, strength and endurance while I lost weight. Low Glycemic eating keeps your blood sugar balanced and gave my brain more clarity and my body more sustained energy throughout the day.
2. “Exercise more, Eat Less!” – Became my mantra for three months. Before a meal, during a meal, in my office, taking a bath, in bed – I kept saying this over and over to myself until it became a habit. I have always resisted counting calories but this time I found that having a rough overall sense of how many calories I was consuming went a long way to help me achieve the weight loss I wanted. I stayed between 1200-1500 calories, spread throughout the day in small meals. If you fill up with the foods your body needs then there isn’t a lot of room left for unhealhy foods that will ultimately deplete your energy and eventually wear out your body.
Walking 10,000 steps per day is what is minimally recommended for someone 50-60 years of age. More steps if you are younger. A pedometer comes in handy to know how much you actually walk in a day. Additionally, I added cardio daily for 30 minutes as well as weight training every other day. It may seem like a lot at first, but I was determined to lose the weight and knew that when I reached my goal, I could cut back on the exercise.
3. The Breakfast- fast – If you have any issues with your blood sugar, are a diabetic or have hypoglycemia, I WOULD NOT suggest this step. But if not, and you have some pounds to lose, you may consider skipping breakfast before you workout. New Information shows that if we limit eating to an eight hour period, it’s not only good for our waistline but for our overall health as well. Historically our ancestors didn’t have access to food 24/7 like we do now so it would make sense that our bodies do better not only eating less, but eating within a certain time period. I would typically eat at 10:30am and finish by 6:30pm. If I got hungry at night, I would drink a big hot mug of ginger, chamomile or other herbal teas to fill me up.
4. Variety, Variety, Variety – The human body gets used to a physical workout. So although I hiked daily with my dogs, my body was now used to it and I needed something more to move me out of this plateau. Interval training – getting a work out in 30 minutes – 10 minute warm up and 10 minute warm down then 20 minutes of interval short bursts of exercise- worked great for my busy schedule and also my waist line. Hiking, biking, yoga and resistance training also gave me variety and kept me from getting bored.
5. Boost Your Energy Before a Workout – A little dash of medicinal caffeine can really help with endurance during your workout. I have never been a coffee drinker and I wouldn’t encourage coffee intake but a little green tea or some REV 3, a low-glycemic energy drink with ginseng, really got me moving and motivated! Barley grass juice is also an amazing energy boost and additionally is great for the immune system and gives you softer more youthful skin.
6. Develop Patience – I’m not naturally patient so I had to develop some patience along the way if I wanted to succeed. We all say how fast time is moving, so I told myself that three months would fly by and that letting go of some of my favorite foods wasn’t going to be forever. The truth is that after a month I didn’t miss any of the foods that I thought I would, and the three months arrived in no time!
7. Acknowledge & Reward Yourself – When find your clothes feeling looser, your abs getting tighter, and your body becoming stronger, give yourself a big pat on the back or do what I do and jump around your bedroom in total joy. Acknowledging your efforts will help keep you motivated and on target. And don’t forget to give yourself a reward when you finally reach your goal. Something that is meaningful to you. I love movies and decided it was time to join the 21st century, so my reward was to purchase a big screen tv. so I can watch my favorite movies as I exercise!
Fourteen Pounds Later
On Christmas day, I stepped on the scale and found myself one pound away from my goal. After the build up, one might consider this a failure but I certainly didn’t. At a size 4, and 4 inches less than when I began, I felt like a new woman. Besides the weight loss and a slimmer and stronger frame, perhaps an even greater and unexpected lesson was what I learned about the power of focus and commitment. During this time, weight loss became my number one priority and every morning, as soon as I would open my eyes, I would re-commit to my goal. Eventually, my commitment became habit and habit became success. Commitment, focus and determination are now tools that I am consciously applying towards my next big goal – writing a book.
Oh and one week later….I lost that last pound!