There’s always tomorrow to start a diet right? Or perhaps next week, or New Year’s Day? And in the meantime, I’ll just go pack on a few more pounds with a big ‘ole veggie burger and fried egg sandwich, or a nice big salad loaded with cheese and Ranch dressing, with a bag of Doritos on the side. I’m going to have to lose it anyway right?
That was me when I was still a vegetarian. Yep, it is possible for a vegetarian to pack on the pounds – 230 of them for me before I got serious about good nutrition, portion control and losing weight.
When Is The Right Time?
I was running, or trying to, for the bus one day and felt all the fat on my stomach jiggling! That took care of my “when.” I always liked being active – able to climb a flight of stairs without panting. I liked wearing a summer dress and not getting a rash from my thighs rubbing together. I didn’t want to wait til next week. Nor did I want to make some superficial resolution at the beginning of the year. I don’t know how I went all those years looking in the mirror and denying that I felt unhappy about all the weight I’d gained. Once I was able to get past that denial and face the fact that I was unhappy, it was time to do something about it. Now came the hard part.
Best Ways To Start a Diet
Because we are all individuals, starting a diet is different for everyone.
- Cleaning the cabinet of all sweets
- Eating six meals a day instead of three
I needed to start by refocusing my mind to think like a vegetarian. See, I wasn’t trying to be one when I stopped eating meat. I wanted to feel energized, not lethargic. But I didn’t educate myself so carbohydrates became my meat substitutes and the pounds rolled in.
So, this time I cut down my carbohydrate intake and ate more raw, natural foods. I also used my juicer more. If I didn’t make juices, I got the store-bought version. We need carbs so I didn’t cut them out. I just watched how much of them I ate. Portion-control was the gem of my diet plan. Here are a few tactics I used:
- Downsize plates – I stopped eating from the standard-size plates and started using saucers or bowls. Eating is not just a physical act, it’s a psychological one. Filling up all of the space on a standard plate is a lot of food that you feel you have to eat to feel full. With a saucer, you’ll feel the same, but with a lot less to eat.
- Count serving size – The nutrition label on the back of a box of saltine crackers notes that a serving size is “5 crackers” with 60 calories per serving. Meaning that if I eat more than 5 crackers, I will consume more than 60 calories. No more shoveling them in by the handful.
- Sit down to eat – I hadn’t thought before that when I stand or eat on the go, I probably eat more than my needed portion. But I noticed more of a fullness when I sat down and focused on eating, rather than multi-tasking.
- Eating slow; no gobbling – This can fit in with sitting down also. When I ate too fast, I noticed that I was hungry again quicker. When I ate more slowly, I felt full with the portion I’d dished out and the fullness lasted longer.
As I gained control of what I was eating, I started exercising with my “Tony Little Gazelle Elite.” I didn’t stick with it too much at first, just a couple of times a week. But the combination eating right and moving – even if only a little – gave me a 15-pound weight drop. I got more incentive to keep going when I joined Lynn Brick’s Gym. According to their assessment, my health age was 54! (I was 46 at the time)
That was all I needed.
Scrap The Excuses
A couple of my faves:
- I’m just gonna get through these holidays. Translation: I’m gonna pile my plate with mac-n-cheese and go back for seconds. I’m gonna start my diet right after New Year’s.
- I’m stressed right now – Something about night shift, hospitals and stress – I polished off by myself, a
whole 14-inch cheese pizza. I rationalized that I only ate about a slice and a half every couple of hours. I probably burned off those calories running around the unit right?
The time to focus on your health is NOW.