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Operation Lose Five Pounds
Carrying around an extra five pounds may not seem like such a big deal, but even just a few unnecessary pounds of fat can be a health hazard. Most of us can significantly reduce our risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes simply by losing about five pounds of excess fat. The benefits of losing five pounds goes beyond the physical to the mental: losing five pounds can vastly increase our energy and boost self esteem.
Due to the sudden return of disordered eating that I’ve dealt with over the past couple months, I’ve gained five pounds. Actually it might be closer to 6 pounds, but “Operation Lose Six Pounds” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. My clothes are just a little too snug and my body feels uncomfortable. For physical health reasons, for emotional health reasons, and- I’ll admit it- primarily for vanity reasons, I’m ready to lose these extra pounds.
It seems like an opportune time: university is over, I’ve moved into my new home, and the stresses in my life have reduced to an extent. More than that, I’ve been able to really address my disordered eating problems and- I think- resolved them at this time. Inspired by the sistertraveller’s motivation to return to a healthy weight, I’ve been spending the past couple weeks looking at all angles of my emotional eating issues and figuring out the best way to ensure the pounds come off and, more importantly, stay off.
The number on the scale certainly is not the be-all end-all: being more muscular can translate to a higher number on the scale, and our age, gender, height, and body shape differences can show drastically different numbers on the scale. But if you’ve noticed that the scale has gone up, like me, and that you don’t feel good, then it’s a good indication that losing five pounds could be beneficial to you.
It’s been a while since I have actively had to go about losing weight rather than maintaining, and it’s surprised me how difficult it has been the past couple weeks to get a start on “weight loss”. I forgot that you have to deal with feeling a little bit hungry and that sort of thing (which I have not been adapting well to at all. It takes some adjustments to reduce our intake of food by enough that it makes a difference but not by so much that we become famished and over-eat later on in the day!).
Here are a few key things that we should all do before jumping in whole-heartedly to the business of losing and keeping off a few pounds:
1. Understand why you want to lose weight.
As discussed above, our physical and mental well-being can benefit hugely from losing a bit of weight. For myself, I would also like to lose the five pounds to increase my energy so that I can run another 6km race this summer, and to appease my vanity so that I fit into my pants comfortably 😉 But seriously. My jeans have become embarrassingly tight. I want to be able to properly fit in them because it’s the right size for me when I fit into my jeans comfortably and without strain.
2. Realize what obstacles you will face and begin to figure out how you will address them.
I eat pretty healthy for the most part, in terms of eating real, whole food. The unhealthy thing about how I eat is the sheer size of my portions. I’m aware that I’m eating far more than is necessary, so now I need to take steps to control portion sizes. This means that I will be using my measuring spoon for nut butter, for example: typically, if I have nut butter on toast, it’s 1/2 tbsp for my bread and a tbsp or two for my tummy. So I will be cutting back on nut butter by using my measuring spoons and making sure I don’t dip back into the jar for “just a little taste”.
Another issue I have is my love of carbs. Specifically, grain-based carbs! I am a happy girl if you give me a loaf of multigrain bread and a tub of Earth Balance. But when it comes to weight loss, even whole grains aren’t going to be helpful if we eat too many of them.
3. Identify your trigger foods and take steps to avoid them.
Much as I love popcorn, I’ve come to the sad realization that (at least at this point in time) I cannot eat popcorn when I’m alone. It causes me to overeat and it also makes me have huge cravings. To prevent this from happening, I am now only going to have popcorn when I’m with others or if I make it at home and then bring it with me to work as part of my lunch. I’m beginning to realize that grains in general seem to have this affect on me, which is probably a good indication that I should be upping my protein intake and reducing my grain intake.
4. Replace your cooking hobby with something else.
I love to cook. And bake. And for the most part, it’s healthy stuff. At the same time, I think that spending so much time in the kitchen makes my life revolve around food a bit too much. I want to try to get back to the basics of simple, easy dishes (for the most part). Now that university is over, I am only working part time (but am job-hunting to ensure that I can afford my condo, haha); this means that I have much more spare time than before. I used to love sewing but I really got away from it over the past couple years because life got so busy, so I am hoping to incorporate that into my life again.
Disclaimer: Although I’m calling this “Operation Lose Five Pounds”, I feel the need to stress that this isn’t so much about the “pounds” as it is about healthifying the body. This might mean losing inches around the waist instead of pounds. If I fit into my pants and like what I see in the mirror and I still happen to be at my current weight, then I’ll consider that a success. But I have found that my body functions at its best when it’s about five pounds lighter, so that’s why I’m talking about “pounds” rather than inches etc.
Having some kind of timeframe is also a good idea when embarking on weight loss; otherwise, I could say “I’m trying to lose five pounds” for the next year and not make any actual progress. So, I’m going to aim for roughly seven weeks from today: June 25th. Ish. That will be a nice steady 1-lbs loss each week (I hope). It’s important to lose (or gain!) slowly so that the body has time to adjust. Plus, I want to lose weight and drink wine, too. I don’t want to be super-strict about this: just try to adopt some healthier, more mindful strategies than what I’ve been doing.
Not everyone, of course, needs to lose weight. Some need to gain weight instead. Or maybe you’re at just the right healthy weight for who you are! In any case, leave a comment to let us all know where you stand. I’d be curious to see where we’re all at! Will you be joining in on Operation Lose Five Pounds? Are you going to do your own variation (using inches instead of pounds, or gaining weight instead of losing it)?
Next post, I’m going to offer some tips and ideas for how you can sneakily arrange your cupboards to influence your subconscious to eat healthy! What steps do you take to ensure that you are mentally ready for losing weight?
I know. Who talks about jumpstarting weight loss on a Friday? If you aren’t up to starting a weight loss program on a weekend, then maybe take the weekend to think about where you stand and how you might deal with your own obstacles.