Here is my personal philosophy on losing weight and keeping it off. I realize that one plan may not work for everyone but, if one person benefits from my experience, then the ideas are worth sharing. As with all ideas, take what you need. These are steps to be mastered one at a time. Go forward when you feel it is time.
Decide what you want and make it a priority. For example, do you want to weigh a certain amount and, if so, what is the number? Is it a particular size? Do you want your hips or waist to be a certain number? Is it feeling more confident? State what is important to you TODAY.
Losing weight starts with your head. Rethink your values. Make feeling good and being healthy of number one importance in your life. Feeling good and having energy make life more enjoyable.
Start with the foods you are presently eating. Have one plate of food at each meal. Stop with one plate. Leave something on your plate at each meal, even if you are at home. It can be half an entrée or just an olive or an English pea. What's important is that you give up the idea that you have to finish everything. This will help that habit of eating a whole bag of chips and not being able to stop with a portion of it. Whether you leave it on your plate or overeat and finish it all, it will still end up being waste in one form or another! (When I toss food in the trash, I remind myself it is going back to the Earth.) This is the hardest step, so master it before moving on.
Start to change what you eat and your eating habits. The body weight is like a thermostat setting. The body wants to keep the weight at the same setting, so you have to do something to shake up the pattern and set a new one. The first step is to eat smaller amounts at a time. Put smaller portions on that one plate of food, but still leave something. Eat breakfast (even if it is just a piece of fruit), a 10:00 a.m. snack, lunch, a 3:00 p.m. snack, and dinner. If you feel hungry before bedtime, eat an orange or a cracker.
Change how and what you eat. Eat healthier, whole foods. Think about eating "clean" foods. Look at what you are putting on your plate.
Learn to eat foods separately and space them out. It's easier on your body, and you don't get so hungry and overeat. Eat fruit alone and do not mix it with other foods. Other fruits can be mixed, but eat melon by itself. "Melon alone or leave it alone." It takes only 20 minutes for fruit to digest (bananas, 40 minutes), and then you can eat something else.
Eat one dry food at a meal. Fruits and vegetables are wet foods. All other foods are dry-like bread, meat, potatoes, grains, nuts. In other words, have chicken, vegetables, and salad-but not chicken, potatoes, vegetables. Have potatoes and vegetables. The exception is beans and rice, which count as one dry food. Do this as often as possible. You will notice how much better your digestive system feels if it is not overloaded. You can eat a piece of bread an hour later or two hours later when you get hungry.
If you really want a dessert, eat it by itself for a meal or a snack. It is better to eat something rich by itself rather than adding it on top of a full stomach.
At this point become very discriminating about your food and stay that way forever! If you just can't resist one of the fru-fru desserts, go ahead and take a bite of it. Then just rip it apart in your mind-this isn't homemade; this doesn't taste like my mother's apple pie; this tastes like a cardboard box; this is made with fluffy shortening all blown up with fake stuff that will clog my arteries; this is too sweet. Tell yourself if you are going to eat a dessert, you want it to be the best and made with the best ingredients. Next time the dessert presents itself, you can know that you tasted it and it wasn't that good.
That step is worth expanding on. Be really picky with your food. "If you eat like the masses, you will look like the masses." Here are some of my favorites. If it tastes at all off or not fresh, don't eat it. Push it around on your plate. If the oil used doesn't taste light and fresh, decide you don't like it. It's icky. If the seasoning isn't to your liking, that's a good reason to pick at it. One of my pet peeves is garlic in a cream sauce. If it has garlic in the cream sauce, I don't want it. You get the idea.
Sit down when you have a meal; no standing in the kitchen or in the bathroom putting your makeup on! Give the food all your attention; acknowledge it, savor it, notice the textures and tastes. Put your fork down occasionally and take a breath.
If you crave something (like chocolate, cookies, whatever), go ahead and eat it. If you don't, you will keep grazing on other substitutes and eat the desired food anyway. However, treat the craving just as royally as you would any other meal; sit down with your nice place setting and eat your cookie dough and enjoy it.
You can find healthier substitutes for binge foods-like carob for chocolate; or maple syrup for white sugar; or fresh fruit for sweets. That's in the food refinement stage.
When someone offers you something you don't want to eat, just say, "I don't like such and such." That's all you need to say. "I'm not hungry right now" also works at times. No need to say anything about how it makes you feel, that you want to lose weight, or anything else-because people will argue with you. Just say, "I don't like it." After awhile, when you become really eccentric like I am and possibly even switch to vegetarian fare, you can say things like "I don't drink fluid from a cow's body" or "I don't eat flesh" or "I don't eat white sugar" and then make a face so no one will challenge you.
Weigh every morning at the same time when you first get up and in the buff. If you gain two pounds, adjust the amount you eat for the next several days. Five pounds is all you gain before you get serious.
What foods can your body handle? What foods make you gain weight? Is it too much protein, too many carbohydrates, or too much fat? Learn about your particular body.
Change what you eat. Look at your plate again. Start substituting more healthy, unprocessed foods. Eat five vegetables a day, preferably five at lunch and five at dinner. Eat brown rice, barley, millet, quinoa, polenta, oatmeal. Whole grains are complex carbohydrates and break down slowly in the body and provide vitamins and fiber, unlike white flour and white rice, which are processed and contribute to thigh thickening.
Eat rice or soy cheese in place of dairy cheese. There are some really good ones out there and they will not clog your arteries like dairy cheese.
Use soy milk in place of dairy milk on cereals, in baking, for drinking.
Use olive oil or safflower oil in place of butter. Do not use margarine or any other oil or fat that is solid at room temperature. If it is solid at room temperature, it will be solid in your arteries.
Read labels. Read the ingredients. Stop buying things with artificial ingredients, preservatives, and junk in them. All these things have to be processed by the liver, and what do they do in your body? They accumulate. They are not natural, and the body was not designed to process them.
Dr. Panda Lee, a most wonderful person and Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine, said you see people develop a "moon face." This refers to people whose faces get that swollen look as they grow older because they take too many medications. Use natural products wherever possible. If you think prescription drugs are safe, remember, the liver doesn't know whether you had a prescription for it or not! The molecular structure of a prescription drug has been altered, and the body cannot use it or eliminate it in the same manner as a natural, whole product. Be particular about what you put in your body.
Eat six small meals a day rather than two or three huge ones. If you eat too much at a time, the body will just store it. Eat a smaller amount, and then you can eat something else in a hour or two when you feel hungry. Remember the 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. snacks. It is best not to eat after dinner. If you stay up and get hungry, eat an orange before bedtime or drink a glass of soy milk.
Look at the amount of fat you are eating in a day. Don't buy any product with more than 5 grams of fat per serving. There are potato chips with 5 grams of fat instead of 10 grams of fat per serving. Decide that really greasy foods upset your stomach. Use "Nayonnaise" instead of mayonnaise and get only 3 grams of fat per serving instead of 12. Cheese, butter, chips, fried foods are fat. Steam vegetables and add Vege-Sal seasoning or herbs. Forget the butter. You want your vegetables to taste like the vegetables they are, not like butter. You can have butter for a treat when you dine out. Herbs also have therapeutic value. Basil is an antidepressant and a tonic. Black pepper is good for sinus and cystitis.
Eat two pieces of fresh fruit a day. Eat fresh fruit in place of dessert wherever possible.
Eat simple foods six days a week. Have a nice dessert once a week as a treat. And invite others over to share it with you. Take the leftovers to work and share with others; don't eat any more yourself.
If you want something really rich, eat it. Just eat a small to medium portion. You can save the rest for another meal. Then decide that it really doesn't taste that good as a leftover.
All this sounds pretty wacky, I suppose. But the purpose is to change your outlook on food so that it is something healthy you do when you feed your body and you don't just live for food. Carob becomes really important to me when I am stressed. But now I can eat my two-cookie limit and stop. Whole sweeteners like maple syrup are much more satisfying than white sugar. Besides, I can have another cookie or two tomorrow.
So, here's the summary of changes to make and keep making.