By Giselle Aguiar with contribution by Lorrie Karn
As a recap of my weight loss journey, I started the Whole Life 180 program in March of 2018. I lost 40 pounds! Yay! And I kept it off all through the holidays! I was doing OK. I’d gain 4 and lose 4. Dr. Matt said that’s OK. Until my mom fell and broke her hip on Easter Sunday (April 1, 2018).
Enter stress. I gained 10 pounds back! Arrrgh!
I got back from my trip and talked to Lorrie Karn, resident nutritionist. She gave me a pep talk and had me text her my weight every morning. Up 1, down 2, down 1, up 4. Frustrated!
I was trying the Ketogenic Diet, but was having a hard time. So I switched back to the Mediterranean Diet which was the one that worked for me in the beginning. I was doing well, walking about a mile every morning and doing some light weight lifting on my exercise ball. Down 2, down 1 more, up 4. Dang!
Then the Phoenix heat sets in. I’d have to get up too early to walk before it got too hot. I didn’t want to do it, but I joined a gym. I’ve never had very good success with gyms. Last one I joined, I broke my little toe at home & couldn’t workout and the membership was wasted.
I’m also working with a trainer for the first time in my life. Now, that’s challenging seeing that I have bad ankles, shoulders and carpal tunnel syndrome on both arms. Dr. Matt is helping with adjustments, but after each work out, something else hurts. The trainer is trying to work around my “problems” and Dr. Matt said that it should take a while for my body to get used to working out heavily.
The trainer is having me work with heavier weights than I’m used to and he is showing me how to use the equipment properly. Yes, my muscles hurt, but that’s a good thing. I work out with the trainer twice a week and try to attend at least 3 group exercise classes each week. The gym has a good variety and I can attend the Silver Sneakers® classes even though I don’t qualify for Medicare yet. I’ve tried most of the classes and I settled for some of the slower ones like “Balance & Stretching” and “Body Awareness”. Zumba® and aerobics are just too fast for me and my knees complain too much. I plan to try “Ball Pilates” and “Yogalates”. I also discovered that with my bad ankles, the treadmill aggravates them so for cardio, I like the stationary bike.
However, with all these workouts you’d think that I’d lose weight –– no! I’ve been gaining! Last year when I hit 159, I said, “I never want to see 160 again!” Heck, when I passed 149, I said, “I never want to see 150 again!” Well, they’re back — I hit 160.5 — Yikes!
So what’s the problem? What’s the challenge?
Too much sugar? Too many carbs?
It’s hot in Phoenix. I like almond and coconut milk ice cream. It’s really good. I can eat the whole container easy in one sitting — it has sugar.
I found these Snap Pea snacks. Hey, it’s a vegetable, it’s healthy and I can eat a whole bag while watching TV or working — carbs & salt.
It has to stop!
It’s mindless eating. And that’s bad. That’s my downfall!
I know that just working out and taking exercise classes is not enough if I don’t stop the mindless eating.
Lorrie Karn, our resident nutritionist, personal trainer and lifestyle coach weighs in on Mindless Eating…
Mindless eating is an easy way to unintentionally invite unwanted and unneeded calories into our day. Often out of pure habit or boredom, we find ourselves snacking needlessly. At times people have the disillusion that a handful of this and a pinch of that won’t add up, but ultimately they do. Other ways we participate in mindless eating is when we ‘eat around a craving’.
Author Debra Waterhouse, RD, describes this behavior as
trying to outsmart the craving by eating something ‘healthy’.
Generally, most will succumb to the craving not only adding those calories into the equation, but also all of the ‘healthy’ foods we ate in the path of satisfying our craving.
A third notion to mindless eating is not having a meal plan or sense of routine. When we simply nosh when we feel like it, we may not be providing a balance of nutrition (and macro-nutrients) that our bodies need. In a recent conversation with a client, a myth that needed dispelling was the frequent trips to the handful of nuts and seeds.
The thought process was that this small pinch of healthy food just had to be healthy. Though nuts and seeds are an important and heart-healthy snack, too much of a good thing adds an abundance of calories and fat that adds pounds. Even Keto experts agree that over-consumption of nuts does not serve the body well. In fact, those subject to kidney stones will find this snack problematic!
The best way to navigate mindless eating is to have a meal plan, and stick to it! Using tools such as the MyFitnessPal app as the day progresses, depicts where you are in terms of calorie and nutrient consumption. Waiting until the end of the day to input food entries can not only seem overwhelming, but also leave margin of error for forgotten foods and beverages.
Set timers on your phone to alarm every 2.5 – 3 hours also keeps meal timing on point and helps thwart unnecessary trips to the pantry or fridge. For movie night and TV time, have a strategy such as saving this time for well-planned snacks and beverages.
Thank you, Lorrie, for your words of wisdom. Watch out for more information on gym classes and getting healthy!
So, here’s my strategy to end Mindless Eating:
- Don’t buy processed snacks — If you don’t have them in your kitchen or desk drawer, you won’t eat them. Wine and liquor are also on my don’t buy list. Plus, it will save money!
- Change to Mindful Eating — You may not be into “Mindfulness”, but Mindful Eating as opposed to mindless eating, is the way to go. Why am I eating this? Am I truly hungry or just thirsty? Must I eat something or will a glass of water or cup of tea suffice? (Note that these are calorie-free drinks — diet soda NOT allowed!)
- Eat for nourishment and healing — Do not eat foods that cause inflammation in your body. Sometimes foods that we like, don’t like us! Avoid empty calories like juices. Moreover, like Lorrie said above, too much of a good thing is not good! Even “healthy” snacks when consumed mindlessly will hurt rather than help. Learn to cook.
- Weigh yourself every morning. If you go up, think back on what you ate yesterday. If you go down, you’re heading in the right direction.
- Measure everything. Stick to the serving sizes. I like this simple, affordable food scale.
- Don’t be shy about asking for help! Everyone can use a coach and the folks at Holistic Health Solutions are here to help. Contact us!