How to lose weight and not feel (too) deprived

I will admit it. I don't know how to lose weight without feeling too deprived. Yet.

It's my goal, though. I love my cookies. And eggnog. And puppy chow. To cut out sweets entirely only leads me to binging on them--I've learned that the hard way in the past with dieting. Plus, dieting makes me feel hungry. And being hungry makes me cranky, which doesn't bode well.

I was trying to run for only 20 minutes per day, maybe 4 days per week. I thought I wouldn't have the problems that afflicts me when I run long distances if I shortened my running time, but noo....my body told me otherwise. Plus it's so easy to think, "but I don't wanna go exercise room and have to interact with people..." So, running frequently was going to be a failure before long, anyway. I also have a hard time dragging myself out of the house to go for a walk (brr).

All those self-defeating thoughts and rationales confronted facts and data a week ago.

Sure, I know I was having a hard time fitting into pants. I know that my tops have been feelingĀ  rather small over my boobs, but I attributed it to a new set of non-saggy, push-up bras and not to, you know, the fact that fat migrated all over my body and not just to my hips and midsection. Then I stepped on the scale. I had previously sworn to not go over 170 lbs. I was 172 lbs. Two days in a row, so it's not just a weird quirk. My BMI (28.6) was too close for comfort to the threshold for the "obese" range, which starts at 30.0.

Crap.

That's what's on me--crap. It's the product of a bunch of crap in life. Several major depressions, a disowning, a graduation, marriage, moving to another state and another city, overnight work where eating helps keep me awake, a new FT job, a promotion, PTSD, and grad school (in no particular order) have all led to me eating to help me feel better. I went from hovering around 140lbs, which was my old status quo, to 172 lbs now.

Looking back, I tend to take on weight in approximately 5lb increments. So, if I look at it as losing weight in 5 lb increments, that breaks it down to very doable goals. 165. 160. 155. 150. 145. 140. Six mini-goals. And honestly, I'd be happy if I was below 150. But let's see if I can hover around 140lbs again.

If I look at change for what it is--minor lifestyle improvements--that makes it even more doable.

Let me put it down on paper. Er, screen.

Goal: Lose 25-30 lbs.

And how will I do that? Three simple things will guide me.

  1. Move more.
  2. Eat better.
  3. Take care of myself.

Now for the practicalities. Trial and error over the years have taught me what my weak spots are. Here are some positive statements to help encourage myself:

Do these:

  • Make sure I eat snacks as needed. Plan and pack healthy, protein-filled ones like yogurt, cheese, and almonds. Carrots are fine, but I'm never satisfied with just them. Dry cereal doesn't keep me full for long. Hence the more substantial snacks. Starvation = binge eating later.
  • Exercise in small chunks. 1/2 hour of exercise daily is both doable and will help me burn calories without feeling like I must consume the calories back again. Overdoing it only makes me less motivated to exercise the next day.
  • Walking counts as exercise. Walk on errands instead of taking the bus.
  • Allow myself sweets. One or two Ghirardelli square per day really isn't too bad if it helps me stick to the overall plan better.
  • Pick the real sweets. I feel more satisfied with Lindt than with Twix, for example. It's probably healthier, too. And eating more of the good sweets means I'm less likely to want the junky sweets.
  • If I'm sad, frustrated, angry, or upset, try exercising for 15-30 minutes and see if that makes me feel better before "medicating" with food. Plus it'll also work up real hunger to replace the "fake-hunger."
  • Buy a variety of fruits and veggies. I get tired of carrots and apples all the freaking time. Mix it up, keep it interesting to keep my interest.
  • Don't feel bad if I completely blow the healthy eating out of the water one day. I can try again.

Do you have any tips that help you live a healthier life? Please share in the comments!

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