But just because I'm relatively thin doesn't mean I don't work at it. My friends seem to have an immense amount of difficulty understanding this. Yes, my metabolism doesn't suck, but going the extra mile from normal to slender in my case is due to choices, not luck. So I thought since there are a lot of you out there trying to lose weight that I'd share what I've been doing since I was 15 to get a body that I'm happy with.
1. Portions: Portion sizes are probably the most important element of weight loss. You can eat anything you want even while dieting as long as you keep the portion sizes down. For me, the easiest way to do this at home is to eat from small plates, bowls, etc. In high school, I would come home everyday and fill a small cup with ice cream. It was still less satisfying than 4 scoops, but using a cup instead of a bowl made me feel like I was eating more than I was, and even ice cream became a low-calorie snack. Restaurants are obviously more difficult, but you can always try to order something small (like an appetizer) for your meal or save half to eat another day.
2. Eat from Home: I lied. This is the most important aspect of weight loss. Eating out is ALWAYS worse for you than eating at home. Obviously, I don't expect you to never go out, but eating at home and bringing food with you to work, school, etc. will decrease your calorie intake immensely and allow you to have more control over what you're eating. I seriously believe that if everyone in America brought their lunch from home everyday, obesity rates would plummet.
3. Fruits and Veggies: I'm sure you all know that they're good for you, but they can also be a useful and healthy way to fill your stomach when you're hungry. When I pack a lunch, I usually include a main dish of some sort (something that will satisfy) that contains fewer calories than I need and then fill the rest of the calories in with fruits and/or vegetables. You'd be amazed how much better raw carrots taste when you're starving. Truth be told, I despise vegetables, but when I'm hungry, and they're all I have, I'll eat them.
4. Count Calories: I don't do this anymore, but everyone I know who has dieted by counting calories has had good results. The hard thing is that you have to stick to it, and you have to find out how many calories you're getting from EVERYTHING you're eating. Sometimes it's good just to look up the calories of your favorite snacks, drinks, or fast food places just so you know what you're eating. If you want more information, www.weightwatchers.com is a good place to start if you're going to count calories.
5. Drink Water: More importantly, don't drink anything but water. Seriously. Sodas and even juices have way more calories than you need and really are not very satisfying or good for you. Water of course is always good for you, and sometimes it will help fill you up a bit. If you want to drink something besides water, drink milk (great source of protein!). Just remember to add its calories into your daily count. Oh, and if you frequent Starbucks or somewhere like that, check out how many calories are in your favorite drinks. You'll be amazed (and horrified).
6. Exercise: I hate it too. And to be perfectly honest, exercising does not make that much of a difference in weight for most women. However, exercising can actually decrease your appetite to a certain extent if you do it in moderation. On that note, moving around all day can also decrease your appetite if you eat when you're bored (like I do). I know many jobs make this difficult, but I always feel better when I do something physical in the evenings or on the weekends. Anyway, the best way I've found to exercise without hating it is to do a sport or something that will keep your mind occupied, so you don't concentrate on the pain. Personally, I enjoy aerobic dance like Zumba, but if you're not a dancing kind of gal, look for an adult sports league or a gym class that does interest you. And walk. Walk whenever you can. It's better than nothing.
7. Indulge Yourself: Never try to kill yourself dieting. It doesn't work. I learned this the hard way. Sometimes, you have to give up on the dieting and go eat something fun. You don't want to be hungry all the time, and you don't want to exercise to the point of exhaustion. In all likelihood, doing these things will cause you to eat more than you would have if you had given yourself a break. It's all about moderation. You also don't want to think about food all the time. I know from personal experience that that can be hard when you're trying not to eat too much, but the more you can get into a routine with your eating habits, the less you'll be hungry, the less you'll think about food, and the less you'll want to indulge. And once you get to your goal weight, staying at it won't be as bad as getting there.
All right, well I hope that didn't sound too much like a dieting brochure, but I do feel like hearing these things from real people is more helpful than from people getting paid to say them. If you have any questions or want any personal advice about any of this, please don't hesitate to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, though I may not be going the wedding diet route, Daniel kind of is (not so much on the "wedding" part, but timing-wise, if he sticks with it, the wedding may be a good goal date anyway), so perhaps I can convince him to share his experience via "Groom-inations."
What's worked for you? What weight-related advice would you give to other brides?