the Weight Game I've been exploring the things that make me carry too much weight. And some of the discoveries have surprised me...
Sugar Addiction. I have to treat processed sugar like an alcoholic treats alcohol. It messes up my energy. I get the hit, then crash. Worse, it confuses my natural hunger signals interfering with my ability to listen to my body. This doesn't mean I never get anything sweet. Desserts made with raw agave or a bowl of frozen grapes, blueberries or mangoes work out fine for me.
Sleep. When I first began taking off the weight last May one of the things I prioritized was my sleep schedule. I get eight hours a night now and keep a pretty consistent bedtime. I also started napping a lot in the beginning to make up my sleep deficit. When I'm tired, my body looks to food for energy and I get really hungry tending to grab whatever is on hand.
Yoga. I've used yoga designed to engage the parasympathetic nervous system to reduce the effects of stress. Given that there is a direct link between stress, cortisol production and belly fat, this has been an effective part of my routine. I've also used yoga to explore some of the emotional things that I believe were "stuck" in my body. The physical practice and meditation focused on letting go. (Apana)
Cutting out processed foods. I rarely eat anything that comes in a package or a can. Most of what I consume comes from the produce section of Sprouts. Having a vegan restaurant next to my office has also been helpful in this.
Increased consumption of raw fruits, seeds and vegetables. For the most part I've done this through juicing, but recently I've been reading raw food writers and taking classes to learn how to make this part of my daily meal preparation routine. This has been the most powerful thing in managing hunger. I believe many of us are eating too many calories yet "starving to death" as our body keeps us in a constant state of craving looking for nutrients. The higher my raw food consumption, the better my nutrition.
Less than a year since the post, I am almost 20 lbs lighter. What if finding what works is simply a willingness to try different things, allowing yourself to be scientist, lab and rat? To be willing to keep exploring even when what we were invested in fails us. Most of all I don't think we can fall for the hype. There isn't a pill or a surgery that can put you at your ideal weight and keep you there. (I have many friends who have invested in the lap band solution or phentermine to have it fail them.) It has to be driven by a healthy lifestyle (emotional, physical and food choices)...much of it counter-cultural to the ways we've been taught.
Bonus material: Leo Babauta of ZenHabits has a cool post today: Create the Habits of Being Lean.