I used to be 100 pounds heavier than now. My eating habits were out of control and pretty much the epitome of mindlessness. I'm two years old, I have two kids under four and work full time, so food just does not happen without constant distractions. But over the years, I've learned what it takes to lose weight … and, above all, leave it alone.
I've never been one who focuses too much on "mindful food" meditating on a grape is not my style. But I've learned that needs more than just what's on my plate. And yes, that means conscious eating. Here I share the weight loss tips and rules that work for me (and an insight into what you would find in my 2B Mindset program).
1. I stay busy.
Boredom is dangerous and easily leads to weight gain. While leisure is perceived as relaxing, I feel anxious, which can lead to poor eating habits. My busiest days are those when I'm less focused on food than what I have to do. That's why I always try to fill my schedule with things that make me feel productive – so I do not rummage through the pantry because there is something missing that needs to be done.
. 2 I avoid food, but never myself.
When I was at my highest weight, I had a full-blown addiction to peanut butter. I ate glasses and my favorite food was Reese's peanut butter cup. I had absolutely no control over me when I ate it. When I decided I did not want to be heavy anymore, I made a point of not eating anything with peanuts or peanut butter anymore.
I never blamed myself for being big, but I certainly blamed it for peanut butter. It was not that I could not eat these things anymore. I just did not want it. I linked this taste so closely with the feeling of being physically and emotionally uncomfortable that it was much easier not to eat it than to keep eating it.
. 3 I manipulate my environment.
I've learned that I'll eat it when I'm around the food long enough. It does not matter if I am hungry or if the food looks good at all. I'll just gag out of habit. When my husband came home late from work, I usually ate dinner alone and then more when he got home. I tried sitting at the table with him and not eating, but at some point I would start pecking at his plate. Over time, I realized that I had to sit down over the table or on a nearby couch to avoid the thoughtless habit. It did not bother him and the way of eating allowed me to focus more on him.
. 4 I've learned to see everything as a marathon, not as a sprint.
I know it's a cliché, but let's be more specific: When I come to a party, I do not go to dinner right away. I first think about how many hours I want to spend there and try to move accordingly. If I know it's a three-hour dinner buffet, I can start eating after an hour. I'll focus on drinking plenty of water first and talking to people so I do not stuff my face too early and overdo it.
This mentality also helps keep the scale positive. I do not become reactive or overly emotional when the scales go up a few pounds. My interest is always in lasting results, so I see a few pounds as a small sentence in a larger story. It just focuses on getting the pounds off and exceeding my previous goals.
. 5 I am working on my weaknesses.
I am a proud member of the Clean Plate Club. Trust me, I tried to leave food on my plate, but I always feel disadvantaged. Although this can be perceived as weakness, I decided to turn it around and work with it, not against it.
When I go to large meals in family restaurants or in family houses, I keep my appetizer or salad plate the appetizer course. I load a lot of food in both courses, but the slightly smaller plate helps. I also learned to fill my plates mainly with vegetables. I still like to take a spoonful of mac and cheese, but I intend to do nothing more than that because I know it will end up on my plate.
. 6 Better in the trash than in my body.
This was very hard for me because I am a frugal and waste-conscious person. I keep things much longer than I should and always try to recycle or donate everything I do not need anymore. This can be difficult when it comes to having food leftovers that I probably should not eat for three days in a row (I'm looking at pizza.) I always use the phrase "better in the garbage than in my body" I'm in this Situation, to realize that if I eat my daughter's remnants, for example, they are still nowhere in need.
. 7 "If it's not chocolate, it's not worth it."
When people tell me that they have a sugar addiction, I tell them to confine them. I ate everything that looked sweet and delicious. I knew I needed to retire in this area, so I realized that I'm primarily a chocolate lover. Berry tartlets, gummy bears and crumbles will not do it for me like chocolate. When I discovered this, it was very easy for me to pass these things on and not to be tempted. However, when I am confronted with good chocolate, I usually decide that it is absolutely worth it.
Ilana Mühlstein, M.S., R.D.N. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Maryland, is a member of the Executive Committee of the American Heart Association, and heads the Bruin Health Improvement Program at UCLA. Ilana serves as a nutritionist for several companies, including Beachbody and Whole Foods Market. At home she is the wife and mother of two children.