Drops Pounds Sans Diet

12 Mar

In case you’ve ever stayed up all night wondering about this, here’s the short list of things I don’t like:

5. Cloves (the seasoning…I once added a teaspoon of it to a smoothie thinking it was cinnamon…omg. No.)
4. Hashtags, #killme
3. Monkeys. Sorrynotsorry
2. Small spaces – I’m a raging claustrophobic
1. Dieting…do I really need to explain?

Because seriously, who likes dieting? But after spending the greater part of my adolescence through my late 20’s trying to lose weight on an ever-changing diet, “dieting” has earned itself the coveted #1 spot on my extremely short list of things I don’t like, and I’ve actually refused participation in that activity since. So after a long, caloric holiday or a no-holds barred vacation resulting in slightly tighter fitting jeans, I have a list of action items I turn to instead of jumping on the dreaded diet bandwagon:

diet ditching

The Veggie Challenge (fruit, too).

Try committing to eating 8 daily servings of vegetables, and then some. Like, really commit to it. If you’re a chronic “dieter” (you know who you are), I dare you to try this just once, instead of consciously restricting your calories.  Changing your focus from “I have to eat less food” to “I have to eat more food” feels less like a diet, even if the “more” refers to the green type of stuff. Believe me when I say that prepared correctly, veggies can downright be delicious.

Forgo telling yourself “no more pizza,” because I can almost promise you that if you grab a slice of thin crust veggie pizza but eat it alongside a bowl of roasted Parmesan Brussels sprouts or lemon thyme mushrooms, you’ll feel satiated and will probably even skip the second slice.  Vegetables are full of fiber so they’re naturally filling – so not only do you get a little bit of what you like, you’ll be satisfied with less of the other stuff.

Work Hard, Play Hard.

Often, snacking -and eating in general, for that matter- can be the result of boredom. If you’re enthusiastic about your life, the boredom will disappear. Don’t love what you do? Make the choice to hustle your ass off anyway, while looking for something new at the same time.  Even if you’re not in your dream career, you’ll feel better if you’re kicking butt and taking names. Same goes for your personal life – If you’re feeling like you’re in a rut, put something fun on the calendar. Take up a new hobby with a friend or find a book you can’t put down. Whatever you do, find your motivation to do it with joy and enthusiasm.

Drink (H2O).

Sometimes, “hunger” is not really hunger at all, but the result of dehydration (not always – but if you think it might not make sense to feel hungry an hour after a meal, try guzzling some agua and see if it helps). If you’re in my camp, you probably think water is a lot less fun than say, coffee, but it really helps to drink it so look for ways to make it interesting. The last company I worked for had sparkling water in the free vending machine, and I realized that it was more appealing to me than still water. Or try infusing it with cucumber or fruit like citrus, berries, or sliced apples.

Treat Yourself Once a Day.

Allow 100-200 of your daily calories to come from something you love. My favorite is dark chocolate, because aside from being satisfying, it’s high in antioxidants and the snack possibilities are endless: Drizzle a tablespoon of melted dark chocolate over strawberries or air-popped popcorn (here’s a way to do it without having to deal with the chemicals from the bag lining), stuff a handful of raspberries with chocolate chips, or just grab a small piece from the freezer.  If chocolate’s not your thing, treat yourself to something that is, in a snack-sized serving. I can’t say it enough: refusing yourself what you love will almost always result in a binge.

Skip The Shortcuts

When I studied abroad in London, my flat was on the 4th floor. After a terrifying evening spent alone trapped stuck in a dark, coffin sized “lift” (It was totally not a full-sized elevator), I spent the rest of my time there opting for the stairs. Four flights with a backpack and groceries sucked at first, but doing it multiple times a day in addition to walking everywhere I went (I wasn’t trying to drive on the left side of the street, sorry) actually added up.

What’s the point of this story?  Skip the elevator and take the stairs to your accountant’s 3rd floor office and opt for a parking spot far away from Whole Foods. Adding little bursts of exercise throughout the day will help you get some extra movement in.

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