7 Tips for No Workout Weight Control
“I want to be Rashida’s size. ”
"What, do you work out everyday?" asked my coworker.
“No,” I replied to the compliment. “Sometimes I just forget to eat.”
“Well THAT’S not healthy,” she retorted dismissively.
Her response indicated that my statement was unsatisfactory. In reflection, I know that although my response was honest, it wasn’t thorough. A complete answer to her question about size could have gone like this:
“I don’t work out everyday. Or every other day. Or every week. Or maybe at all in a month. But I know my body; I know how certain foods make me feel. I know what my body needs. And I wear waist beads.”
Do I sometimes forget to eat? Sure. I’ll get busy with my day and lunch will become an early dinner. It’s not a cardinal sin. Actually, experts say to allow three hours digestion before lying down (it’s best to not sleep on a full stomach), so eating earlier is actually beneficial. And while I may not have eaten a full lunch, I usually eat a balanced breakfast and I may have a piece of fruit midday. Either way, it still works.
So ultimately, how did I get to this place of no workout weight control? I'm not thin or athletic. I have a semi-sedentary job and I love food. Genetically, I could also be bigger than I am. But I'm healthy without being obsessive. How? Sometimes I jokingly say that I don’t have money for a new wardrobe, so I have to maintain my weight. The fact is that I take time for self-exploration and I practice self-care. I’m not vegan or even vegetarian although I do enjoy those cuisines. I simply learned through many trials and errors that what I eat or don’t eat affects my body and my mind. Here’s the scoop:
- I previously used one of those calorie-counting apps so that I could practice making healthy choices and learn portion control. After a few months of observation, I realized that I was consuming a lot of “empty calories,” especially when I wanted something immediately gratifying during my hormonal moon cycle. I discovered that all I really needed was one or two semi-dark chocolate chips instead of the entire Snickers bar to feel satisfied. Quality over quantity.
- I read labels. It takes just a minute to figure out what's what. If a product has more than 5 ingredients listed, I don’t buy it. (Sidebar: I also started looking sideways at carrots. The sugar load in today’s orange hybrid carrots is crazy!) And I especially don’t buy it if I can’t pronounce the ingredients. All those fillers and chemicals have adverse effects on me. I might feel full for a minute, but then I feel bloated, gassy, or hungry. Not worth it. My intestines protrude and my stomach pokes out and I start to feel terrible about myself. I don’t want to feel terrible about myself! Knowing that poor eating leads to that feeling helps me avoid making those decisions.
- I try to never shop when I’m hungry. When I do, it’s more difficult to not buy impulsively. When I know I’ll be hungry by the time I get to the market, I use a shopping list – just a few items that I typed into my Notes on my phone. Helps to stick to the script.
- I don’t eat out, except on special occasions. When I eat out, I only order something I can’t make at home. This makes going out feel super special instead of something I can do any time, which I start to use to justify laziness, tiredness, etc. It also gets me into the habit of making food at home (I like to know what is in my food) and taking food with me (to work, for example) so that I’m not tempted to spend all my money and blow my daily caloric intake on some quick and easy junk. I’ll confess: I love LOVE carbs. Give me a baguette and a pound of cheese and I’m in carbohydrate heaven. But only my mouth likes the taste of carbs. My thighs begin to dimple from simply inhaling Auntie M’s in the mall. I don’t keep carbs in my house, but I may have some when I go out that once a month. That’s what keeps it special.
- I don’t drink or use drugs. Being self-aware and conscious 100% of the time means zero lowered inhibitions to provoke bad choices. No munchies! Alcohol, mixers, olives, salty snacks … all of these things have so, so many calories! And those calories equal pounds. And those pounds are some of the hardest to remove. (Also, don’t grocery shop while stoned for the same reason as shopping hungry.)
- I don’t deprive myself. When I feel like eating popcorn, I eat popcorn. But I don’t completely derail my efforts with that overly buttered, unbelievably salted packaged stuff. I place a spoonful of coconut oil in a pot and pour in my kernels. Five minutes and a grind of Himalayan sea salt later, I have incredibly light, low calorie popcorn. Yum!
- I use waist beads for weight maintenance. I have learned that behaviors have consequences and that unchecked emotions can lead to a cycle of abuse, even with food. When I address my emotions, they can’t control my actions, which means I’m responding more than I’m reacting. And I’m rarely sick – physically or spiritually – because of it! My intentions aren’t “I intend to lose weight,” but rather “I intend to care for my body the way I would a newborns. I will put in goodness to receive goodness. I intend to nurture my body so that I can have the mental clarity and physical energy that allows me to do what I want to do daily. And I will exfoliate.”
When I want to firm or tone, I definitely incorporate a workout routine. But if I don't, it's still all good because I use self-discipline skills to care for myself.
Do you have weight-related intentions? Share with us in the comments.