Don’t be a Fat Dad or Mom!
I wrote an article a week ago with some tips on getting fit and how that’s especially important for parents. I hope everyone read it. But, that is only one half of the equation. The other half is nutrition. Being overweight and unfit can be a depressing cycle to be in. Women get pregnant, put on a bit of weight so they can safely carry a baby, then the baby comes and mom is completely wiped out from the whole experience. It takes a few weeks just to get moving properly again, and at that point it’s all about the baby. There is very little time for mom to have for herself to think of what is best for her. However, a time comes when things start to slow down and there actually is some time to think about getting back into shape and feeling physically brilliant again. My older article about fitness routines should help any parent who finds themselves short on time. But let me also provide a few tips that require no effort at all and that will help with maybe cutting some calories from the diet.
1. No Soda
An obvious no brainier. One soda a day adds up to 10 pounds a year of extra weight if it’s not burned off. Cutting one soda a day completely out of the diet is the same net calorie impact as a 10-15 minute jog.
I would call it tea except that the the term “tea” refers only to the camellia sinensis plant which has caffeine. New mothers would be wise to avoid caffeine if they are breastfeeding. Herbals don’t have caffeine and are therefore safe for every parent. Get an electric hot water dispensing pot and you’ll never have to boil water again. Herbal infusions are wonderfully healthy and have no calories.
3. Smaller plates
A group of scientist from the University of Illinois proved that when food is put onto smaller plates that the brain interprets that as the amount of food it wants to eat. People eat on average 20% more food than they need because the brain is hard wired to eat what’s in front of it. This is another way to say portion control. Get this book: Why We Eat More Than We Think.
4. Eat more often, but eat smaller meals
This may seem counterintuitive, but it makes sense. Humans haven’t always had abundant food sources. Even as recently as several hundred years ago the western world was subjected to the impact of droughts and food scarcity. Our bodies are adapted to metabolize slowly when there is a shortage of food. Eating more often tells the body that it can metabolize quicker, thus allowing it to burn more calories. The Native American populations in the Southwest are a great example of this.
5. Eat Slowly
There is a 20 minute lag time between our brain and our stomachs. That means that if we eat too quickly then we’ll end up stuffing ourselves with too much food before our brains have registered that they’ve had enough. The bottom line is that we’ll eat less if we eat slower. That’s a fact.
Ever seen a dog eat a hot dog whole? Yeah, don’t do that. The more we chew our food the more it’s broken down and the less work our stomachs do to break it down. The result of this tip is that the body will have more energy to exercise and play. We aren’t as tired after we eat if we spend time chewing our food properly.
7. Skip Desert
Skipping desert was really hard for me, but I did it because I read a study on addictions. The study said that the worst affects of withdraw last 28 days. The interesting part of this is that even though the study focused on smoking it applies to any addiction. Any addiction or craving can be broken if we are willing to tough it out for 28 days. I find that fascinating. So I did it with my ice cream habit. Haven’t eaten desert in 5 months. Yay!
Changing the way we live can be done in a series of tiny little steps that, when put together, add up to big changes. I know how frustrating it is to be a bit pudgy and unfit. There was a time when I gained 45 pounds in two years and I was feeling really depressed. I started educating myself on diet and fitness, and today I am 165 lbs (I’m 6 feet tall). I saw how my wife felt about herself after two pregnancies in two years. She needed my support to be able to make these little changes and we worked together to make it happen for both of us. There is no magic formula to any of this. It is nothing more than cold hard facts that we take to heart and make the decision to apply to our lives. There is no substitute for desire and determination.