How to Succeed Without Feeling Restricted

I’m a stay at home mom (and part time grad student) who has about 20 lbs to lose.  I tend to favor meals with lots of protein and whole grains (not doing so good on fruits and veggies).  My biggest weakness is my sweet tooth.  I LOVE sweet things and don’t feel like I exercise very good self-control when it comes to sweets.  I don’t want 1 cookie, I want 5. I keep sweets out of the house for the most part, but still find excuses to bring them in. I’ve been doing Weight Watchers for the past month or so and have lost about 5 pounds.  So, it is working for me.  What I am sick of, though, is counting points and feeling so “restricted.”  I do believe that cutting calories is the way to lose weight and I just don’t know how to do that without feeling restricted.  Do you think you can help?

You need to eat less to lose weight, but there’s a lot of ways to do that – some of which lead right to Crazytown and feeling restricted, and some which are less likely to make you feel that way.

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Counting tends to add to the restriction factor because of the workload associated. Whether it’s points, calories, or whatnot, so I tend to favor learning to manage the overall quantity of food by hunger and satiety, physical sensations. You can reliably get into a calorie deficit using these tools, we’ve done it with hundreds of people already. I call it “letting your body do the math”.

There’s an added skill of learning what is hunger and what is just “wanting to eat” of course, but that’s a normal challenge that everyone needs help with. 

It’s nice to know that Weight Watchers is working for you though, congrats on the progress you’re making with that program! It helps keep restriction feelings at bay to remember to keep your mindset tuned into the fact that you are in control and have complete power to choose. You are not restricted to your points total. You can blow it out of water. No one is forcing this on you. You simply have awareness that if you eat this much you will lose weight at a predictable rate and that if you eat more, you won’t. You can still choose whatever you want to do – you aren’t in a prison being denied food. If you want to keep losing weight, then the points system is helpful as a tool you can choose to use or not.

Sure, my coaches and I can help if you want to learn habits and not have to count points anymore, but if Weight Watchers is working, you might be able to keep it going and not feel so restricted just by adjusting your mindset a bit.

Georgie

 

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Nutrition Geek Resource

I’m a science geek. I love reading research and I often write about it, but it isn’t for everyone. It is a lot of work.

My friends at Examine.com have launched their Examine Research Digest. It has a whole team of researchers and professionals working on making the latest research accessible. Each article gets around 15 doctors, PhD’s, etc working on it.

I’ll be reading every issue.

I see it being really useful for anyone wanting to dive into research without wanting to get a science degree to understand it. In fact I think it will be one of the most popular resources for nutrition coaches and trainers.

Of course I bring you the research that I find relevant to what we do here, but if you want a very thorough look at a whole host of studies, it really is excellent.

Check it out for yourself here.

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Zucchini Noodles With Squash, Turkey and Cheese

2014-10-30 22.12.24  I mused about this dish for a while before making it. I wanted zucchini noodles with chunks of sweet squash throughout, with some nutty and flavorful sheep’s milk cheese, and just enough savory onion, garlic and kale to round it out. With cubes of roasted turkey breast it was mouthwatering. Simply perfect.

 
2 tsp olive oil
420 grams (just under a pound) cubed kabocha or butternut squash (or about 3 cups of cubes)
1 tsp butter
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped kale (or spinach or chard)
1 roasted red pepper (jarred), chopped
225 grams (8 ounces) cubed cooked chicken or turkey
2 medium zucchini (about 250 g each)
Salt and pepper
30 g (1 ounce) of hard, flavorful cheese such as Kefalograviera, Parmesan, or Romano cheese

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1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with foil. Toss squash cubes and olive oil in a large bowl and spread on baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Bake 20-25 minutes or until tender.

2. In a 9-10 inch skillet, heat butter over medium-low heat for 1 minute, then add onion, garlic, kale, and roasted red peppers. Stir and cover. Allow to cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Spiralize zucchini into noodles while onion-garlic-kale mix is cooking.

4. When onion mix is soft and fragrant, divide it between two skillets so you have room to mix in the zucchini noodles and other stuff. Turn the heat up to medium under each skillet, and add half the zucchini noodles to each. Cook, stirring occasionally, so the noodles cook evenly.

5. Check the squash to see if it’s done. If it’s tender, turn off the oven and divide the squash and chicken between the two skillets. Toss to mix and add salt and pepper to taste.

6. Divide between two plates and top with grated cheese.

Serves 2

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Mocha Chip Pie

I don’t want to put too many words between you and this pie so let’s just get to the recipe shall we?

Crust:
1/3 cup bobs red mill gluten free all-purpose flour
1/3 cup Black Onyx Cocoa
1/3 cup Splenda for Baking
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoons canola oil (or melted butter or coconut oil)
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Filling:
3 cups pureed squash (I used butternut)
1 cup Splenda for Baking (or sugar)
2 tablespoons dutched unsweetened cocoa (not black)
1 teaspoon instant coffee crystals
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 tablespoons miniature chocolate chips
 

1. Preheat oven to 325. Mix dry crust ingredients in a bowl. Add water and oil and stir to form moist clumps.  Press into the bottom of a springform pan or of a pie plate. Bake for 8 minutes, then remove from oven (but leave oven on).

2. Put all the filling ingredients except chocolate chips into a blender pitcher and blend it up. Pour into crust and sprinkle chips on top.

3. Bake for 50 minutes, then turn off the oven, crack the oven door slightly and put a wooden spoon in it to keep door open just a little. Let the pie cool in there until you can easily touch it without an oven mitt. I left it about 60 minutes. It may crack on top. No big deal if you ask me.

Cut into 8 slices and refrigerate until serving. (Serve chilled)

Per slice: 145 calories, 5 grams fat, 26 grams total carbohydrate (4 grams fiber), 5 grams protein

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Honor Thy Hunger

Pushing as long as I can before eating is good, right? Wrong.

Whether you call it “intermittent fasting” or just plain “skipping breakfast”, if you want to manage your weight for the rest of your life with sustainable habits (and some semblance of a healthy relationship with food) it’s not doing you any favors. Most importantly, if you’re trying to stop binge eating or stop overeating, honoring your hunger in a reasonable window of time is essential. Feeling hunger for 30-60 minutes before you eat is wise. Pushing it beyond that deliberately, on a regular basis, is often going to work against you.

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Here’s why you don’t want to go hungry for hours and hours when trying to lose weight:

Using your hunger and satisfaction cues tends to work in partnership, and best when done consistently. When you ignore your hunger at selected times you “want to”, and decide to only eat when it’s time, it’s tough to switch gears and stop eating when your body gives you signals of being satisfied. By overriding your physical hunger repeatedly, you keep conditioning that your brain is DECIDING when and how much you get to eat (not your body). If you want to use hunger and satiety signals reliably, you can’t keep undermining them by saying they don’t count if they strike before noon because you read somewhere that skipping breakfast did something good for you. What’s going to actually help you is cementing the neurology of eating when hungry, and not eating when not hungry.

Lots of people want to jump onto and grab only that second part, becoming able to not eat when they aren’t hungry – but it’s learned best when you consistently associate hunger with eating. Absence of hunger, absence of eating. Like training a dog, the more consistent you can be, the better your brain will get the picture that hunger and food go together (not stress and food, or boredom and food, just hunger and food), and the sooner that EAT NOW urge will lighten up and bugger off when there is no hunger in the picture.

If you ignore hunger, you also tend to ignore satiety. Just happens that way. Interoceptive responsiveness means we strengthen the skill of listenign to and heeding body signals, or we strengthen our skills in ignoring them as a whole. If you want to get better at stopping when satisfied, honoring your hunger within an hour of it showing up helps.

Want more? Get everything you need to know in my book Lean Habits For Lifelong Weight Loss, hitting stores in April.

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