For most of us, managing our weight is a life-long commitment with plenty of ups and downs along the way. Job changes, getting married, new parenthood are among those life changes that can make us vulnerable to weight gain. Read on for some practical advice about how to side-step these pitfalls and succeed at your weight goals.
New Job Stress
Starting a new job is high on the stress scale and it's easy to fall prey to old coping habits such as eating comfort foods that can pack on extra pounds. Instead, try a proactive approach and begin to anticipate key job stressors such as uphill learning curves and tight deadlines. The key is to maintain successful lifestyle tools such as eating a substantial breakfast, keeping nutritious snack foods on hand at your desk, and not forgetting to factor in some regular exercise. Research has shown that people who eat breakfast manage their weight better than those who skip breakfast. A favorite quick breakfast is 6 ozs of low-fat yogurt (in your favorite flavor) plus a handful of thin-sliced almonds and some dried berries for some extra crunch, protein and antioxidant power. Another fast breakfast choice is 3 ozs of roasted chicken with a slice of low-fat mozzarella cheese plus a small slice of avocado, all wrapped together inside a couple of corn tortillas. If that sound like a lot, remember that you have an entire day ahead of you in which to burn up calories, and you will need that reserve of energy. Exercise offers some damage control. A twenty-minute walk can help boost your energy levels and help relieve anxiety. No time in the morning to exercise? Take a break from your daily work schedule and try walking the parking lot perimeter. Find someone to walk with in order to help keep both of you exercising.
The Newlywed Trap
Research suggests that recently married women gain an average of five pounds and as many as 28 pounds. Experts suspect that one of the reasons is that new brides may forget their regular exercise, preferring instead to spend more time with their new husbands. To avoid this weight trap, exercise together and schedule exercise times that fit both of your schedules. The best way to combat the battle of the budge is to avoid over eating high-fat foods. Instead, begin switching to low-fat foods. The secret here is to gradually transition into a low-fat eating lifestyle. Begin with one low-fat meal per week and slowly wean yourself off higher-fat foods. You may also want to have your spouse eat his or her largest meal at lunch, so the dinner that you share together is a lighter one.
Home Based Temptations
The hazard rating is high when tempting foods are available and within easy reach all day. The best advice is to not keep foods at home that you have no control over. Instead, keep your house supplied with tasty but nutritious snacking foods. For instance, try taking one-half small baked potato (scoop out center) and fill with one-half cup cottage cheese and add baby carrot sticks. One-third cup hummus with raw vegetable such as celery, broccoli florets, cauliflower and snap peas offers plenty of filling fiber and antioxidants. You might enjoy one cup of shelled edamame beans or one small apple with two tablespoons of your favorite nut butter. To keep your blood sugar levels normal and your appetite in check, eat four to five small meals/snacks per day.
Most pregnant women gain approximately 25 pounds. The good news is that you can expect to be back at your pre-pregnancy weight in about four months following delivery. In the first week after delivery, you will lose approximately five pounds of fluid. However, the fat gained during pregnancy (5 to 8 pounds) takes longer to lose. Mealtime schedules can become challenging with a new baby, so it's wise to have more nutritious snacks on hand. Stock up the refrigerator with low-fat yogurts, cheese sticks, berries, hummus with dipping vegetables such as celery, cucumber slices and carrots sticks, nuts and nut butter and plenty of fresh fruit including apples and organic apple sauce. To help get you tummy muscle tight again, it's wise to set up an exercise regimen as soon as your doctor gives you the okay.
Anyone who has been on numerous diets knows that it's easy to regain weight right after a diet. Most experts believe that this is due to a sluggish metabolism and caution to be careful about making the transition back to normal eating. To aid in the transition back, alternate diet days with regular eating days until your weight stabilizes. Slowly increase the amount of food you eat. Add 50 to 100 calories each day for a week, or until your weight stabilizes. Weigh in once a week. You can expect some slight fluctuations in your weight, but cut back on calories if you show a weight increase of more than three pounds.
Use these tips to help you navigate through risky weight gain times. The healthy eating lifestyle habits that you adopt will keep you on the high road to permanent weight management and a healthy, vibrant life.