[Question] ||| "I am a busy mom with two kids and a great career. I have a goal to lose 20 pounds because I don’t like the way I look or feel. I already know what some of my problems are. I usually skip breakfast or sometimes grab a donut or bagel if someone brings them in to work. I’m starving by lunch and I eat take out at my desk while doing paperwork so I can get out of work on time. We rush around at dinner--either fast food between my kids’ soccer practice and dance classes or something like mac ‘n cheese before homework. After my kids are in bed and the house is finally picked up, I veg out in front of the TV with a snack (or two). I’ve tried every diet but I always go back to these old habits."
[Answer] ||| "Losing weight is not a goal, it is a result. It is the result of making small, consistent changes in the way you eat, move, and live. Instead of setting a goal to lose an arbitrary number of pounds, inches, or clothing sizes, decide to think differently about eating, physical activity, and living.
First, focus on what is most meaningful to you, such as spending time with your family and having the energy to be successful at your job. Then lay out a plan with small, do-able steps that are in line with your priorities. Here is an example of such a plan:
I will get up 10 minutes earlier for a bowl of cereal and some quiet time before anyone else is up. I will bring my lunch to work at least three times a week and give myself at least 20 minutes to eat without working. I will walk for 10 minutes twice during my work day. These first steps will likely help you feel more calm and energetic. Practice them consistently until you are ready to add a few new steps, for example:
Ask my husband to help with family meals by throwing beans or chicken into the crock pot and keep ingredients on hand for a main dish salad. When we go out for fast food, I won’t up-size my meal and I will make healthier choices. I will find other ways to relax in the evening like reading, scrap booking, or taking a hot bath. Sign up for a dance class during my daughter’s ballet lesson. By making one sustainable change at a time, you will make steady progress toward a healthier lifestyle that is in line with what is most important to you.
[ABOUT THE EXPERT] ||| Dr. Michelle May, M.D.
Michelle May, M.D. is the founder of the award-winning Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating Workshops (www.AmIHungry.com) and the author of about Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: How to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle.
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