10 Best Tips to Stay Slim Forever
Here are her top 10 tips for staying slim for life:
1. Get Passionate
For weight loss to be permanent, your motivation needs to be all about you. You can’t lose weight for your mom, your best friend or even your spouse. “Figure out why you finally want to lose the weight,” Bauer says.
Perhaps you want to wear a skinny sheath to an upcoming wedding or climb stairs without panting. Maybe you want to ride bikes with your kids or throw out your “fat” clothes.
“In my book, I call this ‘Passion for Action,’” Bauer says. “All the successful people we’ve talked to say that’s why they prevailed this time.”
2. Don’t Go Negative
Worried you have too much weight to lose? Tried diets before – and failed?
Forget all that and give yourself a fresh start, Bauer says. Many people who eventually succeed at losing weight have tried “cabbage soup, prepackaged foods… and every single conceivable diet.”
Previous attempts − or failures – don’t affect your future success, she says. “You’re never too old. Start now. Every day counts.”
3. Feel Your Success
Success breeds success, and this is particularly true with weight loss: The more you lose, the more empowered you’ll feel.
So how do you get to feeling successful? By experiencing − and noting − all the smaller achievements along the way.
“You are just as successful on Day 1 of a diet as you are on Day 301,” Bauer says. “Success is in the doing.”
Of course, you need that initial feel-good rush.
That’s why Bauer kicks off Week One with a quick-loss diet. You’ll give up plenty of favorites but lose about seven pounds, just enough get you going.
4. X-Rated Foods
On the road to thin forever, you’ll need to put a scarlet letter on some old favorites – sugar, artificial sweeteners, processed foods, alcohol.
But don’t toss them in the trash: They can be reintroduced into your diet after significant weight loss.
Bauer also enforces a “no starch with dinner” rule the first week. That means no rice, pasta, bread and potatoes, among others.
Many starches are good for you, but they also make us overeat, she warns. So avoid them until your body is reprogrammed to crave less.
Also off-limits: diet soda. They don’t carry calories, but they do “keep sweetness on our taste buds and our minds,” Bauer says. It’s easier to diminish your sweet tooth by avoiding sweeteners entirely.
Eventually, one or two such treats may re-enter your daily eating plan. And by then, you’ll know what your body can handle.
5. Reprogram Meals
Thin people don’t skip meals. So what’s their secret? They eat regularly – at least every five hours. That way they don’t end up scarfing down bags of potato chips. Bauer recommends eating three full meals, plus a snack, every day.
Also, start meals with a dinner salad or bowl of veggie soup to help fill you up. And stock up on “unlimited” foods – herbs, non-starchy veggies, extracts – that help you feel satisfied without piling on the calories.
Lastly, stick to curfew: Close up your kitchen by 9 p.m. Late-night snacking can derail your good work.
6. Learn Proper Portions
For lasting results, you need to reprogram your portion perception. Overloaded plates and 32-ounce Big Gulps may be the new normal, but they’re not proper – nor are they healthy.
Read nutrition labels to learn what a portion is, Bauer says. Use a small food scale until you can accurately eyeball what 3 ounces of meat looks like.
Ask your butcher to wrap your meat in 4-ounce packages.
Buy 1-cup containers to set aside pre-measured favorites, such as cottage cheese and rice.
Use measuring spoons and cups to get an honest assessment of salad dressings, condiments and cereals.
7. Reality Bites
You can’t live without starch or fat forever. We have family dinners, restaurant visits, cocktails with friends and holiday parties.
“You must lose weight eating the same types of foods you’ll be eating after the weight is lost,” Bauer says. “That way you won’t gain it back.”
To start, eat smaller portions.
And modify your favorite recipes to make them healthier. For example, one of Bauer’s clients who loved Cuban food learned how to enjoy her beloved “plantains” cooked with Pam. “They don’t have to be slathered in oil,” Bauer says.
In restaurants, ask for meats to be grilled, vegetables steamed, and dressings and condiments on the side.
Worried about giving into cravings for dark chocolate, frozen yogurt or wine?
You can slowly reintroduce “fun food” once weight loss is well under way, Bauer says. But keep it to 150 calories or less.
8. Exercise Is No Option
Exercise may be a drag, but it’s essential to staying slim. Of the hundreds of people who have maintained a weight loss for five years or longer, 94% reported that exercise was key, according to the National Weight Control Registry.
Exercise has other benefits: It improves energy levels and blood flow, strengthens bones, combats diseases such as type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and more.
Don’t have time for a long workout each day? Squeeze in “bite-sized” exercise (three 10-minute sessions), Bauer says. When you have more time, go for a “full portion” of one 30-minute workout.
In fact, don’t call it “exercise,” Bauer says. Tell yourself you’re “going out for some ‘private time,’ or ‘play time,’ or that you are ‘reenergizing.’”
Sometimes semantics make all the difference.
9. You Have a Dream
“There will be times when you will want to pack your bags and move into a Krispy Kreme shop,” Bauer says in her book. So remind yourself of your original passion.
As you lose weight, put up a photo of your goal: the wedding dress you’re trying to fit into, the beach you’ll hit in a bikini, the mountain you want to hike.
If you’ve reached your goal, pin up a photo of something you never thought you’d do, like climbing a rock wall. Keep your motivators front and center to stay focused.
Or join an online community, where “you can constantly connect, high-five over success, or pull yourself out of a funk,” she says.
10. Financing Calories
Many thin people aren’t that way naturally – they work at it. They have strategies to prevent them from overindulging, such as banking calories.
If you know you’ll want to splurge on delicious food at a party, eat fewer calories for each meal leading up to it. You’re “saving” all the calories that’ll be “spent” at the party.
Another simple strategy: Limit foods that aren’t good for you.
Thin people aren’t thinking “that every meal is their last meal,” Bauer says. Even if the food is delicious, they stop eating when they’re full.
“They know if they put down their forks, they’ll ultimately feel better,” Bauer says.
Staying thin forever isn’t out of reach or just for the wealthy.
“Some people think that you have to have fancy chefs or personal trainers,” Bauer says. “But you don’t. You just have to get your head in the game.”
By Laurie Sanchez
Image credits: beautyheaven.com.au