Monday, April 12, 2010

Table for Two

How to lose weight with the rest of your loved ones

Weight loss is mainly won in the mind. Having a family eating all your old favorites while you are trying to be "good" makes losing weight anything from no fun to impossible.

Even if everyone in your household wanted to support you, or join you in making improvements to their diet - it's guaranteed that not everyone will follow the exact same path to get there.

How much weight you want to lose and how quickly is really person-specific.

I am fortunate to be part of a couple that works together to achieve our goals. I am also extremely lucky to have married a chef. I had already lost 50 lbs when Eric and I started dating. I told him I was working toward a goal, and he waved his hand and said, "yes, that's great" but he wasn't interested in hearing exactly what my plan was. I think it was his way of telling me he didn't care if I lose any more weight.

If I were to need to have 100% control over the way most of what I eat is prepared, I'd have to cook it myself. Not possible in our household. Eric says at this point I am capable of making ice-cubes and very hot water. The rest, I leave in his hands. I am working on making him write a cook book with me that would be a "beginners guide" to cooking the foods we eat on a daily basis.

My strategy is to communicate what my current goal is and Eric amazingly adjusts accordingly. What he serves me is presented with love and looks fit for a five star restaurant, but it is also usually enough food for dinner and tomorrow's lunch. In the beginning of our relationship I couldn't help but clean my plate. As a compliment to him... but over time I had to learn other ways to compliment his superior artistry by using my words instead of eating every last bite. "This is delicious, thank you so much for cooking. If I weren't trying to lose weight, I'd keep eating." All true statements, but it required effort to voice the heartfelt feeling instead of just devouring every mouth watering morsel. I had to replace that visual signal that I loved every bite with verbal signals.

Avoiding Sabotage

Knowing yourself, and the one you love helps.

I am really great at having ice cream in the freezer and serving a two tablespoon scoop and feeling satisfied. I don't know what went wrong with my brain that this is possible, but since it works for me, I just accept it as the gift that it is. Eric, on the other hand, is a normal person, and is great about serving a 2 cup serving, and would prefer not to be tempted.

I used to pick up ice cream from time to time as a treat, but it just sets him up for extra calories. I don't think he shouldn't eat ice cream (just like he didn't care if I lost any more weight), but if it is getting in the way of one of his other goals, then it isn't really a sign of my love and thoughtfulness to bring some home to him.

I do buy him chocolate bars now and then, I probably should work on other ways to show him I am thinking of him... Eric, speak up if you want me to bring you chocolate bars.

I wouldn't recommend competing with your loved one to see who could lose the most, eat the least, run the most etc. I think team work is a much better strategy. You want both people to feel like they are winning to build a happy healthy life.

Depending on your size, how much muscle you have and your own food preferences your needs may be very different from your partner.

New Habits to Consider - Together
Walking together after a meal would be a good habit to foster
Going out to dinner and eating salads and sharing an entree (and sometimes dessert)
Putting the former "treat" foods that aren't part of your success plan out of the kitchen; think about it this way, if it doesn't need to be refrigerated , isn't a fruit or vegetable and it isn't perishable -- it isn't going to help you lose weight.

Don't keep ice cream in your house if it's hard for one of you to control. Enjoy it from time to time if you want at the ice cream parlor and ask for kid size, or small.

Don't set your spouse or loved one up for failure. I can eat a tiny serving of ice cream and stop, but Eric won't so I skip it.

Put the foods that the family members don't want to give up that aren't on your list in a separate cupboard not reserved for normal food. Put the "treat" food in an opaque container, out of sight, out of mind works at least some of the time.

You can get to your goals and how much sweeter it will be to have done it together.


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