Finding Your “Why”: The Key to Getting Motivated to Losing the Weight & Keeping it Off!

Weight Loss Highway Sign

As a Registered Dietitian, people often ask me, “What should I do to lose weight?”

So, what do you think I tell them?

Eat more fruits and vegetables?

Choose whole grains more often than refined grains?

Vary your protein sources and incorporate more plant-based proteins?

Limit fried food, sweetened beverages, and processed foods with added salt?

Move more and sit less?

Well yes! Of course, those are usually part of my response, but then I follow up with, “Did I tell you something you did not already know?” and they respond with, “No, I guess I know what to do, I just don’t do it.” This is when I ask them to rate how much they would like to see a change and why.

“On a scale of 1-10, how badly do you want to achieve this goal?” Whichever number they give me; I then ask them why not a higher number and why not a lower number. Depending on the person I may get a different response but the reasons why are usually quite similar:

Why It Is Not A 1: I Want…

  • To be healthy.
  • To prevent taking medication for diabetes, high blood pressure, and/or high cholesterol like my parent(s).
  • To have more energy for my kids, loved one, or spouse.
  • To be happy with what I see in the mirror.
  • To feel confident in my skin again.
  • To be able to walk up the stairs without losing my breath.

Why It Is Not A 10:

  • I do not have time to cook at home and exercise regularly.
  • I cannot afford a gym membership.
  • Eating healthy is too expensive.
  • I am too tired.

Defining our “Why-To’s” and our “Why-Not’s” are essential steps to creating change. Our “Why-To’s” remind us what we actually want to achieve. Our “Why-Not’s” are the reminders that the road to a healthy lifestyle is not a quick fix and takes consistent effort and planning.

Did you know that we can turn our Why-Not’s into Why-To’s simply by the way we think about them? For example, preparing food at home can help you save both time and money. Think about how much time is spent deciding what to eat and when because you did not plan or cook ahead of time. You end up spending more money ordering take-out, going out to a restaurant, or snacking on junk food each day than you would have if you took the time to shop at the grocery store and prepare your food. In addition, you spend more time waiting for your take out to come, driving in traffic, standing online for your order, and/or getting a reservation at the original time desired. It is not to say these events cannot be a part of your new way of eating, but if the goal is more money in your pocket and time on your clock than I would highly consider doing them less often!

Are you still not convinced? Here is another example of changing your perspective: You may be feeling tired all of the time because your body is not getting what is needs. By not consuming a variety of nutritious foods on a regular basis, you could be depriving your body of essential nutrients. You may be feeling sluggish all of the time because you spend most of your days sitting therefore there is decreased blood flow in the body from lack of movement. Moreover, you may be having difficulty sleeping because you are not expending enough calories through exercise on a regular basis. As a Registered Dietitian, I encourage my clients to focus on health as a whole and as a result they tell me how much more energy they have because of it. Their increase in energy increases their productivity, which leads to more time for healthy cooking, exercise, and quality sleep. Do you see how it is all connected? Your WHY determines your decision and when you feel unmotivated that is when it is time to change your perspective. Keep in mind that “change is only possible when your desire to change is more than your desire to stay the same.”  When you are feeling fed up with your recurring circumstances, all of those barriers and “why-nots” slowly begin to disappear. Your original score of importance goes from a 6 to 8 and you somehow find a way to quiet the voices in your head that are telling you otherwise. When you finally decide that you are going to change your lifestyle to a healthy one you eventually figure out. There will be a lot of trial and error but with consistent effort and perseverance, you will find your secret to staying committed to a healthy lifestyle because, “When there is a will, there is a way.” Stop thinking there is a quick fix to weight loss and start making yourself a priority to develop yourself into the person you were intended to be: happy and healthy.

Need some help getting started? Here are my Top 3 tips to losing the weight and keeping it off:

  1. Keep a food journal. “If you can track it, you can change it!” Writing down what you eat everyday will allow you to see eating behaviors, food choices, and portions. With this knowledge, you will learn what to eat, when to eat, and how much to eat by reviewing repeated behaviors and comparing them with the outcomes. For example, after a week of journaling, you get on the scale and become frustrated because you are not losing weight. You then review your journal and notice that on the days you skip lunch, your dinner portions are very large. Now that you are aware of this, you can create the steps to incorporate a balanced and nutritious lunch resulting in a smaller dinner portions, which will inevitably lead to weight loss.
  2. Seek out a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RD/RDN). Registered Dietitians are credentialed nutrition professionals with a wealth of knowledge and insight about how to help you. Speaking with a RD will help to a eliminate a few “trial and error” attempts which can get you closer to your goal at a healthier pace than you were doing before.
  3. Slow down, but never quit! When you’re feeling tired, stressed out, or like you just want to eat an entire cake; take a step back, remember your WHY, re-focus, and write down the steps that will get you back on track to your goal(s).

Wine or a Brownie?

As a Registered Dietitian I am constantly asked questions about nutrition and I think many of you probably share similar questions so here is the latest one: “What is a better cheat day choice? A glass of wine or a brownie?”

wine-and-brownie

First things first, I don’t believe in cheat days. I think every day you should try your best to make a majority (about 80%) of your food choices healthy, but if I had to answer this is what I’d say:

You’ve been eating healthy, following a meal plan, exercising regularly, and feeling awesome but then… you go to a party and there is unlimited amounts of wine and brownies for dessert. So which do you choose? Which choice would be the somewhat better option for your cheat day? As a Registered Dietitian aware of the heart healthy benefits of a 5oz glass of wine per day, I would have to say that wine is a better choice. Of course like any decision it is most dependent on the person, but if the options truly are a 5oz glass of wine versus one brownie, then the answer is wine. Why? Brownies can be prepared in multiple different ways; was it made with sugar? how much butter? all purpose flour? All of these factors can vary the nutrition composition drastically. However, a glass of wine is just wine, so therefore it will be approximately 120 calories; where as a brownie can range anywhere from 150-400 calories dependent on the size and ingredients. Regardless, the most important question to ask yourself is this: Can you have just one? If one glass of wine makes your will power and self control go out the window then you may want to reconsider and choose the brownie.  

Hang tight for my post about the 80/20 rule when making the best food choices to help you stick to a healthy lifestyle rather than a diet plan.

*Post coming soon*

Red Lentil Pasta in a Red Curry Peanut Sauce

oIngredients

  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp red curry paste
  • 1 can lite coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey roasted peanuts
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • chopped cilantro for garnish
  • 12 oz red lentil pasta

Directions

  1. Add garlic and olive oil to sauce pan, put on medium heat. Add curry paste, coconut milk, lime juice, sugar, and honey roasted peanuts. Cook over medium heat, stir until it becomes a creamy and cohesive texture. Turn off heat.
  2. Bring a pot of water to boil. Cook pasta according to the package. Add to the sauce and garnish with cilantro!

red-lentil-pasta-red-curry-peanut-sauce

 

Invest In You


Invest. Invest in the things that will make you better, make you stronger. People are so hesitant to buy a new pair of sneakers, join a gym, hire a dietitian, pay for a personal trainer, etc. but can you really put a price on your health? I bought myself spin sneakers because I knew it would motivate me to take more spin classes. I buy a new pair of cross trainers every 6 months to avoid knee pain, which in return pushes me to continue. Ask yourself if you are putting your money into things that are important to you. We can be so hesitant to spend extra on ourselves but if our kids, friends, or significant other wants something we do everything in our power to save up for them. So let me ask you this? What makes you any less worthy than them? 

Vegetable Lentil Soup

veggie-lentil-soup

Makes 4 (1 Cup) servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dry lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 6 cups water (divided) *can be replaced with low sodium vegetable broth*
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 1 -8 oz. package of baby bella mushrooms, rinsed
  • 1 -15 oz. can crushed tomatoes (no salt added)
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. chilli powder
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt

Directions:

  1. In medium sized sauce pan place 3 cups of water and 1 cup of lentils, place on stove top and bring to a boil. Cover tightly, reduce heat to simmer, cook for about 15-20 minutes then remove from heat when lentils appear tender.
  2. In a large pot on medium heat add olive oil, 1 cup of water, kale, onion, mushrooms, and seasonings. Cover and allow vegetables to cook down until a soft texture (about 5-6 minutes).
  3. Add seasonings, remaining water, and tomatoes; cook another 10 minutes.
  4. Once soup starts bubble, reduce heat and simmer for another 5 minutes. (This allows the flavors to blend together).
  5. Turn off heat and serve!

One of the easiest ways to ensure you are consuming a variety of nutrients is by making a soup/stew. This recipe has kale, mushrooms, tomatoes, & lentils which means it also contains vitamins- A, K, C, D, minerals- potassium, iron, folate & of course.. fiber!

Vegetarian Stuffed Poblano Peppers

 

poblano-stuffed-peppers

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 6 poblano peppers, washed, sliced in half (lengthwise), de-seeded
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup Mexican cheese blend, shredded
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 medium sized tomato, washed cut and chopped
  • 1 (15oz) can of corn, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15oz) can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp black ground pepper
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chilli powder

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F.
  2. Place vegetable broth in a medium sized sauce pan and bring to boil. Add rice, reduce to simmer for about 30 minutes (don’t cook all of the way because the moisture will get absorbed when baked in the oven.)
  3. Place 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan over medium heat, saute garlic until fragrant, add chopped tomatoes. Cook for about 3 minutes then add corn and kidney beans. Cook for another 3 more minutes then turn off heat.
  4. When rice is done being cooked, add vegetable mix and remaining olive oil.
  5. Place pepper halves in a non-stick baking pan. Divide rice and vegetable mixture into each pepper, sprinkle evenly with cheese. Bake for 20 minutes.
  6. Enjoy!