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Sneak Seven Simple Strategies to Lose Weight into Your Workday

By Dr. Leslie Van Romer

Congratulations! You finally made the leap to the next level in your career. Your clear intentions, focus and long hours paid off. You’re even feeling good about your masterful work-life balancing act. Your life is right on track, but the mirror reveals one exception. Your weight has crept up. Somehow you’ve allowed everything else to get in the way of taking care of you.

Your favorite pants don’t fit. You’re downing too much caffeine, and yet your energy level is still dragging. Aches and pains randomly linger, and your doctor is threatening the “p” word (pills). Somehow those business lunches, forfeited exercise workouts and snack foods got the best of you, and it shows – right where you don’t want it!

So, where do you begin? How do you sneak new weight-savvy and health-supporting habits into your already-too-busy business day? Try these seven weight-loss strategies on for a smaller size.  

1. Create a Simple Plan: Wrap your brain around a simple eating plan that is doable, makes sense and will work for the long haul – not just for a few weeks or months. The easier the plan is, the easier it will be to gradually incorporate it into your day, while producing tangible results.

Start by asking yourself: “Which foods prevent cancer and other life-threatening diseases?” Fresh fruits and vegetables. They offer the most nutrition for the calorie buck. Translation: weight loss and health gain! No one has ever proclaimed that meats, brown-color white breads, boxed cereals, milk, pasta, salty snacks, or cheeses prevent cancer. Then why do we center our meals on those foods? Because our culture taught and conditioned us to do so.

2. Follow Three Simple Rules: Add, Stop and Wiggle:

  • Add and fill up on the best-for-you foods first – fresh fruits and vegetables. Then add other whole plant foods: whole grains (brown rice, barley, couscous) and legumes (kidney beans, black beans, lentils). Does that mean you can never ever eat your food faves again? Of course not! Simply fill up first on the best-for-you foods, then make other food choices. Without restricting, depriving, counting or fussing, you will get full and satisfied on nutrient-rich, calorie-low foods, automatically reducing your appetite for the calorie-dense foods.

  • Stop eating when your brain tells you you’re full – before your stomach begs for mercy. This is hard, but the more fresh fruits and vegetables you eat, which satisfy your hunger drive, the more in tune you will be with your brain’s signals. How many apples can you eat at once? One or two? On the contrary, think of how many chips or goodies you can eat. Too many!

  • Wiggle: Build wiggle room or flexibility into your program from the get-go. You are not perfect, so don’t expect to be perfect. This is all about progress, not perfection. Eighty percent of the time, when your environment and food are under your control, make wise choices. Twenty percent, when you eat out, entertain, travel, or celebrate special occasions, eat what you want. Just don’t wiggle too much, or you won’t lose that jiggle.

3. Add Simple, Fruity Breakfasts: Which foods make the perfect breakfast foods for your morning? Fresh fruits. In fact, fresh fruits are the fastest fast foods. They are quick to eat – open mouth, bite down and chew. They offer no-fuss, no-time preparation, and they travel well. You can easily munch an apple, banana, grapes, or plum when driving, sitting at a computer, walking to your colleague’s desk, or right after taking a bathroom break. Think “fruit break” instead of “coffee break.” Switch your thinking, and you’ll be surprised how easy it is to sneak fruit into your morning.

4. Create Simple Ziploc Lunches: Becoming the Ziploc Queen or King saves you calories, time and money. If you are not obligated to a business lunch, fill up on a Ziploc lunch. It takes some prep work, but that thrill of slipping into those pants is worth your effort.

The night before, fill one gallon-sized Ziploc bag with washed, cut and spun-dry lettuces (romaine, leafy, butter), spinach, and sprouts. Fill another with chopped vegetables like cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, onions, red cabbage, zucchini, cauliflower, and broccoli. Bring along an avocado (cut up right before you eat the salad) and fresh lemon. Diced avocado, fresh lemon and balsamic vinegar make a great salad dressing. Throw it all into a bowl and voila! You’ve got the perfect weight-busting lunch – and quick too, leaving extra time for a walk.

For a change, bring one or two slices of sprouted-grain bread and in another bag, sliced tomato, cucumber, onion, and lettuce. Bring an avocado to use as a spread, and you’ve got another quick, nutritious lunch. You can also use a double Ziploc or some plastic containers to store a homemade meat-free, dairy-free, low-salt vegetable, bean soup that you made from the weekend.

If a business lunch is a must, graze on fruit all morning so you are not too hungry at lunch. You can even eat a small salad beforehand. You will eat less and make better choices. Also, if it is your choice, select a restaurant that serves a great salad and vegetable side dishes. Bring your own no-oil salad dressing, or use lemon and vinegar at the restaurant.

5. Make Simple “Eat-in-Order” Dinners: At home or not, dinners are the toughest meals to change, especially when you get home late. Simplify a naturally slimming dinner by eating in order: first, a salad (made the night before with your lunch salad), second, steamed vegetables of choice, followed by a denser, more filling vegetable, like potatoes, yams or winter squash, topped with mashed avocado and diced tomatoes, sautéed-in-water vegetables, or fresh salsa. Instead of a potato or yam, add whole brown rice and/or legumes, pre-cooked, of course, so they are ready to warm.

After eating these three courses, ask yourself, “Am I full?” If yes, stop eating. Save the chicken, fish or pasta for the next night. If no, make a choice: eat more vegetables or the traditional favorite. When (not if) you choose the pasta or chicken, you will be relatively full and eat less of these calorie-denser foods without even thinking about it.

6. Pack Simple, Healthy Snacks: When you get hungry a couple hours after eating salad for lunch, do the novel thing – eat! Choose healthier, weight-wise snacks, like fresh fruit, cut-up carrots, celery, cucumbers, or a handful of raw unsalted nuts and seeds. Keep better-for-you snacks handy and make them your first choice.

7. Watch Your Beverages!  Did you know, one latte with skim milk (16 oz.) is 160 calories; a latte with whole milk, 270 calories; a white chocolate mocha with whole milk and whipped cream, 480 calories; and an 8-oz glass of red wine is 170 calories?

Just one glass of red wine plus one skim-milk latte a day add up to a grand total of 2,310 extra calories a week, or over one extra day of calories in a 7-day week! That’s not counting all the other beverages consumed. As an astute businessperson, common sense says: don’t drown yourself in those liquid calories!

If you are serious about shedding those layers, the easiest action step is to consistently choose the beverage that adds no calories, alcohol, caffeine or sugar to your body: Water! Shift to water and behold the shift in weight. What are you going to do for that quick pick-me-up fix? It’s the fruits and vegetables (not protein) that you ate yesterday that give you energy today – combined with daily exercise and sleep!

In your professional life, you have proven that you are smart, savvy, determined, goal-driven, and gutsy. Now use those same talents and attitude to take care of your greatest asset of all – your body – one simple step at a time.

Read other articles and learn more about Dr. Leslie Van Romer.

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