1. I Stopped Snacking and Realised I Wasn't Hungry
Over the past few years, I have never "starved" myself or made myself hungry for the sake of weight loss. One of the tenets of the Paleo and Low Carb dieting community is that even though you will often restrict what you eat, you will never actually "go hungry". So, for most of the summer, I tried to stick with the plan and only eat when I was hungry. At least, that's what I thought I did...
This year, my teaching schedule changed so that I have my planning break first thing in the morning, and then I teach for the rest of the day without a break. (other than lunch with the students). In the past, I have always had something available to eat during my planning time, but now that my planning is pretty much right after breakfast, I'm not hungry during planning. Even if I did get hungry sometime, I literally wouldn't have time to eat a snack since my schedule is full for the rest of the day.
So, did I suffer hunger pangs during the times when I would usually snack? Yes......for about 2 days. Then, my body adjusted, and I honestly didn't miss it. Now, my mid-morning snack is a thing of the past and I honestly think I was eating out of habit instead of actually fueling my body. I have no doubt that some of my summer snacking habits were causing me to eat more than my body needed, thus stalling my weight loss.
2. I Stopped Sitting and Easily Increased My Daily Activity
For all of the "activities" I did this summer, I still sat down a LOT! Yes, I did some jogging, lifting, swimming, etc. this summer, but I would still find myself sitting for hours at a time. Much of my summer work was computer based, and my favorite summertime activity was reading. Overall, I still spent much of my summer days sitting down.
Many scientific studies have come out recently that have pointed just to the factor of sitting or standing as having a huge impact on someone's health. Even if you exercise regularly, sitting for too long during the day can have detrimental effects. So, I decided to make a change...
As I was going back to school this year, I made the commitment to walk or stand for almost the entire work day. I converted my computer desk into a standing desk (with some old text books), and I intentionally walk and pace more while I am teaching. I wear a fitbit pedometer to track this and I have been averaging approx. 8,000 steps per work day. Overall, I am way more consistent with my standing and movement than I was over the summer.
This may not seem like a huge change, but when you consistently raise your activity level every day like this, I have no doubt that it has helped with my weight.
3. I Stayed the Course and Finally Experienced a Victory
With snacks cut and activity increased, many dieters would see that as an opportunity to earn some "brownie" points. "Wow, long day at work....I really deserve a pint of ice cream" Not me. In fact, as I went back to work I made it a point to not adjust my diet at all.
I'm not saying that I'm always perfect but, making this transition into the school year, I did not change up my eating philosophy. I am still low carb / paleo / keto. The only difference is that I am not eating as much (due to the loss of snacks) and I am expending more daily energy.
Most importantly, I didn't use these new habits as an excuse to compromise on my plan somewhere else. I stayed the course!
In some ways, I'd say that #3 was really the most important habit that anyone on a weight loss plan can implement. So many are willing to give up when their plan stops working. Some will move on to the next plan and some will just give up entirely, but it's rare to find someone that will commit to a plan even if they aren't seeing huge results. Sadly, those desired results were just around the corner and they didn't wait to see them.
At this point in my weight loss, I can look back and say that my biggest accomplishment has been to learn that I am in this for the long haul, and there is hardly ever a good reason to drastically change or give up. Going through this plateau and beating it has given me a newfound resolve to stick with this for the long term.
Thanks for reading!