A reader recently emailed me, saying:
Would love to know how you keep so nice and trim! Maybe you would post a few tips from that department!
I get this kind of question regularly from readers, but weight maintenance is a topic I’ve felt a little uncomfortable writing about for several reasons.
First, a person’s weight isn’t super crazy important, unless it’s a situation in which their health is being affected.
Secondly, there’s an awfully broad range of body sizes that can be perfectly healthy. My frame happens to be on the small side of things, but there are plenty of other body frames/types that are healthy.
Thirdly, there are a lot of complicating factors when it comes to weight, and I’m not anywhere near qualified to address things like emotional eating*.
*When I am super stressed out, I totally lose my appetite. And going without food isn’t a lot healthier than eating your feelings.
Fourthly, I think people’s size is at least partially biological/genetic, which means even if you eat exactly like I eat, you might end up lighter or heavier than me.
All that said, I’m not super interested in thinking too hard about exact weights, but I am interested in being healthy and energetic and fit.
My philosophy is that if I 1) eat mostly good food, 2) follow my body’s hunger cues, and 3) stay active, then I will end up at the weight I’m supposed to be, and I’ll be pretty healthy.
Specific diet plans and rules don’t work well for me (I’m a moderator!), so this flexible philosophy fits me pretty well.
1. Eat (mostly) Good Food
The “mostly” is in there because I don’t like restrictions, and the ability to eat treat foods here and there keeps me sane. 😉
What does good food look like for me?
I try to minimize sugar.
I do put sugar into my daily tea, and I don’t stress about the bit of sugar in my almond butter or in my 80% dark chocolate.
But I don’t generally drink juice/soda/iced tea (water all the way!), I don’t eat sugary cereals, I don’t eat sugary processed snacks, and so on.
And if I eat dessert, I try not to go overboard with it. 10 cookies don’t ultimately make me feel good!
I don’t minimize fat, per se.
I try to avoid junky fats, but I happily eat avocados, full-fat yogurt, butter, whole eggs, nuts, dark chocolate, and such.
These foods help keep me full, which means that even though they do have a fair amount of calories, they help me eat less overall.
I try to eat lots of nutritious foods.
Rather than thinking about avoiding bad foods, I think about what I could eat that gives me lots of positive nutrition.
That’s what motivates me to choose smoothies, eggs, raw fruits and veggies, nuts, and yogurt over junk food. It’s less about avoiding empty calories and more about actively choosing nutritious calories.
(That feels a lot less like rules and more like choices. Are you seeing a theme here?? Ha.)
I try to mostly eat homemade foods.
This saves money, certainly, but by sticking to homemade food, I automatically end up consuming less junk. Manufacturers almost always put more preservatives, coloring, salt, and sugar into their food than I do when I cook at home.
2. Follow hunger cues
When it comes to how much I eat, I try to pay attention to how hungry I am. I don’t want to starve myself or in be hungry on a regular basis, so if I’m hungry, I eat.
And by the same token, if I’m not very hungry, then I don’t feel like it’s necessary to eat, even if it’s mealtime.
For example, some mornings, I’m starving and I’ll drink a big smoothie and also have a banana with peanut butter, or an egg, or a sausage. But some mornings, a smoothie holds me over just fine until lunchtime.
3. Stay Active
While I’m not one to spend hours doing formal exercise, I’m a moderately active person.
Cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping,home maintenance, and laundry-doing keep me pretty active, and I don’t have a lot of sedentary hobbies (Except blogging! Blogging is rather sedentary. 😉 )
Plus, I have a martial arts class, I try to do the 7-minute workout several times a week, and I go on walks and bike rides with Mr. FG at least once a week.
It would be awesome to spend more time to spend exercising, but for now, this level of activity is what I can fit in.
So, there you have it. I know it’s nothing earth-shaking, but it’s what works for me.