I wake up early in the morning and do a short exercise routine (We’re using the term “exercise” here lightly, by the way). I eat (read: choke down) some plain oatmeal and then head to work.For the rest of the day the only calories that I burn are from my fingers clicking on the keyboard. But being stagnant at work isn’t the real reason that I’m not losing weight
After several hours of work, I eat lunch – a lunch that I more than likely was too busy to pack. So, I head to a fast food place. I start the car and have every intention of getting a salad, but by the time I get to the drive through I am so hungry that I want the biggest burger, largest fries, and a cup of soda so gargantuan that it needs a handle. Just like that, all that oatmeal I forced myself to eat was in vain.
One day I finally decided I had had enough of this! So I did what all of us should be doing and I talked to a Health Coach. Sara Cormier, Health Coach, is a marathoner, a motivational guru, and she can do a headstand, so I put a lot of stock into what she says. According to Sara, I need to create a healthy life style that I can live with long term – not a short term diet and exercise plan.
So what am I doing wrong? Why can’t I lose weight and why does my whole day fall apart in spite of my best intentions?
The first thing that my health coach recommended was adding something to my oatmeal. She suggested peanut butter, almond butter, or some fruit. The fruit gives you a burst of energy and the protein in the peanut and almond butter helps you feel full longer. It also makes the oatmeal a lot closer to being edible.
Not only am I supposed to add something to my breakfast, I’m supposed to add food all day long!
“People often cut out snacking as it tends to be viewed as unhealthy, when; in reality, it’s just the opposite. Snacking is a vital aspect of being healthy, losing, and maintaining weight. Snacks should be consumed mid-morning, mid-afternoon, and post workout.”
-Sara Cormier, Health Coach
A list of recommended snacks include vegetables, fruit, yogurt, nuts, hummus, string cheese, non buttered popcorn, whole wheat toast, peanut and almond butter.
“GREAT!” Exclaims Papapotamus, “I love all that stuff!”
There’s a caveat: “I typically tell people to try and keep snacks under 200 calories,” Sara adds, “and try to add as many vegetables as possible.”
Snacking is something that I am great at, but I am so good at it that it can become a problem… I don’t know when to stop. Sara suggests meal prepping… okay she less “suggests” it, and more tells me that it’s a real must – along with stocking my house with healthy foods. In other words, if I buy unhealthy foods, I’m going to eat unhealthy foods, and if I don’t portion out my hummus, I’m going to eat 3 cups of it in one sitting.
The recommended snacking schedule is as follows: mid-morning, mid-afternoon, and post workout. Add those to breakfast, lunch, and dinner and you are eating as many times a day as a Hobbit. That’s why keeping the snacks under 200 calories is so important. And if you’re eating mostly vegetables and low fat protein, you’re not going to blow up your blood sugar or overload on carbs. That’s going to allow you to feel satisfied without consuming as many calories. “If you go an entire day without being hungry, you’ve done well!” Sara encourages, “If you find yourself really struggling with staying on track, create a reward system.”
Sara told me about her “reward jar” in which she keeps track of her success by moving marbles into a jar each time she meets her goal. “This has to be something very specific to you in order to be successful,” she says, which is why the reward system is so customizable. Not only can the reward be anything (Pizza and shopping included), but the goals can be anything as well. For example: My goal is to eat 2 healthy meals and 1 healthy snack per day for a week. After I have mastered that, I can move on to more.
A little extra motivation from Sara:
“Whenever you begin to slip, remember that you are human, we are not perfect. Take a minute to breath; visualize your goals and why they are important to you. Impulse will always be there, but so is willpower.”
For more motivation and inspiration, follow Sara on Facebook at : Sara Cormier, Health Coach