Weight loss sure isn’t easy! If you’re anything like me, you’ve tried countless diet plans, exercise regimens and lifestyle hacks but never had much success. It took me this long to realize that the truth is, if you want to be fit and if you want to lose weight, you have to adapt your daily lifestyle to meet those desires. For me, the Substitution or Solution Method helped me adapt my lifestyle in small ways and guaranteed that I would be successful with my weight-loss. I will never go back to my old habits. Keep reading if you want to know how I did it!
THE SUBSTITUTION OR SOLUTION METHOD
1. Record EVERYTHING you eat for an entire week.
Before you begin making lifestyle changes, you need to know where you are starting from. Record absolutely EVERYTHING you eat for an entire week – don’t forget to include the stuff you drink (yes… even that Starbucks laté you ordered on Monday morning). This weekly food log will allow you to identify your eating habits and truly understand which areas of your lifestyle need improvement.
Now that you have a detailed picture of the foods you consume, look for patterns. Go through all of the foods you ate and identify:
a) The unhealthy foods you typically eat
Note the unhealthy foods you tend to gravitate towards. Personally, my greatest weakness is CHIPS! Also note the healthy foods you enjoy, so you can BUY MORE of them!
b) The time of day that you eat certain foods.
Do you skip breakfast? Do you eat all of your unhealthy foods at night? For me, I typically ate super healthy in the morning, but fell off the bandwagon when I got home from school/work – it was at this time that I would BINGE on whatever was in sight.
c) Identify your pitfalls
No, you are not perfect. Nobody is. Identify the times you are most vulnerable to eat the unhealthy foods you love. Look for cues in your environment that might trigger unhealthy eating. Perhaps when you have certain unhealthy foods in the house, you simply can’t resist eating them (believe me honey, when there’s chips in my house they’re ALL I CAN THINK ABOUT). Really dig deep and try to figure out WHY you eat the foods that you do. Do you eat when you’re bored? Do you have a specific night routine? Are you even hungry when you’re eating these unhealthy foods?
For me, I would binge eat when I got home because I was STARVING! There was a 3 – 4 hour gap between the time I ate lunch and the time I got home… no wonder why I was so hungry!
3. Find a substitution or solution
In order to change your body, YOU HAVE TO CHANGE YOUR LIFESTYLE. You can’t expect your body to change if you are still following the same daily habits. This is where the Substitution or Solution Method comes into play!
As we have identified the unhealthy foods we love and some of the reasons behind why we eat them, we have TWO options to habit change:
Find a SUBSTITUTION to the unhealthy foods we love
No… I don’t mean substituting your nightly bowl of chips for a salad… I mean finding a HEALTHIER alternative, THAT YOU CAN LIVE WITH. I know for a fact that if I tried to substitute my nightly bowl of chips with something like a salad, I wouldn’t even last a day! For me, substituting my nightly bowl of chips for popcorn worked wonders! I was equally as satisfied, and managed to save myself the extra calories right before bed . I also started eating baked potatoes (I cooked them on the “baked potato” setting on the microwave) when I got home from school to fulfill my starchy cravings.
If you’re the type of person that needs a snack while watching TV, I would recommend substituting a BOWL instead of eating from the package. Since I am addicted to chips, I noticed that I hate a HECK of a lot less of them when I stopped eating from the chip bag and served myself a portion in a bowl.
Find a SOLUTION to the “problem”
Sometimes our unhealthy habits are embedded deep within our daily routines and habits. The only way to break them is to change them – come up with a solution. Again, like I said before with substitutions, your solution HAS TO BE SOMETHING YOU CAN LIVE WITH. Deciding to work out at the gym every day for an hour is not a sustainable solution to combat your unhealthy eating habits… Depending on your personal preferences, something like walking twice a week might be an awesome solution to burn some extra calories. Don’t strive for perfection and only commit to a solution that is realistic for you – no matter how small! Any change you make will be a benefit.My solution to binge eating when I would come home was to eat a snack at the end of the day, before I drove home. I would ensure that I would pack a healthier snack for the end of the day, and since I didn’t have access to my cupboard yet, eating healthy was really was my only option.A final solution that helped me stop binge eating was removing myself from the situation. When I would get home and would feel tempted to binge, I would take an apple or some other healthy snack and GET THE HECK OUT OF THERE! I would go for a quick walk around the block, eat my apple and come home with a clear mindset.
Another solution to binge eating could be to stop buying your trigger foods – in my case, a house without chips is probably one of the best solutions that I have come up with!Another solution could be parking at the back of the parking lot and walking the extra distance each time you go out. IT’S SO EASY TO DO THIS! Yes it’s a very small thing… but honestly, it’s the little things that add up to make the largest difference (look up the term “Marginal Gains” if you’re interested in this).
That’s it, that’s all! Hopefully you enjoyed this rather lengthy explanation of the Substitution or Solution Method. It’s not rocket science; however, it does take some dedication. It’s our daily habits that make us who we are. The only way to truly achieve life-sustaining weight-loss is to change what you do on a daily basis – TO WORK ON YOU! I am 100% confident that you can do this!
Have a lovely day and feel free to shoot me a comment if you have any questions!
Ps. Here’s a photo of my personal weight-loss progress:
The photo on the right was taken in March 2012, when I was at my highest weight. It really wasn’t until last year that I started cleaning up my lifestyle and habits. Funny that I still have the outfit that I wore in the original photo.