Over the past decade, my weight has fluctuated up and down. I could blame it on pregnancy and babies, but the reality is that I gain just baby weight during my pregnancies and lose it soon after birth. Between babies, I overeat due to stress, busyness, and bad habits, and that’s where the unhealthy weight fluctuations begin. This summer, I’m trying to be more deliberate about eating well. Nutribar meal replacement bars are helping me in maintaining a healthy weight and creating healthy habits around what I eat.
1. Practice portion control.
As a child, my parents always made me eat everything on my plate. Today, I still do that—even when I’m feeling full already. We tend to use big plates at meals and to load our plates with food (especially if it’s a favourite dish!). This “little extra” on the plate can lead to a “little extra” on the hips.
One of my friends talks about eating to 80% full, and I’ve been trying to practice that. Rather than filling my plate, I take a small first helping and wait to see if I want more when I’m done. I also remind myself that leftovers are good—and I can always make the dish again if we like it.
Nutribar helps with portion controls by providing a complete meal in one package. I’ve used their meal replacement bars for breakfast and lunches. Instead of loading up a bowl with cereal and adding milk, I can grab Nutribar and know that I’m getting just enough to start my day.
At noon, Nutribar provides a quick and easy lunch while I’m trying to keep track of a baby, a toddler, and three hungry kids. I used to skip lunches and then end up snacking later; Nutribar is helping me stick to mealtimes and eliminate those unhealthy snacking habits.
2. Create healthy habits for maintaining a healthy weight.
An important part of maintaining a healthy weight is creating habits that will last. There are plenty of diets that promise to help you lose weight, but they can lead to the weight fluctuations I’ve already mentioned. Lose weight on the diet, gain it when you stop, lose it when you diet, etc. I’ve been trying to make small, manageable changes in how I eat to create healthy habits that help me maintain a good weight.
Replacing one or two meals a day with a Nutribar is one way that I’ve made a healthy choice. Other healthy choices include eating more fruits and vegetables, drinking more water, and trying to be more active on a daily basis. I also try not to snack late at night and to ask myself if I’m really hungry or if I’m craving food for another reason (no more emotional eating!).
Weight loss can seem daunting, especially if you want to lose a lot of weight. Pick one thing you can do this week, and start doing it. Focus on performance (what you can DO), not outcomes (the pounds you want to lose). Can you stick to doing that one healthy habit all week? For two weeks? Then add another healthy habit. In the long term, these small changes will pay off for you.
3. Plan what you eat.
Healthy eating doesn’t just happen; it takes planning and preparation. Today, the best weight loss programs all involve preparation. It’s a sad truth that many of our favourite quick and easy foods are also bad for us. Meal planning can help you lose weight by making healthy choices easier. When my fridge, freezer and pantry are stocked with healthy foods, and I know what I’m going to make for supper in the evening, then I’m less likely to resort to unhealthy snacks.
Nutribar understands this and includes a 7-day meal plan within each box. The meal plan offers suggestions for breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks. Save the meal plans you like, or adjust them to suit your tastes.
Some of my favourite health hacks include:
- baby carrots in the fridge make an easy side dish or snack
- frozen peas also make an easy side dish, quick addition to casseroles or soups, or snack for my daughters (who’ll eat frozen peas)
- Nutribar, of course, for quick meals or meals on the go
- prepared salads offer an easy way to add veggies to meals
- wash and remove stickers from apples when putting groceries away, making it easy to grab them for a snack later (we like sliced apples with cinnamon sprinkled on top)
4. Do it with a friend.
It’s easy to tell ourselves that we’re going to change our habits… and just as easy to give ourselves excuses for not doing it. I’m good at justifying why I need a handful of chocolate chips today, or why I’ll have that extra brownie(s) at the church potluck. Working at losing and maintaining weight can be easier when you do it with a friend.
Think of a friend you know (preferably another mom or someone in a similar state of life as you) who’d also like to work on losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight. Ask if they’d like to partner with you to encourage each other in your goals. You could check in with each other weekly via text or phone call to see how you’re doing. If you’re having a bad day and want to grab a chocolate bar or plate of nachos, call your friend instead.
If you close enough to each other, you could also work out or exercise together. Just before we moved to Vancouver, I had a swimming buddy. We’d meet at the pool once or twice a week to swim laps for half an hour, then chat in the hot tub together for ten minutes. I always looked forward to it, and I was less likely to skip my swim because I knew she was counting on me to be there.
5. Be inspired and informed.
There’s a lot of information about diets and weight loss. Standing in the grocery store aisle looking at the magazines can feel a bit daunting—all those slender models with their latest fad diet. Instead of chasing after each new diet that comes along, get solid information to inspire your health journey. I appreciated the Nutribar tools for losing and maintaining weight, and the science behind why Nutribar works
What tips would you share for maintaining a healthy weight?
I received a selection of Nutribar meal replacement bars for this review; all opinions expressed are my own.