It should never be used as an absolute though, because it only takes into account height and weight and ignores body composition (fat, muscle, etc); so be kind to yourself and treat it as just an approximate goal!
So all my patients who have seen me during this weight loss period have asked me, how did I do it? Honestly, the stress of planning a wedding definitely contributed to my weight loss, but I also implemented a few lifestyle changes which made a huge difference, in my opinion.
DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT A NUTRITIONIST AND I AM SIMPLY EXPLAINING THE CHANGES I MADE IN MY OWN LIFE, NOT SAYING THAT EVERYONE SHOULD DO THESE THINGS. If you are currently pregnant, some of these tips may not apply. I suggest you read this article about too much weight gain during pregnancy.
1. TRUTH: I stopped forcing myself to eat “the most important meal of the day”
I used to think I HAD to eat breakfast. I have never been a breakfast (or for that matter, morning) person. I used to eat breakfast in hopes I would eat less throughout the day. Spoiler alert: that never really worked for me. Although it is objectively better to be a “morning person” (waking early, eating a big breakfast, tapering your intake throughout the day), I just basically accepted the fact that this wasn’t me. Now, I start every morning with a coffee with milk in the AM and focus on listening to my body and eating when I’m hungry, as opposed to eating when I should eat. Black coffee is a natural appetite suppressant and although I need to add a bit of milk to make it palatable, I drink coffee as plain as I can handle 1-2 X per day. Plus point: the caffeine also energizes me ?
2. TRUTH: I lost 20 lbs without going to the gym once
Although this is something I AM NOT PROUD OF, it is the truth. I recently had a fairly large Indian wedding Oct 27th and was hosting family from all over the world and so I had very, very little time to go to the gym. I do have a LA Fitness gym membership and my goal is to work out 3 times per week, but during the months leading up to the wedding when I reached my weight goal, I was not working out. Working out is important for cardiovascular fitness, diabetes prevention, reduced risk of dementia and overall HEALTH. It is not paramount for losing weight though. Remember: 85% of weight loss comes from what you put in your mouth.
3. TRUTH: I stopped adding sugar to all my drinks
I am a huge coffee, tea, sparking water drinker. Both of my parents are diabetics, and I just made the decision I would no longer add any sugar to my drinks. I also cut back on diet drinks. As I have written about before, I used to be a diet coke/coke zero lover (proud Atlanta native!) but I have cut way back on that. I only occasionally have diet drinks (maybe once weekly) and generally try to avoid artificial sweeteners which have been shown to have tons of negative effects on health, satiety, and metabolism.
4. TRUTH: I gave up seconds (mostly)
I used to habitually eat two plates of food at most meals, but now try to limit to a single plate of food at meals. I do not really count salad against this, though, and often start a meal with a side salad (with vinaigrette dressing of some sort). I do occasionally eat seconds or rarely thirds, but generally I try to listen to my body and eat until I’m full but not “stuffed”. This is tough as our portions in the USA are so much larger than the rest of the world! Many of my wedding guests/relatives from all over the world were FLOORED by how big all of our American portion sizes are. Many of them would split dishes at restaurants even including “healthy restaurants”. A good rule of thumb to figure out if you’re habitually over-eating is asking yourself “Do I usually bring a take-out bag home after I eat at a restaurant?” Most restaurants give you TWO portions (at least), therefore if you are not generally taking a doggy bag home, you may be over eating.
5. TRUTH: I stopped buying junk food
I used to keep junk food in my home for snacking such as ice cream, chips, etc. I have now replaced these with healthier options. Instead of ice cream, I keep fruit in the refrigerator for sweet cravings. For chips, I swapped out for plain popcorn. Craving something fatty? Avocados for the win! I still eat junk food but generally outside of the house, in the form of occasional treats. On a side note: instead of microwavable popcorn, I have been making my own popcorn! It’s just as easy and I tend to burn it less often. It is also healthier, without any trans-fats like most popcorn in prepackaged bags. To make your own popcorn at home, all you need is an old school brown paper bag (you know the ones you used to take lunch in?), popcorn kernels (they sell them plain in bulk at every grocery store!), and salt/pepper/seasonings. Watch this quick youtube video on how to do it.
So there you have it! These are 5 changes I have made which have contributed to me getting to my ideal body weight. I hope at least some of these points will help you with your weight loss efforts. Good Luck!