Week 6 Update:
Weekly Weight Loss: -3.8 Total Weight Loss = -24.0
I am officially at the half way point of my three month commitment to Nutrisystem and I have to say I am kind of sad. Not because of the program I’m sad that the program is going by so quickly and it will be over soon. I have made so much progress in six weeks, I feel so much better, I’m exercising again, and I love the program. It seems like it has gone by so quickly that I’m sad it’s almost over. I have so much to lose that I wish my three months could keep on going. However, I plan to get the most out of the 6 weeks I have left. This weekend I had a horrible time with cravings for some reason, I really had not been craving anything up until this point so I was a little surprised. The Nutrisystem food is so satisfying and I feel like I can have just about anything with their variety of foods but for some reason I was having some cravings this weekend. I decided to dig out my information on cravings and put together a list of coping skills to help combat cravings.
This week I am trying to identify and overcome my obstacles. It’s so important to know what your obstacles are so you know what to watch for and how to overcome them. To share my story this week I decided to explore my obstacles this week. As I mentioned I have really been having some cravings this week. This has always been one of my biggest obstacles in my weight loss. I usually do great for awhile but eventually my will power starts to run out and cravings become stronger and stronger until I eventually give in.
As a retired addiction counselor I often helped my clients learn how to identify and battle cravings so it always struck me as funny that I struggled with this myself. I think I need to take my own advice on this area of my life. One thing that is important for me is knowing what leads to giving into cravings. I think it’s easy to assume the cheating on a diet happens when you eat the food you are not supposed to have but really it starts long before that. For me it starts in my mind. It starts out with that thought (craving) I start to think about the foods I miss, or I start thinking about how good they would taste, and then it turns into actions (urges) that will lead to actually eating these foods like taking the kids to McDonalds and justifying it by saying well the kids are not on a diet I’ll just take them to get a treat when really I know that if I go to McDonalds and smell the fries I’m going to want to eat some. So I have learned I have to fight these things when they are still thoughts and just cravings before I am acting on urges. Once I get to the McDonalds I’m going to eat stuff I shouldn’t eat.
Now if you are like me, you are thinking sure sounds good but in reality it’s a little bit harder. I often remember people telling me in the past or in my childhood just replace those candy bars with veggies. Sure sounds easy enough but anyone who has struggled with weight knows it’s not that easy. One thing that has really helped me is the Nutrisystem foods. They are really tasty and they allow me to have foods that I am craving. If I’m craving ice cream then I will have a Nutrisystem ice cream sandwich for my snack that night (I keep some on hand just in case). If I want something salty I love their chocolate covered pretzels, it’s the perfect combination of sweet and salty. The program really allows me to have the foods I love but in a smaller portion and a healthier option that still tastes really good. Outside of the program I have been using some coping strategies that I find to be really helpful.
Helpful Tips & Tricks:
I decided to put together a list of my go to coping strategies for cravings this week. As I mentioned I have really been having a lot of food cravings this weekend so I decided to dig out my information on coping skills. There are seven different coping categories and I have included some examples for each one.
Diversions are just as they sound, they are designed to take your mind off of your craving by focusing on something else that is unrelated. They say that a craving only lasts a few seconds, I’ve heard several different amounts of time (8 seconds, 15 seconds, 30 seconds) regardless they are all only seconds. So if you can divert your attention onto something else for even just a few minutes usually the cravings will pass.
- Hobbies (paint, draw, photography, read)
- Music (dance, sing, play an instrument)
- Take a shower or a bath
- Go for a drive or take a walk
- Watch television or a movie (just be careful of commercials)
- Watch funny videos on YouTube
- Play a game
- Go shopping (but I would avoid food shopping)
- Clean or organize your environment (I have a list of 15 minutes tasks like clean out the kitchen drawer, clean out a closet, start laundry, fold a basket of laundry, etc when I need them I just pull out a task and do it)
Social Interpersonal (With Others):
Having a good support system is really helpful when your struggling. Just having someone who understands what you are going through, holds you accountable, and will listen when you need them is so helpful in overcoming your cravings.
- Talk to someone you trust
- Set boundaries (my family knows I am not going out to eat right now, no junk food in the house, etc.)
- Write a note to someone you care about
- Be Assertive (make sure the people in your life know what you need to be successful)
- Use humor (I love to laugh so this is a good for me)
- Spend time with friends and/or family
- Serve someone in need
- Care for or play with a pet
- Role-play challenging situations with others
- Encourage Others (I love support groups even if only online)
Cognitive (In the Mind):
My biggest obstacle is my mind. I am my own worst enemy sometimes. As I said above usually cheating on my diet starts with negative thoughts.
- Make a gratitude list
- Keep an inspirational quote with you (I write these in my daily planner throughout the week & my journal)
- Be flexible
- Write a list of goals
- Take a class
- Act opposite of negative feelings
- Write a list of pros and cons
- Reward or pamper yourself when successful (just not with food, I use a wish list of things that my weight prevented me from doing that I can now do since I’ve lost weight)
- Write a list of strengths
- Accept a challenge with a positive attitude
Sometimes dieting and losing weight can get stressful. I know for me I can start feeling overwhelmed especially when I am struggling with cravings. Releasing tension and destressing can be really helpful.
- Play Sports
- Yelling (where no one can hear you)
- Punching bag (or a kickboxing class)
- Go to a spa (we love going to get our nails done)
- Do something you find fun
Don’t forget the physical aspects of weight loss. It’s not all about dieting, taking care of our body makes us feel better and healthier and we are able to make better choices.
- Get enough sleep
- Eat healthy foods
- Get into a good routine (form healthy habits)
- Limit caffeine
- Deep/slow breathing
- Take a nap
- Eat small meals six times a day (exactly how Nutrisystem is set up, really helps keep your metabolism regulated)
Now I know this is not for everyone. I personally don’t look at spirituality as religion I see it a little differently but either way having a good peace of mind can be helpful in combating cravings.
- Enjoy nature
- Get involved in a worthy cause
- Random Acts of Kindness
- Find Inspirational Quotes to hang up
- Read spiritual materials (whatever that might be for you)
- Attend group functions that spiritually focused (like a church service, group service, etc)
- Believe in Yourself
One of the best things for me is keeping very strict limits in place when it comes to food. Not putting myself around foods that will cause cravings really helps me avoid cheating.
- Drop some involvement (I had to rely on my husband to do tasks with the kids that I thought would be hard to avoid cravings)
- Prioritize important tasks (focus on goals & what is important)
- Use assertive communication (make sure your loved ones know what you need to avoid cravings)
- Schedule time for yourself
- Remove junk food from you home
- Avoid eating out
- Avoid parties
- Stick to your diet (Nutrisytem is very structured so it really helps me to stick to my diet plan and avoid cravings)
- Set an exercise schedule
- Maintain a routine
I hope you guys find these helpful. Let me know what your favorite coping skills are in the comments. Did I miss any? Do you have something that works really well for you? How do you use these strategies?
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