This post is based upon an engaging discussion I had with my co-worker and bowling partner, Steve, about weight gain with a desk job, eating low carb, and smaller portions. I concluded this post with the seed planting idea to inspire others to live a healthier lifestyle.
While Steve worked in Building Maintenance, he was able to control his weight with all the moving he did as he carried out his daily duties – climbing ladders, changing filters, checking on light fixtures, etc. He never exercised, unless you call drinking beer at the bowling alley exercise, and he ate hearty portions.
Steve transferred to the engineering department after a back injury. In the last 2 years, he has put on 40 pounds! Some of the weight gain was probably from seeking comfort food during his recovery (I did the same thing) and some of it is probably from having a more sedentary desk job.
Low Carb and Smaller Portion Conversation
"Losing weight is easy. I can easily drop 20 pounds just eating low carb, but my problem is that I do not know how maintain it " said Steve in frustration to me.
"Do you normally eat low-carb?" I asked.
"No. But I eat low-carb when I diet because I can drop weight fast," said Steve.
"Maybe that is the problem. Since low-carb is not the way you eat normally, it is hard to maintain the weight loss once you go back to normal eating. " I said.
"I don’t know. I mean eating low-carb works every time. I just need to figure out how to maintain the weight loss," said Steve reluctantly.
"I don’t understand how doing something more frequently when it is not working is going to give you different results. I mean you have already done the low carb thing twice since you starting working here and you have regained the weight within three months each time. Maybe you should just try eating smaller portions," I said, helpful.
"But eating low carb really works. I always lose weight. Besides I am not sure what is considered smaller portion" said Steve, stubbornly.
"The way I see it is this – your stomach is the size of your fist. But with chewing, you can actually eat more than that amount. So the best way to gauge your portion size is to put your hand next to your plate. You should eat less than your hand size," I said.
"That kind of makes sense," said Steve, holding up his hand and nodding doubtfully.
"And that method is personalized for your body size. Notice how much less food I can eat compare to you," I said, holding up my hand next to his bear paw.
"Good thing too. I don’t think I can survive eating that tiny amount of food," said Steve, smiling and nodding towards my hand.
"Just give it a try for a little while. It is not like you are eating low-carb right now. If in a few months, smaller portions do not work, you can always eat low-carb again."
"Yeah, I guess," said Steve, hesitantly.
"Well, just think about it," I said.
How Do You Inspire Someone to Live a Healthier Lifestyle?
If you ever done any gardening, then you know that when you plant a seed, it could be many months before you see a flower. That is my approach to inspiring the people around me to change their unhealthy lifestyle.
I plant seeds of healthy lifestyle ideas that do not radically change the way they are living. Once I see some head nodding, I drop the subject. If I keep going at it, at best they start to tune me out, and at worst, I start to sound like I am nagging.
And then a week or two later, I re-introduce the idea and ask how it is working out for them. Of course, 99% of the time, they have done nothing with it.
If I get a "Nope, I have not even though about it," without any hesitation in their voice, then I know it is the end of that idea. The next time we have another health discussion, I will introduce a different idea. I keep throwing ideas at the wall until something sticks.
If I get a "I have been meaning to try it" or a "it is too complicated" reply, then I would plant the seed again, always being careful to not sound like I am preaching or nagging. Then about two weeks later, I will re-introduce the idea again.
It just like introducing food to a toddler. Parenting books and magazines tell you keep feeding your toddler vegetables even when it is rejected the first time. You change the shape and feed it to them again. You change the cooking method and feed it to them again. You change how you feed it to them by making plane flying noises to make it fun. Or like my mother, you change the coloring with food dye. But not matter how many times you are rejected, you keep introducing the food. Eventually, the toddler will eat it.
This sounds like a lot of work, huh? And it is. It is a campaign that I am only willing to take with someone I care about or someone who is receptive. But the results of having a sister or a mother who exercise regularly and eat healthy is well worth the effort on my part.
Until next time and thanks for stopping by Small Steps to Health.
Photo by: asithi.
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