Weight Loss

Weight Loss: 8 Ways to Enjoy the Journey

By: Mary Shomon, Thyroid Expert

Average read time: 2.5 minutes

Are you on the journey to reach a healthier weight? A weight where you feel good, and can be your best self? First, let’s stop talking about LOSS. In the bigger picture, you’re not losing anything. You’re gaining your best self, better health, and a greater sense of control!

Getting to a healthy weight—and staying there—is not only a journey, but a way of life. Why not have some fun along the way? Here’s how to make it an enjoyable ride!

1.) Try New Foods

Imagine every time you took a vacation, you went to the same place? It gets boring—fast. It’s the same with the foods you eat. A daily diet of grilled chicken breast and salad is no way to live! Make it a goal to try something new every week. (And no, it doesn’t have to be kale and quinoa!) It may be a juicy, lean, organic, grass-fed buffalo burger on the grill. Or the fresh, summery goodness of easy, homemade gazpacho soup. To make it easy, consider joining a healthy meal-preparation service, like BistroMD, Freshly, or Sun Basket. Not only is it fun to seek out and explore new foods and dishes, but you never know what will tantalize your taste buds and end up as a new, healthy favorite!

2.) Make Meals Mindful

When you eat quickly, barely chew, and are multitasking while you nosh, you shortchange your body’s amazing systems that effectively digest and process the food you eat and make you feel full and satisfied. Slow down! Take a few deep belly breaths before you eat. Turn off the TV, put down the phone, and focus on your food. Smell it. Savor it. Chew it slowly. Moving from “fight or flight” to a mindful “rest and digest” mode makes eating pleasurable.

3.) Don’t Deprive Yourself

As someone with thyroid disease—and really, for everyone—healthy eating is a lifestyle, not a short-term project. That means that you should enjoy your favorite foods and treats: Don’t make them totally off-limits. The key is (and you know this, so say it with us) “moderation!” Some experts also recommend that you find the best quality version of your favorite treat and savor it slowly for maximum pleasure. That means savoring a delicious piece of high-quality chocolate (instead of scarfing down that whole bag of junky candy!).

4.) Make Moving Fun

Getting and staying fit is an important part of your healthy weight journey. But remember, “no pain, no gain” is no fun…and it doesn’t work. Being stressed out about exercise creates adrenal stress and hormonal havoc that encourages weight gain! The gym, P90X, or intense spinning classes are not for everyone, and may even lead to weight gain in some thyroid patients. Physical activity should be fun, not a chore. Whether it’s a bike ride with friends, your favorite Zumba class, gardening, or power-walking with Fido, think about the metabolism-boosting activities you truly enjoy and look forward to, and start incorporating them into your daily life.

up next: 9 ways thyroid patients can thrive

5.) Get Outdoor Oomph

Researchers have found that being outdoors makes you feel more positive and increases your energy. Daylight exposure also helps melatonin levels for better sleep, hormone balance, and improved T4–T3 thyroid conversion. You also get a dose of hormone-balancing Vitamin D, and get this: sunlight even helps shrink fat cells! Try to plan lunch outside or a short walk regularly. Exercise outdoors, and you get a double-dose of benefits!

6.) Find Traveling Companions

Who doesn’t want someone to share a wonderful journey? Connecting with friends who are excited to be on the same path to a healthier weight and lifestyle makes the whole process easier and much more fun! Whether you connect with in-person friends or an online community of like-minded people with thyroid disease (like THYROID30!), take some friends along for the ride.

7.) Celebrate the Milestones

You will experience many exciting wonderful milestones on your journey…why not celebrate them? Whether you’re 10 pounds lighter, down a dress size, didn’t gain weight on vacation, or you’ve done your first 10k, it’s time to reward yourself. Bypass food treats and instead choose rewards that complement your health goals or just make you feel good. Some ideas: a massage, a session with a personal trainer, that new book you’ve wanted, a mani-pedi, or a night at the movies. (Just don’t get extra butter on the popcorn!)

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8.) Snooze!

Finally, what is more enjoyable than a great night’s sleep? Research shows that getting enough sleep—and that means at least 7 hours per night—is a crucial piece of your healthy weight puzzle, especially if you have a thyroid condition. While you sleep, hormones like leptin and ghrelin go to work burning fat, and your stores of growth hormone, thyroid hormone, and cortisol are rebuilt. So, put on your coziest jammies and climb in, and let your sleep-time hormones work their magic all night long!



About the Author

Mary Shomon is a patient advocate and New York Times bestselling author of 13 books on health. Mary has been researching, writing and teaching about thyroid disease, hormonal health, weight loss, and autoimmune disease for two decades. In addition to her books, you can find her writing at www.Verywell.com and www.HealthCentral.com, and catch her PBS Healthy Hormones television specials. Follow Mary on Facebook.