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FTC Disclaimer: As a Central Arkansas McDonald’s brand ambassador, posts like this are sponsored. However, opinions are 100% my own.

Finding balance when losing weight can be tricky

“If you breastfeed, you will drop the weight like THAT”. “I lost all of my baby weight this time around. I swear it’s because I breastfed. It does wonders!”

That was what I was told.

My reality was a bit different.

I happily breastfed my son for an entire year (which was always the plan). Didn’t lose a single pound. In fact, I GAINED weight.

Thus began my obsession with my weight. One that still continues to this day (though it is more about feeling healthier than about a number on a scale)

I’m struggling yall. I have some underlying medical issues that make losing weight more challenging, however my doctor agrees that something else is a big reason for my struggle with losing weight.

That, my friends, is that I have no balance.

I tend to be a bit extreme when it comes to losing weight. I go from refusing to let anything even remotely fattening pass my lips to devouring everything as enthusiastically as the Kraken (sorry for the reference – I just finished re-watching “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest”).

I need to find a balance.

I need to realize that it’s ok to eat things that are healthy AND things that are tasty.

Luckily, McDonald’s offers both.

If I’m stopping by for breakfast, some of their healthy options are the Egg McMuffin, Egg White Delight, Fruit ‘N Yogurt Parfait  or the filling Fruit and Maple Oatmeal.

The Egg McMuffin is one of McDonald's tasty and healthy breakfast options

The Egg White Delight is just one of McDonald's tasty and healthy breakfast options

 

 

The Fruit and Maple Oatmeal is one of McDonald's filling and healthy breakfast options

Some days I am in the mood to go BIG, like with their new Grand Mac meal. Or maybe I want to stop by for something sweet, like their Shamrock Shake.

Other days, I want something that is a bit on the healthier side, such as their Southwest Chicken Chipotle salad or their delicious Artisan Grilled Chicken sandwich.

Try the Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich at McDonald's if you are looking for something tasty and healthy Try the Southwest Chipotle Salad at McDonald's if you are looking for something tasty and healthy

And, of course, you can always opt to wash things down with a diet soda. A large soda is only  $1 all day.

I also appreciate that they have healthy options for my son, such as Cuties, apple slices and Go Gurt (my son’s favorite).

Another thing I really appreciate is that McDonald’s is really upfront about the nutritional information. You can check out the nutritional information for their entire menu on their website or their app. Just hover over “Our Menu” and go from there.  You can also use this nutrition calculator before you order to see how many calories your meal will be. It even gives you the option to customize the ingredients, which can be really handy!

I see a lot of people who swear off eating fast food when they are trying to lose weight, but the real problem isn’t WHERE you eat. It’s WHAT you eat.

It really all boils down to finding balance.

Here are a few tips about finding balance in nutrition that I am trying to implement:

Tip #1: Meal Plan

Meal planning is something I struggle to do consistently. However, I’ve found that when I plan out our meals, even only a few days, there is less stress centered around food. More importantly, though, when I plan our meals, I am able to make sure I am eating a good balance of things rather than just throwing things together at the last minute. In other words, I can be more intentional.

Tip #2: Treat Yo’ Self

Many times, people assume that the only way to lose weight is to deprive yourself of any foods that you choose PURELY because you love the way it tastes. I know that food is fuel, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy eating it. It’s ok to treat yourself sometimes. Research also shows that people who treat themselves to occasional indulgences (some people call them cheat days) can actually do better with their weight loss or management efforts than people who always fight the urge to indulge. I can see how that can happen. I often crave salty things and sweet things. If I allow myself to indulge in those things, say once a week, I think it reduces my cravings and I can consume them in moderation. However, if I deny myself those things for an extended period of time, I’m liable to eat an entire family-sized bag of salt & vinegar chips PLUS a big bar of chocolate. By myself. In one sitting. Much better to just have a bit every now and then. With that being said, I am 100% in agreement with having “treat” meals. (By the way, I hate the phrase “cheat” meal. I feel like it positions the FOOD as being the problem, when it’s really just a matter of managing your behavior concerning food. But that’s just me, lol.)

Tip #3: Stop Labeling Food as “Good” or “Bad”

I think that another bad habit many of us has is viewing food as either “good” or “bad”. In the “good” section you have things like veggies, fruit, nuts, fish, and chicken. And even then, we still view some fruit as too sugary, some nuts as too salty, and fish and chicken can be prepared in ways that are unhealthy). In the “bad” section you have things like…well, let’s just say that this list is super long. The thing is, though, there’s not really such a thing as “good” food or “bad” food. Sure, there are foods that you may want to eat in moderation, but that doesn’t make them bad. In my clear and logical mind (which isn’t always in control, lol), the only “bad” food is one that you are allergic to. So, the next time you catch yourself saying “I can’t eat that – it’s bad for me”. Pause and ask yourself something. First ask yourself if you are allergic to it. If the answer is no, ask yourself if you can control yourself when you are eating it. In other words, can you practice a bit of moderation? If so…treat yourself!

Tip #4: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

If you fall off the wagon (perhaps eating an entire family-size bag of chips as you tumble) don’t tell yourself that you suck at life. I know I have been guilty of doing this and sometimes I end up feeling like I’ll never get to where I want to be, so why bother. Sometimes this is when I swing to the other extreme. That’s not very healthy, is it? Instead of beating yourself up, commit to reclaiming your sense of balance. Just as one good meal isn’t going to catapult you to the finish line with your fitness goals one not-so-great choice isn’t going to set you back to the beginning.

What is your favorite “treat” meal? Let me know in the comments below!

 

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