Our street was closed for slurrying a couple of weeks ago. If you have no idea what that even means, join the club. I only found out about it when we received a notice that the street would be closed for a day because of it.
I actually thought “slurry” must be code for:
Sadly, it was far less exciting than any of these. (And clearly I’m still watching too much sci-fi.)
By definition, a slurry is a “semiliquid mixture, typically of fine particles of manure, cement, or coal suspended in water.” Cow poop suspended in water? Count me in.
In essence, slurrying simply means the road gets a facelift with a fresh coat of black, shininess, making it look freshly paved and new. Because, after all, why should streets feel left out when the rest of the state routinely undergoes eye lifts starting at age 30?
The only weirdness was knowing that once the process started, we would not be allowed to leave the house because you can’t drive on wet slurry. I don’t know what would happen if you did, but I assume it would be some sort of horrific mess that would forever change the way your neighbors treated you.
That means we’re stuck in the house for eight hours until the coating dries.
Normally, once I return from my workout in the morning I easily spend eight or more hours working in the house without thinking about it. So in essence it would be a day like any other.
But somehow, knowing that under no conditions whatsoever was I do dare step foot outside the house or drive anywhere, made me panic. What if one of us broke a leg and needed to go the ER? What if an earthquake occurs and the road split slurry efforts in half? What if Nordstrom holds a flash shoe sale?
Any of these constituted an emergency in my mind, one in which the slurry would become inconsequential.
Nonetheless, it’s human nature that once you tell someone they can’t do something, they will want to do it, whether they’re 2 years old or 72 years old.
This same response goes for anything food related.
For example, say you vow to cut out bread.
Once you make that decision that bread is evil and should be shunned within a 25 mile radius of you, what do you suddenly crave? Bread.
Even though you haven’t eaten a slice since 1997, knowing you can’t eat it is enough to suddenly make it the source of all things wonderful, the elixir of life, the air that you breathe!
Everywhere you look people are eating bread, the grocery store announces a sale and the aroma fills the store, and Oprah announces her love for the wheat-based delicacy (which it has become in your mind).
Here’s the thing: When you focus on something you see it everywhere. It takes over your mind.
Many women tell me they try to stay away from [cheese, chocolate, sweets, bread, bacon, etc.] and they’re “good” for a few days and then the dam breaks. They go on a bender, consuming vast quantities of their self-imposed “forbidden” food.
They then feel horrible about it. “I have no willpower!” they tell me.
My advice: Stop doing it.
This brings me to the first of THREE counterintuitive weight loss tips that really work. I do them myself, so I know. I also know many people who’ve told me it’s how they lost weight.
1. Do not make any food “forbidden”
Avoid putting certain foods on a Never To Eat Again pedestal for all the reasons I mentioned. No one food will make you pack on pounds unless you go beyond your calorie limit with it. It takes 3,500 calories to gain a pound of fat, so eating a square of chocolate at 150 calories isn’t the problem. Doing it every single day or eating your body weight in Godiva is another story.
Instead, limit yourself but avoid making it a Big Deal. If you enjoy bread (which happens to be my weakness), track how much you really eat and make sure what you eat is of the highest quality. Don’t eat something you crave for the sake of doing it, but really sit and enjoy it. Eat it without distractions. Be in the moment. Enjoy and move on.
2. Stop trying so hard
Making lifestyle changes by cutting back on a few hundred calories a day and/or increasing your exercise isn’t as sexy as following a cotton ball diet or exercising at an intensity that makes you barf. But the latter makes you feel you’re trying real hard. Because, after all, isn’t that what it takes to see results?
When you make changes for life, you make results for life. These changes should be ones you can do without a ton of effort because they’re that: small changes. Make them and do them consistently. Then make another and another, until those tiny tweaks add up to major shifts.
3. Step away from the scale
This one doesn’t work for everyone, but it worked for me and a lot of people I know. Yes, research shows people who track their weight on a daily basis are able to keep their weight under control better than those who do not, and if that works for you, keep at it. For others, it becomes an obsession.
If the number on the scale determines your mood for the day, stop. I interviewed David Garcia, founder of KeepItUpDavid.com, who lost more than 160 lbs and kept it off for over seven years.
He weighs himself monthly. That’s enough to keep him on track. It’s important to keep on track but how often you check yourself is personal.
When I lost over 15 lbs years ago I did it by not weighing myself for about a year. I did all the right things, though. I felt my clothes getting looser but did not step on a scale until I went for my yearly physical. Today, I weigh myself sporadically. More than that makes me crazy(er).
Do what works for you.
Overall, the key lies in doing all the right things: eat clean (very little processed foods, no junk food or fast food), do cardio, lift weights and find ways to de-stress. Then use the number on the scale as information, nothing more.
LET’S CHAT! Do YOU have a trick that works for you that goes against common advice? Let me know in the comments section below… I’d love to hear!
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Linda Melone is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, certified trainer and award-winning health and fitness writer. She specializes in helping women over 50 get in shape and lose weight.