3 Rules for Healthier, Supportive Weight Loss Talks

by: Danielle Ternyila

The way we talk about our weight has changed so much in my family over the years, and it has definitely been a change for the better. Weight seemed like such a private matter, and it could be considered rude to discuss or hurtful. That’s the way we all are used to thinking, but I think that’s only holding us back.

My mom and I, for example, have regular conversations about our health, and I don’t mean just updates on doctors appointments out of curiosity. We talk about recipes, we talk new healthy cooking hacks and swap ideas, brainstorm new workout routines when I get in a rut, celebrate our successes weekly or even daily… Health is not an “bad” topic in our family, even when we fall off the wagon and haven’t been making the healthiest choices; those times are most important to communicate so we can get help and motivation to keep going.

That said, there are a few important ways the conversations have changed that make these most beneficial to us. Use these 3 tips to have more positive discussions around weight and our health, whether in our families, friendship circles, or an online support group of like-minded friends. Here’s a few rules to keep it positive:

Judgement Is Not Invited

The discussions we have aren’t judgmental; they are supportive and encouraging. We do our best to compliment each other and celebrate wins, as well as help overcome the battles and struggles along the way too. It feels a lot more possible and real in your mind when you have a team of support behind you, starting with your family or those closest to you. When there is no judgement or feel of embarrassment, the conversations are better all around and more productive.

This is most important on the bad days especially. We need to be supportive of each other, and so whether we are having a bad day or our friend is having a bad week, those are the most important times to hold all judgement. Things happen, life can change, and it’s okay to not be perfect all the time. Just support one another all the same.

Honesty Supports Succcess

If the whole idea of positive health talk in your family is new, everyone has to start somewhere. It can be hard and feel personal to talk about your weight, and it can feel really hard to admit your inner thoughts, even to the most cherished loved one. However, you need to know you are in a supportive environment and can say anything without judgement. Be honest and don’t tell lies about your journey.

The only person you are doing a disservice to when you lie about your health is you. Think about that! Whether your doctor, your mom, or your significant other knows you’re still eating junk food, skipping the gym, or lying about your weight, you’re only hurting yourself at the end of the day. Use honesty and their support to help motivate you in your weight loss endeavors.

Share And Learn As You Go

Not only has this completely shaped the way our family talks about health, but I think the biggest impact has been sharing everything we’ve learned as we go. My sister will call me with a new healthy cooking hack, my mom will email me a new recipe, my dad will unwillingly sign me up for a 5k at random. Not only do we support each other, but we can provide more support for one another when we are involved. Even if I can’t go to the gym with my mom due to conflicting schedules and I can’t have dinner with my sister every day, we still share our successes and lessons so we can all benefit from it.

No matter what, taking any steps, big or small, toward achieving your weight loss goals is going to push you further along. Having support from home or around you changes your own mindset and helps you believe in yourself.

Not to mention, there are so many benefits to having a workout buddy too! It doesn’t have to be about sharing your own journey with someone on the same path. If there is anyone you can talk to about your weight and health goals, it should be your gym buddy, and if you don’t have one yet, there’s too many reasons why you should.

Two Reasons to Avoid Measuring Weight Loss Success Against Clothing Sizes

by: Danielle Ternyila

Your weight loss goals and achievements can’t be reached if you’re measuring it all by pant size, or any clothing size for that matter. Our bodies are all unique and with so many different designers, brands, materials, and styles in clothing out there, there is not enough consistency to compare yourself to a tag. You may think you need to be a size X to be happy, but by what standards?

Over the course of a year, my most determined self committed to getting in shape and losing the 60+ pounds I had gained in college. During this time, I weighed myself daily and saw great progress at first, but once I shed the first few “easy” pounds, it got harder and I felt hopeless when I began to fluctuate and struggled with losing the rest. I would get so upset to put on a size 8 that barely fit after a 6 just the week before, but now when I look back, I see that those 2 different sizes actually were more similar in the waist after all being bought in different stores and made by different designers.

We can get so torn up over a number on the scale, but what’s far worse is the fear of our “fat pants” never fitting well again. Our clothing sizes are so inconsistent , however, that you can be a Medium in one brand while an X-Large in another fits the exact same!

Clothing Sizes Always Vary

By measuring my weight loss success through the size-18 jeans I hadn’t zipped up in years, the feelings of failure crept in eventually, and not fitting into them or still wearing bigger sizes did not leave me feeling encouraged to try harder. I’m not doing it right. I will never lose this weight. I have to just love my body for what it is, I thought.

Yes, you have to love yourself, but also remember you cannot give up on yourself either. At the end of the day, all the clothes in stores today come in so many varied styles and materials, waistlines and collars, inseams and hemlines. All of these things make each pair of pants in your closet unique, and I’m sure you’ll see inconsistencies if you laid out a few pairs in the “same size” and compared. Our bodies are different too! We all lose weight in different places and at different rates. I couldn’t get my jeans to snap for a while at first, but after another 20 lbs down, I realized I was actually losing a lot in my chest first, instead of my gut and thighs that affected the pant size I was holding myself to.

When I did get the pants on, I kept working on myself, and I started using measurements to track my progress. My weekly routine included measuring my upper arm, chest, waist, thigh, etc. Even though my favorite skinny jeans didn’t fit, I could see exactly how I was doing and get a more realistic idea of my achievements than when I bet it all on wanting to be a certain size for my closet.

Our Bodies Aren’t Perfect Fits

I dropped from size (barely fitting in) 18 to a comfortable but shocking size 2, but then I noticed I started going back up in terms of sizes. Now I wear a 6 more often, but I also have a lot of pieces in an 8-10. It was hard not to see this as a failure because we all assume we have to be the smallest size. That’s not true!

Like I said, every piece of clothing is so uniquely designed with different materials, ideas, and intentions. After becoming a Zyia Active Independent Rep, I can see how all of these factors change the way things fit, just like our bodies are all unique. Some of our leggings have an encased band at the top to stay put for those who are more active or have more they want to “hold up”, but we also have leggings without that or ones designed intentionally less compressive for more casual or comfortable wear. Some of our clothing accentuates the abdominal area, while others aim to flatten it or draw less attention to the area altogether. This changes how every piece is designed, just like our bodies all require different styles and fits. It’s not all about the size on the tag.

All of our bodies are so unique, just like the clothes we love shopping for. We can’t just expect ourselves to be the perfect image we are looking for. The most important lesson of all was in learning to listen to my body more. Activity, balanced nutrition, and positive mental health routines are all a part of my day to day now, and no matter what Jean size I’m wearing, I feel better mentally and physically, which is the only thing that should matter to us as we lose weight and take back our health.

Healthy Holiday Beverages for Every Host

by: Danielle Ternyila

Your holiday get-together does not need all those store-bought sugary drinks. In fact, those drinks will only make your guests feel tired and sluggish, which will not make for any fun rounds of games. At some point everyone will just be waiting around for Secret-Santa or White Elephant so they can go home!

Refresh your guests with beverages they won’t regret next time on the scale, which of course includes yourself. If you have soda and wine or other goodies out, you are much more likely to indulge despite your weight-loss goals and everything you told yourself about behaving for the diet. Use water to turn your hosting skills up a notch and ditch the sodas and fruit punch – not just any water though! Add flavors, calorie-free!

Fruit Blends for Water

Water is, as we all know, the most healthy thing we can consume, especially compared to some of our other favorite holiday and adult beverages, but instead of throwing out a handful of water bottles or tap water, let some cut up fruit infuse in your pitcher of water so guests can enjoy delicious and calorie-free drinks. Try these favorite combinations:

  1. Mint, Cucumber & Lemon
  2. Raspberry, Lime & Mint
  3. Orange, Cinnamon & Clove

Infused Teas

Iced tea is another easy drink to pull out, but this time don’t go reaching for the sweet-tea powder mix. Instead, use tea bags (add more than you would for hot water as it’ll need to brew stronger to serve iced) and a few simple ingredients to add some unique tastes:

  1. Black Tea with Cinnamon and Orange
  2. Green Tea with Mint & Lemon
  3. Black Tea with Cranberry & Mint

These drink recipes barely contain any calories (and if they do, it’s from the fruits and other flavors you’re adding!). It is so important to stay hydrated during the holidays because it will help you feel more full and help prevent any overindulging when it comes to your big dinner plans.

A Meal-Prep Solution for Everybody

Meal prepping can actually be accomplished in a number of ways, despite what you may have assumed. Every one has their own style in the kitchen, so why should we all meal prep the same? There is a meal solution out there for everyone, no matter what kind of cook you are (or are not!)

If you aren’t meal prepping yet, consider one of these ways to help yourself each week in the kitchen depending on how you need to optimize your time and days!

The “All-In” Prep Queen

You thrive on preparedness, and so it is essential that you have all your meals prepared in advance, even if it means buckling down over the weekend and getting everything ready to go for the week. Lunches are planned and organized for easy grabs during the week. Dinners too are well-prepared in advance to optimize your time at home during the week. It’s not a bad idea to freeze full meals in tin trays that can be easily reheated in the oven. Breakfasts are easy to plan for in advance with granola bars and fruit, but you might also enjoy blending an overnight oats for some additional nutrition and flavors, while still being something you can grab off the shelf easy.

The “Easygoing” Prep Queen

You don’t struggle finding time during the week to cook your lighter meals, but not having to cook a full dinner on your own every night is certainly a load off your shoulders. Cook a few simple meals in advance that freeze well and can be reheated in the oven, or at least marinade some meat and vegetables so they are ready to go when you’re ready to cook.

Sometimes this is me. I’ll cook full meals in advance to steam or reheat in the air-fryer for dinner. At the end of the day, especially a long one in the office, the last thing I want to do is cook dinner. By freezing something in a tin, dinner is on the table by the time I get home because I call my man on my way to just put it in the oven to reheat! Learned this trick from my mom, calling us on her way home from work to turn on the oven for her turkey or vegetable lasagna dinner! (Don’t worry, we were older by the time she entrusted us with such a task… just once we were able to walk!)

The Prep-Prepper

Your pantry is already organized fairly well, but now you take it a step further and prepare the preparations, so prep the prep! When you’re putting the groceries away, you’re doing your best to keep your recipes together so it’s all there and easy to grab during the week. You waste no time with efficiency.

The List Lady

You thrive on lists. You love nothing more than checking something off, whether it’s “pick up groceries” or “cook steak”. You are better off writing your meal plan for the week and tacking it to the refrigerator. Afterall, you have plenty of time to cook dinner since you manage the rest of yours so well with your lists and agendas!

There is nothing wrong with a good list. At the very least, a list on the fridge of all the healthy snacks and foods in the cabinets is an awesome tool to make healthier choices. Sometimes the unhealthy thing you reach for all the time is just the easiest thing, like muscle memory. Have a list in your face reminding you about the apple sauce, pretzels, fresh fruit and frozen yogurt in the kitchen is a far greater tool than any other to keep yourself focused. Better yet, move all these healthy snacks to the front of your cabinets and fridge!