**DISCLAIMER: Speak with your doctor before making any changes to your eating or exercise routines.**
I despise the word “diet.” I get asked all the time how I lost 35 pounds and kept it off. It’s a very complex routine that I came up with and you would never come up with it on your own, so I’ll share it with you: change your eating habits and commit to exercising smarter. J That’s it!
I’ve heard calories in < calories out, but I don’t like the emphasis on counting calories – a lot of people think as long as they stay under that magic number, it doesn’t matter what the calories are made of (um, no). I’ve also heard eat less, move more. Its not necessarily true that you need to eat less, because a lot of people don’t eat enough to start off with. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard from a trainer “You aren’t eating enough to lose those last few pounds, so your body is hanging on to everything.” Moving more isn’t necessarily going to help either – you could end up hurting yourself. You have to be smart about the changes you make. Quality over quantity is key. You can go lift weights for an hour and a half, but if you aren’t diversifying your exercises or your form is terrible – it probably isn’t doing you a lot of good. I’ve also seen a lot of healthy, capable-of-exercise people on the treadmill that have fooled themselves into thinking that strolling for 30 minutes while talking on their cell phone is going to get them anywhere. If you can talk on your cell phone, you’re not exercising. Don’t get me started.
Change your eating habits and commit to exercising smarter! “Diet” has a short-term connotation. Make a lifestyle change and keep up your good habits to keep the weight from coming back.
What are some easy changes to make? It’s pretty simple actually.
1. Drink more water. If you think you’re drinking enough, drink more. It is HIGHLY unlikely that you would consume enough water to actually harm yourself. (Coffee, tea, juice, etc. don't count as water because they have water in them.) A good rule to go by is 1 ounce for every 2 pounds of body weight. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, you should be drinking at least 80 ounces of water a day.
2. If you’re drinking soda every day, cut back. If you must, have it once or twice a week– but no soda is better. I won’t even begin to talk about all the crap that’s in there that is bad for your organs, nevermind your waistline. Diet soda isn’t really any better.
3. Make as much from scratch as you can. Frozen foods and meals from a box have become staples in busy households. Planning your week out and cooking some stuff ahead of time with fresh ingredients can really help, as can the slow cooker (greatest invention ever). I’ll definitely make an effort to post some recipes that work well for this.
4. Drink more water.
5. Portion size is so key. If you don’t know what a serving size looks like, start measuring your food at home. I have a food scale and take out the measuring cups on a regular basis. It only takes about 2 weeks of measuring consistently to get the hang of it and know when you have too much. If you’re still hungry after plate #1 (and you probably will be in the beginning because you’ve been eating way more than 1 serving), drink some water and go back for veggies. No more carbs and protein, you’ve had enough.
6. Snack throughout the day – but smartly! Take a piece of fresh fruit and a baggie of raw nuts in addition to your lunch. If you wait until it’s time for the next meal, chances are you’re ravenous and you’ll eat much more than you should. It’s never a good idea to be hungry and not be prepared – when you reach for something convenient and cheap, it probably isn’t healthy.
7. Drink more water.
8. Don’t restrict yourself. In order to have a well-balanced diet, you should be eating a little bit of everything – carbs, proteins, fats, etc. Some people (including me) don’t eat meat for health/religious/moral reasons – and that’s okay – just make sure you’re getting enough protein from other sources. If you completely cut something out of your diet, your body is going to want it more. When you give in, watch out.
9. Drink more water.
10. Pick an exercise activity or two that you enjoy and will stick with. If you hate running, chances are you’ll give it up after a week. Having a workout buddy makes things more fun as well.
Simple, easy-to-stick-to habits that can really make a difference. For some of you, all of these are a bunch of no-brainers – but do you practice them??
If anyone out there has lost weight and successfully kept it off, what helped you stick to your plan? What helped you keep the weight from coming back?
Something to read: Are the winter blues causing you to gain a few pounds?