As of today I am 14 pounds away from my goal weight! The process has been slow but steady (almost two years). This has been intentional. Like many of you, I have been on fad diets where you lose a bunch of weight within a few months. You feel great! You look great! But then you hit your goal weight and you start having cheat meals. That leads to cheat days. Before you know it, you are back to your old ways and 10-20 pounds heavier then when you started. Sucks right? Then you get discouraged and you basically give up. Well, at least until the next fad diet peaks your interest or you decided to give that last one another try. I am the farthest thing from an expert in this area. However, a few of you have asked what I have been doing to lose the weight. So, I am going to let you in on a few things that I have learned through this journey…
1. You have to be ready for a LIFESTYLE change. You need to WANT to be healthy. You have to WANT to get fit. It’s not something that you work hard at staring January 1st through the end of May then take a break from for the summer. Why put in all that work losing inches, building muscle and endurance just to lose it all for a few months of decadence? You will have to start all over again once you decide to get back on track in September. Then the holidays come and you put everything on hold again. This mindset will only lead to frustration and failure. You need to commit to a total lifestyle change. Plain and simple.
2. You have all heard by now about eating clean, the “caveman diet”, Paleo… Whatever you want to call it. There is no way I would be able to stick to eating clean 100% of the time. We enjoy eating out and we do it A LOT. I try to stick to a 80/20 ratio. This means eating good for me foods 80% of the time but leaving the last 20% for foods you just can’t live without. I don’t deprive myself. Also…Prepackaged foods like Mac N’ Cheese or Rice-A-Roni that have long shelf lifes have no place in your diet. They are not good for you so stop buying them.
3. I do not buy GMO labeled foods. I also prefer produce and poultry from local farmers markets where I know it’s fresh and not pumped full of hormones or sprayed with chemicals. Why would you want to put all that nasty stuff into your body? This also goes for dairy. what they inject and feed the cows with ends up in the milk and other dairy you consume. So, eat your fruits and veggies. Have your meat. But educate yourself about what you are buying and consuming.
4. Read your labels. If there are ingredients that you can’t pronounce put it back. Look for versions of your favorite foods that are healthier options. You would be surprised how much sugar and calories are in a box of generic granola with almonds compared to Kashi Go Lean Chrunch with almonds.
5. Measure your food. You need to learn what real portions look like. Again, read and educate yourself. I bet you will be shocked once you realize how much you actually consume in one sitting. I use My Fitness Pal to help me stay on track. I need the visual aid to keep me focused. I log everything I eat.
6. You also need to exercise. Lift weights! Ladies I promise you will not bulk up. But when you lift heavy, you will see the weight come off faster. Balance it out with some form of cardio. Try new things and find something you enjoy doing. I like running. I am not fast but I like doing it. Hiking rates even higher then running for me. Do you like to swim? Ride bikes? Go for long walks with your pup or significant other? The point is to get up and MOVE! You need to get your heartrate up and sweat! I don’t agree with “two a day” workouts and exercising everyday. Your body needs rest days. I try to do some type of physical activity 3-4 times a week for a minimum 30 minutes each time out. I also log all workouts into MFP as well.
7. When eating out, ask for a side salad instead of fries. Or salsa for that baked potato instead of cheese. Get your dressings and sauces on the side. Swap out the bad for the good. It’s small changes like this that will help you stay on track. This is how I manage to eat out all the time and not gain back weight.
8. Have you noticed how many times I used the word “try”? There will be bad days where you don’t have healthy options or time to workout. Don’t beat yourself up over any slip ups. They WILL happen. Just tell yourself tomorrow is another day and get back on track in the morning.
9. Know who your support group is. These are the people that not only support but inspire you to keep going. Think of them as your personal cheerleaders. Besides family and friends, I have gotten to know a great group of women (and a man or two) on line that I know will offer tips or cheer me on when I need it most. You never know who will be your best allies. I know I would not have gotten this far without any of them.
So there you have it. I hope this was helpful for you. If you want me to go into more detail, feel free to message me on Facebook or comment here. I will do what I can to answer your questions 🙂