So with the 1st of the year behind us and for those who make them, the New Years resolutions made, I wanted to leave some tips for those who are watching their weight, trying to lose weight or are on their own personal (and hopefully HEALTHY) lifestyle change. I personally have been on my own lifestyle change for the past two years and have not felt better! I still eat the items I love, but I have them in moderation. The big thing that is different from the me now, compared to the me then is I am VERY conscious and aware of the foods I am putting in my mouth! By foods I mean snacks, fruits, vegetables, drinks, and entire meals (whether homemade or purchased at either the grocery store or at a food chain). Before I get into the mistakes, there are just two general rules I personally live by so I just want to mention them quickly.
The #1 rule I live by is you are NOT on a diet, it should be considered a change of lifestyle. The old saying goes, rules are made to be broken. So don’t set yourself up for failure. I’ve been in that boat where my diet was going to start TOMORROW and tomorrow came … and went … and so did my plans. When you start to think of things as a change of lifestyle, they become easier. And don’t go into it with a diet mentality, no one will be content and be able to live off of brown rice, steamed broccoli and plain baked chicken the rest of their lives. Old habits die hard in that scenario.
Rule #2 make sure you want to get healthy for yourself and that your mind is in the game! If your mind is not in it, or if you are doing this for other people, you may find success – but you won’t maintain that success. I’ve done things for others regarding my health and while I road the wave, my heart wasn’t there and I eventually just gave up. So make sure this is for you and you only.
Rule #3 be realistic about what you want to obtain! Don’t think you’re going to drop 25 pounds in 30 days. Think of the amount of time it took you to put that weight on. It’s going to take longer than a month to lose that, because sadly, it takes longer to get the weight off THAN it does putting it on. You just have to have faith and a positive attitude and you will drop the poundage!
Now onto the foodie blunders! I’ve been told some of these numerous times and I’ve heard them recited by nutritionist, doctors, and even Weight Watcher leaders. Sometimes you can mindlessly dismiss food items without realizing the hindrance they can do on your weight loss or maintenance of a loss.
Don’t skip meals! Breakfast is the biggest meal many skip – but this is one of the most important meals of the day. It fuels your body and gets you amped up for the day ahead of you. Think of your body as a car that has hardly any gas in it. If you don’t fuel the engine (and in this case, your body) you’re going to burn out and run out of gas. You don’t have to have a full course meal, you can have cereal, an egg (scrambled or hardboiled), a granola bar, a few slices of deli meat on a piece of bread. Something! Something (and your coffee is NOT considered a meal supplement!) is better than nothing.
Don’t drink your calories! Don’t drink high sugared sodas and juices. You may not think they’re doing any damage, but typically with these beverages the serving size is 4 ounces and usually the serving sizes provided in the “to go” containers are more than double that amount. The caloric content isn’t worth the benefits because these beverages will not sustain you and typically because they are sugary they end up making you crave foods. If you are a soda drinker (and I am) switch to diet or if you can’t handle the “diet taste” switch to the mid-grade level – such as Pepsi Max or Coke Zero where it is zero calories but doesn’t taste just as Diet Pepsi or Diet Coke would taste. If you are a juice drinker and you refuse to give it up, there are diet juices out there and lower calorie alternatives to juices. But I would personally say – grab a pack of Crystal Light or Snapple To Go and put that in a bottle of water. You may really ONLY be craving the sweet – which in these 2 cases are generic but only 5 calories – the equivalent to a piece of gum.
Know what you are ordering if going to a restaurant! I do this ALL the time! If I am asked to go out to eat, I jump on the internet and look up the restaurant beforehand. Most restaurants are now with the times and offer their nutrition information on their websites. You can take a peaksee at some of your favorite items and figure out what you really want through the process of elimination. If the dish I am ordering has a sauce, I ask for it on the side. For my vegetables I want them steamed with NO butter and when it’s regarding a baked potato? I make sure they know I want it plain, plain, plain – because some restaurants roll their potatoes in butter BEFORE rolling them in salt and serving it to you.
That ketchup on your plate, or that dressing on your salad isn’t a ‘free’ food! So many of us go out to eat and ignore the fact that condiments have calories and serving sizes associated to them. What a restaurant is giving you on your salad is NOT a serving size; it’s doubled or even tripled. What you can do is order a Light or Fat Free dressing – or if you want your favorite that isn’t light, order it on the side and dip your fork into the dressing and eat your salad that way. Typically we are only looking for the flavor of the dressing. If you are ordering something like a hamburger, ask for your condiments on the side (particularly mayonnaise) or skip it all together.
Know a serving size! If you are purchasing something that has a label on it, flip it over or turn it around. Every item has a nutrition label on it – even some packaged meats do. In meats, serving sizes are in ounces. In liquids serving sizes are generally in tablespoons. In grains they are usually in cups. But be aware of what you are eating – we tend to have portion distortion if we THINK that is a half a cup – when if you measured it, it’s probably around ¾ or even a full cup.
Working out is your friend! And by working out, I don’t mean you need a gym membership. A simple walk is exercise and will help with your weight loss and even help you with maintaining a loss. It also helps keep you overall healthy. If you don’t want to join a gym, do exercises at home – there are countless exercise videos through cable stations or even on YouTube. Use your Wii or Kinect to exercise. Chase your children. Park further away from a store and walk a little more to get there. If you’re going to the mall park at the end AWAY from the store you are going to. Just remember that little things add up over time.
I admit I got a little long winded with this, but this is something I have become truly passionate about. I follow the Weight Watchers program and have lost over 175 pounds in 2 years. It takes time and I’m still losing. If I started this journey saying “I need to lose 175 pounds” I’d have thrown in the towel more than a year ago. Positivity, having your head in the game, being active and being aware is truly the tools you need to succeed.
I am not a nutritionist. I am just a regular person who wanted to take charge of their life and be healthy and above all happy. If you have any questions or want ideas for meals, etc., feel free to ask me here or even send me a message. I’d be more than happy to help!