Over the past couple months, I have been on a health craze. As I mentioned in my previous post (10 Ways to Get out of your Workout Slump) I gained a lot of weight throughout college and one of my first goals once I graduated was to lose that extra weight. I had the workout part down, I just needed to find the discipline to eat right! Well, 13 weeks later and I have lost tons of weight! And let me tell you, it is the best feeling in the world when people go from asking you why you’re doing it to asking you how you did it!
I have heard so many statistics about “dieting is 80%/90%/160% of it!” Well, regardless of the statistic, the point is it doesn’t matter how many crunches you do or how many times you go to Zumba a week, you’ll never see your hipbones until you change your diet! The best part: once you start eating right, you’ll gain so much energy and motivation, the rest comes so easy! Then comes the best part: feeling so good in your skin and getting to go SHOPPING to dress it up! YAY!
I tried not to include the typical suggestions that we see everywhere, but these are honestly the tips that worked for me. I hope they help you!
1. It’s not a diet; it’s a LIFESTYLE change
For whatever reason, the word “diet” has developed a discouraging connotation and the minute we say we’re on a diet, all of those thoughts like *no carbs* and *i can’t eat that* and not to mention all those past diet failures come back. So by telling yourself you’re on a diet, you’re already setting yourself up for failure. BUT if you think of it as a lifestyle change and you’re working towards being healthier, instantly it’s a new ball game. Tap into your subconscious and pass on this subtle message and watch how much easier it is to eat right! Next time someone asks “want a deep dish chocolate chip cookie?” don’t respond with “I can’t, I’m on a diet.” Instead simply say “no,” because deep down it’s not the diet that stopped you, but your new lifestyle of eating right!
2. Treat everyday like a new day
So maybe you showed a moment of weakness and ate poorly yesterday. Today is a brand new day and you get to start from scratch! If you dwell on the fact that you “cheated” it’s easy to give up and stop eating right and wash away all of the progress you’ve made. So get up, eat an awesome breakfast, and forget about it!
3. Work out in the morning
After you’ve slaved away for hours at the gym or really gave your 100% at your aerobics class you’re not going to want to throw all of that away with that cookie. So not worth it! I’m not sure who came up with the phrase “I work out hard so I can eat like a pig.” It never made sense to me!
4. Drink water
Seems simple enough but there’s a logic behind it. Constantly having a bottle of water by your side will prevent you from reaching for that salty/sweet/crappy snack and will, more importantly, keep you full. Our body often times confuses hunger with thirst and dehydration. So keep drinking water so you don’t eat useless meals and snacks. Also try drinking a glass of water before each meal and you’ll eat less! 0 calories and so good for you: you can’t go wrong! You should drink 8 glasses which is about 2 liters every day. I find it easiest to keep a 1 liter bottle with me so I know I just need to drink two of them each day.
Oh yeah, and ditch the soda!!! Seriously, this stuff is total crap! One time my car wouldn’t start and the guy that came to fix it bought a bottle of coke and poured it all over my car battery to erode all the crap from it. That is the kind of crap people put into their bodies! GROSS! Diet soda is not any better: aspartame is even worse because it is a sugar like substance that makes your brain think you are eating sugar so it still releases the hormone to process it and when your body doesn’t use it, it turns to fat! There is nothing good about this stuff so make the switch to water!
5. Eat breakfast
Yes, it’s the most important meal, you already know that. But check this out for yourself. I’ve found from experience that if I skip breakfast I get this insatiable hunger the rest of the day. So basically, no matter what I eat for lunch I still feel hungry! This makes me eat more and I feel awful all day. Eat an awesome meal for breakfast and you’re set for the day!
6. Eat at home as much as possible
I recently moved home from college (land of the late night Taco Bell runs and Pad Thai every night!) and just eating at home and not eating out all the time has shed so many pounds. Restaurants are notorious for giving you way too much food, using tons of butter, and other unhealthy ingredients. How many times have you thought, “I’ll just eat Mexican and have a healthy salad,” but then they put that basket of chips and some salsa in front of you and before you know it, you’ve finished the basket and you don’t even know how many you ate! Not to mention all of that bread at Italian restaurants. For as much as you’ve paid there, you could have made a healthy meal for your entire family.
7. Make it easier to make good decisions
This means get rid of all of those crappy food and sugary drinks lurking in your fridge and pantry. If you only give yourself great options, you won’t have a choice but to eat right! Also, make it just as easy to reach for broccoli as it is to reach for a bag of chips! Cut it up and put it in the fridge so all you have to do is open up the box and enjoy!
8. Explore your spice rack
It’s amazing what a world of a difference some salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, etc., make on veggies. They instantly take bland food to a whole new level to where you won’t even miss those cookies! (Watch out for some spices like Mrs. Dash’s grilling spices which are full of sodium. I’m talking basic spices like chili powder, cumin, etc.)
9. Make your own!
I was surprised at how easy it is to make peanut butter, almond butter, applesauce, jam, juices and other things. When you make these things at home, you know exactly what is going in it and, as a result, into your body. It also avoids all those extra sugars and preservatives and you know there are real ingredients in it! I recently got a juicer and I’m so in love with it! The juice tastes 10 times better, it’s fresh and without all that extra sugar! It’s an instant boost of healthy and keeps you eating well the rest of the day.
10. Keep it interesting
There is nothing worse than eating an egg white omelette every morning for a week and then getting sick of it (trust me on that one!). Keep it interesting and change it up! Keep your pantry stocked with oatmeal, cereal (like Special K, not Cocoa puffs!), and deli meats to change up your meals. Also, look up some awesome recipes through Pinterest! It is the hub of yummy healthy recipes!
11. Keep yourself satiated
Don’t let yourself go hungry! This is when we make the WORST decisions! Think about the last greasy cheeseburger you ate. What led you to it? I can tell you the last time I wandered into Five Guys for my little bacon cheeseburger and Cajun fries it was 2pm and I hadn’t eaten anything yet that day. I was starving and wasn’t thinking straight.
12. Just have a bite
Who doesn’t love decadent, chocolatey brownies? But you’ve been so good today! What’s one brownie going to do? Listen carefully: take one tiny bite and then walk away to resist all temptation to eat the rest! You’ll be happy you did. Plus, I’ve found that taking a smaller bite of something tastes better than the entire brownie anyways!
13. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself
So often we stress ourselves out over our lifestyle changes. Recording everything in journals and calorie counting apps, not eating carbs, stopping ourselves from that one M&M, and not having that glass of wine while our friends are having fun. We are all human! If you stop yourself from being happy, it’s easy to resent yourself, your new lifestyle, and stop altogether. It’s ok to indulge once in a while. Just get back on track tomorrow!
14. No Carbs After Dinner!
I honestly think this has been the key to my success! Here’s how the science works: our body naturally uses carbs for energy and when it can’t find any, it moves on to fat! (This is how the Atkin’s diet works.) Depriving our body of carbs entirely is just not healthy, but when we only do it for dinner and instead eat a ton of protein, all night long our body is naturally burning fat! For me personally: I eat a spicy omlette filled with veggies for dinner! YUMMMM!
15. Ask yourself, “will this nourish my body?”
Here is a foreign concept to me: eating for nourishment? I was always eating for pleasure because I thought something would taste good, etc. (skinny chocolate brownies anyone?). This was a concept my best friend introduced me to. He would say this to me every time I proposed some skinny recipie, but I never understood it until recently. Sure those skinny brownies are a great alternative to the crappy 500 calorie brownies you could have eaten, but that doesn’t make them good for you. Instead of filling yourself up on dishes to replace what you would have eaten for dessert, load up on things that will actually nourish your body, like broccoli!
Here’s some good news: The more you eat right, the easier it gets. Take it from me! I had the BIGGEST sweet tooth (and still do) but it has toned down a LOT since I have started this lifestyle change. You would never hear me turning down an offer to get frozen yogurt, but it’s gotten a lot easier to do so! You get to a point where at first it’s because you don’t want to ruin your progress. Then it turns into just because its not appealing anymore. It’s great!
I hope this advice helps you as much as these tips have changed my life! Good Luck & Much Love,