1) Know thyself. I'm a cyclical kind of person. I get fit, stay there awhile, get burned out, eat whatever I want, subsequently gain a few pounds, then when my clothes start feeling too tight and I don't like how I look in the mirror I start back on a fitness kick. It's how I work. As I've gone through fit/unfitness cycles, I've learned a bunch about what works for me. So, I continue to....
2) I have to want it. As the "eat whatever I want" cycle goes on for a few weeks I notice the fat layering on. But it takes more than noticing to make me put down the donuts and pick up my running shoes. I have to really want to get fit and commit to a regimen.
3) Dramatic change. This week I'm christening my fitness kick with negating sugar, not eating after 8pm, consuming less wheat products, making healthier food choices and daily exercise. I know that I need to make a big change, and in two weeks I know I will see a big change when I commit (#2) to following through.
4) Get the Crap out of the Kitchen. The easiest way to make sure I eat healthy is to only have good food options around. I shop smarter and THROW AWAY THE CRAP in the CUPBOARDS. I know we shouldn't waste food, but seriously, I don't have to eat it if it's going to make me feel terrible about myself afterward. Just toss it.
5) Have Happy Foods. Healthy food doesn't have to taste like grass and cardboard. AMAZING. I don't believe in super foods, complete proteins or any fad diet foods. It's all about math: calories in = calories expended mean you stay the same weight. Expend more calories than you consume = burn calories. So, know some healthy meal and snack options that you enjoy. For kicks, I'll include a list of foods/meals I've found helpful.
6) I Have to Exercise. When I workout I naturally want to make healthier food choices. Hand in hand. When I see that package of cookies or the chocolate truffle recipe at my finger tips I think, "Do I REALLY want to have to run that off? Nope." Also, the endorphins that energize and also relax me after a workout are addictive. They make me happy, crave ice water, fresh produce, and 80's music. Okay, not the last one, but you get my point. Exercise is the key for me to keeping on the healthy track. It's my personal coach and I know I need it in my schedule at least 4 times a week to keep me going strong. Cardio and a mix of strength building exercises.
7) Healthy Expectations. It's often said that it's healthy to lose no more than 1 lb. a week. I don't often weigh myself and it's a good thing. Instead I go by how toned my tummy appears (since that's my trouble area) and how my clothes fit. Honestly, I wish they stopped selling scales, don't you? Guilt, guilt, guilt! Well, from garnered experience by being cyclical, I know that within 2 weeks of persistent, positive, proactive change I WILL see results. Everyone who does the same will, as well. To quote 'Anchorman,'... "and THAT's a SCIENTIFIC FACT!"
A few notes you don't want to skip over
-You can lose weight without exercise by simply changing your diet. It won't happen as quickly as combining healthy eating and some good cardio, but it will happen.
-Don't starve yourself. When you feel light-headed, eat, girl! Make sure you have healthy, quick options around so you don't cave when you're uber hungry. Guilty of that, and it makes me feel like a loser when I succumb to a poor food option to appease the grumblies in my tumblies.
-If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. But remember, ya gotta want it, otherwise you're just putting yourself through failure after failure and flogging yourself with guilt. Not. Cool. You're life is too short to be unhappy. Wait until you're ready (and see #4 and #5.)
-I started using smaller everything when dishing up. Smaller plates, bowls, even spoons when I'm eating something I really want to enjoy (not snarf down.) I even use the kids' bowls when I have cereal because it is closer to the serving size the box recommends.
Foods and Meals I Love
- 2 poached/sunny-side-up eggs. (Spray the pan, plop the eggs, wait until the white are semi-solid, poor a few tables spoons of water around the edge of the pan, cover with lid until the yolk is cooked to your liking.)
- GoLean cereal with 2 tablespoons of dried berries
- A piece of fruit and a cup of tea or coffee with either above option.
- Baked/Microwaved Potato with veggies and mozzarella. (Stab the potato several times, then microwave on high/normal for 3 minutes. Place cooked potato in a bowl, break it up a bit, place two handfuls of fresh spinach or 1/2 a sliced zucchini (coined) on top. Add 1/3 c shredded mozzarella. Microwave for an additional 2 minutes until cheese is melted.) Ketchup is nice :)
- Add a salad! My current favorite is baby spinach, diced tomato, cucumber, 1 1/2 tablespoons of blue cheese, 1 tablespoon of sliced almonds and 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar drizzled over it. YUM! Gorgeous balance and blend of flavors.
- Sliced tomatoes with fresh basil, drizzled balsamic. (See a trend? I'm big on balsamic and tomatoes.)
- Homemade turkey, three bean chili
- Hearty, lowfat, high vegetable and protein stews
- Steamed veggies (DELICIOUS -do a medley of carrots, broccoli and cabbage. And open your windows at night so you don't kill yourself -or spouse- with high methane levels, yeah?)
- Turkey sausage (we're big on turkey here. Cheaper and healthier than beef, for sure.)
- Grilled pork chops (another massive fave here) with BBQ sauce to dip.
Snack Options and Meal Substitutes When I'm on the Run:
- Apple slices with sharp cheddar and a cup of tea
- Hot tea (especially when I start freaking out, wanting to eat any and everything. Calms this mama down in a heartbeat.)
- Snicker's Marathon Bars (protein bars that taste YUM.) Add apple and bottle of water for great satisfaction.
- Popcorn. Yeah, baby. I heart my air popper -and the kids love it!
- Clif Bar's high protein Builder Bar. Like both Peanut Butter and their Chocolate. PB top choice.
So, I'm on through another cycle of fitness and looking forward to (big time) feeling exactly the way I want to. In two weeks.
Congratulations on taking the first step (or the 292nd) if you're on the same path! Maybe we'll run into each other!