Anyone who knows me or anything about my weight loss journey knows that it’s been just that…a journey! One of the biggest mistakes I see people make while trying to lose weight is buying into the false belief that weight loss can be an ‘overnight process’ and that a fad diet can be the ‘end all, be all’ answer to their problem. While I’d have to say that most (if not all) fad diets probably do work, it only works temporarily…Hence the expression: quick fix. There is SO much more to losing and maintaining weight loss, take it from someone who knows firsthand; maintaining my almost 200 pound weight loss turned out to be 100% harder than actually losing it.
So no matter where you are on ‘your journey’-rather you’re just starting out toward your goal or looking to maintain it, I’m going to share with you some of my top super simple secrets that not only helped me lose the majority of my weight but there what also helps me maintain it. Implementing these simple shifts and tweaks into your diet (no, let me rephrase that…into your lifestyle) can AND will drastically improve your body and your life from the inside out. I caution you: These tips might seem overly simplistic and small but the results you’ll get from putting them into practice can AND will lead to lasting and BIG results!
So upgrade your ‘healthstyle’ with these simple lifestyle changes:
1. Avoid dieting. Everyone has ‘a diet’ (a specific manner of eating) but just because you have ‘a diet’ doesn’t mean you have to be ‘on a diet’. Being on a diet suggests that it’s only temporary, so matter what diet you might follow, at some point you’re going to revert back to your normal eating habits once the ‘diet’ is over (good, bad or indifferent). So instead of going on a diet, educate yourself so that you can accurately tweak your current eating habits until you have something that gives you the results you desire and is easy and healthy enough to follow it forever.
2. Change slowly. You might want to change everything at once, but that strategy usually NEVER works very well. Instead, make a list of 3 to 4 ‘healthstyle’ changes you wish to make and then take the (baby) steps necessary to gradually replace the old negative patterns with your new positive ones. So that ultimately you’re doing more than just changing your diet, you’re also changing your lifestyle.
3. Eat every day at the same time. Your body likes routines and rhythms. The problem with waiting until you’re hungry to eat is your WAY more likely to overeat or reach for junk in the name of hunger. Instead create a food schedule and stick to it. I eat every 2-3 hours (3 meals and 2 healthy snacks). When your body trusts that you’re going to feed it regularly (and with good stuff) it will happily release that unwanted fat.
4. Plan and package your meals in advance. Since most of the things that are available in fast restaurants are not very healthy (although I have to admit that restaurants have come a LONG way in the last few years). Packing your lunch or already having dinner prepped/prepared at home makes you WAY less tempted to even consider running through a drive through. Plus, as an added bonus: you’ll save money.
5. Get the junk food out of the house. If it’s in the house, you’re going to eat it sooner or later. The solution is to simply get rid of it all. Yes, I know many of you have issues with ‘wasting’ food, so if that’s you, just do like I do and buy it, take ONE serving out and walk it straight outside and give it away to the neighborhood kids. And as an added bonus: it makes you look like an awesome neighbor!
6. Drink plenty of water. Juices and sodas are often packed with sugar and/or chemically engineered artificial sweeteners. Diet drinks are NO better from a health standpoint (but that’s a whole other subject). Give your body the water it needs (ideally drink half your weight in ounces daily) and it will reward you with better health, clearer skin and more energy, just to name a few benefits! Plus as an added bonus: drinking plenty of water helps keep you from consuming excess calories, too!
7. Get your fiber. Unless you eat beans regularly, it’s highly unlikely that you’re getting all the fiber you need. Track your diet and see how much you’re actually consuming. Consider a fiber supplement if you don’t seem to be able to eat all that you should. If you don’t like beans then apples and carrots can serve as a good (and tasty) source of fiber.
8. Eat nuts. Nuts are an excellent source of healthy fat(s) and protein. However, watch out for the salt and don’t eat too many, since the calories add up quickly. For example, 2 cups of almonds can have more calories than a whopper. Most recommendations call for 1 ounce of nuts per day, which is about 15-20 nuts.
9. Bake, don’t fry. Besides being fattening, oils that have been heated to very high temperatures can be VERY unhealthy. However, with the right herbs and spices, you can learn to love baked foods and savor the flavor, without all the unnecessary calories!
10. Exercise a little. I know many of you are saying Ugh!!! But even a small amount of exercise can have positive benefits and help curb your appetite. Move around enough to increase your heart rate for at least a few minutes each day. I suggest (at least) 30 minutes of consistent movement.
Trust me, just these few ‘healthstyle’ changes can go a long way toward improving your body and your life. Start by implementing a few at a time, over time, and see how quickly you begin to look AND feel better!