So a friend asked me recently on how I lost my weight. I went off on a slight tangent of advice about how I did it. I realized others who may be reading my blog (I just know there are a few of you out there!) may like to read my tips too so I'm writing them down.
Now a disclaimer: I am not a dietician. I am not a doctor. I am a law student who realized I was heading down a bad path and I wanted to make a healthy change to my life for ever. These are the things that worked for me.
So to start:
1. Figure out what your resting metabolic rate is. A good site is this one: BMR Calculator. This is what your body will burn if you do nothing but lie in bed all day. This is a good idea for what you should be eating at a minimum. For example if your BMR is 1400, at the minimum, thats what you should be taking in a day. Consult your doctor if you're not sure how many calories a day you should be eating.
2. Keep a food log of what you're eating a day. This makes you accountable. Track EVERY BITE. That cookie you ate in the break room? It counts. The chips you ate while you were cooking? It counts. I use Fat Secret to keep up with what I eat a day and what I burn. Be careful, because these are just approximations, but will give you a pretty good idea for what is going on throughout the day.
3. GET MOVING. Whether its taking the stairs, walking your dog more, cleaning your house, going down every aisle of the grocery store (whether you need to or not) try to be on the move. Limiting what you eat is helpful but the most important way to lose weight comes from exercise. I joined a gym, and I love it, but I understand that that is not a possibility for everyone. So some of my ideas for those who don't have the time for a gym or the money: look at work outs on Youtube. Look up zumba exercises. Look up yoga videos. Whatever interests you.
4. Don't give up. You will have bad days. You will have days where you are so busy you have no time to cook, but thats no excuse for quitting. Try to make good choices in the drive thru. Order a salad with dressing on the side. Order a burger and eat it without the top of the bun. Get a side salad instead of fries. Order a kids meal instead of a value meal.
5. Pack your lunch the night before. I always pack my lunch the night before. On Sunday I plan out my meals for the week. I try to stick to the list no matter what. However, its ok to change it up if you're just not feeling the sandwich idea, and want a salad or something else instead. Packing a lunch also saves you money, money that you can always put towards a gym membership, or a fitness class once or twice a week. Packing a lunch also lets you know exactly what you are eating.
On good days my lunch includes: veggies, protein, whole grain, and fruit. I try to eat a fruit and a veggie serving with each meal.
6. Sundays should NOT be rest days! Use Sundays for planning out menu ideas and grocery shopping. I try to plan a meal a week, I do not mind eating leftovers. But if you do, half recipes and freeze the rest. Your frozen meals are going to be a lot healthier then those lean cuisines! I usually make meals that have six servings and eat leftovers for around three days and freeze the rest. Then the next weeks I reheat the meals whenever I want them!
7. Drink lots of water. I try to drink 6-8 glasses a day. Its not always easy, but I carry around a bottle and try and refill it as much as possible! I have given up soft drinks for the most part, but I do drink iced tea or hot tea in the morning for some caffeine to wake me up, but then I try to drink a glass of water to make up for the dehydration that caffeine causes. Also, sometimes with meals I drink water with mio or crystal light. Again though, for every glass of non-water I drink I try to make up for it with a glass of water for rehydration. Drinking ice cold water is shown to increase your metabolism. So make sure its cold!
8. The way I eat my calories is like this: My breakfast is around 300 calories, my lunch is around 350 calories, and dinner is around 400 calories, I eat a snack in the morning, afternoon that each equal around 100 calories and an after dinner snack (dessert) of around 150 calories. Now, those numbers are approximations, but its the general idea of my meal planning. By the end of the day I try to eat around 1400-1600 calories. I try to not keep it the same number for more then a few days, that way I keep my metabolism not sure of whats coming. :) So Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday my calories may be 1600 so Thursday I may eat 1500 and Friday 1700. Just an example.
These are some of my tips that have worked for me, they may not work for you, I'd love to hear of any tips that you've found useful!! :)