Here are my Weight Loss tips that I do and the changes that i’ve made:
1. First thing that I did was stumble upon an iPhone app and website called MyFitnessPal. Its completely free to use, which is great and why I prefer it over something like Weight Watchers. You can count your calories and other nutrition information for the day. There’s also a place to record your exercise: cardio and strength training. It is very customized and has a lot of great features, even a Facebook type friend system and “wall”. When you sign up you will fill out a few things about your self and how much weight you want to lose, maintain or gain. Then it will give you a calorie amount for each day that will help you become successful at completing your goal. Now if you dont want to go the app route I would also suggest the note book and pen route way of tracking your calories and researching online how much you should be eating for what your goal is. I had previously done this to help with my over eating and feel like it helped me cut down my portions a lot. I would really recommend counting calories for losing weight (whatever method you do: myfittnesspal, weightwatchers, or paper and pen), it helps you face the reality of what your eating and what changes you need to make. I also like that you record your current weight and it will tell you how much you’ve lost since last week. Its a real confidence booster. If you haven’t lost weight that week (which is a reality i’ve faced) you can at least see where you’ve gone wrong and what you need to change for next week.
2. I weigh my self weekly, Every monday morning and record it on my fitness pal. I like to keep current with how my weight loss is going and see if what changes im making are working for me or not.
3. Meal Planning: When I grocery shop I plan all of the dinners for the week. At the beginning of the week I like to also plan what ill be eating for the days of the week and put it in to my food diary app. This way I dont have as many decisions to make and when im hungry or in a hurry I wont be as tempted to pick something thats not as healthy as what i have planned for myself. It also maps out my calories for the day and so If i want a treat I can see if I should have it or not depending on what other foods I have planned for the day.
4. Drink water and green tea. I drink 4-5 500 ml water bottles a day. And have green tea a few times a week. Water is great for helping you feel healthy and will keep you from wanting to overeat. I used to drink iced tea with all my fast food meals, pizza, movies, etc.. I would lie to myself and say I dont drink pop. I thought iced tea was okay for you because it wasn’t like traditional soda. This isn’t right, most drinks that are not water have calories and sugar.They can even make you feel more thirsty. I prefer to eat my calories so I get nutrients from them and also feel more full and satisfied so I wont over eat later. I still enjoy specialty coffee drinks a few times a week (like starbucks, tim hortons, and mccafe) but i’ve completely taken out store/restaurant iced tea. I do on occasion make home made iced tea and frozen lemonade in the summer and enjoy a few glasses a week when I make a jug (about once a month) . I feel in the future I will cut down even more but its all about small changes right!
5. Next tip, I loved fast food so much, the convenience of it helped me out in times of need. I am responsible for all my families meals. Sometimes when depression hit hard and the dishes were piled up that meal I had planned to make just felt like so much work. So I would turn to fast food and pizza. Which if your making bad choices and eating to much can cause awful consequences on your health and weight. Not to mention this is also bad for your wallet. Sad to say there was a time in my life where I would get a meal with a burger, fries and iced tea and then also get two extra small (value menu) burgers on the side. Other take outs would look like a whole medium pizza (covered in meat and cheese) with ranch dipping sauce, cans of iced tea and chicken wings. Or if I thought I was going the healthier route I would pick a full southwest salad with chili and then add regular sour cream on top and have a side of poutine. Typing this out now I cant even believe that I used to eat this way. This wasn’t on occasion or a one time thing, this was a weekly occurrence for me. Now that i’ve woken up and realize the negative reasons why I shouldn’t be doing this, I made some changes so that i can still eat fast food when I feel that I need to. My new fast food go to meals:
- Burger type fast food restaurants : Grilled Chicken Sandwich, Side Salad and Bottle of Water. Tip: Watch out for creamy dressings there very high in calories.
- Pizza Delivery: Small-Medium Veggie Pizza, Thin crust. Portion control: only a few slices for dinner and have the rest for lunches. + A side garden salad and a Water Bottle. Tip: Again watch for creamy base sauce or dipping sauce. I choose basic pizza sauce. I only add meat and extra cheese in moderation, my main ingredients are always veggies. If I want meat or extra cheese (feta) It has to be one or the other not both. I also avoid choosing pizza to often and try to get out to get something else if I can.
- Sandwich/Pita Style restaurants: Whole Wheat Bread/Pita, Meat: Chicken Breast, Turkey or Ham, Cheddar Cheese, Light mayo or Tzatziki sauce, and lots of different kinds of veggies, pickles and green olives. Tips: Avoid ranch sauce, reg. mayo, extra meat or cheese, tuna salad. All of these things turn your sandwich/pita into a high calorie meal in no time.
*I love the foods that I avoid on a regular basis (like ranch). I choice to make healthier choices though because they make me feel better about myself. I enough these foods in moderation (maybe once a month, not even). I find my self not wanting them as much anymore because im trying other foods that I enjoy and when I look at the calories in some of those foods I think its not worth it. I could have that ranch sauce on my sub or later tonight when Im hungry again I could have apple slices and peanut butter for the same amount of calories. It also takes away the guilt factor because if im hungry im going to eat and if I had the ranch dressing early there wont be enough calories left for an night time snack, so most of the time I go the healthier way.
5. Try new veggies and fruit. Add them into meals and snacks you already enjoy. Also eat more of the ones you know you already like. Tip: When making spaghetti make half a cup of noodles and a whole cup of veggies + a veggie pasta sauce and you get more for less calories. Or like me use the calories you save by having less pasta and enjoy a little grated Parmesan cheese on top. Add red pepper flakes to give it a kick!
6. Healthy Frozen Dinners: If you struggle with portion sizes like I do frozen meals like lean cuisine, smart ones, VH Steamers, Healthy Choice are all great lunches. Before I started my journey I would look at them and think this is a snack, now Its a filling lunch, a treat and an easy affordable option for lunch.
7. Stop overeating at night: This is one of my biggest down falls, overeating snacks at night mainly because im lonely. Tips: Eat all or majority of your calories during the day and at dinner leaving 100-200 left for a healthy snack at night (popcorn). Have herbal tea while watching TV to satisfy your feeling of wanting to eat. My new love: Pinterest! I’m naturally a really creative person so this website will entertain me for hours and while im watching TV too. Its a nice distraction. I will search for healthy recipes, workouts, if im having a problem or bad feeling i will search it on there and sometimes something funny will even come up and cheer me up. I also look through the popular and everything section for when im bored or even my friends boards.
8. Find exercises that you enjoy. Dont want to do 100 sit ups? Then dont! There are so many options out there, its really great! Some that I enjoy are walking/hiking/backpacking on trails with my best friend and Fiance (there might even be a trail that you never knew about down the street from your house!), Walk at home, kickboxing and other work out DVD’s (great for when its raining and winter), Exercise Bike, Weight lifting, medicine ball workouts, resistance band workouts. Check out Tone It Up on YouTube (They have lots of great free workouts and on there website they have printouts). Tip: Always start out slow, watch videos to make sure your doing the workouts correctly, always stretch before and after. And rest. I hurt my knee because i didn’t follow these things close enough and now its impaired my exercises. Be CAREFUL but make sure to have fun! Nature is beautiful, get outside and enjoy it while you can! Also hikes and walks are great bonding times for you and your friends or partner. Its one on one time and great for talking about positive things.
One more thing I would like to say. I completely understand that there are even more healthier options then these, but if your like me just starting out and are starting from eating really unhealthy you dont want to just cut everything from your diet and go completely vegan over night. Its over whelming to say the least. I feel in the future that I will continue to make healthier choices and share them here. But for now a lean cuisine is much healthier then a lunch of ramen noodles and a chocolate bar.
I hope you liked my tips and that they have inspired you to try some out if your struggling with healthy choices. Now I know that some of you might be thinking these are great but what do I do for dinner? I will be sharing recipes and ideas in future blog post ( with pictures). So stay tuned for those.