As I entered my senior year of college in 2016, I was at the point where I stopped weighing myself, and I swore by a life in sweatpants. I finally decided I need to lose weight, and I set out on a mission to do it. After having tried and failed so many times before, I knew I had to find the right way to go about it, so I started planning and researching, and before I knew it, I was down 60 lbs within 12 months. However, that does NOT include the 4 to 6 months prior where I started doing my research, making a plan, and preparing for this journey.
I knew that losing the weight would require big adjustments to my fitness routines and diet, but the most important between the 2 has been the changes I’ve made in the foods I eat. I had a lot of crap to cut out of the diet, and a lot of nutrients needed to be added in. My past experiences and research taught me that it’s better to make these changes slowly than to shock your body with a brand new diet all at once.
Stop Drinking Calories
The first change I made was to what I drank. I started cutting out everything but water, however I did this slowly through a whole month! Every day I used less sugar and milk in my coffee, I drank less soda and other drinks, until I was only drinking water and black coffee.
I know what it’s like to be tired of water! I drank half my body weight in ounces of water per day to lose weight, so when I was at 180 lbs, I had 90 oz of water, although being careful not to go over 100 and start taking on too much water weight.
To make it more fun on the days I was bored of it, I added fruits or even just a squirt of lemon juice. There are so many fun combinations you can do with fruit to make your water feel more refreshing and delicious! Different fruits can help promote your health too, just by adding into your water like that!
Wean Off Processed Foods
The cookies, chips, frozen meals, and other processed foods had to go because they were only hurting my body rather than helping with weightless. I cut out some of the worst things first, but still enjoyed light snacks (or I found healthy alternatives) until I was eating them less and less, substituting with new treats as I went, like sweet potato chips, trail mix, dehydrated fruits, granola, yogurt, and my favorite: peanut butter!
Make sure you do your research! Find snacks and recipes you will enjoy, otherwise you’ll crave all those other bad things HARD, which will lead to binging and putting back on any weight you’ve lost. Fruits never delight my tastebuds, so I found specific ones I liked, such as grapes and oranges, and then I found different ways to enjoy others, like peanut butter on bananas or apples sliced and baked with cinnamon!
Start with slow changes to every meal, and start limiting your snacks throughout the day. Take note on the times you feel more hungry during the day so you can better prepare next time.
Careful not to fill your grocery list with all new items at once – if you find you don’t like any, you’re more likely to buy something else worse to replace it.
Cut the Crap, Not the Calories
You always have to be careful about how many calories you’re eating (can we talk about how most Cheesecake Factory meals are double the calories a person should be eating in one day?!). However, you should be mindful about it. Eat the right foods, don’t cut calories.
I was definitely eating more calories than I needed when I was overweight, but I didn’t have to eat the bare minimum to lose weight. Your body needs nourishment, so choose the right calories to eat! This brings me back to the first tip on not drinking your calories – if my body can’t gain something from it, I won’t drink it! That goes for lattes and smoothies, coffee and sodas, even alcohol!
Fast food and any food out, in general, is going to be bad for you, so that was 1 of the first things to go! When I did eat out (because going out is a part of life), I would check the menu before I went, find something healthy I could eat, and when I got there, I didn’t look at the menu, I ordered exactly as I planned. And don’t feel bad making special requests! If restaurants cooked healthier, you wouldn’t have to ask to substitute grilled chicken for fried or rice for pasta, so don’t feel bad making those requests for your health.
Find the right balance for you and your body, using the right ingredients and nutrients! If you’re heading out to a birthday party or somewhere you can’t control the food available, bring something! I’ve brought full blown dinners to parties simply because I didn’t want to ruin all my hard work with a night of pizza, cupcakes, and brownies! I explained I was on a diet, and every one always understood! If you’re afraid of someone judging you for taking care of your health, then I would question why you have friends or family that don’t care about your health to begin with! We are all going to come across these kinds of negative people, but it’s important to remember that the only opinion about your life that you should care about is your own.
Check out My Fitness Pal for an on-the-go app to track your diet. Get insights on what you’re really putting in your body, and make adjustments from there! Also, don’t underestimate a purse snack! Throw a fruit in your bag every day for in case you get hungry and need a boost during the day instead of hitting a drive thru window or grabbing the candy bar at checkout.
Now It’s Your Turn!
If you’ve read this far, it’s because you want to make changes, and you’re ready to start your health journey! For that, I am really excited for you! These tips got me through the hardest part of my journey, and now I can’t say enough how worth it it all was! And no, I don’t regret a single cookie, cake, or chip that I have turned down. Cravings last a half hour or less, but the calories will last much longer! Don’t set yourself back. Always move forward! Be stronger than your excuses, because honestly no one NEEDS that bowl of ice cream or doritos. If you want to make a change, then make it priority.
What changes do you need to make now? If you need help, I’m here for you! Reach out on Facebook, by email, or in the comments below! I’m happy to help you achieve your goals, or to just serve as a support buddy. Everybody needs one!
Oh! And don’t forget to take your before selfie. You’ll thank me later 😉