I promised posts that were varied. So, from the heart-felt cries of a new mother to the health tips of an ex-athlete… here we go.
It has been three weeks since the birth of my daughter and I am fully committed to weight loss, or more appropriately, healthy living. I have been on a whirlwind of diets over the past eight years or so, and even though I have not kept the weight off I have learned what will. I have had very successful weight loss periods in my life, and usually it is because I have abided by the following tips. And, on other hand, the fact that I have gained the weight back usually means I have stopped following one or more of the tips.
So here it is. My four primary tips for healthy living and weight loss. This is a great starting point for anyone trying to live healthy. Let me know if any of these cause a light-bulb moment for you.
- Drink Water
– If you have read any healthy living tips you probably have heard this already, but it really is the most important part of improving your eating habits. For one, often we mistake thirst for hunger and indulge in un-needed calories when a big glass of water would suffice. Also, your body just needs to be hydrated to function the way it is supposed to.
– Other beverages just do not cut it. Do what you need to do in order to drink more. Water flavor additives might help in the short term, but try not to get hooked on them. They are filled with chemicals, and there is evidence that even the sugar free ones might make you hungrier. Learn to like the taste of plain water (or water with lemon, lime, cucumber or mint). You have to train your taste buds to appreciate the crisp taste of plain water.
– I make myself drink a big glass of water with every meal and just keep a glass on hand at all times for between meal sips. I only like cold water so I routinely freeze water bottles or keep my fridge stocked with ice cubes.
2. Don’t shop (or go out) while hungry
– This is the primary make or break it moment for me and my healthy eating plans. If I go anywhere while hungry I tend to purchase things I should not. I am a fast food junkie, and if I am hungry when I leave the house I will inevitably be drawn to a fast food joint (unhealthy on so many levels). If I go to the grocery store hungry I will get snacks I don’t need.
– Make a habit of eating before leaving the house, and keeping yourself hydrated while out and about. If you will be out for a while bring snacks with you, or plot your food stop. If I go out with the express intent of stopping to get food between errands I am more likely to choose a healthier option and less likely to grab the grease-drenched burger or fries calling my name.
– If you find yourself tempted at the grocery store head to the health food or produce aisle and pick out something healthy but yummy. Allow yourself a more health-appropriate treat!
3. Eat when you are hungry
– Seems simple right? Unfortunately the average person does not just eat when hungry. We are very used to feeding cravings that are not hunger derived. Again, it might be a thirst issue, or a chemical dependence on food, or it might just bring comfort. This tip encompasses both the eating when hungry issue and not eating when not hungry.
– If you are hungry, eat something! Do not starve yourself in an effort to lose weight… it will not work! It will place your body in starvation mode and will slow down your metabolism in the long-term. Choose a healthy snack or meal and eat as much as you need to feel fulfilled.
– Before you begin to eat ask yourself if you truly are hungry. I like to ask myself “would I eat _____ right now?” Fill that blank with something you would eat when hungry, but not just because you are craving salt, fat or sugar. Usually I ask myself if I would eat a salad, or a bowl of steamed veggies. If the answer is no, don’t eat, you are not really hungry. Drink a glass of water instead (see, I told you, water is key!).
4. Plan ahead
– Plan your meals ahead. Go into the grocery store with a plan. Find appealing healthy recipes that seem fun to try.
– Make healthy snacks easy to grab. Spend the time needed to properly wash and cut up fruit and veggies for easy access. Fill your fridge and pantry with healthy yogurts, nuts, grains, dips etc. for that “I need to eat now” moment.
5. Spend money
– This is probably the only tip you won’t read elsewhere, but I include it because it made the difference for me. This is by no means needed to lose weight, but it might make the difference for you too. I needed to invest in recipe books, workout dvds, healthy food, and on occasion even a diet program to motivate myself to do what I needed to do.
– In the long run you probably won’t be spending any more money. If I figured out how much I was spending on fast food when I wasn’t even hungry, and how much money was wasted by spoiled produce, I learned very quickly that it was a pretty even trade.
– You can still save money eating healthfully (watching sales, eating produce in season etc), but sometimes you just might want to drop the extra buck to keep yourself motivated.
Again, if any of these tips help you please let me know! I hope they help you as much as they have helped me!