Is your New Year’s weight-loss resolution never successful?
Does it go something like this?
You start the year charged up and ready to go!
You’re gonna lose lots of weight, drop several sizes, and be beach & bikini bound by summer.
You’re eating better. You’re working out harder.
But, by March (maybe sooner) you start sliding back into your comfy ways.
You know what I mean. Eating more comfort foods and working out a little less.
Getting together with friends for tailgate parties, Saturday night restaurant hopping, and any fun stuff you can think of to get through the cold winter months.
And, boom. Before you know it, summer’s here.
And you’ve only lost a few pounds. Or maybe you’ve even gained a few.
Are you asking yourself why?
Could it be that you set yourself up for failure, right from the start?
People lose weight differently, but with similarities.
As the former owner of a weight-loss consulting service, I discovered that people approach weight-loss differently.
- Sometimes it’s a mind game.
- Sometimes it’s to please someone else.
- Sometimes it’s because you wanna be the same size as a certain celebrity.
- Sometimes your doctor says the weight needs to go.
- Sometimes you just wanna be the same size you were in high school.
- Sometimes, you just wanna do what others are doing. (It’s called herd mentality).
- Sometimes, you just wanna build your self-confidence.
And the list could go on.
I also found some similarities.
These seem to help people reach their goals.
If you wanna lose weight, these tips can help most people.
So, I’m gonna share them with you to (hopefully) make your weight loss easier this year.
(Cause, girlfriend, you can do this!)
Here are your tips.
Don’t choose a diet just because it’s popular.
Just because a diet works well for others doesn’t mean it’ll work well for you.
- You’re different from everyone else.
- You have different food preferences.
- You have a different budget.
- You have a different lifestyle.
You might only cook for one.
Or you might need to prepare meals for five other family members.
You might have weird working hours, and don’t have time to cook.
Or, maybe you hate cooking altogether. (It happens!)
A diet’s only good if it works for you, your lifestyle, your likes and dislikes.
When choosing a diet plan, you need to think about it. Seriously. And do this.
A. Choose a diet based on foods you like.
The Paleo Diet™ might be all the rage, but if you’re not a meat eater, it might not be a good choice for you.
If you hate fish, the Mediterranean diet might not be the best choice, either.
I know people who hate veggies and salads; if that’s you, then you might not do well on a low-carb diet.
Don’t choose one just because it’s trendy this year; choose it because it’s the best fit for you.
B. Choose a diet that fits your lifestyle AND budget!
If you don’t have time, OR the desire, to plan, cook, and prepare recipes with lots of ingredients, you probably won’t stick with it.
Do you have a family of four to feed? Then, some of those pre-packaged meal plans might not be practical for your budget, either.
SO, pick a diet that works for YOU, YOUR family, and YOUR lifestyle.
And if you can’t find one, design your own.
By designing a plan around foods you love, and your lifestyle, you have a better chance of success.
Step 1: Sit down and make a list of your favorite healthy foods.
Step 2: Now categorize them into columns of lean proteins/meats; fruits; veggies; low-fat dairy; and low/no calorie beverages.
Step 3: Make another list of treats/snacks you love.
Step 4: Type both lists and tape them to your fridge.
Step 5: Eat from the first list 95% of the time. You can find lots of healthy new ways to prepare them, like grilling, baking, steaming, or air frying.
(With so many recipes on the Internet these days, you can find all kinds of yummy ways to prepare healthy meals. There’s literally NO excuse.)
Step 6: Eat from the second list of treats the other 5% of the time; choose something only occasionally, when you really need something sweet, you’ve had a bad day, you can’t take it anymore without something sweet (or whatever you need to tell yourself. ). Just do it sparingly.
Do this, too:
Make sure you eat small portions (whether it’s from list 1 or 2).
NO second helpings.
Substitute wherever you can. (We’ll get to more on that soon.)
And you can get creative.
And even sneaky to eat less and healthier.
Here are a few ideas:
– Eat veggies raw, as a side to your sandwich or soup (try sliced carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, beets, turnips, etc.).
– Add extra veggies to your healthy sandwich (like fresh spinach, broccoli sprouts, kale, slivered carrots, alfalfa sprouts, tomatoes, onion, and mushrooms).
– Do breakfast for dinner. Two eggs with two slices of toast (no more than 60 calories each) comes in at an average of 260 calories. (And it’s easy on the wallet, too.) Throw in a cup of fresh sliced strawberries to satisfy your sweet tooth (plus, you’ll get more nutrients and add some fiber, too.)
– Eat more low-calorie soups in the winter; just opt for tomato based soups, instead of creamy, heavy soups. Tip: Be careful what you eat with it; it’s easy to go overboard with crackers or grilled cheese sammies.
– Eat one apple 30 minutes before your evening meal; you’ll be full and won’t want as much food (plus, you’ll get more fiber).
– Eat fruits, and veggies, that are higher in water content to feel fuller.
(A. Fruit examples: watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, peaches, grapefruit, pineapple, oranges, plums and blueberries.)
(B. Veggie examples: Lettuce, cucumbers, radishes, celery, tomatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli.)
– Eat more fiber. You’ll feel fuller. And your body will get rid of the insoluble parts. (Yep, but that’s a whole other article.)
– Don’t eat late; try to eat at least 4-5 hours before you hit the sack. This will give your body time to burn some of the calories (especially if you can get in a little exercise, like a walk with the dog or playtime with the kiddos).
And, I know you know this, but always drink lots of water to stay hydrated and feel full.
Why designing your own diet might work for you…
When I owned a weight-loss consulting business, I learned something about most people:
Most people know what to eat, how to prepare it, and about portion control.
THEY JUST DON’T DO IT.
Are you nodding in agreement?
If so, don’t feel bad. It’s pretty common.
But, here’s the simple key to weight-loss: Eating healthy foods on a consistent basis.
Find what works for you, based on foods you like, and stick to it.
Substitute. And modify.
When you’re cooking, substitute whenever you can, and you’ll cut fat and calories.
You probably know all about substitutions.
But here are some examples, anyway:
- Change full fat sour cream to fat-free sour cream
- Instead of margarine, or butter, use a zero-calorie butter spray.
- Use skim milk, instead of whole milk.
- Use fat-free, or reduced fat cheeses, instead of full fat cheeses.
- Use fat-free cream cheese, instead of regular cream cheese.
- Use Splenda® products, instead of sugar.
- Use fat-free and/or light salad dressings.
- Use low-fat, or fat-free, mayo.
- Use more lean turkey and chicken, instead of red meat and pork.
- Use low fat cuts of red meat and pork when you do cook them (and trim all the fat off!).
- Use flavored mustards on sandwiches, instead of high fat spreads.
- Sprinkle flavored vinegars on salads and sandwiches, instead of using high fat dressings and spreads.
- Make your own marinades, using flavored vinegars, spices, broths, and bouillon cubes. (Even diet cola makes a great slow cooker liquid, instead of water! Just add a little onion and garlic powder for a yummy flavor; it works best for lean beef and pork.)
- If you need to make dessert for a special occasion (or a much needed treat), use fat-free yogurts, low fat or sugar-free ice cream, and fat-free whipped toppings, and sugar-free chocolate and caramel sauces.
You’re getting the picture, aren’t you?
Just by doing small, simple substitutions every time you cook, you can really reduce the calories and fat in your meals. And that = less calories you’ll consume.
Okay. Movin’ on to the next tip.
I hate to preach about this but…
You need to eat smaller portions. All. The. Time.
(Sorry, but you can’t get around this, if you really wanna lose weight).
This might sound simple, but it’s not always easy.
If you cook in big batches, that means:
– You have second (and third) helpings to tempt you.
– You have leftovers to tempt you.
– You have wasted food, if it doesn’t all get eaten.
But wait…there’s a way to make it much easier:
Prepare single serving, individual portions.
- Ramekin recipes
- Healthy sandwiches
- Muffin cup recipes
- Individual foil recipes
By preparing reduced single portions, you do this:
You reduce portion sizes, which = less calories.
A. You reduce second helping temptations (because there aren’t any!).
B. You avoid having leftovers that might be wasted. (Or worse yet, you eat them while binge watching your favorite evening shows!)
PLUS… You can customize your meal for weight-loss, then customize each family portion to their liking.
BINGO! It’s a win-win for you and your family.
Weight-loss is a head game you need to beat!
And you can!
It’s psychological. What you tell yourself matters.
Because if you set yourself up for failure from the get-go, you probably won’t be successful.
SO, change your resolution. Or DON’T make any.
Instead, set small goals. Small do-able goals.
Instead of saying you plan to lose 30, 40 or 50 pounds, break it down into small, do-able chunks.
Try this instead.
Say to yourself:
I’m gonna lose one pound per week in January.
Doesn’t that sound more DO-ABLE?
And if you do well with that, start over again with the same plan in February…
And every month afterwards until you reach your goal.
It won’t seem as daunting, it’ll be a reachable goal, AND you’re less likely to set yourself up for failure! (WOO-HOO!)
And as a plus, you might even lose more than one pound a week. But, if you don’t, then that’s okay.
You didn’t tell yourself you would.
You’re aiming for ONE pound a week.
Small but very reachable. And small steps add up!
Don’t kill yourself at the gym, if you hate the gym!
And if you’re like most busy moms, you might feel guilty about taking time away from your kids to work out there.
Solve it by including them and finding more exercise related stuff to do.
Because what I told you about eating holds true for exercise, too!
Small increments add up.
So… do what you enjoy. So you’ll do it. Stick with it. And not hate it.
You won’t stick with it if you hate it.
SO, do sneaky bursts of exercise (you enjoy) that add up!
Here are some examples:
- Instead of planning to walk for 30-40 minutes each day, build up your time in small increments.
- Park farther away from your workplace, so you’ll have to walk farther to get there.
- Take the stairs whenever possible and for every single errand.
- Instead of sitting, stand in place at your desk, and march while you type or do research.
- Take a brisk 15-20-minute walk on your lunch break BEFORE you eat lunch. (You might find you don’t wanna eat as much to un-do the progress you just made.)
Here are a few more sneaky exercise ideas:
- If you have a dog, walk your dog regularly… and every single time he needs to go out (that adds up!).
- When you’re home, walk around the house, or yard, while you’re talking on the phone.
- Buy a rebounder, or exercise bike, and use it while you catch up on your favorite show.
- Have a basketball goal? Challenge your kids to a fun game of hoops.
- Like tennis? You can find an empty outside wall to hit balls against. It’s fun, and it’s a good full body exercise.
- Ask your kids if you can jump rope with them, and turn it into a little competition; let the winner pick a charity for your next donation or choose your family’s t.v. shows that evening.
- Introduce your kids to some active games they’re not familiar with, like maybe kickball, kick-the-can or tag, then play with them.
- Go bike riding as a family, then have a picnic in a favorite spot (with healthy sandwiches, of course!)
- Introduce your kids to more historical places, museums, and zoos; by showing them around, you’ll teach them more AND you’ll all get more exercise as you explore.
You see why you might do this more and for a longer period?
By not telling yourself you HAVE to go to the gym, you might just get more exercise, burn more calories, and have fun doing it.
You’re not setting yourself up for failure if you quit the gym.
You’ll get more exercise, without even thinking much about it.
And that, combined with sensible eating, can help you lose more weight.
Now hear me out on this, please: IF you enjoy more formal exercise, then go for it! It’s great for you and will help you reach your goals. But it isn’t required.
As long as you do S-O-M-E-T-H-I-N-G. Period.
Exercise can be what you enjoy. And it can add up to equal success.
Following these five tips can help you reach your weight-loss goals.
Because you might stick to it longer.
And that might mean you’ll lose more weight this year.
Who knows? You might not need any weight-loss resolutions ever again.
Cheers to that!