July 14, 2016

7 Easy Tips to Lose Weight

I'm now 133 lbs. down on my weight loss journey. It hasn't been easy, believe me! Every single pound has been a struggle to lose. I'm so excited that I'm FINALLY under 200 lbs. for the first time since I was a sophomore in high school. For me, weight loss has been about having a total mindset and lifestyle change. I've used a number of little tricks to help me stay on track and to build up to that total lifestyle change. None of them are hard. Actually, they're all easy.

I didn't make a lifestyle and mindset change all at once. That's pretty much impossible. Over the past 19 months as I've lost, I've made small changes. Once those stuck, I made more small changes, building on it until the change I needed to happen, did. I've had to be dedicated to weight loss and really WANTED to. I've tried before, lost a bit, then gained it all back. I've never gotten to where I am now because I wasn't dedicated to that lifestyle change and actually losing and keeping all the weight off. Now, I am. I work hard at it every day, fighting to make that number on the scale go down. Fighting to finally reach my goal weight -- 37 lbs. to go now!

I've always been an emotional eater so I've had to realize when I do that and stop it. I can't eat anything and everything or not worry about portions either. A quick diet, dropping food groups, taking supplements or any other fads wouldn't have been sustainable for me. If it's not sustainable, there's no way to keep up with it and keep the weight off. It has to be a lifestyle change or or so as the "diet" ends, the old habits come back. Along with all the weight. That's why I rely on all these tips to help me get to, and eventually stay, at the weight I want to be.

Once you've read these, find out seven MORE easy tips to lose weight.

7 Easy Tips to Lose Weight

1. Eliminate temptations
My weakness is junk food. Chips, chocolate, ice cream, cake -- all the high-calorie, high-fat stuff that is far from healthy. If it's in the house, I have no willpower. It'll disappear in no time at all. So, I keep it out of the house for the most part. What little I do have, I keep in a difficult-to-reach spot so I have to REALLY want it to get it. By the time I get to it, I've usually come to my senses and only have one piece. Ice cream I can't do that with easily, so I get single serving treats to limit how much I'm eating. Otherwise, I sneak spoonfuls of it, thinking one spoon doesn't matter. The problem is, all those spoonfuls add up.

2. Keep fresh fruits and veggies on hand
With the foods that tempt me out of the way, I'm still liable to eat foods that are higher in calorie or not as healthy if I don't have a quick snack to grab. Top on my list of quick, easy (and cheap) foods to have around are fresh fruits and veggies. I keep a jar of cut carrot sticks in the fridge so it's the first thing I see when I open the door. There's also always cut cucumber and apples ready for a fast snack. I restock and chop more every week. I pad my dinner plate with fruits and veggies, too, making them the largest portion on my plate. My favorite lately is baking up apple halves with a dash of cinnamon on them. So good!

3. Measure and weigh all food
If I don't know how much I'm eating, I can't figure out the proper serving size or keep track accurately of everything I eat. I've got a food scale, measuring cups and measuring spoons that I use to measure anything I can't count out. Measuring/weighing all my food has helped me realize how big a portion size really is. Before, I'd fill a whole plate with food. Now, I've got a small portion (that's actually a REAL portion) of foods on my plate at meals and for snacks. My stomach has shrunk, too. Those portions usually fill me up. Usually if I eyeball and don't measure because I'm starving (and too lazy) I end up stuffed before I can overeat. Plus, I've done the measuring for so long that my eyeballing is pretty accurate. I still weigh and measure, though! I don't want to fall back into the habit of over eating or under estimating what I'm eating. That leads to extra weight.

4. Track calories
The partner of measuring and weighing all my food is tracking all the calories. Everything, even a tiny taste, gets tracked. I'm a big fan of the My Fitness Pal app, since I can easily input everything into my phone as soon as I eat it and see how much I have left for the day. Without tracking calories, I'd really have no idea how much I'm eating. I wouldn't have been able to change my mindset of how much I should eat every day. As many studies have said, people tend to underestimate what they eat. Underestimation leads to over eating. Tracking all my food allows me to stay on top of my food intake so that doesn't happen without my knowing.

5. Rather than eliminating foods, aim for moderation and portion control
There was a time where I'd eat a slice of cake almost every day. After work, I'd stop at the grocery store I passed, pick up a single slice and have eaten it within a half hour of getting home (sometimes even before leaving the store parking lot). I still eat cake. There seriously isn't one food that I've totally eliminated from my diet. Like I said, it's a lifestyle change and has to be sustainable. Instead, I eat in moderation and put my tips of measuring food and tracking calories to good use. Never eating grains/meat/junk/treats/whatever wouldn't be sustainable for the rest of my life. I still eat that cake I love, just not every day (or even once a month). Seriously, how could I pass up my amazing lemon cake when I make it?! When I have PMS, you bet I eat chocolate! Instead of the whole bag, though, it's a couple pieces that I've budgeted into my daily calorie goal.

6. Aim for balance
This goes along with moderation and not eliminating foods. I go for balance -- mostly healthy, with a bit of wiggle room for treats. I'll eat a tiny bit of something not-so-healthy almost daily, then I make sure everything else I'm putting in my mouth is wholesome. Without that little cheat, I start having cravings and end up binging, stuffing myself with candy, ice cream, anything I can get my hands on -- the opposite of balance, moderation and portion control. It might be half an ice cream sandwich, two pieces of chocolate or a couple gummy bears, but it's enough to keep me on track. This may not work for everyone, some people binge of they do have that little splurge. Do what works for you. It'll take trial and error, but you'll figure it out.

7. Go light and vegetarian for at least 7 meals a week
For at least 7 lunches and dinners a week, I reach for fruits and veggies. Sometimes, I'll add quinoa, beans or couscous for added protein. I keep it light and healthy, avoiding starches, carbs and meats. Even though I eat a huge plateful, I end up staying within my calories because the veggies and fruits I chose are low calorie and super filling. Another plus -- it's cheaper, so I'm saving money. I don't added sauces, butter or anything to the fruits/veggies. The most I do is sprinkle on some salt-free seasoning. I grab bags of mixed veggies at the store for quick lunches. At dinner, I like to get fresh veggies, chop them up then roast them in the oven. Usually, I make something else for the kids and A to eat as they're not as big of fans of these meals. If I make something high-calorie for them, I'll often turn to my veggie dinners. A and I do have salads once a week for dinner. For those, I add a serving of cheese, a fat-free dressing and sometimes throw on some tasty chick peas.

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  1. great tips! Congrats on your huge loss!

  2. Wow, what an incredible accomplishment. These are great tips. I would love to drop about 10 pounds!


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