To date, I’ve lost nearly 50 pounds. Yes, yes, feel free to applaud. I’m darn proud of it.
It seems like every time I turn around, someone is asking me how I did it. Once I tell them, they’re usually somewhat disappointed.
Because as it turns out, there’s no magic trick, shake, fitness program, or abracadabra to make the weight fall off. It’s a combination of all of the stuff we’ve heard a million times, doing it consistently, and sticking with it even through temptations and challenges.
For a long time, I was one of those people. I would ask, “how did you lose so much weight?” or “how do you stay in such great shape?” and when I was told I would think, “ok well, I’m not going to do THAT, so what else did you do?”
I’m glad I’m not doing that anymore, because I’ve finally seen results.
So without further ado kittens, here’s 10 things that I do every single day to lose weight and stay healthy. Remember, it’s not any one thing that will bring success, it’s a combination of healthy habits that make all the difference.
1. Drink lots and lots of water.
I average around a gallon per day. It keeps me hydrated allowing me to push hard through my workout, and also helps to manage hunger and cravings. Sometimes when you feel hungry, you’re actually thirsty.
2. Eat veggies at every meal.
I mean it, every meal. They’re nutritionally dense, full of fiber, fill you up, and are the key to getting all the vitamins your body needs.
3. Eat protein at every meal.
Like your vegetables, protein has a whole host of health benefits. Lean protein can keep you full and help you build muscle for starters, and is absolutely essential in your diet.
4. Sleep at least 8 hours a night.
While this number is a little different for everyone (I NEED at least 8 hours, hubs is actually better on 6.5 to 7), the moral here is to get enough rest. Your body needs sleep to recharge, as well as manage hormones and other essential functions. Getting enough rest is also crucial to avoiding over training, so make sure to make time for sleep every day.
5. Move as much as possible.
I would say to exercise every day, but I feel like that sets an unrealistic expectation. I workout vigorously *most* every day of the week, but on days when I have deadlines or other commitments, I still make sure to move. I never sit in one position for more than an hour at a time, and will take frequent stretch breaks or do jumping jacks or squats or just move around to get my blood flowing. Even a little movement is better than none at all. Avoid being chained to your desk for hours at a time.
6. Lift weights. Often.
I’ll be honest, I prefer doing cardio. (I know, *gasp* the horror!) But to build your metabolism, especially women, NEED to lift weights. If you only have 30 minutes to do a workout on a given day, skip the cardio and lift weights. I know, it sounds like blasphemy to some of us who grew up in the Jane Fonda era of the 80’s where cardio is golden, but for the best weight loss results you need to build muscle. No, you won’t get bulky. And if you do it right, you will elevate your heart rate enough to get fat burning benefits while you’re pumping iron.
7. Cut out alcohol, refined carbs, sweets and treats.
I feel like this is the point where I lose most people. Up until here everyone thinks, “ok, yeah, I can do that,” but as soon as I mention that you need to stop drinking folks seem to say, “well we don’t need to go THAT far, do we?” And trust me, I get it. I was that person for a very long time. To that, I’ll simply say this. Is there a physique you admire? Is there a goal aesthetic you’re looking to have? Does that person drink regularly? (or eat cupcakes, or cookies, or grilled cheese sammiches or whatever your vice might be?) Yeah, didn’t think so. It’s simple, what do you want more?
8. Keep track of what you’re doing.
Admittedly, I get a little neurotic if I use a calorie tracker (like MyFitnessPal) to track every morsel of food I shove in my piehole, and for me that’s actually counter productive. I do, however, keep track of my meals and number of servings of protein, veggies, fats, starches and fruits I have in a day. This helps me to make sure I’m eating enough, the right things, and to stay accountable. Find what works for you, but be sure you’re tracking your nutrition and workouts to not only follow your progress, but ensure you’re following your program appropriately.
9. Eat breakfast.
We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and I’m just going to agree. Eat it. I know everyone is rushed in the morning, and sometimes it’s hard to plan a meal that includes protein and a vegetable and you can stuff in your face and still make it work on time, but it’s important. Find a way, not an excuse.
10. Take pictures. In your undies. Every week.
Early on this was the most mortifying part for me, but as the weeks progressed it became the most motivating piece of monitoring my success. Strip down to your skivvies every week and take a pic of your front, side, and back. There is nothing better than watching the inches melt away and watching your body transform. I take mine every Monday, which helps me track my progress and keeps me honest over the weekend.
Like I said, nothing life changing, but hopefully something that was helpful to you. So what say you readers? Did I miss anything? What is the one thing you feel like contributes most to your success in a quest for a fit, healthy life?