Thursday, July 19, 2012

My "Diet" Secret

So, every since I started losing weight, I've kept a low profile...ish. Mostly because I'm busy with school, work, working out, racing, with the boyfriend, or "cooking" something weird in my kitchen. 9 out 10 times when a family member sees me after months of not visiting, I get the same question over and over. What do I do? What do I eat? What's my secret?

Warning: This is the first time I'm writing this out so it might be confusing, long, and boring.

Here's a quick list of things that have worked for ME. Keep in mind many things. It wasn't easy and of course I fell off the "wagon" many times. Always going back and forth, losing and gaining back the weight but then I found a "rhythm" and things started becoming a habit. I did something that was not too different, not drastic, just something that I know I can stick to. (I will be bolding what I think is more important, you can skip all the shinanigans and just read the bold print if you'd like lol)

1. Logging Your Food
So first thing I did, was start counting calories and logging what I ate on a regular day. I use this amazing app called Lose It! It's available online as well as Android and iPhone. So, I began my journey of logging my food every single day. Trust me, I would only do it occasionally at first, but then it stuck. AND its on your phone. Genius. 

The app has ALOT of tools for you to use. and I mean ALOT!

-When you log you're food, it asks you how much you ate (FOOD PORTIONS are very important so I suggest buying measuring cups and spoons)
-You can see online what food groups you've consumed (eating based off the Food Pyramid was essential for me, my meals were based off this handy dandy poster :)
Basically- Breakfast should contain 1/4 whole grain, 1/4 protein and optional fruit/dairy
Lunch/Dinner should contain 1/4 carb, 1/4 protein, half plate should be veggies
-There's a little bar, which is your calories for the day, and if you go over, it WILL turn red, letting you know you've gone over.
Woops, had a little too much cereal late last night :-(
-The app also lets you list a goal weight, and depending how much and how fast you want to lose it, it will suggest a calorie intake goal for the day. Don't start out too fast wanting to lose 2 pounds a week. and don't beat yourself up if you go over your calories, it takes time to adjust.
-You make friends online, and motivate each other! :) MOTIVATION IS KEY!

2. Watch Your Food- Foods to Eat and NOT to eat
I recommend reading the book Eat This, Not That! I think it gives you an easy head start on foods you should watch out for when you're eating out. It's a book full of easy food swaps that will save you calories. There's different versions out now, Grill This, not That! another genius idea. Keep in mind, fast food is bad no matter what you buy. So I try to keep my foods clean, and make stuff at home that's quick and easy. So they came up with Cook this, Not That! ha. Genius I tell you.

I didn't really eliminate any foods from my diet... because eventually that is what is going to kill you. You are going to WANT it and crave it. So keep it simple. Make food swaps. Instead of a cookie, have a piece of dark chocolate with strawberries. Don't stress over it. 
The ones that I occasionally eat (by occasional, I mean when there is ABSOLUTELY no alternative or way out) are:
  • soda
  • mayo
  • fruit juices
  • white bread
  • cheese
  • adding sugar to anything
  • 2% or whole milk (Skim milk please!)
  • sugary cereals 
  • fried foods, choose grilled or charbroiled instead

By avoiding empty calories, you WILL see a difference. Ask yourself, "Do I really need to add mayo to my sandwich?" Automatically, it will save you around 150 calories depending also on how much you use (PORTIONS!). Something that helped me was first to lower the amount of food and watch how many times a week I drank soda, minimizing every week until I no longer wanted it.

DRINK WATER! I never drank water like I do now. Running has helped me fall in love water and stay away from fruit juices, because really, you are just drinking sugar (empty calories). NO! :)
Instead, eat an orange rather than drinking the juice.

SALADS: people think that by ordering a salad from Wendy's or McDonalds, they are doing something good, but actually making your own salad at home is loads better. Restaurant salads may contain tons of cheese and salad dressing that may actually do more harm than good.
Cooking at home is better alternative than eating out, keeping in mind you watch what you add to your food and your portions. Of course life gets in the way and there is no time, so what I do is if I'm on the run and need a quick lunch fix, I go to BK or McD's and order a side salad with a grilled chicken wrap on the side. I know I know.. I just said no take out food, but hey, a side salad with no dressing and grilled chicken on it sounds REALLY good compared to something else on those menus.  I add the chicken to my salad and VOILA! mini salad. You can also order a Whopper Jr w/o mayo, without sabotaging your calorie intake for the day.

**Instead of eating out for lunch at work or school, make yourself your own little lunch box, with safe snacks you can munch out throughout the day, instead of running to the vending machine.

3. Exercise!
Yeah, I know. Boo! exercising sometimes isn't what you want to be doing at 5am every morning, instead you want to sleep. I get it. BUT that is where flexibility comes in.
Try fitting in times when you know you're available, and stick to it.
Try waking up 20 earlier and workout for a good 10 minutes, then increasing the workout time as you get better at waking up earlier.

The goal here is to schedule a time, where you know you will not fall back. If you tell yourself off the bat that you're going to wake up at 5am every morning from now on, it might work, it might not, because you are taking a risk of sleeping in your workout days and never get it done.

-Start out slow
-if you get bored, add variety (do an activity that you ENJOY doing)
-join a gym
-ask your friends who have been following a program, what they are doing/if you can tag along

Personally, I started out jogging short distances (maybe 2 blocks at a time) and I have build up from there ever since. Keep in mind, I first attempted "running" in 2009, it is now 2012. I took my time and never gave up. Be consistent with your workouts and log them too. Keep them handy on a wall calendar.

-At the moment, I try running 4-6 days a week and TRYING really hard 2-3x's/week to fit in time for strength training (aka P90x :), try it, and you shall fall in love with it too) 

4. Keep Track

This worked for me really well... and it made me feel like I accomplished something when I looked back on how much I've done. It also helps keep you on track by constantly reminding you of your goals.  Place all your charts somewhere you can see them. I have them on my wall, next to my mirror, where EVERYONE can see them. At first, I would cover them, because I didn't want anyone judging or asking about it. Soon enough, I felt proud of my little charts and always felt like telling everyone who came in my room about them :P
-LOG your weight on the same calendar or make a separate charts
-STICK to your regime
Not everyone likes keeping track of every little thing, like I do. But to me, it's helpful when it comes to knowing where I'm at and also when I'm feeling less motivated. I look at these charts and think how much I've done, NOT how much I have left to do. Sometimes I even find an old journal I use to write down my weight and workouts, and I really can't believe how far I've come. It gets a little emotional sometimes haha. (I'm a girl, give me a break)

If  losing weight was easy, then everyone would be thin.
You have to set small goals in order for you to not get discouraged.
By setting yourself small goals, you are more likely to stay on track overall.
I created my weight chart with 1 and 5 pound increments, every time I marked my chart and filled my little bar, I came closer and closer to my goals. 
Began Jan 31 2011 at 176 lbs
Current as of July 18 2012 at 135 lbs
What worked for me:
-A good way to keep yourself motivated is to read about other peoples success.
-Follow other bloggers who are struggling like you are, or those who have accomplished their goals
-Sign up for newsletters, such as Eat this Not That. those friendly reminders will keep you busy :) they also include yummy food suggestions, which is always a good idea if you get bored of your same meals everyday. 
-Read books or magazines
-and even write a blog about yourself ;)

And that is my secret, not a big secret huh? :)

*Always keep in mind, every one is different.
And being thin, doesn't define beauty.

Don't think of it as a "diet". Something you start and are bound to fall out of. Think of it as a lifestyle change. Changing your bad habits to good ones. It's all mind over matter. 

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