5 changes I made and I will always stick to because I feel much healthier!
1. Drink water!
The recommended amount of water consumption per day is 8 glasses. For whatever reason, whenever I heard this throughout my life, I thought that seemed like so much water! It felt like I was forcing myself to drink it and drowning in water. But then I bought this:
There is something about having a cup with a straw that makes it SO much easier to drink. I now drink water all day every day. I even bought one for one of my best friends who is trying to lose post pregnancy weight because I believe in it that much! I probably refill it about 10 times a day. If you don't think you consume enough water, try getting one. This is not scientific...just based on my own experience. Let me know if you agree with me!
2. Eat 5 times per day.
Breakfast, snack, Lunch, snack, Dinner
To some people it seems like a lot. It is not huge amounts of food (which is discussed under number 3), but eating throughout the day keeps your metabolism going and also keeps you feeling satisfied. Starting my day with a healthy breakfast sets the tone for my whole day! Cutting back and only eating 1 or 2 meals per day is not the healthy way to lose weight. You may eat less calories but at some point you will be really hungry and you run the risk of overeating in that kind of scenario. Plus, your body needs a certain amount of nutrients each day to remain healthy.
On a side note, jump start your day with a workout to really boost your metabolism! ;)
3. Portion control.
Yes, people talk about portion control all the time, but seriously...it's important. Eating 5 times a day keeps your metabolism going, but you need to control how much you are consuming those 5 times per day. The two snacks shouldn't be high in calories...my favorite snacks are raw almonds, greek yogurt or raw vegetables with hummus. Then for meals, increase the portion of vegetables or protein and decrease the amount of carbs. Notice I say "decrease." You don't want to eliminate carbs from your diet, but if you are trying to lose weight you also do not want to stack your plate with potatoes and pasta. Eat carbs, don't eliminate them, but stack up on the vegetables and protein.
4. Make healthy choices/substitute.
Instead of frying chicken, make baked chicken.
Instead of having loaded baked potatoes, make baked wedge fries.
Instead of having regular pancakes, make whole grain pancakes and add fruit.
Instead of ordering a juicy burger and fries, get a turkey burger and sweet potato fries.
You can still eat tasty food when eating out but just try to choose something with fewer calories.
For more info on substitutes you can read my post about modifications here:
It's all about Modification
Yes...I said it. You cannot always make healthy choices. If you do not allow yourself to eat your favorites every now and then, it makes it difficult to stick with healthy eating. Girls night out is not the time to limit your wine and food consumption (my friend Jackie's words the other night...so true!)...it is a time to enjoy yourself and eat what you want, drink what you want, but when you wake up in the morning the next day...start the day off right. Go back to your healthy eating schedule. A cheat day here and there are not going to ruin your progress but it shouldn't be every day.
I personally cheat once per week. I like pizza, wine, eating out, desserts, fall baking, martinis etc. I am now a little more flexible in when I cheat but when I was trying to lose weight I was much more disciplined...only cheating when we would go out and then eating really well at home consistently. Once I reached my weight goals, I started allowing myself more flexibility and it has not caused me any weight gain because I continue to work out and have increased my workouts. Instead of only cheating when we go out, I don't feel bad ordering a pizza on a Friday, baking something for my family, having a glass (or 2) of wine in the evening etc.
I hope these tips help you if you are looking for a place to start! Make healthy choices 5 times per day, drink water, control your portions and then cheat occasionally to reward yourself for your hard work!