Starting out is the easy part of any fitness regimen. It’s sticking with it that’s hard. However, it doesn’t have to be. You don’t have to live on lettuce and carrot sticks to get to where you want to be. Trust me! I am an avid vegetable hater. I can’t even stand the smell of broccoli, I refuse to consider a brussel sprout as an edible option, I won’t eat anything that might even appear to have an onion in it. Fruits are another thing I have a hard time with. I hate bananas so much that I won’t even eat banana cake, and I LOVE cake. A LOT! Yet, I still managed to lose eighty pounds. If I can, anyone can.
There are five basic rules that I have followed since I began this journey. They are simple enough that I have been able easily continue following them for over two years now. Before I go into them, I must say that I am not a nutritionist or a Physical fitness expert. I am simply letting you know what has worked for me. Please consider that when making decisions regarding trying any of these things.
1. Set a Goal.
Set any goal big or small. Set multiple goals if you want. When I left the hospital weighing 215 pounds after the birth of my 3rd child, I decided I had to do something. I set my ultimate goal of 150 pounds. I didn’t put a time constraint on it. I just set it and decided not to give up before I reached that goal. From there I set weekly goals. 3 pounds, 5 pounds, whatever I felt like I could manage that week. I also reccomend keeping track of your measurements. It helps keep from getting discouraged if the scale doesn’t read the way you hoped. Sometimes your measurements change more than your weight. Recording this progress is awesome motivation!
2. Log Your Food.
Write down everything you eat. Even if it’s just a few chips or m&ms. It all adds up if you are a habitual grazer. I started out using Livestrong to log my diet and exercise. I later switched to MyFitnessPal because they have an app that I can use on my phone which makes it super easy to log your food. You can just scan the barcode of your food item and it logs it for you. Livestrong may have an app now too, but I am so accustomed to myfitnesspal that I just stuck with it. You can also enter your height, weight, and your goal weight and it will tell you how many calories you should consume each day to achieve your goal. Logging your food can be hard to get used to, but try really hard to make it a habit. It keeps your mind conscious of what you are putting in your body. Keep in mind that 3500 calories = 1 pound, so any calorie deficit adds up to weight loss. However, you don’t ever want to eat less than 1200 calories in a day as it can put your body in starvation mode and you will begin to store fat rather than lose it.
At least 30 minutes of cardio each day (with one rest day a week). This is my favorite rule. Maybe because I love to exercise. Many people detest it, and I understand, but it’s so important. My advice to getting it done on days you don’t feel like it is to not give your mind time to think about it. Just put your workout clothes on and do it. If you sit around and tell yourself ” I NEED to workout, but I don’t FEEL like it,” you are giving yourself the opportunity to talk yourself out of it. Sometimes I just put my workout clothes on, and I find that within an hour I end up working out because it would be silly to change your clothes and not workout. Another motivational tip is to promise yourself at least 5 minutes of exercise before deciding not to do it. Usually after 5 minutes I don’t want to quit. Getting started is the hard part. They say “The hardest step for a runner is the first one out the door.” So lace up, and get out there. Walk, jog, run, get on the treadmill, the elliptical, do some yoga, or Zumba, join a fitness class, just do SOMETHING! You may find it helps to plan your exercise for each day ahead of time. Get the kids involved too, they will love the active quality time. I also encourage you to log your exercise daily as well. It helps keep you motivated. It adds to your calorie deficit too.
4. Cook at Home
Yes, you do have time. Make the time. It’s necessary. Make meals ahead of time if neccesary. My strategy is to make a menu and shopping list for the week, and stick to it. I still eat all my favorite comfort foods. The key is to use healthy ingredients. I use a lot of reduced fat, low calorie foods. There are many brands of foods out there that are a healthier option that taste just as good as the full fat version. Example: Ronzoni Smart Taste Pasta. You won’t even know the difference. I promise. (I also use fat free evaporated milk in place of heavy cream in a lot of recipes.) You can look up all kinds of tips and trick on the internet. I will try to post some more soon for reference. In the meantime, you can get some recipes from D-Life and SparkRecipes. They have a wide variety of all kinds of delicious healthy versions of nearly anything you can imagine.
You read it right. Have a cheat meal each week. Remember, the goal is not to deprive yourself. The goal is to find a realistic way to live and maintain a healthy lifestyle. You can’t live with restrictions 100% of the time. You will get burned out and give up on your ultimate goal. Cheat once a week. Enjoy it. No need to feel guilty, because after that meal, you will be right back to your new healthy lifestyle.
That’s it! Sounds easy enough, right? Try it and see for yourself. Give it a week and see how quickly you can drop a few pounds.
I’d love to hear any questions, comments, or suggestions you might have in the comments section below or you can email me at: MaintainingMommy@outlook.com
Thanks for reading!