2009 was *the year* of years for me in terms of becoming healthier and finally shedding “the weight”. I did it, I battled the “baby-weight war“ and freakin’ won, man! I successfully lost 35 lbs by making smarter food choices and working out utilizing the Wii (and a little ingenuity)! Woo hoo!
I still cannot believe what I see.
After having had “the weight” on for many years, and even losing some of it a time or two, circumstances always came up which caused it to come back on, mostly my laziness and unwillingness to stick to it. I guess that’s probably what it all boils down to, is my lack of wanting to continue to work hard to maintain it. I wanted it to be easy to be thin, again, such as it was when I was younger.
All my life, I could eat what I want, and do what I wanted because I had such a high metabolism. One day while pregnant with my oldest son, I began to bleed. After a trip to the doctors, I was placed on bed rest to ensure he was okay (and he most certainly is, he just turned ten). This unfortunately killed my metabolism, sitting on my rear, not moving for almost two months straight. I went from that person who couldn’t sit still and could eat everything in sight, to someone who still wanted to eat everything in sight, but was too unhealthy to do anything about it. Thus, my battle with my weight began.
Last year, I’d had enough. I had to do it, I had to lose weight. I couldn’t survive another summer in Louisiana overweight, such as I was. I began my New Year’s resolution a little late, though, by starting in late March 2009, but I dove right in, did it, stuck to it, and was successful, final-fricken-ly!
This year, my resolution is no longer to “lose the weight”, but to “stay healthy and fit.” (I am in awe, this will be the first year in a decade I’m not wishing to lose weight!) I’m thoroughly enjoying my “new” body, and want to do all I can to keep it that way.
Because it’s New Year’s resolution time, Mandi of Organizing Your Way asked me to write some tips that might help others with a similar weight loss goal, by contributing to her fantastic series, 31 Days of Organizing for a Better 2010: More than Resolutions. Each day, a blogger shares their idea regarding a specific topic related to improving your life and setting realistic goals for the new year. And Mandi’s goal today? Losing weight and getting healthier.
I thought I’d share with you five important tips I’ve used to help me lose weight, who knows, it might help you, too.
Often times, when wanting to lose weight, you’ll hear “cut out fat,” or “eat more veggies,” but you seldom hear anything about cutting back or eliminating salt. Sure, salt may have no calories and isn’t fattening, but it does aid in weight gain by adding unnecessary water weight. Check your food and beverage labels – I bet you’ll find ridiculously high amounts in some of those so-called “diet” foods. They add a ton of salt just to make it taste “good.”
Look before you eat – if you’re stuck with eating out, or eating something already processed, or are planning on preparing something from a package, jar, or can – check the sodium content, and choose lower-sodium foods. While some salt is necessary in your diet, too much salt isn’t good for you, for your blood pressure or your weight-loss goals. If you’re looking for a good substitute, check out Mrs. Dash, or sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese in your sauces.
2. Make your own.
Some of you already know, I’m a big homemade-food buff. Even if you aren’t like me, I might tantalize you to the “dark side” by telling you, you don’t actually have to give up your favorite foods when dieting. (Go ahead, repeat that to yourself. Let it sink in for a second.)
I, personally, love ranch dressing, chicken wings, burgers and pizza. However, instead of purchasing these items from a restaurant in order to give into my desires, we make our own in a “healthified” way. Instead of using beef, I use turkey to make my burgers. Instead of chicken wings, we use breasts or tenders without the fatty skin, and make our own sauce, baking it (like boneless wings you might find elsewhere). I make my own low-fat ranch dressing weekly, to enjoy. Pizza, too, is pretty simple to make, creating your own dough, own sauce, and choosing healthy toppings.
3. Break up with sugar.
Oh, I know. You just groaned, didn’t you. How dare I ask you to give up your coveted friend, especially at that time of the month. I know, oh, I know. But too much is, well, too much. For almost a year, I’ve used Truvia in my coffee, and I know that by making this choice and choosing low-in sugar foods, I’ve helped myself lose the weight and keep it off. Does this stop me from partaking in birthday cake or cookies with my children? Heck no! But, in moderation, once in a while, as a treat, not everyday. I also throw in a run, or extra work out, to counteract the extra calories when I do choose to celebrate with a little sugar. Because, honestly, while it may taste amazing, sugar is nothing but extra, empty calories.
4. Make fiber your BFF.
I know, you’re probably a parent reading this and already dealing with enough crap from dirty diapers, but trust me when I tell you, worry about your ability to produce it, too. A healthy colon is a must for sustaining health and helping your lose weight, period. I mean, how many pounds can you expect to see lost on the scale if you aren’t purging waste daily? Binding up = weight gain.
For years I had terribly stomach-aches, not knowing I had a lot of “plaque” and toxins which slowed me up over time. To stay healthy, I drink plenty of water, a daily protein shake with added fiber, and I take one or two fiber supplements every time I eat food. It might sound like a lot, but that’s what my body needs to remain under control, and I do it because I know it’s only helping me stay healthy, regular, and keeping my weight under control.
5. Work it out.
You didn’t think I was going to not mention exercise, did you? Dieting alone isn’t going to get you to your weight loss goals, you have to add movement along with it. There are many conventional things you can do at home to work out without fancy gym memberships or expensive fitness machines. My best advice is to pretend you’re a kid again, and do what you did as a child. Walk the block. Dance and work up a sweat. Jump on a trampoline. Do squats, push-ups and sit-ups (like in gym class). Jump rope. Hula hoop. Ride a bike. Roller skate.
My favorite part is finding new ways to incorporate my kids into doing something physical, like lifting my smaller children above my head up and down repeatedly (arm work out), or laying on the floor, pressing them up like super-heroes, up and down repeatedly (leg work out). We love to jog in place, dance like silly people, and wrestle during tickle wars. There’s nothing says fitness can’t be fun!
Another benefit to getting the kids involved? Not only is it fun family time spent together, but it’s an instant, close-knit support system for you, working out with you. I mean, who would be better for you than them?
My final recommendations to you are:
- Don’t cram a meal all at once. Eat a little here and there throughout the day. Help fire that metabolism up, and keep it going, with several smaller meals than three big ones. You may feel hungry a lot, but hunger is good, it means it’s working, and your metabolism is burning what you’ve eaten quickly.
- Do something aerobic after you eat. Keep that metabolism pumping. Take a walk with your kids, dance while you sweep, vacuum vigorously, do something, anything to get your heart pumping.
- Make a plan. Write it out, in a post (like I did), exactly what you want to accomplish. You can’t achieve your goal without a goal in mind. And specify how you’re going to do it, and what you’re going to use to get you there (for instance, I said I was cutting back on late night snacking, choosing healthier food options, and using the Wii Fit).
- Take some “before” pictures. It’s good to have those to refer to once you’re on your way, working out, and making changes, to document how far you’ve come. You don’t have to post them if you’re not comfortable posting them, but my suggestion is to at least take them for your reference. Give yourself that bird’s eye view to yourself.
- Keep track of your measurements. Sometimes you won’t see a change on the scale, and it might get you down and make you second guess how well you’re really doing. Keeping track of certain measurements will help motivate you, even if there’s no pounds lost that week. Start out with beginning measurements for your neck, chest, waist, hips, thighs, calves, ankles and wrists. Alongside it, keep track of your bra size, shirt, pant and shoe size as well. These will, over time, change, too. Don’t forget to date them!
I hope you find these tips helpful, I know they’ve helped me greatly. Please let me know how and what you’re doing to lose weight, I’d love to join you and be your fitness buddy, if you’d like one!
Have a happy and healthy New Year!
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