Often when the topic of weight loss and a healthy lifestyle comes up, there are certain things that may come to mind.
Deprivation. ( ohhh that MUST go with weight loss!)
Following rigid plans.
Following rigid plans for a number of weeks or months before getting back to “normal”.
Cutting out all foods you love that bring you joy.
The list can go on. Can you add to it?
So often in a quest for a healthier lifestyle people overlook other areas that are more than “diet related” to being healthy and living a healthy lifestyle.
Let’s look at a few areas that can contribute to the overall success of a healthy lifestyle.
We live in a world that promotes constant work and productivity. Often we sacrifice rest in the pursuit of busyness.
Yours truly can be just as bad.
I’m a night owl by nature but try to respect that my alarm still goes off a 6 a.m. no matter what time my head hits the pillow.
If there’s one thing being athletic has taught me, it’s the value of rest. Our bodies heal and repair in this time and honestly if I want to feel like I’m doing my best in my days quality rest is just as important as eating quality foods.
Don’t short yourself on rest time.
Get in outdoor time
It’s no secret that being outdoors is my jam. I will hands down, take a solid workout flying down the road on my bike, running or walking, over working out inside. It’s not just the exercise, but being out in the elements that makes me feel good. It clears my mind and feeds me mentally.
Being outdoors has wonderful therapeutic benefits. Make sure you get out not just for your physical self, but your mental self too.
Don’t cut out foods that you love
You know why so many people don’t last on structured, restrictive diets? Because they have a misguided idea they have to cut out all the things they enjoy.
Supposedly being on a diet means you have to suffer, do without, and be miserable to lose weight.
No. No you don’t.
In fact you have a higher chance of success if you allow your favorite things into your nutrition plan
You can still lose weight while building in foods you love. Doing so will keep you from binging or giving up because you feel deprived.
Remember to treat yourself
Really. Get a pedi. Have that special coffee treat. Buy that cute dress ( or shirt!)
Do the thing that makes you happy.
Treats are those non-essential things in life that make life fun. Give yourself permission to do an occasional treat.
Spend time with those who matter
Pretty self explanatory right? Physically we’re designed for relationships.. they give us a wholeness and completeness in our lives. Family and friends not only love us but can be our support system as we work towards a healthier, more fit lifestyle.
Keep these non-diet tips in mind to help you reach your health and fitness goals.
As a writer, there are many paths my mind goes when it comes to sitting down and deciding what I want to let out of my head. Sometimes I just feel like talking about life and things going on. Other times, because my blog is about health, fitness, living well and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, my focus is zeroed in these areas.
One of the topics I haven’t written on lately is the ongoing, ever present, collection of products to “help” people lose weight.
Ya know, gimmicks and what not. People happily, willingly, fork their hard earned money over for the latest smoke and mirrors in an attempt to unload fat magically overnight.
I hate to break it… but it just doesn’t work…or maybe for awhile they are encouraged and see some initial water weight loss and that can spur someone on to keep going… but it’s rare.
Most of the time they just have lighter bank accounts once the novelty has worn off.
So I’m on my soapbox again….
in the mega million dollar “health and wellness” industry, there’s always a new kid on the block. There’s always some product that makes people hopeful that maybe this time, this new thing, will do the trick.
There’s one that recently caught my eye and of course I’ve started digging and reading on it.
I love when the … what do I call them? the sellers? business people? distributors? boldly post the ingredient list as if to proudly say “SEE this is what’s in it. All good and natural ingredients”
It just helps me so much. It helps my research to ferret out all those magical ingredients that lead to sweet dreams of health and being goal weight thin.
Gosh one ingredient, I do not exaggerate, has as many letters as the entire alphabet.
It should also be noted that the person writing the review and nicely breaking down all the ingredients ( they obviously sold product X) first off mentions (that this product that contains all the letters of alphabet) is chemically demonstrated….
So there’s that, whatever that is.
Let’s establish this….
Just because a product tells you it’s made of “all natural ingredients” doesn’t really mean squat.
The term “natural” is common in the supplement industry, but doesn’t always mean it’s safe. In fact there is no legal definition for natural. Often many plants that grow in nature can be deadly and natural supplements can still have added unnatural ingredients.
All natural supplements don’t always mix well with other medications we may be taking. be sure to consult with your doctor before taking any.
Pay attention boys and girls, the “all natural” thing is a huge marketing and selling gimmick designed to make you feel comfortable and good about using their products. It encourages you to buy them because, well gosh, it’s all natural so it’s gotta be super good for me, right?
Don’t buy the hype.
Other things to consider..
Do you know the FDA ( food and drug administration in the U.S.) has actually banned many “natural” substances that were being put into diet and weight loss aids and products?
Why you may ask?
Oh because of pesky little problems like accelerated heart rate, shortness of breath or even heart attacks from the stimulants of these “natural” products. Many of these natural ingredients are actually mother natures version of “speed”. They can accelerate your heart and breathing, leave you feeling jumpy, nervous or agitated or provide an upset stomach and headache as well as (maybe) have effects of curbing appetite ( most likely from other said issues it causes)
In the US, herbal products and food supplements are largely unregulated.
That is, the products are not screened or subject to FDA approval
prior to their going on the market. Rather, it is the product manufacturer that has the responsibility to make sure that anything
being sold as a food supplement is safe… or to determine how much of what to put in the mix of everything.
For that reason, you will often see statements on herbal products or weight loss supplements sold in the US to the effect of: “This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease”.
Let’s look at a current example….
one of the “natural” products on the market today that everyone is jumping on is green coffee bean extract derived from unroasted coffee beans. It is currently among the worlds most popular weight loss supplements.
Basically, keeping it short, it’s claim to fame is supposedly to cause more fat loss by increasing body heat.
Green coffee bean extract comes from coffee beans that haven’t been roasted. Coffee beans contain compounds known as chlorogenic acids. Some believe these compounds have antioxidant effects, help lower blood pressure, and help you lose weight. Roasting coffee reduces chlorogenic acid content.
It’s interesting to note in all the articles I read it stated it “may” help with weight loss or lowering blood pressure etc.
There isn’t much testing or proof done on this topic to be totally conclusive and because of this there is always a lack of evidence on it’s safety. Studies are small, not long term and for the most part poorly designed.
Because there is no regulation on this manufactures can use the amounts they choose in their products. As mentioned previously, the jury is still out on the fact there isn’t enough evidence to support the claims for this product.
Speaking of evidence ….
As I read this glowing report on this particular product, she indicated “studies” had been done on the effectiveness of it. Well, of course I wanted to see who had done them and what some of the results were.
I mean, in all fairness, let’s see what they revealed. Maybe I was being a bit unfair.
Well, it turns out the studies were actually done by the company selling the product. I might be a wee bit cynical here but, I don’t see that as some kind of scientific, conclusive proof.
And of course the contestants who used said wonder product, were losing all the weight.
A company doing their own testing, to me, is not the most compelling evidence.
not just this product but thousands of others are not well tested, have limited evidence for their claims, and are not regulated by food and drug administration on any level.
It’s important to be mindful of what you take, especially if you already take medications.
Also understand that as sweet, good or well intending your pedaling neighbor or family member is, they are simply regurgitating the company driven info that comes to them in their sales packets. The majority most likely know nothing of the effects of ingredients that are in products beyond what they’ve been told.
And of course there is the simple truth that you will not find a magic formula to help you quickly knock off the weight to get your dream body.
You just have to get that the old fashioned way. Sensible, healthy eating, the right amount of calories for your body and purposeful exercise, that and that alone is your key to success.
Focus. Perspective. Seeing something in a different way. Clarity.
Focus: the center of activity or attention .
Perspective: a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something.
When it comes to pursuing personal goals regarding weight loss or improved health and better eating habits we all have that “thing” we focus on that keeps us in forward movement to (hopefully) achieve that goal.
We might post a picture of ourselves from years back from a time where we felt like we looked good or were at a good weight.
We could use certain items of clothing as a goal to work back to wearing that we’ve out grown.
We may restructure some of the foods we eat and how much we eat of them.
For many, the scale is the judge and jury of our success, or lack thereof.
The scale of course, offers a visual reward or assessment of how we’re doing in our week with our weight loss goals.
Back in the day, when I was just starting my journey, I’d hop on it almost daily wanting positive rewards and feedback from it.
If it told me what I thought was “good news”, my day was made. I felt awesome. I felt like I was being a superhero in the weight loss department.
If it told me less than good news ( in my mind) and by that maybe I lost no weight that week or had “only” lost a pound ( have you ever seen one pound of fat?? You’ll never say that again once you do) or worse yet, worse than the coffee pot not working one morning, was the dreaded I had gained a pound or two that week.
That was enough to make me feel like a failure. A bit of a loser. Those nagging self-defeating thoughts could creep in….
“why bother? You are never going to do this anyway?”
“wow, after all you’ve done and no weight loss, but a gain?”
“Just give up”
“Might as well just eat ( you fill in the blank here) whatever thing I had withheld from myself.
Lots of ways for me to get de-railed from my goals. The scale was definitely one of the bigger challenges to overcome.
I know I’m not alone in this misguided perspective of the scale and our weight loss and fitness journeys.
Where it changed for me.
When I first started out, the scale was a tool to show me that I indeed, was having less gravational pull 😉 that did help to offer motivation.
But after I’d had my mental “ah ha” moment of keeping the scale in it’s place it became easier for me to embrace other things that offered a “reward” for my work and diligence.
This shift in thinking offered me the encouragement I needed to keep going. Maybe it will offer you encouragement too.
My perspective had to change.
When I first started getting out and moving again, I realized after finishing up my walk one night how good I felt. I felt proud of myself for moving and getting out, I felt happy and I felt strong. None of that had to do with any weight loss. The numbers on the scale had no bearing on how good I felt overall when I finished what I was doing.
Not a lot had changed at that time, really, as far as obvious outward changes.
But there were things that I felt that made me feel good, mentally and physically. I liked the tired feeling, or having sweat running down me from exertion. I liked how I felt good and strong just from the act of doing it.
I loved the accomplished feeling of doing it.
My perspective changed in learning to embrace new changes in myself as new disciplines were being formed and slowly put together. These changes had nothing to do with a changing scale or looser jeans.
What does your perspective look like?
If you’ve been on a journey to get fit yet are often side tracked, where is your perspective? How do you approach getting to your goals? Is it based solely on having less gravitational pull ( i.e. the scale? ) Do you determine your success by that alone?
Learning to shift your perspective to the whole picture will help you move along celebrating other things that are happening with you as well.
You know that discipline you are building from making a daily commitment to get your exercise in?
Don’t underestimate that. When you learn to train yourself to daily exercise it makes other things in life easier to be disciplined in.
As an endurance runner, I’ve learned I have to put out a lot of strength and not just physical, but mental too. Once you’ve run 26 miles, or better almost 32 you realize you take can anything in life head on.
I learned that strength I built in training carried over into all areas of my life and that was pretty cool.
Building your new habits and practices can help give you confidence in all areas of your life too.
Focus or perspective
So as you pursue whatever you’ve set before you the question to ask is are you focused on it? Or do you have a positive perspective on it?
If you are “just” focused on weight loss, making it the center of your attention, then it will be all you can see.
If you have a broad perspective approaching weight loss and fitness then you will be able to see all different aspects of the process and can embrace those things alongside the visible change of numbers of the scale.
You can learn to celebrate changes in how you are eating, the choices you make in food, your approach to eating, and how much you eat.
You can see improvements in your overall fitness when you climb a flight of stairs and aren’t out of breath, when you can walk briskly and it just feels good, when you can lift heavier things with ease, or when your body begins to reflect a new overall strength in tasks.
As your perspective changes and you embrace all of the changes you are going through you will begin to see there is more to having a whole balanced perspective on health and wellness than the ever shifting numbers on a scale.
Are you a more focused person or one who has more perspective on the big picture?
I had to laugh once again seeing an “ideal” weight chart come up in my research. I couldn’t help but glance at the numbers and wonder what or who came up with them.
Not only that, I could pull up several different charts and be given different numbers to work with. IF I paid attention to any of that.
One thing those charts don’t recognize ( well a lot they don’t recognize) is your body and what you do or don’t do. They don’t address your nutrition or your body mass ( is it more muscle or fat? or a balance of both?)
If there is one thing I see that people begin to get fixed on as they lose weight is what they perceive as their “ideal” weight.
Sometimes it’s a weight they were back in school or when they got married. Maybe it’s a weight they felt good or most confident at. Nonetheless, they have an ideal weight goal they set before them to achieve.
That of itself isn’t bad. It’s good to have something to shoot for, something that keeps you focused and working towards your goals.
Often though what we see as our ideal weight might not be so ideal where we are now. Maybe you looked good at a certain weight in high school but 30 years later, it might be to thin for you. Perhaps a few more pounds on you might make you look better and be easier to maintain in the long run.
Sometimes people believe getting to that weight will make them happy. They will feel they have “arrived” and that there is nothing left to achieve. Perhaps they think at that weight their body will look the way they think it should look.
Whatever the reasons, it’s at the top of the list when people are striving to lose weight.
Back to those charts.
I’m amused at some of those suggested weights for me. It might not be apparent if you are reading my posts, or seeing my photos, but I’m 6’0 and solid. Those charts don’t take into account I’ve built a decent amount of muscle on my frame or my body structure. If I were to weigh in at some suggested weights I’d look…well… beyond lean. I’d look scrawny for sure.
One thing I’ve learned in the past few years is how my body can fluidly change depending on what I’m doing. In my heaviest part of my marathon training it was fairly effortless to stay on the super lean side. I was running 50-55 miles a week if not more. I certainly didn’t take in more calories than I was burning off. If anything long training tended to kill my appetite and not help it. I topped some of my lowest body weight and body fat numbers during that time.
However, when not heavy training my body tends to bounce back to what I think of as my “happy weight” or the weight that is most effortless for me to maintain. It’s also a reasonable healthy weight.
Yes, when I started on my weight loss journey a few years ago I had a distinct number in mind. I’ve since learned to allow fluctuations in that weight and that it’s ok.
Was I happier at that weight goal? Well, on one hand yes, I’m goal oriented and love nailing my goals. On the other hand, nothing earth shattering happened reaching it. One thing I’ve found is once that goal is achieved the work isn’t done. You work to maintain and keep it there. And that can become a very mean task master if one is controlled by numbers. If those numbers moved up even a few pounds from there, it could ’cause you to feel unhappy or not satisfied. Or if you’re smart, you make adjustments you need to get the numbers closer to where you want them.
Numbers do kinda matter though
Ok I might be making fun of charts but it is good to understand, recognize, and know your body does have a “window” in regards to weight that you should know and should strive to maintain. A few pounds over it should be cause to make changes to keep you in your “window”.
Obesity is a major cause of many health related diseases and is totally preventable. Obesity here in the states is at an all time high in adults and more disturbingly, children. Maintaining your weight in your healthy zone can prevent health related diseases.
If you are highly active or do activities to build muscle, that as well will cause numbers to fluctuate. My body structure is now more about a body fat percentage versus the standard BMI which doesn’t take into account an athletes muscle mass.
I have a weight that is what I consider my “in season” weight when I’m training longer and heavier and an “off season” weight when I can be 5-7 lbs “heavier”.
Both of those are “ideal” for me. I’m really not focused on a set of numbers anymore as much as I am my bodies ability to perform well, to be strong, and to be energetic.
I’ve also learned enough of myself that there is a place that is healthy and easily sustainable without me being rigid and constantly watchful of what I eat.
It’s a pretty free place to be.
Find your happy place.
If you have weight to lose, know what your “window” can be and work towards that. Allow that you might get within 5 lbs and be totally happy or see that you look good right there and don’t need to lose more.
If you’re highly active and engage in heavy sports, understand how your body works and the processes it can go through in and out of training and how those numbers may look on the scale.
Finally, once you know what that place is ( happy and healthy) it is easier to maintain it and enjoy life without obsessing over numbers.
I wanted to include some tips on eating and nutrition but for the sake of not turning it into another War and Peace novel I decided to make it more of a two part item 😛
Food can be such a struggle for so many.
How much to eat, what to eat, when to eat. Eat when you’re hungry, eat when you’re not. Eat for reasons unknown to you.
These behaviors left alone can lead to unwanted pounds and unwanted health problems associated with being over weight. So many people want to change and make improvements but aren’t sure where to start or what to do. They feel like they have to give up everything they love and everything that’s good and be in this restricted zone of deprivation and no fun.
That mentality will certainly not lead to long term success in your weight loss endeavors. If you’ve followed me then you know I’m anti-diet mentality and anti-deprivation believing people will be far more successful knowing they can include foods they enjoy and still lose weight. I believe building new habits and behaviors with food is what leads to life long success and sustainability. Building new habits doesn’t happen over night, but with persistency and keeping at it, those habits will stick and become second nature to you.
In fact, I was delighted to come across a book a few years ago that was pretty much what I had done to lose weight and keep it off. It was all about habits and behaviors and I literally devoured it.
on a side note, the author is releasing a paperback version on the 26th of this month and asked me if I’d write another review for her 🙂 I guess she thought I did a decent job on the first to ask me to write one for the new book and I’m thrilled.
You can be watching for my review on it later on.
But I digress….
Like exercise, the decision to lose weight has to be yours and yours alone. Once you make the choice to do it then you need to become proactive in doing things to make it happen.
No one will do it for you. No one will control what goes in your mouth or how much you eat but you.
But you’ve got this.. you can do it.
ok, I’m ready to start. Now what?
Don’t start by eating all the junky food in your pantry to “get rid of it”. Don’t start by cutting out everything you love or that is tasty to you and eating celery. I mean.. you CAN eat celery it’s really good for you and one of those “zero” calorie foods but.. well.. you get what I mean 😉
Don’t start by so severely restricting your calories that you are constantly hungry and thinking of your next meal.
These are frequent “techniques” I see to many people employee in their quest to lose weight, techniques that quickly fail them.
You can do this instead…
Practice listening to your body and learn to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you are feeling satisfied. This may take some practice as your eyes and mouth will want more and you’ve most likely trained yourself that way. Eat slowly and learn to savor your food this gives you time to realize that you are satisfied with most likely, less food.
At the start don’t focus so much on what you’re eating as when you eat and how much you eat.
As you move through those first few weeks you can consider your food choices and begin to think of what you might let go of, or opt to make a better healthier exchange on.
The food you eat.
Hey we’re all adults here, right? That being said we all have that level of responsibility for what we eat and drink. If you toss down a dozen Christmas cookies in a sitting, well, you might reconsider that. If you’ve learned to have a couple and savor them, you’re on a good track.
The foods we consume come down to what we find tasty and how we’ve trained ourselves to eat.
Yes. I said trained yourself.
We have all trained ourselves in our eating behaviors and food choices. That being said.. you can retrain yourself to eat better or eat less or make better choices.
Will it take time, yes. Will you get it down in a couple weeks? No. Can you be successful doing it? Absolutely.
Remember I told you at the beginning, it all comes down to you and what you want.
If you want to change, you will.
What do I eat?
I’m not going to tell you how to eat or what to eat. I will say making choices that involve healthy and nutritious foods will always be in your best interest. Foods that have minimal ingredients are best, the majority of the time, if you can.
If your daily diet consists of more processed, fast food or sugary/salty foods you might want to reconsider what you are eating.
You should work to building meals rich with veggies and fruits and healthy carbs with a good dose of protein.
Let’s face it… 400 calories of fast food vs. 400 calories of veggies and healthy food equals a lot more food to eat AND its better for your health. The more food choices you make that are nutrient dense means you can eat more and stay full longer.
Even though people largely believe they don’t over estimate food portions, they usually do. Be aware of what true serving sizes are and aim to stay in that perimeter.
Know what you’re eating. Look at labels and the contents of the product if you are unsure.
Make a list of what you eat to keep track of your food, at least for a few weeks. Be honest. No one will see it but you but and it can make you aware of what you eat, when you eat and how much. This could also give you some clues to behaviors with food you might need to deal with
Focus on small changes.
It’s those small daily things we do each day that add up. It’s easy to dismiss choices we make and think it doesn’t matter, but when we are attentive to our movement and what we eat those choices will lead to success.
Also, when you focus on small improvements it really doesn’t seem difficult to work on the goals that have been set. Eating a bit less, swapping a sugary drink for one with less or no sugar, passing by the fast food restaurant, having a small dessert over a full size, roasting instead of frying, learning to eat more fruits and veggies, are all examples of small ways to make changes.
One bad day isn’t the end of the world.
We’ve all done it. We’ve all had days where we know we ate more than we needed. Meh. It happens. The key to your success is not throwing in the towel from one bad day and reverting to your old habits and behaviors. Simply hit the reset button and get right back at it.
Stay positive in how you view yourself, and stay focused on what you are wanting to achieve.
Ask yourself the hard questions… is food more important than… ( whatever you are hoping to achieve)
There will be up’s and down’s in this process. The most important part to being successful is an unwillingness to quit or give up.
Stay the course and before you know it, you’ll be looking back at how far you’ve come.
Do you have any tips or tricks for weight loss that have worked for you ?
Hello world! Are you still out there? I know I’ve been gone for some days, but if you remember from a previous post, I had a son get married this past week and I gained a new daughter in law.
To say my four day weekend was a little busy is an understatement. However, the wedding happened, it looked beautiful, and they are now married. The most important part, right?
To say I was proud watching my oldest get married, to see his petite bride taking his arm with a smiling face and eyes only for him, yeah ok I was proud.
So now here I am, a week later trying to sit myself down and share something with you so you know I’m still alive and kicking.
So, on to todays program! As many of my posts are, they get generated through conversations with people, or sometimes a quote I see, or whatever current hype I want to address.
I recently saw a post on social media about “getting started again”. There was discouragement this person had gotten off track with their fitness goals and were attempting to get back heading the right direction again.
It really is so easy to do, to get discouraged and throw in the towel.
We forget it takes some time and perseverance to make progress! We tend not to chart our progress when we gain weight or skip workouts ( who wants to remind themselves they aren’t working out or eating right?)
Yet when we are wanting to lose weight or get more physically fit, we get frustrated with ourselves. We want quick results and almost instant change. We look in the mirror for visible results. We put clothes on expecting them to be magically bigger.
When it doesn’t happen, we just quit. Maybe we quit because for awhile, our old habits are just easy to fall back into. Like our fav pair of jeans or sloppy shoes.
It feels comfortable to us.
Those new changes feel uncomfortable and when we don’t get quick results it’s easy to think “why bother”?
We may look at the scale and see numbers that are seemingly so far away and getting to that goal feels overwhelming.
Maybe it’s lab results at the doctor that give a more in depth look of your health and those numbers aren’t so good.
Perhaps that walk you took off on has reminded you that, yeah, your cardio health, it’s as out of shape as the outside body you can see.
It’s not comfortable to move into a zone of “discomfort”. And yeah, there is a certain level of discomfort that comes from moving ourselves into new habits and behaviors.
Change just won’t come unless we’re willing to accept and embrace it.
Our focus needs adjusted…
When we focus on how far we need to go to get to whatever goals we’ve set for ourselves it really hinders our progress. Not only that, it’s just not fair to yourself.
If you’re working daily to make changes ( even if you might not feel you always nail them) you aren’t being fair to yourself to consider all the work you’ve invested into the process of a lifestyle change.
I think, talking with people, this has to be one of the single most important thing to consider and remember. I try and remind them of where they’ve come from, Whether it’s a new mentality about food, learning to listen to their bodies more about how to eat and when to eat, learning to exercise,or thinking in more positive ways about themselves. Maybe they had a better report at the doctor or they have been able to do more physically with greater ease.
A lifestyle change is a slow, daily, determined process. Don’t believe that those small changes don’t matter, they do! And in time those small things will lead to that greater weight loss you want or being able to take on a physical activity you previously thought you couldn’t.
I’m no different. True, my goals and perspectives have changed for myself since I started my health journey. I’m no longer focused on weight or trying to lose it. But I still feel that way when I’m pushing myself to get faster on the bike, running, or lifting something heavier.
I remind myself how far I’ve come and that this is indeed, a daily journey and I need to keep my focus on how far I’ve come and not the road in front of me I’m still traveling.
Same for you. It’s much more enjoyable when you focus on what you’ve accomplished than what you still need to do.
Celebrate your victories, don’t be to harsh on yourself if a day doesn’t go as planned, and learn to enjoy your journey and all you will learn about yourself.
Are you in a place of discouragement or have you quit again? Have you done it before but now are on the right track again? What has helped you stick with it?
Another came rolling through again. The obligatory salad post with some “diet” caption attached to it.
I see them often.
The person is usually getting on the diet wagon and where else do you start, but by eating salads, right?
Now hear me out.
I’m not knocking salads. I love them. They are often my lunch of choice because well, I simply enjoy eating veggies, they fill me up, don’t make me feel sleepy, and leave me feeling energetic.
Salads done right are a wonderful meal and offer endless amounts of creativity with them.
Sadly, some I see, I’m left thinking that the poor person will be starving soon ( no protein in salad) and often lacking a good variety of veggies in it.
We have also been conditioned to think of losing weight and getting healthy in forms of deprivation.
Nothing fun or tasty.
A boring iceberg salad mix with a few cherry tomatoes thrown in, a bit of cucumber, and maybe some shredded carrot.
Yay. Go to town on that.
After all to lose weight, you gotta suffer right? Be miserable? Hungry all the time?
No, not really. Not at all.
Well, what works then?
There are many things on the market promising weight loss. There are lots of “trendy” new diets you can commit to if that’s your thing.
None of them are magic. None of them have some super power over the other. Some offer restrictions, others take food groups away from you, some have you eating gobs of fat, some give you barely enough calories to operate on, some offer “meal replacements”… gosh the list can go on….
At the end of the day it’s simply science.
We lose weight when we take in less calories than our bodies need for daily functioning.
You could achieve it on an Oreo and milk diet although I wouldn’t recommend that…. mainly ’cause I’m not into Oreos 😉
You create a deficit by calories and activity level and in a slow and steady way weight loss will occur.
You need to reduce your daily calories by about 350-500 a day to lose weight.
How the heck do I do that?
I’d say start with things that might not matter a lot or that you could easily reduce. Do you stop for some sugary drink at Starbucks or the local coffee shop?
Do you have any idea of the calorie, fat, or sugar content of it for the size you buy?
Go ahead… I’ll wait.
Google it up and look.
Are you shocked? Most people are.
How much sugar or creamer do you add to coffee? How many sodas or sugar drinks do you consume? Alcohol?
I’d say the best thing to do is simply write down all you eat in a day for about a week.
Be honest. Don’t try and hide anything from yourself. This will give you a guide of what you eat.. the good and not so good.
This will be your starting place to look at where to weed out those 350-500 calories a day.
We often mindlessly stuff things into our mouths without recognizing that yeah, those calories do count.
So do an honest assessment with yourself if you want to see where you can reduce or cut out to help lower those calories while keeping the more nutritious foods in place.
Speaking of nutritious foods…..
Consider foods you like that are healthy and offer your body good nutrition. You know I don’t really like to label foods, but let’s be honest, there are many foods that offer more to our health, feeling good, being energetic and losing weight than others.
Whole grains, fruits, veggies, lean meats, dairy products all offer an abundance of goodies for us to choose from to plan our daily nutrition needs.
Vegetables and fruit… consider this…
On average, only 14 percent of American adults consume at least 2 servings of fruit and at least 3 servings of vegetables daily.
Sadly, in my communication with people I’m always staggered at the truth of that. The very idea of vegetables is something repugnant being offered to them.
You can eat a whole lot of veggies that fill you up, keep you feeling energetic, and come in really low on the calories.
They can be eaten raw or cooked in all kinds of ways that are delicious.
Here’s the deal… if you’ve trained yourself to eat not so nutritious foods, you can train yourself to eat foods that support good health and weight loss.
And you have trained yourself to eat and drink the way you do now…..
It just will take some time and intentional effort on your part…. you know… that habit thing I always blab about….
I was at a dinner party recently and the couple across from me were, well honestly, really over weight. The wife was telling me how she was trying to get him to eat vegetables and he was telling me about ones he had been “trying” and she said “I’m even trying to get him to eat brussel sprouts!”
I said “Oh, how are you preparing them?” (Help me. I already knew the answer before it came)
“Oh, I boil them!” she said smiling at me
I tried to contain my face and not imagine them boiled and rolling around the plate like little green heads… boiling them is like the kiss of death. Boiling them is the reason people rebel against eating them 😉
I told her for a change, that would be tasty and healthy, to slice them up, toss them with a little olive oil, cracked pepper and sea salt then roast them till they started to get crispy.
Her hubby definitely perked up to that.
Seriously though. Learn to experiment with vegetables. Roasting brings out the best flavors in them. Some do better lightly steamed but most anything can be roasted.
Now about those salads….
Just a few tips on making a good salad for your meal.
~include a variety of colorful veggies. Peppers, radishes, tomatoes, avocado, red onion, broccoli, really anything can be added.
~ don’t be afraid of tossing some fruit in. Blueberries or strawberries can make a good addition to a green salad.
~ Don’t forget a healthy dose of protein… this keeps you from getting hungry soon. Feta cheese, grilled chicken, canned tuna, boiled eggs etc can be great options to add in.
~ healthy fats like avocados or walnuts are a good addition to your salad
~ go easy on salad dressings or this will negate all the good efforts of your salad. Be mindful of calories and fat and the fact a serving size is usually like 2 tablespoons… yeah.. go ahead and measure that out… look for low calorie ones or better yet learn to whip up your own healthier alternatives.
I’ve found the more creative the mix of my salad, the less I really want any dressing or at best just a minimal amount.
So post those salad pics…..
Seriously, if you’re on the road to dropping some weight, good for you! Salads offer a fun, tasty and super healthy way to get there. Make them satisfying to your tastes and share your creativity. It’s ok to enjoy your fruits and veggies.
Keep in mind as well, a balanced nutrition plan, with a small daily reduction of calories, will lead to weight loss and keep your energy level up in the process.
What is the way you find most successful to lose weight? Are you good at eating your fruits and veggies?