Many of you have noticed that I’ve lost a few pounds over the past few months. While I think I’d hate myself too for saying what about I’m about to say — it was somewhat accidental — it’s sort of the truth. The reality though is a few changes that are worth noting: we were eating out less (subsequently drinking less and therefore not overeating), drinking way less at home (so less calories/sugar, and not over-eating), and then running more to prepare for a 5K race — my first in a decade and a major personal milestone.
That said, many of you know I’m a weight watcher lifetimer (I lost about 35 lbs around 2003 after college) and with my health issues, I’ve learned a lot of tips to be healthier — and get back to it when I veer off course.
Since many of you have been asking what I’ve been doing or doing differently, I’m sharing today some of my best tips to be healthier. If you’re looking to lose weight, go to this post about six ways to lose those nagging five pounds… really helpful tips you can easily implement. There’s a little overlap here, but the food tips are from my occasional trainer and they really work. And, most importantly, EAT. If you know me, you absolutely know how much I love food; any weight loss from me ever is never, ever a result of not eating. It’s about balance and finding what works for your body.
Tips to be Healthier, Stronger and More Fit
Switch up your workout routine
Do you do the same workout routine every single time? One: bo-ring. Two, your body and your muscles are getting used to the same movements. Mix it up! I started losing weight when I started running more — not a lot, I’m talking 1-2 miles and sometimes a run walk — but I hadn’t really run in two years due to ankle injuries so I began using different muscles and working my heart in a new way. I still love riding the recumbent bike but I mix it up or do half and half for my 30 minutes of cardio. And, I work out on average about three times per week.
I’ll get to another related workout tip below.
It’s all about diet.
So much of weight loss or a healthy lifestyle is related to what you eat. You can work out all freaking day, but if you eat like crap, you’re going to have a really tough time seeing any sort of change. My body doesn’t handle fiber well so I really focus on upping my protein. I eat two hard boiled eggs for breakfast — filling and satisfying. I keep portion controlled snacks that are around 150-220 calories handy like FroPro bars, rx bars (regular and kid sized ones), and there’s a Trader Joe’s trail mix pack I live for that I can’t recommend enough — look for the one that’s only almonds, cashews and chocolate. It’s crunchy, satisfying, has that chocolate fix, and is about 200 calories. It’s the perfect afternoon snack.
If you’re constantly hungry like I was, I realized it was because I eating smaller snacks around 100 calorie so I never felt full. The snacks mentioned above fill me up… I subsequently snack less and feel satisfying.
Can’t stop snacking: chew gum.
Lastly, I cut out nearly all artificial sugars… yup, I put real raw/brown sugar and creamer in my coffee and avoid snacks with fake crap. I also don’t eat as much dairy, partially because I think it was irritating my stomach (devastating because I live for cheese & do eat it still, just not as often). That said, it does cut down on mindless extra calories like feta in salads (I love avocado for that creamy factor!).
Drink lots of water
Everyone knows you should drink lots and lots of water. It’s good for your body, for your skin, for keeping you full. That said, I drink far less water than I’d like because of my crappy bladder situation however I highly encourage you to drink water and keep it handy. If you hate it, add a few limes, lemons or oranges.
Building muscle helps you burn fat, makes you feel strong and look leaner. I’m not saying to become a body builder (unless you want to, and then do it up!), but I have really focused on workouts with weights — anywhere from 2-8 lbs — and I’m seeing my body slowly transform. If you can budget it, try finding a trainer to work with a few times to help you create a program designed for your body and lifestyle. I don’t belong to a professional gym (we have a small one in my neighborhood) so I did this. If that’s not an option, I LOVE the app, Sweat. You can get a free trial, and then it’s $20 a month and so worth it. Most workouts require very little if any equipment, are fast paced, and have a lot of moves similar to what my trainer suggested for creating longer, leaner looking muscles. Plus, you can do it in your home at any time, and there’s workouts at a variety of time intervals… basically: no excuses.
Set smaller, attainable goals
Who is not going to be frustrated if they have a goal to lose 30 pounds and don’t see any change in 2 weeks? Or say they are going to work out every single day and then have something pop up? That’s why people quit.
Create smaller, incremental goals for yourself. Lose five pounds, walk or run for two more minutes (or 30 more seconds — 30 more seconds running is a lot!), move your body three times per week, only drink twice per week (if you’re a wine nightly kind of girl), you see what I mean.
Also, most women will hate this but my trainer convinced me to workout in shorts so you can really see your muscles. If you refuse to do this and I get it, just wear clothes that make you feel good and pulled together (particularly your girls — you need a supportive bra). I love Athleta but Target and Old Navy also have awesome workout clothes at really great prices. In fact, the outfit featured above is all Target and Amazon… so inexpensive!
Love yourself where you are, today.
I’m going to leave you with this. Just like money can’t buy happiness, you losing a few pounds won’t make you love yourself more if you can’t find beauty in yourself today. You have made it this far. This powerful body of yours has gotten you to this place and is capable of even more than you know. Believe that. As someone who has had major physical ailments, I swear to you that your body and mind is stronger than you know — push away the negative thoughts and remind yourself this phrase that is one of my favorites and for sure applies to a healthy lifestyle:
Today I will do my best. Tomorrow I will do better.
Be proud and celebrate what you did today — and most importantly, WHO YOU ARE.
photo credit: Erica Dunhill