As we’re into just over a week since New Year’s, I’m sure there are quite a few of us beginning 2018 with the drive to lose weight or live a healthier lifestyle this year. I’m sure we also all know of the stigma that comes with a new year’s weight loss resolution that says most of us won’t make it passed the first few pounds or even the first month. Weight loss is definitely not just a one and done effort. It takes time, a whole lot of patience, and pretty much an entire lifestyle change. Now, with that being said, the idea can be kind of daunting, right? Well, it doesn’t have to be, and there are many easy ways to transition yourself into the better lifestyle you aim to live. Today, I wanted to share 5 of those actions you can take right now that don’t require signing up for an expensive gym membership or starving yourself that can help you achieve your weight loss goal in 2018 and beat the stigma. Enjoy!
1. Don’t Drink Your Calories
Many times when we’re consuming calories throughout the day, only things we eat get counted towards are daily calorie count. In reality though, drinking your calories away can prevent you from losing weight or cause you to gain weight even if everything you’ve eaten is completely healthy and low calorie. For instance, one 20 oz. Coca-Cola contains 240 calories alone, and if you were to drink one with lunch and dinner, that’s almost 500 calories total, which could potentially be an entirely other meal. I know there are many people that will swear against soft drinks, but I will admit that I’m perfectly happy switching Coca-Cola out for Diet Coke and this allows me to drink soda all day long without gaining anything. If you don’t drink soda, try drinking more water or switching out lower calorie milks and sugars with your morning coffee or tea. Be cautious of “healthy” fruit drinks like orange juice and apple juice though. Most of them are filled with pure sugar that is stored away in our bodies, causing weight gain. Find what works best for you, but don’t forget that the calories we drink are just as important to be counted as the calories we eat.
2. Get Walking
Sure there are many diet plans out there that promise extreme weight loss without ever having to step foot off of the couch. I’m sorry, but that just won’t happen, or at least, the weight will never stay off that way. The most basic way to get your heart rate up is to get moving just by walking. And, here’s the best part: it’s free and you can do it anywhere! Try walking around your neighborhood, going to the park, trading the elevator for the stairs, and even parking farther away at the grocery store. I would recommend a daily step count of 8,000 to 10,000 steps, but feel free to adjust it for you, and maybe even start with 5,000. I find the most motivational way to keep track of my steps is through my Fitbit, but most smartphones have automatic step trackers built in nowadays. You’ll soon realize how much more conscious you become of your step count, and it’s so rewarding going to bed at night, knowing you reached your goal.
Be careful not to “reward” yourself with more food throughout the day though because you are exercising more. Keep your diet the same, aim for a daily step goal, and you’ll surely see a difference in the way you look and feel.
3. Don’t Eat After 8pm
It’s easier for our minds to convince us we’re hungry, when in actuality we’re dehydrated or we’re just bored. If you ever find yourself hungry, the first thing you should do to curve it is drink a bottle of water then wait about 15 minutes. Sometimes the act of going to the kitchen and just drinking kind of tricks your mind into thinking that you went and got something to eat. If that doesn’t work, try going by this rule: if you’re stomach is actually growling, eat something small, like a spoon of peanut butter or a boiled egg. If it’s not growling, then it’s most likely your mind playing tricks on you. That’s not scientifically proven, but it’s definitely worked as a rule of thumb for me in the past! By not eating late at night, you’re allowing your food time to digest properly before you go to bed, and you wake up hungrier in the morning. It’s best to eat earlier during the day, because then your body will be active enough to burn off the calories than if you were sleeping directly after eating.
4. Watch Your Sugar
Sugar isn’t always a bad thing, but a lot of people (including myself) tend to start a diet by eating more fruits and veggies. This is great, especially if you’re replacing your craving for a ice cream with let’s say a bowl of grapes, but fruits have so many calories in them too that often get overlooked. Fruits like pineapples, grapes, and oranges have some of the highest sugar counts and should only be eaten sparingly. Also, snacks like natural peanut butter and honey, which have loads of benefits, contain a good amount of sugar, so this doesn’t mean we can eat on a jar of peanut butter all day. Additionally, try avoiding “healthy” snacks like granola and protein bars. Sure they have a lot of protein to keep you full for a couple of hours, but many of them have the same amount of sugars that a normal candy bar does. In the long run, sugar is something our body needs, but only in small amounts, and keeping up with how much sugar you consume in a day is crucial to moving forward in your weight loss journey.
5. Find Alternatives
Just because you’re trying to cut back your calories or eat healthier, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some of the same foods. It’s not beneficial to go cold turkey and drop all of the delicious foods you enjoy. If there are some foods you just don’t think you can live without, try finding healthier or lower calorie alternatives. For example, I can’t live without sandwiches. It’s one of my favorite things to eat, but instead of continuing to eat them with almost 100 calories per slice, I switched to wheat bread at 40 calories a slice. That cuts the entire meal in more than half that amount of original calories. For instance, if you’re a coffee or tea drinker, try switching to zero calorie sweeteners instead of pure sugar. There are so many options for sweeteners today, there’s sure to be something that tastes just as great to you. Some other great substitutes I’ve found are:
- Hellman’s Light Mayo
- Halo Top ice cream – Sea Salt Caramel is the best flavor in my opinion
- Nature’s Own Honey Wheat Bread
- Blue Diamond Vanilla Almond Milk
- Parkay Spray Butter
- SkinnyMe Sugar Free Chocolate Squares
You Got This!
Remember, the best thing to do is have patience and find what works best for you. Everyone’s bodies are different, and even certain exercises or foods don’t affect everyone in the same way. You may eat healthy for an entire week and not see a single difference on the scale. Your body may also take time to adjust to the new routine, but definitely don’t give up. Weight loss won’t happen over night, but taking these steps will guide you in the right direction, and will definitely keep you moving forward. Good luck!