50 Weight-loss tips and tricks!

by Christine on August 9th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Diet, Food, Nutrition

Take these tips with a grain of salt. Use the ones that make sense to you. Don’t be unhealthy, but keep your eye on the weight-loss prize.

  1. Eat breakfast. Choose one that’s high in protein and good fats; low in carbs and sugar. Go for the eggs; bypass the Fruit Loops.  (I just read an interesting blog/article yesterday that explained that there is not much difference between breakfast cereal and dog food.)
  2. Drink coffee. But limit the creams and sugars.
  3. Eat seafood. Pretty much as much as you want. Obviously watch your toppings, such as cream sauces and butter.
  4. Eat lots of vegetables, especially as snacks. They fill you up and give you much-needed nutrients.  You’ll get the best “bang for your buck” if you eat your veggies raw. (Cooking them depletes them of some of their nutrition.)
  5. Ladies, consider wearing a corset. It slims your waist and physically restricts your stomach so you can’t overeat. It’s the closest thing to a gastric band that a non-banded person can get to.
  6. Get enough sleep.
  7. Get your exercise! Cardio is important of course, but weight training is equally important. Don’t forget to do both. Choose exercise you love to do. That way you don’t burn yourself out or get bored.
  8. Make sure your workout challenges you. If you walk out of the gym feeling like you didn’t get pushed to your limit, then you probably weren’t.
  9. Be patient. You didn’t gain weight overnight. You’re not going to lose it overnight.
  10. Get inspired. There’s nothing wrong with picking out someone with a body type that you admire and working to achieve a similar model with your own body. Just set realistic goals for yourself (so if you’re going to do this, pick out someone with a similar body type as you.) For instance, you’re never going to be a 6’2 supermodel if you’re 5’1.
  11. Don’t be afraid to cut your calories. The concept of throwing your body into “starvation mode” is something of a myth that doesn’t pertain to 99% of the people that are reading this right now.  Try cutting your calories back by 10%.  Studies have shown that people that follow a lower-calorie diet are healthier and live longer.
  12. Quit eating processed food. For the most part, that means most food that comes in a package. Try to eat real foods without the added sugars, salts, preservatives, and chemicals. It really does mess with your body.
  13. Stop drinking carbonated drinks (or at least seriously limit them).
  14. Drink water. Lots of it. Especially a half an hour before you sit down to eat.
  15. Snack between meals, but be smart about it. Snacking is great for your metabolism, and I recommend choosing high fiber/high protein foods if possible (limit your carbs, and yes that means fruit too), but measure your snack to ensure that you’re getting the right portion size. 100-150 calories for a snack is entirely appropriate.  My favorite snacks are fresh vegetables, almonds, and tuna fish with mustard instead of mayo.
  16. When you feel hungry, take a walk and get some fresh air. Plan out what you’re going to snack or eat while walking around. Don’t just impulsively reach for the kitchen!
  17. Journal every thing you eat and drink daily.
  18. Plan all your meals out the day before.
  19. Quit buying junk food for the family. It sabotages your own weight loss, and they shouldn’t be eating junk anyway.
  20. Eat food that tastes good. Don’t buy “low-fat” or “low-calorie” foods that take like shit. There are more chemicals in that low-fat crap that you don’t want to ingest. Instead, eat the real versions of food, and instead just watch your portion sizes.
  21. If you’re always hungry and always want to eat, evaluate your food and see if you notice any trends. Are you hungry at certain times of the day? How long after you eat are you hungry again? Are you hungry after working out? I’m willing to bet that you’re hungry shortly after a higher-carb meal. You can work this out by eating higher protein and fiber foods and limiting your carbs. (However, carbs are great to have before a workout, so I’m not suggesting you cut carbs entirely. Just be smart about it.)
  22. Consider a protein shake supplement to help you through your hungry parts of the day. Protein shakes are especially valuable immediately following a workout. Just watch the calories in your protein shake. Most shakes have 200 calories per serving (which is a lot in my opinion) so consider doing a half-portion or watering it down.
  23. Soups are great, and they are a staple for me because of my gastric band. Choose soups with lots of vegetables. Limit soups that are heavy on creams. Minestrone, not Clam Chowder.
  24. Don’t deny yourself a treat, but make sure you have controls in place so you don’t have it laying around to binge on.  Put the treat in control of your husband. Or allow yourself a treat if you get a workout in that day.  Hide your treat so it’s not on the counter.  Treat your high-calorie treat like it was a prized jewel.
  25. Take before and after photos.
  26. Join an online support group. There are a lot of great ones available! Find one with people with the same goals and interests as you. There are gastric banding forums, Christian-weight-loss forums, teenager weight loss forums, and lots of others. (Shameless self-promotion: I have a link to my own forum at the top of this page.)
  27. Go public. Tell your family of your weight loss goals so they can support you. Ask for help: ask for workout buddies. When you screw up, tell someone.  Start a blog and be honest on it. I personally find that if you can’t be honest with the closest people in your life, you’re probably not being honest with yourself either.
  28. Take your multivitamin. And don’t forget to count it in your calories for the day. (My Gummy Vitamins have 10 calories in them.)
  29. Watch your weight. Don’t be obsessive, but weigh yourself regularly (say, once a week) to make sure that you are on track.
  30. If you are actively trying to lose weight, you should be losing at least a pound a week on average. If you’re not, your body has stalled or stopped or something. Change something up. Don’t keep doing the same old thing and expecting different results.  On the other hand, if you’ve found your groove–losing the weight and feeling good–don’t change! Stay in your positive groove.
  31. Remember that all weight is not equal. Muscle weighs more than fat, and muscle is good. Then again, muscle burns fat more effectively. Just keep this mind as you progress on your journey. You can help balance this whole muscle vs. fat thing by taking body measurements, which may be a better indicator of weight loss than a number on the scale, especially if you’re closer to your goal weight.
  32. Eat on smaller plates. It helps you limit your portion sizes.
  33. Measure your food. Weigh it (invest in a good digital scale) and get the measuring cups out to measure it. “Guesstimating” just doesn’t cut it, trust me.
  34. Sugar substitutes are just as evil as sugar itself.
  35. If you’re going to eat carbs (which I still say: “limit them” but don’t eliminate them entirely) then choose carbs that used to be noticeably alive at some point. Potatoes, rice, beans, and quinoa are great carb choices, and they all resemble the plant they used to be at some point. Bread and pasta are not living plants (you don’t pluck a baguette off a tree!) and should be avoided.  Merely changing to a whole wheat substitute isn’t going to do the trick. Choose a carb that was living at some point in the recent past.
  36. Consider adding 10% to the number of calories you THINK you’re eating.  Most likely you aren’t estimating your portion sizes exactly, and basing your food off a general online nutrition guide isn’t always accurate. Assume you’re eating 10% more than you’re really eating.
  37. Eat in areas that are brightly lit and colored with blue. Studies have shown that the color blue actually works as an appetite suppresant. And you know how most restaurants are darkly lit with dim lighting? That’s to make you feel relaxed, comfortable, so you eat (and drink) more. If you’re trying to lose weight, turn all the lights on in your dining room/kitchen, and use blue plates/blue napkins to eat off of.
  38. Eat in front of a mirror. Ha ha, try it sometime. It sounds silly, but you are much more likely to stop eating sooner if you’re eating in front of a mirror.
  39. Quit eating out at restaurants so much. If you do eat out, pre-plan what you are going to order. Feel free to get fussy too: order your meat grilled instead of fried, without the sauce, salad dressings on the side, vegetables steamed instead of sauteed. Even chinese take-out restaurants will custom order your food if you ask them to.
  40. Eat as slowly as you possibly can.
  41. Find other ways than eating to relieve stress, boredom, or to express love and gratitude.  When you’re planning family activities, why not play volleyball or lawn darts instead of eating pizza and watching a movie?
  42. Use flavors such as hot sauce, salsa, and cajun seasonings instead of creamy, buttery sauces.
  43. When you are at work, schedule a “non-smokers smoke break” every 2 hours. Go for a 10 minute walk; do squats at your desk; stretch in the bathroom stall; climb the stairs. Do something to move a little, but schedule it so it really happens.
  44. Watch less TV. Most people watch too much tv anyway, but most people eat while watching tv. (Thank you advertisers!) Turn off the tv and go for a walk, start a hobby, or spend time with your family.  Even watching 1 hour less tv per night will help you lose weight.
  45. Sniff peppermint if you feel hungry. For some reason peppermint curbs the appetite. Peppermint smells help curb the hunger feelings, or a small peppermint candy can help you deter a binge. (Peppermint gum also works)
  46. Brush your teeth after your major meals. Again with the peppermint thing, but most people will wait longer to eat again if their teeth are clean.
  47. Clean your fridge and pantries. Throw out any old and expired food. Throw out foods that are high in calories and that really don’t help you on your weight loss mission. For example, I have currently in my fridge a tub of apple butter than sounded like a good idea at the time but really shouldn’t be in there. In my pantry I have a tub of Nutella that should get chucked. Neither help me with my weight loss mission. A cleaned-out pantry and fridge allow you to fill it up with healthier options.
  48. When you are eating out with friends and family, dress up in your most flattering outfit, do your hair and makeup. When you feel “pretty” you’ll eat less. And you won’t want to spill on your outfit. And you’ll get compliments, which will help boost your esteem and help you stick to your diet.
  49. Celebrate your successes. Set mini-goals, and reward yourself when you reach them.
  50. Don’t give up! Never give up. Even if you suffer a minor set back, you can always get back on track right now. If you keep trying to lose weight but are unsuccessful, try something different. But don’t give up.
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Holiday planning!! Start Now!

by Christine on October 19th, 2010

filed under Diet, Food, Nutrition, General Information

It’s not too early to start planning ahead for the holidays. Halloween is only a week away, and before you know it Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year will be on us. Here are some helpful tips for getting through the holidays:

General Tips

  • Put gym time on your schedule NOW. As your schedule starts filling up, work around the gym time you’ve already set out for yourself. Be realistic; five days a week of gym time might be nice, but it’s probably not very realistic. Try to put at least two days of gym time on your calendar, and make it a priority.
  • It’s more important than ever to track your food during the holidays. It’s so easy to steal a candy here, a cookie there, a glass of wine while cooking…and them promptly forget that you ever consumed those calories. Track your food, writing everything down several times a day if you need to, in order to remember everything you ate. Don’t forget that there are tons of calories in liquids; that eggnog is going to destroy your diet!
  • Look up the calories before you eat that food. That way you can decide just how much of that dish you want to indulge in.  Indulge only in the foods that you really love.
  • Limit your alcohol. If you’re going to drink, decide ahead of time how many calories you have to spend on alcohol and decide how many glasses of wine you will allow yourself to have. Remember that “clear” alcohols (vodka, gin) have fewer calories than “dark” alcohols (brandy, sherry, whiskey).
  • Add 10 minutes of cardio to your daily routine, if possible. This will help counteract some of the damage done during holiday eating.
  • Keep an emergency snack on hand, such as a baggie of carrots or (my personal favorite) a 100-calorie pack of almonds.
  • Drink lots of water!  Chug a big glass of water before you sit down to a big meal.
  • Buy a holiday outfit that you are dying to fit into. Hang it prominently in your bedroom, so every morning you wake up you will be reminded of your weight-loss goal.
  • Cut back on the little things that pad your calories today, such as creamers in your coffee, soda, donuts, etc. If you cut these items out now, they’ll leave a little extra wiggle room in your diet in the next few months. You can add these things back in January, if you still want them then.
  • Chew gum when you get a craving for unhealthy food.

Halloween

  • Figure out how much candy you want to allow yourself to eat.  Assume that each of those halloween-sized chocolate candies are about 70 calories. Put pre-portioned candies into a ziplock bag and in a safe spot in the house. Label the ziplock bag for “Monday,” “Tuesday,” “Wednesday,” etc. to remind yourself that you only get one or two per day! When your kids come home with bags of candy in hand, don’t reach for THEIR candy; after all, you have your own candy set aside for yourself.
  • This same gameplan can be used in the workplace. If you bring pre-portioned snacks into work and keep it at your desk, you will be better able to say no to snacks left out in the cafeteria.
  • Buy candy that you DISLIKE as a treat to pass out to the kids. That way, if you have leftovers, you’ll be less likely to eat the rest of the bag of candy.
  • Give the candy away. Give all your leftover candy away. Also, if your kids come home with a giant bag of Halloween candy–it’s not healthy for them to eat that whole bag. Have them pick out a limited number of their favorite candies, then give the rest away to a food bank or shelter, etc.

Thanksgiving

  • At your big family dinner, wear clothing that are much too tight (especially tight “under-garments,” women!). Corseting yourself will help to keep you from eating too much on the big day.
  • Feel free to enjoy the portions of your meal that are healthy, such as a large salad and white turkey meat, green beans, corn, and other vegetables.  Take extra large portions of those, but bypass the stuffing, baked yams, potato salad, rolls, pies, cookies, and other deserts. If you are cooking, replace those typical “unhealthy” foods with healthy alternatives, such as replacing potato salad with a regular tossed green salad!
  • If you are a guest at someone else’s table for Thanksgiving, consider eating a small healthy meal before you arrive for dinner. A small meal filled with veggies will keep you from feeling ravenous at the dinner table.
  • No second servings.
  • Bring a dish to share! Make something healthy, that’s “safe” for you to eat. I’m sure the cook will appreciate you contributing to her party!
  • Practice saying “no” to people who offer you food. These are “food pushers.”  Practice saying “no” with your spouse ahead of time. It sounds silly, but practicing a few sample scenarios out loud with someone will help you when the real-life situations occur.
  • Pre-plan a healthy snack for when you’re watching the annual football game. If you want Thanksgiving Dinner leftovers, decide ahead of time how much of each type of food you want to consume during this football snacking time.
  • If you are cooking dinner, make sure you buy disposable plastic tubs so you can give leftover food away.

Christmas

  • Focus on family. Keep yourself busy with mingling with your family and playing with your kids. After all, isn’t that what the holidays are all about–the people, not the food?
  • Recycle food gifts that you receive from other people.
  • Don’t be afraid of throwing food out, including Christmas cookie gifts from others. (They’ll never know.)
  • Pick out (or decorate) a special box or tin for some of your favorite Christmas cookies. After you calculate how many calories are in your favorite cookies, place a few of your most favorite in your special box. Put the box in a special place (on top of the fridge, perhaps). This is your allotment for the entire Christmas season. When the cookies are gone, you can’t go back for more. These are YOUR cookies; do not share them with anyone else.
  • Create holiday traditions that don’t involve eating. For instance, last year I made a new tradition of making paper snowflakes and decorating them with glitter. It took all evening–time I normally would have spent baking and eating!
  • At your holiday office party, offer to help out organizing. The more time you are on your feet greeting people and setting up the venue, the less time you will be munching on the food and drinking the alcohol.
  • Enjoy family time by getting out and doing something active as a family. The holidays are a great time to enjoy ice skating, snow shoeing, downhill skiing, cross country skiing, sledding/tobogganing, building a snowman, having a snowball fight, etc.

New Year

  • Pre-plan alcohol limits before you leave for the party! Figure out how much you want to drink, how many calories you can afford in your diet. Then plan your food and eating around your alcohol limits.  This will help you keep your calories in check.
  • Ask for low-calorie mixers, such as rum + diet coke, or vodka + diet sprite, vodka + crystal lite.
  • Sit far away from the food, far away from the kitchen. If you’re standing in front of the food, you’re going to end up grazing on food, so just walk away from it and get the party going in a room that doesn’t have food in it.
  • Dance your ass off. It burns loads of calories, so shake your thang!
  • Wear a white shirt, that you don’t want to spill food on.  If you’re worried about spillage, you’ll be less likely to eat food that will spill and spoil.
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