Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year, New You

So as many of you know, over the last year I have lost a ton of weight and worked to become healthy & active. AND since it is a new year and people are making resolutions to get healthy I thought I would share some of what worked for me.

Track Yo' Self
I counted calories religiously for most of the year (I have since memorized a lot of them so I don't track as hard now) and I used to do it. Find something that works for you to know what you're eating and how much you're exercising. I found it really helpful to have it on my iPhone.
I think it is especially important to not all of a sudden try to starve yourself and stay under a certain calories number or exercise for 4 hours just so you make up for a bad lunch decision. Step 1: Just track yourself. Do it for a week or so. Know where your good and bad decisions are coming from. Step 2: Identify where you can make adjustments. Maybe you are eating healthy but just need to step up your exercise game. Maybe you drink 90% of your calories in Dr. Peppers.  Step 3: Do your research. There are plenty of sites that will let you know what a healthy weight is for your height etc. Talk to your doctor - ask lots of questions. Be informed. Step 4: Make changes! Get motivated! Want to change (this is critical - if you don't want it, you won't stick to it). Do it! Stick to it! Step 5: LOOK AMAZING.

Adjust Your Eating Habits
After you have identified the places where you are eating a lot of calories (or points if you are doing weight watchers or whatever other tracker), do a little research into making adjustments. I eat a lot of yogurt and a lot of my calories went to the sweet yoplait kind. I needed to find a way to get in my sweet treat without breaking the bank, so I started by trying low fat yogurt then fat free and adding my own fruit. I finally settled on greek yogurt. I am in love with the stuff now. You can get pre-made flavors. Get plain and mix in a bit of honey. Take that honey kind and add fresh fruit. Also, greek yogurt can be subbed in a lot of recipes for mayo and to make salad dressings etc. Shit's amazing. Google the crap out of things and look for recipes that further your goals. But my best advice for this stuff is to experiment a little. Buy one and see how you like it. Sometimes you just can't substitute things - be okay with this (for example: fat free sour cream is gross and should be illegal in all 50 states). Find a different place to make an adjustment. EAT MORE VEGETABLES - they are practically zero calories. They are delicious - try out new recipes! Email me if you want some ideas (for recipes or substitution dos and don'ts). Grilled asparagus is great. Garlic green beans... also amazing. To be perfectly honest with you guys, I was not a vegetable fan and I really had to work my way into this. It started with broccoli with various cheese sauces until I just started to eat the broccoli without the sauce. Now I prefer the vegetables to fries or fried anything. I can't promise that you'll have the same experience but I do know that now that I eat healthy most of the time, I don't feel as good when I eat poorly for no reason.

Adjust Your Drinking Habits
Let's be clear. I do not, by any means, advocate quitting alcohol or anything like that. I am still a big fan of whiskey, beer and all sorts of cocktails. And I pretty much always drink as much as I want whenever I want - one of those where I don't substitute (how are you going to substitute craft beer... seriously?) and make adjustments elsewhere. What I mean by adjust your drinking habits is drink more water, put down the sugary drinks, drink diet cola, don't have giant sweetened starbucks drinks or juice smoothies that are actually the caloric equivalent of a whopper (which I still love - get it without mayo and sometimes skip the cheese). The biggest thing with making sure that your nights out (or in) don't break your new healthy eating lifestyle is to be aware of the calories you are drinking. You can't just stop counting calories because you went to the bar. Sub diet or sugar free mixers. Make up for all those beers at the gym the next day. It is super important to have fun and not feel like you are denying yourself. I really feel that it is important to not treat losing weight and getting healthy as a diet because a diet implies that it is for a particular duration (i.e. until you hit a certain number on the scale or a dress size). No. Make your lifestyle healthy and go from there.

Get Active, Stay Active
Exercise!!! I don't care what you do, just get out there are do physical activities and keep at them regularly. Some people do best by joining a sports league or doing a regularly scheduled workout class, but for me it is just gym gym gym. I know a lot of people hate being on a machine pedaling or running to nowhere, but it works for me. Because I was mad fat, I could rely on just massive amounts of cardio to get my weight off, but find a program that works for you and is enjoyable. I feel invigorated after a workout and enjoy being able to listen to my music, watch a tv show or read a book while I do it. Maybe you need your doctor to recommend a program - do it. Maybe a personal trainer is what you need - get one. (Now that I have shed my inches and pounds, I am considering doing some personal training sessions so I can get strong and toned - One Ab To Rule Them All). ALSO, find the frequency that works for you. Not everyone is a daily gym person. Some people do well with a MWF routine or something like that. I do best when I have it on my daily agenda and only skip it if there is a good reason (social activity, dead tired, errands that can't wait etc). Weekends count too - in exercise, eating and drinking! You can really ruin yourself by acting like weekends aren't part of your new healthy lifestyle. Again, don't deny yourself fun, just be aware and make sure that you are making smart choices that are worth it (that smart choice can be to go ahead and have the pizza or an extra beer etc and be way good tomorrow or to just call this week a wash [don't do that permanently] and get back on the wagon with a little extra exercise next week).

Don't Forget to Treat Yo' Self
Don't starve yourself. Don't exercise yourself to death. Have fun getting healthy. Enjoy a better you. AND TREAT YO SELF sometimes. Some days you just need caramel cake or ice cream with sprinkles or bacon wrapped bacon or carne asada fries and a california burrito just for you.

FINALLY. Don't be afraid to ask questions - I am more than happy to be a resource. The internet is a great friend when you are trying to navigate what a healthy lifestyle is for you. Ask your doctor. Ask the people at the gym.

Happy New Year, New You!

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