1. Ditch the high calorie drinks:
I had a phase where I would hit up Cosi for one of their huge lemonades or green and iced teas. They are refreshing but they are completely loaded with sugar. Instead, I started to bring in my own green tea bags or Tazo passion tea bags to brew and mix with Equal packets. I also keep a box of single serve Crystal Light packets and the new Lipton packets. Now I fill up a glass to the top with ice and am just as satisfied with my low or no calorie sweet drinks that I make myself instead! Plus it is a whole lot cheaper.
2. Bring lunch to work:
I literally used to eat out every single day. Chicken kebob, chicken salad sandwich, and buffalo chicken wraps were definitely my downfall. Yes chicken is healthy in theory but the portions were huge and the blue cheese dressing or mayo would literally weigh me down. Now I utilize the microwave and toaster oven at work to make things I am actually excited to eat. Lunches I recently brought in include chicken and cheese enchiladas, turkey and cheese melted on a pita with cucumber dill salad on the side, homemade gazpacho with a tuna sandwich, and leftovers from my wheat pasta dinner.
3. Variety is the spice of life:
One of my New Years resolutions was to try new things, which includes recipes and products. I especially found out I like healthy items like spaghetti squash and lentil chips as substitutes to pasta or potato chips. Recent blog posts have featured new favorites of mine like coconut water and Quaker cookies that are filling and healthy. If you always just have cereal for breakfast, an apple for snack, a turkey sandwich on wheat, followed by fish and veggies for dinner, day in and day out, you are more likely to fall off the wagon. So I have been mixing things up and making sure to try new things as much as possible.
4. Portion control:
By using a food scale along with measuring spoons and cups, you can cut tons of calories. It is way too easy to just breeze through a bag of chips when actually most snack size bags are 2 or even 3 portions! Counting out the chips or just dividing it in half offers up a satisfying amount but with way less calories. Same goes with pasta, meat, cereal, and other things; it is easy to over estimate what a healthy amount to have is. I have found Tupperware and Rubbermaid containers that fit exactly ½ a cup, 1 cup, or 2 cups so I don’t even have to bother measuring as much. The smaller ½ cup ones are also good for salad dressing or condiments too.
5. Talk it up:
I have signed up for Weight Watchers, which is another major reason I have lost the weight. By going to the WW meetings, it keeps you accountable for your weight and gives you a forum to discuss what road blocks there are in losing weight. But you don’t need to be a member to talk it up outside of WW! If there is a co-worker who is also trying to drop some LBS or maybe a family member or friend that also changed to a more healthy lifestyle, schedule a check in once a week to talk about new recipes you found, exercises you are doing, and your progress, to keep you on track.
This one is very obvious I know but adding extra walking to your day or a few minutes to your usual work out routine can show huge results. Or even extra weight or more reps for your strength training. Also trying new classes at the gym or a new DVD at home can be very helpful. As a food blogger and freelance writer, I obviously indulge on new restaurants and samples of food products to review, which can put a damper on my progress. If I have an assignment, I have recently started making sure to walk or jog to and from the restaurant I want to write about. Perfect example is that I recently had an assignment to write about BBQ! I wanted to feature a place at Fenway, so I ended up walking to and from there, which is a good 6 miles or so total. No it doesn’t cancel out the ribs I had or sweet tea I consumed, but at least I was very active and didn’t just nap on the train to get there! I also have a Wednesday night walking and work-out buddy. We do half an hour with a personal trainer at the gym followed by a half hour walk along the water to catch up and get in our cardio!
7. Keep track of what you eat and do:
At WW, you gain extra points for exercising, which can be used to eat more. You basically keep track of all the exercise you do and all the food you consume, to make sure you stay within the appropriate ranges. By keeping a food journal you can start to realize what meals you have problems and start to make better decisions. There are free websites like Calorie Count where you can find out how many calories you burn with a certain activity and also how many calories are in certain foods. You may not even realize how little changes like omitting cheese from a sandwich or getting out at a further train stop to get to work, can be just what you need to jump start your weight loss.
8. Cut down on booze:
Blueberry beer is definitely one of my favorite things. Ever. And Corona. And Margaritas. Oh and sangria too. All of these things are really not ideal to have often though when you are trying to lose weight. They are high in calories and filled with carbs. I have definitely become the wine spritzer queen these days and try to limit my drinking to one or two times a week and only have 2 or 3 drinks tops. Also good cocktail choices include simple drinks like raspberry vodka with soda water and a lime, which can be just as satisfying and give you a good buzz without all the calories.
9. Don’t deprive yourself:
One thing WW really teaches you is that if you want a slice of pizza or a scoop of ice cream you can have it! If you try to limit what you have to only things that you consider good or healthy, you might slip back into your old ways and a box of cookies later, be really disappointed with yourself. So if I want to have a dessert or even a burger, I just make sure to save half for another day or just toss it out, so I eat what I have a craving for, just not as much, and don’t feel like I am missing out on anything at all.
10. Bulk it up:
If you do end up splurging on things like pizza, the key is to bulk up the meal. If you have one slice, instead of having one or two more to fill you up, start off with veggie soup, a salad, fruit, high fiber foods, or other low calorie snacks. Then follow it up with a low-cal dessert like pudding, so you have a few elements to the meal and are full, but without overdoing it on one thing, that is not the most healthy option.
My weight loss journey continues, since I would like to lose another few pounds to become a “lifetime” member at WW. Wish me luck! And let me know if YOU have any tips to share, since these last few pounds are going to be VERY hard for me to lose!