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If you saw Kathy’s post last week you know that she lost 105 pounds! Today she’s going to share with us how she did it and her philosophy to weight loss.
Last week I told you about my journey to losing weight. I would like to share how I did it and some helpful ideas that helped me along the way and continue to help me today. First of all, I have to tell you that I like to eat. I will not tell you to eat very small amounts of food, it doesn’t work. It may work for the short term but it won’t forever. I like volume. I try to get the most bang for my buck, so to speak. If I can eat a large bowl of salad with vegetables, chicken, whole wheat croutons and dressing instead of a cheeseburger, I want the salad. The fat content of the cheeseburger far outweighs the salad. My stomach will be full with the salad, not so much with the burger. We would want fries with that too, right? The salad will make you feel better physically, it’s not nearly as heavy as the cheeseburger. We just feel that we would rather have the burger.
The first thing about weight loss is to get your head in the right place. Weight loss, in my opinion, is 90% attitude and 10% knowing what to eat and what not to eat. The hardest thing is that no one can get you mentally ready for it but you. Think back to a time in your life when you are having your best day. (Something without food.) Whether it is your vacation, getting a new job, getting into the college of your choice, just something that made that day a great day. Now think back, did you ever give food a thought? Probably not. This is where you need to get your thoughts, feeling good mentally. That “mental high”. I know it is hard at first, you may not be feeling the way you want to feel but this is where we are going to begin.
The next step to a healthier you is the food that you eat. I don’t like to call it a diet because when I think of diet I think of a reduction plan to help me lose weight. Yes, we want weight loss but we need to become healthier. This is a new way of eating and you need to know that this is a life change. You will never get away from the core of eating this way. You can always add to your food selections but your basic food will not change. This is easy. You will eat fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. Cut out all sugar and white processed foods, these are the things that make you hungry. Once your purge your system of these foods, the cravings go away and it makes staying with your food groups so much easier. I have learned that I could eat a muffin or something sweet and be hungry within a half of an hour but I could eat protein and not feel hungry and not need food for a few hours. It may take a couple of weeks to really get these things out of your body but stick with it, it will eventually get easier.
Portions size is up to you but you need to be reasonable. If you have a lot of weight to lose you need to eat more. I am not saying you can go out and eat a 16 ounce steak. An average portion of protein is 3-4 ounces. Try to eat more vegetables first but if you find that you need a little more protein, have more. The last thing that you want is to feel like you are starving. When this happens, it is very difficult to stick with your plan. Remember we are making a life change. That said, I don’t really measure food. I am not a fan of counting calories. I think it is more important that you eat healthy foods than to worry about how many calories that you consume. There are people that eat the right amount of calories but have poor food choices. That is why you stick to your food groups. You should eat 3 meals a day and you can have 2 to 3 snacks a day. You want to make sure that you do not get too hungry. That is when you tend to make poor choices. You should have something from the fruits or vegetable group along with a lean protein for each meal. Try to include fish 2-3 times a week. Whole grains should be limited to 2-3 servings a day. I usually have those for breakfast and lunch and try to stay away from them after lunch. If you feel you need to eat it after lunch, that is fine you just don’t want to to it every day.
Snacks are important to have throughout the day. Some days you will need more than others. If your body is telling you that you are hungry, by all means, eat something. Just don’t confuse hunger with boredom. That is very easy to do. If you feel you need to eat and it has been less than 2 hours since you ate before, it is probably boredom. Try to change what you are doing and try to get your mind wrapped around something else. Fruits and vegetables are great for snacks. Don’t be afraid to try new things. I have found that I love red peppers! I could snack on them all day. I slice them into strips so I have something to hold onto when I am eating them. Bite size can be deceiving. When things are bite size, we tend to just pop them into our mouths without too much thought. Of course, it is fine with vegetables, I don’t know anyone that has become obese by eating extra vegetables! I also like foods that take a bit of chewing. You will tend to eat less of a food that take longer to chew than soft foods that are easier to eat. Sometimes just a slice of turkey breast or a bit of tuna can be enough to take care of that hunger and get you going to the next meal. We will talk about condiments and dressings in the future but you can use them sparingly. Learn to dip your salad into the dressing instead of pouring it on the salad.
Being prepared is crucial. One of my failures with my weight loss in the past was getting hungry and not having anything quick at my fingertips. The cookie jar is much more convenient. One of the things that worked very well for me was to have optioned always available. When you are grocery shopping, make sure that you buy enough food to last unit you shop again. With fresh produce, it is sometimes difficult but some things do last longer that others. When you get home from the grocery store, take time to cut up your vegetables and make a large bowl of salad. I usually have a serving bowl with lettuce in my refrigerator at all times. If you buy fruits that you normally cut before you eat, do that and put it in a bowl in the fridge. Opening the door of the refrigerator and finding healthy foods right in the front makes it so much easier. If you have to prepare everything first to eat it, it is too easy to eat something else.
Try to add more fruits or vegetables to every meal. For instance, when I make a sandwich I would use whole wheat bread, turkey, lettuce, tomato, onions, maybe banana peppers, cucumbers. With a wide variety of flavors on a sandwich, you don’t need mayonnaise or dressing. Those can be loaded with fat. I use fruit with yogurt, cereal, cottage cheese. Frozen fruits (without sugar) are excellent. I just thaw some for the next day or that afternoon. Even if I make pizza, I used veggies. You can buy whole wheat shells and I will either use pizza sauce or a can of diced tomatoes (drained) and put on onions , red peppers, black olives, banana peppers, pineapple and chicken. Plenty of variety and flavor. I also add a little cheese on top. Gone are the days that I eat pepperoni. It is amazing to me all of the delicious foods that are out there. Your taste buds do change. I eat things now that would never consider in the past. Fish is one of them. I absolutely hated it. I actually tried it again in a restaurant and found that I liked it. I have tried many different kinds over the last 4 years. Try something new at least once a week.
As important as it is to eat right, exercise is extremely important to losing weight and making your body healthier. Just like a lot of people, I was never a fan of exercise. I never thought that the amount of calories burned for the exercise that I was doing was justified. That is where I was wrong. Exercise is great for building a slow metabolism. As we get older our metabolism does slow down. We need to get that moving again. Even more important to me is the mental lift that you get when you exercise. I lost my weight by walking. I started out slow but I walked about 45 minutes 5-6 times a week. I really wasn’t convinced that it was worth it but the weight started to come off. I also felt so much better! More importantly, I felt that if I am doing this work, I will not eat something that would ruin it all. Let’s say that I burned 300 calories walking. It took me about an hour of walking to burn that. If I came home and had a bowl of ice cream or several cookies, I just put those calories back on. How long does it take to eat that? Five to ten minutes? It isn’t worth it! Within a few weeks I was able to get my walking up to an hour and before long I was walking 4 miles in that hour. Now I already know what you are thinking. I don’t have an extra hour in my day to walk. That’s the excuse that I used to use as well. I call it an excuse because, if we are truly honest with ourselves, we would find an extra hour to do something else or taking care of someone else but we will not do it to take care of ourselves. As a parent, I found time to run to the store to pick up school supplies or schedule an appointment to take my kids here or there but never found time to take care of me. Once I started to walk, I found that I was more productive. I had more energy to deal with everyday events and I was much happier. If you aren’t at your best, you can’t give your best. Your family will reap the rewards of your achievements.
That’s a lot of great information. If you have any questions for Kathy be sure to send them here.
Missed Earlier Posts? Catch up here:
Guest Post: Kathy’s Story