After some more requests, I'm doing a part 2 to my original healthy habits post! This one is focused a bit more on weight loss and as I said in the first post, I am no fitness queen, health guru, or medical expert! These tips for a healthy lifestyle are just focused on my own personal experience with things I've found that help me keep the weight off & stay healthy.
I don't promote crash diets and I'm all about the healthy lifestyle for your wellbeing first, and waistline second. With that being said, these tips have worked for me and I'm hopeful that something in here will work for you too!
Tips to a Healthy Lifestyle + Losing Weight & Keeping it Off!
1. Realize your temptation
What foods/drinks make you weak in the knees and lead to an unhealthy binge session? Is it sweets? Fries? Pop? Energy drinks? You have to know your weakness first so you can make a plan to overcome it. My temptation? Sweets!
2. Find your trigger + make a plan to overcome it
So you know what foods lead to your unhealthy weight gain and now it's time to figure out what scenario or pattern leads to eating all of these things! Is it not having any groceries so you stop at McDonald's on the way home from work? Is it feeling sad so you end up eating a whole quart of ice cream? Once you know your trigger you can stop the steps that lead to these unhealthy choices!
I'll take myself as an example. I loveeeeeee sweets and carbs so much. Give me all the cake, ice cream, and pasta. I have pretty decent self-control when it comes to shopping and I very rarely buy sweets in the grocery store, but I have next to zero self-control when it comes to saying no when treats are around me.
My trigger is just being around treats, especially at events or holiday parties. So what do I do to fix it? Well, to be honest, I'm still working on this, but asking Titus to be my accountability partner has helped. And going into it making up my mind that I'll only have one bite or just one helping/serving has helped too! Plus, sugar is an acne trigger for me so I'll ask myself, "Is this doughnut worth a zit?" Most of the time the answer is no! 😉
3. Don't keep these "bad" foods in your house
Seriously, this is the easiest way to keep the weight off. Just don't buy the food! I know this doesn't pertain to eating out or being at a friend's, but for 90% of the time, you should be eating at home anyways. Just don't keep the temptations in your home and you are setting up yourself for success!
4. Don't let eating out for work be an excuse
I'm a work from home mama, but I know people who eat out every day for lunch. I can't imagine this is good for the waistline...let alone your wallet! My hubby works out of the home full time and he keeps his wallet in his work bag at his desk so he's not tempted to buy chips or pop every time he passes by the vending machines/snack area.
Even if your job does require a lot of eating out, socializing, and schmoozing the clients, just think ahead (maybe even check out the menu ahead of time online), order wisely, and make healthy swaps. Grilled chicken instead of fried chicken. A vinegarette dressing instead of ranch. Salmon instead of a big greasy burger. You get the picture!
I'm still working on this admittedly. I tend to scarf down two servings without even waiting to see if I'm still hungry. Now if your meal consists of meat and veggies, well, eat all you want! Especially veggies. No such thing as too much.
But when it comes to unhealthy carbs (white rice, white pasta, white bread), try to drink a glass of water before and after your meal to see if you're actually still hungry or not.
Working outside of the home? My husband packs a lunch for work every day and doesn't bring crazy amounts of food to begin with. If you set your portions ahead of time you have no choice but to eat what you have. This would be a great way to train your stomach to eat less too. Of course I don't recommend starving yourself. Just pack healthy foods that are nourishing!
6. Watch what you drink
Are you drinking your calories? I'm sure you already know this, but pop has gots ta go! When I used to work outside of the home, I would have a can of pop and two doughnuts on my break every.day. Icckkkk. I can't believe I did that. No surprise, I quit Mountain Dew and haven't had a sip of pop in maybe 5 years. I don't miss it at all.
Watch your coffee too, with "all the fixings". Lots of cream and sugar isn't good for you. Of course, if that's your guilty pleasure and reason to get up in the morning, who am I to tell you to quit?! But if you're looking to lose weight and stay healthy, then learning to drink your coffee black or switching to a dairy-free low sugar creamer will be very helpful in that.
The wakeup call for me with creamer was when Titus & I were going through a rather large bottle in just a week and I knew something needed to change. I tried to "wean" with almond milk and it was gross. I just went cold turkey, pushed through the bitterness, and then eventually loved it. And that's where I am now- all black & loving it!
Green tea is really good for weight loss & health and I try to drink multiple cups a day. I used to not like it until I realized I was brewing it wrong, so check the instructions!
And of course, water, water, water.
Don't fall into the belief that fruit juice is good for you. It's just pure sugar. And most companies make it with added sugar! Your body needs the fiber in fruit to soften the "sugar blow", and when you're drinking (not eating) fruit, your body just processes it as sugar.
Avoid energy drinks as well.
Don't fall into the trap that thinking matcha lattes (or the like) are healthy either. They are fullllll of sugar. It's an extra step and kinda takes the fun out of it, but look up your drinks online to see the nutritional info before ordering from Starbucks.
Just to put this in perspective for you: It is recommended that women have 25 grams (6 teaspoons) of sugar a day. One matcha latte from Starbucks is 21 grams of sugar. That's almost your whole day of sugar content in ONE "HEALTHY" DRINK! Their not so healthy ones are even worse. A peppermint mocha has 54 grams of sugar. That's insane.
7. Be aware of hidden sugars & really all sugar in general!
When I got gestational diabetes in pregnancy (this is not based on diet it just happens), I learned to read nutritional labels. Honestly, that was probably one of the best things to happen to me because my eating habits changed after that! I mean, they weren't even bad then either, but I learned a lot more about sugar and carbs and how carbs break down into your body as sugar. Now don't quote me on this, but I take that as a big bowl of pasta could potentially be the same thing as a big bowl of ice cream. The white bun on your hamburger is breaking down as sugar in your body too!
You'll be surprised at all the sugars that are hiding in basic items like crackers and even foods that are advertised as healthy. Like granola and protein bars! There is soo much sugar in those. You think you could be eating well but some companies can fool you. Don't buy anything without seeing how much sugar is in it. Especially a new item. Don't worry, soon you'll find your go-to items and won't have to think so hard at the grocery store.
I've talked about sugar a lot throughout this post, but that's because it's one of the biggest culprits for weight gain. And if you're reading this, you probably want to lose some weight so you gotta know about the sugar!
9. Limit your dairy
Milk products like cheese and cow's milk are full of fat and not actually all that good for you when consumed all the time. You can get calcium in other ways (like spinach). I made the switch to almond milk (unsweetened) years ago and I've been dabbling in vegan cheeses as well. Dairy is an acne trigger for me anyway, so I try to avoid it as much as I can. Though it's hard because....pasta!
10. Start meal planning
Whether you're a stay at home mom or work full time, meal planning is for everyone. Not only do you have healthy groceries on hand, but you get control of your menu. When I meal plan (usually on Sunday and shop Monday), I make sure a veggie is in each meal. If I didn't plan ahead of time, I probably wouldn't get any veggies in as I'm not one to reach for carrots as a snack. Can't make it to the grocery store? Try Instacart...it's a LIFESAVER!
11. Learn to love dark chocolate
The best way to get that sweet tooth fix is with some dark chocolate. Some chocolate bars are only 8 grams of sugar for 3 pieces! For perspective, a snicker bar is 20 grams of sugar! You can eat more because most other chocolates are double or triple that sugar count! No, it's not sweet and it's an acquired taste, but that's why I say to learn to love it! This will become your guilt-free treat and it provides you with antioxidants too.
12. Take a break from sweets and they'll seem sweeter when you get them
The "detox" is the hardest part. But the longer you stay away (or don't overindulge) the more you'll find that you're not actually missing them all that much. They'll lose their appeal and when you do have something, they'll be even sweeter to you, meaning you won't need to have as much to feel satisfied! Sugar can be an addiction after all.
13. Move your body
Last but not least, you've got to move your body! It's going to be harder to see the results of all your healthy eating if you're not exercising too! And don't use kids as an excuse (because I've tried), I know that they would love to join in and add some extra resistance to your training. 😉
Just remember to be patient and give yourself grace. Heck, I wrote this post and still struggle with some of the things here. That's life, baby! There's no such thing as perfection...just being healthy and living your best life! #cheesy
Check out part 1 to this post!