Trying to get in shape, lose weight, or make major lifestyle changes is not easy- in fact, it’s hard and, sometimes, it sucks. It doesn’t always fit in with what everyone wants – which is for it to ‘just happen’ magically and not take a lot of effort. The reality is you CAN lose weight. You CAN get in shape, feel better, lose the love handles, and, most importantly, look good naked. Let me hear you say it, ‘I want to look good naked!’
Here are a few pointers that, no matter what, you need to remember, and stick to. It’s the ‘little’ things that can and will throw you off course – so make sure you make the items below are part of your everyday lifestyle – no matter what.
Create automatic, motivational reminders on your phone
Here are some sample reminders you can plug into your phone’s calendar; schedule them to occur every other day, at random times, until further notice:
· You’re super hot! Seriously! Did you workout today?
· Don’t let food make you a weak person. you are bigger than any food you’ll ever eat….so kick its ass and tell it who’s boss
· You better put that donut down, biotch
· Want JLo’s ass? Then go get it
· Burn 100 extra calories today – find a way
Rome wasn’t built in a day. But guess what? You can lose 10 pounds in 6 weeks. Easy Peasy.
Just don’t. Dieting sucks. In fact, the word should be thrown out the window. Don’t even say it. Period. You don’t want to ‘go on a diet’. I swear it sounds like an awful vacation: “I’m going on a diet, see you when I return from being crazy-starved for 3 weeks!”
It’s not a matter of dieting, it’s a matter of changing your outlook on how you eat and how you approach what you eat, when, and how you take care of yourself.
Try to eat clean
You’ve probably heard about it, but, I swear, it’s really, really important. It’s plain and simple: the more junk you put in your body, the more junk that will come out – and be visible. Eating clean is defined as eating as many foods as you can when they are in their most natural state, and unprocessed. One of NotTied’s favorite clean eaters and the food and health industry’s leading ladies is Tosca Reno, and she has some great tips on her website.
Here’s a little quiz to test out your clean eating IQ: which of these foods are considered ‘clean foods?’
· Chicken Breast
· Ranch Dressing
· Tomato Sauce
If you answered avocado, chicken and apples, you win! Congratulate yourself with a cookie. Just kidding. Eat carrots instead. You should really, really try to eat clean 75% of the time, and the other 25% of time you have a little wiggle room. Think about all the ‘unclean’ foods you ate today. Well, all that extra ‘junk’ you eat contributes to not only a big waistline, but a sluggish, tiresome demeanor, bad skin, and overall, just nothing good.
Really try to pay attention to what you eat – like, really. Bagel and cream cheese, or whole wheat toast with honey/natural peanut butter? Chips and onion dip/cheese dip, or carrots and hummus? Oatmeal with blueberries or sugary cereal for breakfast? You get the idea.
Period. Water should be about 90% of what you drink when it comes to beverages. If you drink any kind of soda – just stop. Right now. Just stop. Soda is probably the worst thing on the planet for you to drink. In addition to slowly rotting away at your tooth enamel, sugary sports drinks, juices, and other beverages are loaded with refined sugar (bad), and with that comes unnecessary carbs (also bad). Dedicate a big water bottle – and make sure you are always – always – drinking out of it.
Oh, and did you know that drinking water – with ice – speeds up your metabolism? Your body has to burn more calories to process the water due to its low temp – so it actually helps you lose weight. Amazing, isn’t it? You’re welcome.
Also – watch out with coffee, too. Adding in creamer and sugar can add up to a whopping 150 calories per cup if you don’t pay attention (can you say creme brûlée International Delight?). If you drink coffee, try to opt for just 1 cup, with skim or almond milk instead.
So many people make the mistake of starving themselves to lose weight. Well, guess what? This ridiculous concept doesn’t work – whatsoever. You need to eat – and eat often, in order to keep your metabolism going.
This is probably the biggest mistake women make – they think the less they eat, the more they’ll lose. It’s actually the opposite. Have you ever not eaten, or skipped a meal, then caved to eating ‘whatever’ because you were so freaking hungry? There are many problems with that situation, but the two biggest are:
1. You’re starving so, therefore, you’ll sacrifice the quality of what you eat (snickers vs banana, pizza vs salad, etc) and you end up putting more crap into your body, thus contributing to the nasty things I mentioned earlier.
2. When you starve yourself, your body goes into ‘freak out’ mode and begins to ‘search’ for something it can latch onto in order to survive. Well guess what it goes after? Muscle, instead of fat. In case you didn’t know, we want muscle. Over fat. What we want gone is fat. Not muscle. Muscle = yes, Fat = no.
Ideally you need to be eating 5-6 small meals every day. Every day. Every single day. Now it’s not that you’re piling your plate high at each meal – but you need to keep your body fueled around the clock.
Here’s a sample of what I’m talking about:
Breakfast – 1/4 cup oatmeal (made with water), topped with blueberries, ground flaxseed and cinnamon
AM snack: Carrots and hummus
Lunch: Grilled chicken and veggies (asparagus, broccoli, 1/2 baked sweet potato, etc)
PM snack: apple & natural, reduced fat peanut butter or organic (or homemade) protein bar
Dinner: grilled fish/chicken, lots of veggies
After dinner snack: apple/veggies/small protein shake
And, of course, in between all of this eating what are we doing? Drinking water!!!
Tip: Be very mindful of all those ‘extra’ things that can add in calories – those include salad dressings, condiments, pre packaged sauces, etc.
Your body needs it. It’s not rocket science. Make sure you’re getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night. In case you need motivation, keep in mind that sleep helps in the following areas:
- Improve memory
- Curb inflammation
- Live longer
- Spur creativity
- Improve your sex life
- Reduce stress
Limit & Watch Alcohol Consumption
Yes, we know it will be consumed, as it should, as it’s delicious and makes
us tell really funny stories. But, let’s just be honest, this is where you can
really, and I mean really, get in a bad cycle.
Does this sound familiar? You eat healthy all week, starting Monday
morning. You hit the treadmill at least 3-4 times per week, drink lots of
water, feel great, etc. Then Friday night rolls around. “Hey, I’ve been
great all week,” you say to yourself. “It’s no biggie if I have a glass of
wine or two – it’s my reward!”.
Well, what ends up happening? Let me take a guess, if I may. You have
a glass of wine….it’s delicious. You have another. Your boyfriend/girlfriend
joins you. Next thing you know you’re telling the funniest stories ever
(like, EVER!) and before you know it you’re eating dinner, having a
good time, eating more dinner, perhaps a little something sweet after
dinner….then it happens again on Saturday.
Then again on Sunday, but perhaps only 1 glass of wine is had.
Well, when you drink alcohol, you don’t make the greatest decisions (history has proven this to be true with the many cases of drunk driving, bad dancing and really, really bad hookups).
So what has happened? You’ve done great all week, but then it all went out the window with the onset of the weekend. Then you start it all over again. So you keep losing/gaining the same 2-3 lbs and never getting ahead. You’ve got to cut alcohol out – period – but if you do drink, think about what you’re drinking. Have a vodka/club soda/lemon wedge in place a big ol’ glass of chardonnay. You’ll save yourself some calories.
For every cocktail you drink, also drink a glass of water. And if you must drink (which we all must), commit to burning 100 calories per cocktail the next day – and stick to it.
Sounds like an easy plan, but you need to get at least 30 minutes of cardio in every day. You should be strength training (weights, yoga, etc) at least 2-3 times per week. Did you know the more muscle you have, the more fat you burn? You need muscle in order to burn fat. Don’t believe me? Read an article from Shape.com that helps to bust the top exercise myths and learn why.
If you happen to always rely on the trusty really treadmill – great! Just make sure you change it up a bit (add hills, do run/walk sprints, etc). You’ve got to change things up otherwise you’ll flatline. Trust me – change is good for the body as it will ‘trick’ your body and force it to constantly adjust, which is a good thing. And, of course, don’t be afraid to try something new.
Sounds cheesy (low fat, of course) but you should really keep a food journal for the first 2 weeks. Jot down your ‘go to’ foods/snacks and really understand how many calories/fat grams are in each. You need to have perspective on things so you know how much of what you can eat. When I said a good, healthy snack was an apple and PB, I didn’t mean 2 large apples and half a jar of PB. Watch your servings, and write it down. Plus, it will mentally force you to see how much or how little you ate. It’s all about perspective.
One of the things I used to do for my son when he was a little, itty-bitty, cutie-patootie was spend a couple hours on Sunday making homemade, organic baby food. Why? Because I’m an awesome mom. Why else? Because it was easy, inexpensive, and I could stock up and have it whenever I needed it.
You need to apply that same mindset for yourself. Plan out your week’s menu (for everyone, not just you) and prep/cook food on Sundays that way you’re not stuck scrambling trying to figure out what to eat for lunch or make for dinner. Grill up several chicken breasts, cook veggies, etc. Go buy Rubbermaid containers so you can make your lunch/snacks and store them in the fridge.
Make Ziploc bags of oatmeal and bring them to work for breakfast (I eat breakfast at work because I work out in the morning, but do what works for you).
The point here is to prepare – that way there are no excuses during the week. Life is busy – the easier you can make this part of it on yourself, the better.
A few things every healthy lifestyle should include:
– Berries – eat them every single day. Berries are so good for you – for a bazillion reasons. Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, etc. Just do it.
– Ground flaxseed – this stuff is amazing. For many, many reasons. Did you know its known as ‘one of the most powerful foods on the planet’? It helps with all sorts of things from digestion, to heart health, to healthier hair/skin/nails. It also keeps you ‘regular’ and has other benefits, too.
– Oatmeal – it’s very good for you and full of fiber. What does that mean? That it will keep you feeling full and eliminate crazy hunger strikes coming on. The fiber keeps you from feeling ‘empty’ when it comes to food.
– Avocados – talk about a good fat. Yes, it’s a lot of fat – but the good kind, which you should eat plenty of. In fact, that’s the only kind of fat you should be eating (think avocados, salmon, olive/coconut oil, almonds, peanut butter, etc). I always top a salad with 1/4-1/2 an
avocado, and will throw them in my smoothies (only half). I buy them in bulk and cut, package and throw in the freezer for easy smoothie recipes.
– Greens- Spinach, Kale, Chard – all of these are full of antioxidants and vitamins – so eat, eat, eat them! I always throw fresh or frozen spinach into my smoothies, and it’s the base to all my salads. Kale is really good, too – you just need to figure out how you like to eat it. Some people think eating it raw is just too much. If that’s the case for you, that’s fine; blanch it a bit, toss with some coconut oil, S&P in the skillet, and drizzle with lemon juice. Yum!
Okay, so I know that we have additional sections on NotTied that will give you detailed recipes to help get you through the workweek, but here are some basic foods/snacks that you should think about incorporating into your routine. I’d recommend just picking a few out of each category, mix them together, and voila! You have your very own custom meal plan. If it helps, you might want to use a calendar (or app on your phone) to capture it in one place so you stay on track.
– Oatmeal (1/4 cup with water)
– 3 egg whites with broccoli, pop in the microwave together or in a skillet
– Smoothie – careful here as the calories can add up. Pick your base (skim milk, Greek yogurt, almond milk, etc), add your protein (powder, tofu, peanut butter), add in fruit (banana, avocado, berries, pears), and add in your greens (spinach, kale). I always, always add in 2 tbs of ground flax seed, and cinnamon (it’s my secret ingredient in smoothies). Buy big fat straws at the grocery store, too, it makes them so much easier to drink.
– Greek yogurt topped with berries, flaxseed, and cinnamon
– 1 piece of whole wheat toast, 1 tsp natural peanut butter, berries
– Grilled chicken
– Tuna (mix it with laughing cow cheese instead of mayo – only 35 calories per wedge…yes this will fall into your 25%). I love mixing tuna with chopped up carrots, sweet relish, and chopped up almonds
– Ground turkey burger (make your own using lean ground turkey meat). You can make them yummy by mixing in sautéed peppers and onions, chopped carrots, a little bit of spinach, and some low-fat cheese
– Grilled shrimp
– Turkey breast (watch out for deli-style turkey or meats – as they can be very high in sodium)
Mix protein with:
– 1/2 sweet potato (notice I said sweet, not baked)
– Steamed veggies (and lots of them)
– Salad/spinach/kale – add in chopped tomatoes, chickpeas, edamame, mandarin oranges, etc.
– Low-fat peanut butter and apples
– Cottage cheese and fruit (cantaloupe, melon, berries, apples, bananas)
– Natural hummus and veggies (I like to make my own hummus where I nix the tahini as it reduces calories).
Recipe: Just throw 2 cans of chickpeas along with some of the canning liquid into the food processor, add in a few roasted red bell peppers and season to taste.
– Other types of hummus – I like to make my own…For New Year’s Eve, I made a black-eyed pea hummus. I can tell you, it was awesome. Do the same as above but with black-eyed peas, black beans or edamame. same concept, different flavor
– Roasted chickpeas – these are great to snack on.
Recipe: Drain, rinse and dry a couple cans, set them out to dry on a towel for about 3 hours. Toss in a bowl with olive oil and seasonings (girl you know I like it spicy, so I do ancho chile powder, cumin, and red pepper flakes) and bake at 350 for about an hour. So good. You can also make them sweet by adding cinnamon instead
Tip: I also use pumpkin, no sugar applesauce, low-fat cottage cheese, and egg whites to replace A LOT of ingredients which cut a lot of unnecessary fat out of things. Here are a few ideas:
– Low fat, no sugar added chocolate pudding made with skim milk. This is my go-to when I’m craving chocolate
– Chopped up apples, sprinkled with cinnamon and microwaved. It’s amazing what heat does to fruit…brings out the sugars and makes them really sweet
– Reese’s peanut butter cups. yes, you heard me right. Get muffin tins, and mix together a little bit of peanut butter with chocolate protein powder and freeze. You can find the recipe here
Additional recipes that are delish and super easy to make:
· Edamame Hummus Dip – 1 cup shelled thawed edamame, 1 tsp tahini, salt, pepper, sautéed, garlic (2 cloves) and 1 shallot (sauteed). Put all into a food processor and add olive oil until smooth (about 3 tablespoons). Note, if you boil the edamame in water for a few minutes beforehand you won’t have to add as much OO to get to the smooth consistency
· Black Eyed Pea Hummus – 1 can of seasoned black-eyed peas, 1 tsp tahini, S&P to taste. Throw all in a food processor until smooth. Note: reserve some of the canning juice and add as needed in place of the additional olive oil
· Yogurt Fruit Dip – 1 cup low-fat greek yogurt, 1 tsp honey, 1 tsp PB2 peanut butter powder. Mix and enjoy. Its also good to add in some cinnamon, nutmeg, etc, whatever you like.
· Instead of pasta, try using Broccoli Slaw instead. It’s super filling and has a good texture. Oh, and yeah, zero carbs. Hello! You can do the same with zucchini. You can buy those little veggie peelers at CVS or Walgreens for $10 – and voila! No more spaghetti.
· Make butternut squash soup, it’s easy, filling and super healthy. Skin, chop and roast a whole butternut squash in the oven with a yellow onion, a little olive oil until a light golden brown and fork tender. Throw in the food processor with ground ginger, S&P, a 30 calorie almond milk or low-sodium chicken broth until smooth. Done!
Oh, the love we have for sugar. Did you know that the more sugar you eat, the more you crave? If you don’t eat it, you won’t crave it. It’s as simple as that.
If you have a jar of Jelly Bellies in your office like I did – it takes some serious willpower not to eat a few here and there. Well, guess what? A little handful is around 140 calories! Needless to say, I removed my jar from my office – and it’s no longer tempting me and staring at me from across the room.
If you’re still not convinced a healthier lifestyle is crucial need some
additional motivation, here are 10 life-changing reasons why changing
your eating habits is important:
1. You’ll become more mindful – compare you eating a burger while you drive vs savoring a salad at a table. You’ll pay attention to your eating habits when you prepare and plan out things alongside a healthy lifestyle.
2. You’ll be smarter! Eating a diet rich in fruit, veggies, fish, and nuts keeps your mind sharper and your memory stronger by a whopping 24%! Your brain also functions better when its fed better nutrients. Come on, this one is a no-brainer. 🙂
3. You’ll save money. Planning out your meals, buying in bulk, avoiding those last minute trips to the expensive grocery store, buying fresh foods when they’re in season – all contribute to saving money. People think eating healthy has to be expensive, but that’s not true. Eating vegan, gluten-free, all organic and no GMOs in anything you put in your mouth? Sure, it may be challenging – but it’s doable, while still being affordable.
4. You’ll live longer. Did you know that by eating an additional 28 gram serving of whole grains each day is associated with a 5% lower risk of dying from any cause? Also, by increasing your produce intake to more than 569 grams per day reduces your risk of diet-related mortality by 10%.
5. You’ll have better relationships. In addition to feeling better and having a more clean, positive outlook on life, preparing fresh meals can be a great time to share in some family time. Get away from the TV and into the kitchen. Teach your kids healthy eating habits, or challenge your bestie to a ‘clean cook off’ once or twice a week.
6. You’ll have more energy! Enough said
7. You’ll be better in bed. Yes, I said it. Studies have shown that women who have a diet rich in vegetables, nuts, fruit, whole grains, and olive oil (think Mediterranean diet) have a healthier sex life. In addition to looking better, you’ll have a higher sex drive! It’s a win/win!
8. You’ll help the planet survive. Put your green hat on for a minute here. By eating local and seasonal foods, you can help reduce your carbon footprint, help local farmers and grocers stay in business, and avoid any additional pesticides or hormones that may be associated with mass production and farming practices.
9. You’ll be stronger. That Christina Aguilera song pops into my mind on this one. The lean protein that makes up the clean diet helps build lean muscle mass and boosts metabolism. Some great choices for this are lean chicken & beef, fish, quinoa, chickpeas, nuts, and spinach (who knew?)
10. You’ll be happier. Food and mood go hand in hand. Remember the old saying: you are what you eat? Take it literally. You put good stuff in, you’ll get good stuff out. Period.
You got this!!!