We all heard about the number one New Year Resolution for almost everyone is to have healthy lifestyle and to go on a diet. Unfortunately, we also heard that most if not all would’ve given up within a month. This resolution remains an elusive goal that seems “mission impossible” for most. Time and time again the same resolution appears at the beginning of a year but the resolution remains out in the wild that is impossible to catch.
If you read my earlier post, I’ve talked about why I decided to go on a diet. All my life I’ve been very skinny and since hitting my 40’s I realized that I’ve gained weight especially on the mid-section. However, I continue to be in denial because I’m not fat nor obese. I’ve never had the need to follow a strict diet because I fell fine. Unfortunately, my blood results show a different picture.
I decided on January 1st of this year to go on a diet whereby I remove all “white” processed food, saturated fat and red meat from my diet. I was actually worried that I would fail within a week. Fortunately I was able to maintain my diet and for the last 2 months I’ve lost almost 15 lbs. I’ve also noticed a big difference in my body shape and see my abs again!
For the past 2 months I learn to follow a few things to ensure my weight loss journey is a success. And surprisingly it is really not that difficult. Sometimes I’ve tempted to give up and eat what I want but I keep bringing back myself to reality and understand the importance of this journey. Below are the steps I follow and I hope that you will find them useful as you take on the same journey to a better you and killing it!
Commitment and Goals
Setting a set of goals and commit to them is extremely important. Don’t set unreachable goal that you know you will fail. Set a SMART goal (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based). For example, you may not want to start with a goal that states “losing a lot of weight by of the year”. The goal is too vague and there is no start and end – you are likely to make a detour along and never come back to your original goal. Set a goal that is measurable and attainable. For example, my goal is to lose 20 lbs and reduce my body fat by 5% by March. After reaching this goal, I would set another realistic goal for me to reach by June. If for any reason that I failed to meet any of the goals I would need to reassess what I did right or wrong.
Exercise To Go
By reducing the food intake only will not likely to help with the weight loss. You need to have a plan to exercise. Diet and exercise together will assist in achieving the weight loss more effectively. Again, set a SMART goal for your exercise. For example, my goal at the beginning of the year is to combine cardio exercise with my strength training, at least 4 times a week. Since then I’ve adjusted my goal to run 2 miles every session. Be flexible and keep changing your goal.
Avoid Temptation and Making Conscious Decisions
Our lives practically revolve around food. We wake up and eat breakfast and not long after is lunch. Four hours later is snack and then dinner. Our bodies continue to crave for food and our sensory organs are tempted to look for food that give us comfort. Unfortunately comfort food are those that give us the most satisfaction and incite excitement when we eat something that we are familiar with. You need to be strong and determined to avoid the food that will cause harm. I can assure you that it is difficult at the beginning. Over time, your body will get accustomed to the boring food that it becomes easier to deny the craving. Personally I never liked to eat junk food but I don’t mind eating fried chicken or eating a steak or two. Since January I was determined to remove these food from my diet. Happily I’ve been true to myself and never touch any of these food at all.
Be Creative and Add New Ingredients
Let’s face it – dieting is boring. You always eat the bland and boring food day in and day out. Soon after you give in to the temptation and take a bite of the comfort food. Before you know it your plan of losing weight come crashing down. Food does not have to be boring and one way to make it exciting is to add new ingredients in your “boring” food. One of the best magazine that I continue to read is Muscle & Fitness. Not only that it provides guidance on how to exercise correctly, it also shows what to eat. For example, I eat salad every few days. To make it more enticing, I would add egg, nuts or cranberry. Changing the salad dressing or adding quinoa make the salad different. For dinner, I make just steam sliced chicken with ginger and broccoli. Don’t feel like eating chicken, how about grilled salmon or tuna?
Keep Counting Using MyFitness Pal
I began to lose a lot of weight in January but tapered off in February. I actually gained a few pounds back and that made me curious as to why. I ate the same thing and did not change my diet at all. I decided to download Under Armor app MyFitness Pal to track my eating habit. The app requires a lot of work but in the month of February I had a good idea of my calories intake and what I need to do to improve or continue to lose weight. The most interesting thing about the app that combining exercise it tells you if you are over eating or in deficit. Soon after I was able to continue to lose weight at a steady pace. It is not the food, but the cardio exercise that was making the difference.
Hungry? Try Nuts
Our body requires nourishment continuously. There is a crave for intermittent-fasting, which I do not agree with. I understand that you try to condition your body to eat less and at the same time forces your body to start burning fat that is stored in your body. This was the same craze with the Atkins diet but that did go so well with the founder. Instead of fasting or go hungry, I suggest that you stick with healthier alternatives. When I feel I need a bite, I usually go for a pack of nuts. I’m not referring to the process nuts with sugar and salt but the naturally packed unprocessed nuts. The nuts may contain almond, cashew and mix of dry fruit. Not only they are filling but contain good fat that actually help reduce weight.
Smart Scale to Keep Check
We all have smart phones and they become so ubiquitous that it is not natural not to have one. Instead of using the smart phones for social networking, why not applying the phones to keep check your weight? The best investment that you could make is a smart scale. The smart scales usually go for less than $50 on Amazon and they are a must for anyone who tried to lose weight. The smart scale can measure not only weight, but also body fat, muscle mass and other measurements.
Know When to Stop Eating
I realized last year that I’ve been over eating because it felt good once I was full. Unknowingly I actually taken in a lot more calories than my body needs and resulted in weight gain. Our body is an amazing machine that has evolved over the years. When our bodies have taken in more food that is required, our organs would convert the food and store them as fat. This was especially useful for hunters and gatherers several centuries ago. However, this function actually creates the obesity problem that we see everyday. To prevent this from happening the best way is to eat in moderation. When I started this journey I thought I would have problems maintaining a new lifestyle. My main concern was will I get hungry often when I eat less. I realized that my concern was unfounded as I rarely go hungry. Instead of stuffing myself, I resort to eating smart. I eat a third less that I used to eat and I eat only food with less saturated fat.
Tea Time All the Time
Tea contains antioxidant that has tons of benefit on our bodies. Antioxidants prevent a chemical process known as “oxidation,” which is a natural part of living and aging. Oxidation damages cells and can lead to the development of disease, including Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and cancer. It is best to take tea without any additions. Most Americans find tea to be bland and I find it disturbing that sugar is added in tea. Instead of using antioxidants to benefit our bodies, the sugar actually helps our bodies gaining weight. I drink tea during lunch and dinner and I notice that I feel less bloated and feel more energetic. If you don’t feel like drinking the regular tea, try flower or fruit flavored tea. My favorites are actually Korean corn tea and chrysanthemum tea.
Going on a diet should not be a hurdle. Everyone should take this opportunity to cleanse our bodies of harmful chemicals. One way to ensure that you are successful in this journey is to challenge yourselves. Instead of focusing on what you can’t do, try to focus on the positive side of the process. I’ve discovered that I like certain food and found that the results are encouraging. While I may have missed certain food but I also found new things to eat along the way. The suggestions above have worked well for me and I hope that you find my insights helpful as well.