We all hear tons of advice on how to lose weight, exercise, get healthier, and what not, but what really works??? I'm somewhat inspired today to write about little everyday things that I've done, swapped out or cut out that have added up to a lot of weight loss. And... finally breaking the maintenance plateau! (as I'm calling it, since it was a bit of both). And I really think a few of these tricks helped.
1.) Avoid eating out when it's possible to eat your own food. I've started bringing my lunch to work every day (except Friday, my treat day and I get lunch with the guys). I know exactly what's in my food, and best of all it's low in sodium! I really think that's contributed the scale moving again. I go for a roast beef and cheese sandwich with hummus on a pita, greek yogurt, and some sort of fresh fruit. I have a fridge at work and I can buy groceries. There is NO reason other than my own laziness not to bring lunch.
2.) Protein doesn't have to come from a chicken breast. I'm a HUGE fan of non-meat proteins. So I've been eating lots of greek yogurt, peanut butter, protein bars (Zone taste the best) and protein smoothies (I like Designer Whey and Optimum Nutrition). Some people might not agree that getting protein from bars and shakes and yogurt is preferable, but for someone like me that doesn't like to cook a giant chicken breast every night to get my protein count up, it's a good alternative.
3.) Sneak in exercise. I don't spent 5 minutes trolling for parking spaces. I'll take an extra lap around the mall when I'm done shopping. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. I've been known to do chair dips at my desk at work... haha. It's great to get that 30 minutes of a workout in, but your body benefits from even a little extra movement for the day.
4.) Don't drink your calories. This is a pretty basic one, but I only ever drink my calories when there's alcohol involved... haha. Otherwise it's water for me (aside from my morning coffee). Or diet iced tea is another favorite of mine.
5.) Carbs aren't a horrible thing. Especially when the carbs are simple carbs from things like fruit. I love eating fruit, but I balance it out with the protein that I get. No need to cut them out entirely, fruit is delicious! When was the last time you heard someone say they gained back weight from eating more fruit? haha
6.) You don't need to do cardio allll the time. I think the best thing I've done in the last few weeks is cut back on my cardio... but replace those workouts with either circuit training or strength training. I'm still getting a calorie burn from it, but it seems to be helping my metabolism more than all cardio was.
7.) Trade out indulgences for healthier ones. I love a treat every now and then, but I tend to go overboard. So instead of ice cream at night, I have a greek yogurt or a protein smoothie. Instead of cookies I have hummus and crackers. Instead of a chocolate bar I have a little pack of Skinny Cow chocolate dream thingies. And then when I do have a treat, it's even more of a special occasion and I enjoy it. And i don't feel the need to overindulge.
8.) Your MFP app is your best friend. I spent a solid 10 minutes (probably more) at the Cheesecake Factory on Saturday looking for something to eat. And ya know what, I didn't gain a single ounce this weekend instead of the usual pound or two.
9.) Take a rest day, or two. I don't work out 7 days a week. I'm not saying my rest days are entirely restful, I'll go to the pool or mall or do something with the boyfriend so I'm moving. But my body feels so much better afterwards and I have more energy to give on my workout days. Right now, I seem to be averaging 4 days a week with a dedicated workout, sometimes 5 depending on my kickball game being canceled or not.
10.) Measure your progress in any way possible. Given the scale was a putz until this week, I had to have SOMETHING to keep me going. So I had my 5K personal best goals, and my goals for fitting into smaller clothes or looking better in existing clothes. I measure myself once a month. And I've been lifting heavier and heavier weights and kettlebells at the gym. So, numbers do matter... but the scale isn't the only one.
Feel free to contribute tips and tricks of your own in the comments below!