The New Year brings goals of having a healthier lifestyle for yourself and your family. If this is you, I’d like to help you get started with some basic tools. I’ll include free links and downloads in this post so you can get started today.
My goal is to provide you with a complete framework for success. Let’s get started!
Plan your journey-
Please begin your journey with the belief and understanding that planning is a key factor in starting and maintaining a healthier lifestyle. It doesn’t just happen! (If it did, we’d all be in perfect shape!) Set aside some time each week to plan and decide a basic framework for exercise times and meals for the week. What makes for success?
Secrets of the Biggest Weight Losers- What do those who have lost weight and kept it off have in common?
The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) was formed to study the habits of people who have been able to lose weight and keep it off for a substantial amount of time. The NWCR is tracking over 10,000 people through follow-up surveys and questionnaires. Here are some of their key findings:
There was no single way to lose weight that worked the best. Participants used a variety of techniques including diet only, diet and exercise (most common technique) , group programs, and individual efforts.
Most used a low fat- high carb diet and they ate breakfast everyday.
Almost half of the participants indicated that they limited the quantity of food eaten (reducing their portions), but did not deprive themselves of specific foods.
“There was no single way to lose weight that worked the best. Half stated they counted calories or at least kept up with what they ate each day.”
The most variety of foods eaten was from nutrient-dense food groups such as grains, fruits and vegetables.
Many weight themselves daily or at least weekly.
Most exercise about an hour each day- 28% chose walking as their only form of exercise.
Helpful Link~Take this Weight Loss Readiness Quiz to get an idea of where you are in your journey.
How Many Calories for Weight Loss?
Let’s figure your proper calories levels for safe weight loss. It is important to lose weight at a moderate to slow pace to help you learn new habits which will help keep the weight from returning.
Check out this chart to help you determine exactly how many calories you will need for successful weight loss. Be sure to check with your health professional before you change any health routines.
Helpful Link~ Download my free calorie controlled meal planner ebook pdf. It gives you sample meal plans for 1200-2200 calorie levels.
Helpful Link~ Here’s a link to Web MD’s Food & Fitness Planner. Here you will be able to estimate your calorie needs, log your meals and activity and get progress reports.
More Links to Printable Charts and Logs~ Printable Weight Loss Progress Chart (for 2017), Printable Food Diary Log
Supertracker can help you plan, analyze, and track your diet and physical activity. Find out what and how much to eat; track foods, physical activities, and weight; and personalize with goal setting, virtual coaching, and journaling.
Healthy Cooking Tips
A lifestyle change to healthy eating will require tweaking cooking techniques to make sure your meals are low cal with plenty of nutrients. Let’s look at some of the top ways to make sure you are using cooking techniques that will help your healthy lifestyle succeed:
Cook with whole grain products like brown rice, bran, oatmeal and quinoa rather than refined grains.
Use better-for-you fats such as olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocado, and olives.
Include plenty non-starchy veggies in your diet such as tomatoes, summer squash, onions, peppers, cabbage, lettuce, mushrooms, etc. These will help you feel full between meals and also add fiber to your diet which improves blood glucose levels and GI health.
Consider having a bowl of veggie soup before meals to help control appetite and keep a salad bowl in your refrigerator for a quick snack.
Add veggies to casseroles and salads for a more-filling meal.
Roasted veggies are a delicious addition to any meal. Slice veggies such as peppers, onions, mushrooms, etc. and toss with a small amount of olive oil to moisten. Add a clove of chopped garlic and season with salt and pepper. Roast on a foil-lined pan at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until tender.
Try using Greek yogurt in place of sour cream in recipes. This will add extra protein to your meals which will help you feel more satisfied and keep you on track.
When your sweet tooth needs a treat, reach for fruit. It will add fiber and vitamins to your diet. Try making a smoothie with Greek yogurt at breakfast for a high protein treat.
Experiment with herbs and spices in your recipes to help keep your taste buds happy. Keep seasonings near your stove so you will be sure to use them often.
Keep a bag of frozen diced onions handy in your freezer to easily add to recipes.
Drain and rinse ground beef in a colander to lower calories.
Make gravies and sauces without fat by mixing cornstarch with a small amount of cold water. Stir slowly into the hot liquid and simmer to thicken.
Cook veggies in lower-sodium broth instead of butter to help lower calories.
Roast a chicken or turkey breast and keep handy to add to salads and wraps. Use a tasty marinade such as balsamic vinegar or soy sauce prior to cooking to add a burst of flavor to meals.
Planning ahead is key! Take a few moments to plan out your meals for the week. This will help you grocery shop more efficiently and will keep you focused on healthy meals.
Making Exercise Part of Your Plan
Some of the Benefits of Exercise-
Preventing and delaying type 2 diabetes
Lowering blood pressure
Strengthening muscles, heart, bones and lungs
Decreasing body fat
Before starting a new exercise program, be sure to speak with your health professional and get approval.
Exercise is a great way to boost energy and promote lasting weight loss. The “best” exercise is one you will do! Walking is a moderate intensity activity that many people choose. You can easily begin your exercise program by monitoring your current level of activity and then building on that base.
A pedometer is a valuable tool for tracking activity. Wear your pedometer daily and determine your baseline number of steps. Try to increase your step count by 2000 steps each day to a goal amount of 10,000 steps daily. (About 5 miles)
Remember that other forms of activity such as gardening, household chores, playing with children or pets, etc. can count toward your daily fitness goal. Experts suggest 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise most days for greatest benefit. You may choose to do all your exercise at one time or you may divide your sessions throughout the day to total 30 minutes.
Keys to Success:
Change up your routine to prevent boredom
Ask a friend to join you
Set short-term goals to help keep you motivated
Decide on a schedule and stick to it
Choose a healthful reward for yourself when you meet your goals
Consider joining an online health group for support
Make sure you have the proper equipment for your sport to increase your safety and enjoyment
Common Weight Loss Obstacles and Ways to Succeed
As the weeks go by, obstacles start to arise which can destroy your resolve to continue on your path to good health. Let’s look at some common roadblocks and how to get around them.
Stress or Boredom Eating– If you find yourself at the mercy of chocolate, sweets and other high calorie foods when you are stressed or bored, take charge of your environment and get those tempting foods out of the house. Replace them with easy to grab snacks such as cut fruit, string cheese, low sugar frozen chocolate bars, low-calorie dip with cut up fruit or whole grain granola bars.
The key will be to make sure these snacks are easy to get to, so be sure they are ready to go in the refrigerator or pantry. Also, try diverting your attention with a phone call or going for a walk when boredom eating hits. Keep a list of these “boredom busting” activities on your refrigerator to make it easy to get away from food related thoughts.
No time to prepare healthy meals– Keep simple, easy to prepare ingredients handy to make cooking less time-consuming. When you have extra time, try roasting a chicken and slice the meat and freeze for adding to salads and sandwiches throughout the week.
Keep a salad ready in the refrigerator for a quick meal or side dish. Whole grain breads and rolls, frozen fruit, and frozen veggies can provide a quick way to round out your meals.
My family won’t eat healthy foods– Try to introduce healthier foods slowly and be sure to offer just one new item at mealtimes. Involve your family in meal planning and get their input on which foods they would be willing to try.
Diets never work for me– Forget the mentality of “going on a diet” and work towards a lifestyle change. In order to make this work, it is important to make slow changes, ones that can be continued long-term.
Examples of such changes might be: switching from sugar-sweetened beverages to water, ordering a salad instead of french fries at lunch, or eating fruit for dessert instead of cake or pie.
I’ve been losing weight, but now I’m stuck at the same weight– When your weight loss comes to a halt, you may be experiencing a “plateau”. Plateaus can be discouraging and may lead to stress eating.
Try trimming your calorie intake slightly and/or increase your exercise time. Look for opportunities throughout the day in which to add more activity. This could include taking the stairs at work, parking further away at the shopping center, and incorporating extra walking at work each day.