I was looking online trying to find studies about people who had lost weight and kept it off. Reading over a few studies, each giving different stats, the key element was that upwards of 90% of people who lose weight do not keep it off and end up gaining some or all of it back. I am telling you all right now and making a commitment that I will never ever go back. Obviously there will be times, such as pregnancy, where weight may come back on; however, I am committed to being focused on my health and myself 100%. I have proven that I can lose weight and keep it off. Because of my success I am often asked how I do it? what is my secret? where do I start? By no means am I claiming to be an expert, all I can tell you is what my experience is and what has worked for me.
I have tried every fad diet known to man, DIETS DO NOT WORK. When someone asks me what diet i'm on my response is "I don't diet" and that's true, I don't. I eat clean, I eat small portions and I am aware of what I put into my body. I work out 5-6 days per week and choose active options instead of sedentary. I don't count calories and I drink lots of water. I fuel my body for energy and not for emotions. So doesn't that sound simple? Sure it's super simple and it works. It's SIMPLE but not EASY - I know that I've been there and I still get into those situations. It's about having the tools and knowledge of self to know what to do and be prepared.
So back to the question - where do I start?
#1: Recognize that eating right is 80-90% of weight loss, you can work out all you want but if you ware putting crap food in your body it will be very difficult for you to lose weight.
#2: Be 100% committed to eating clean with 5-6 small meals per day. Clean means no processed foods, no white sugar, no white flour and a healthy balance of protein, carbs (fibrous/complex) & good fats at each meal.
#3: Now that you are committed to eating clean and you know that eating clean will enable you to lose weight you must commit time. Set aside time each week to ensure you are prepared. Always be prepared!! I work a Monday to Friday job so on Sunday's I will go grocery shopping for my weekly food and will also prepare meals for the week. This is a huge time commitment, and often takes up a good portion of my Sunday, but without this I would be lost the rest of the week and would not be prepared. I will often eat the same thing all week for at least 2-3 meals, which can get boring, but I just remind myself i'm not eating for enjoyment, i'm eating to fuel my body.
#4: Make a workout plan. Each week or each month or whatever works for your schedule set aside time for your workouts, write it on a calendar and commit to it. Maybe you need to find a fitness buddy to be accountable to. For me I am committed to my Biggest Winners group but also have buddies that I know I can call on for extra workouts.
#5: Write down everything you eat! Yes EVERYTHING! Even if you slip up, write it down and be accountable to it. Your body keeps an accurate journal regardless of what you write down.
#6: Recognize that slip ups will happen, but that doesn't mean you have to stop. Take it one meal at a time, one day at a time, and slowly but surely the changes that seem so hard will just become habit.
So those are my tips for getting started. There are some great online resources when it comes to Clean Eating as well as books. I recommend any of Tosca Reno's Clean Eating books, she outlines what it means and breaks it all down for you. Some websites I like are The Gracious Pantry, The Eat Clean Diet and The Joy of Clean Eating. There are so many out there, but it's important to get a good foundation and understanding of what clean eating before you try being creative with your food choices. Remember don't dig your grave with your own knife and fork.
Also, here are some simple substitutions you can make right now that will help you make a transition to eating cleaner.
#1: Fat free greek yogurt - substitute it for sour cream in any recipe, you can also make your own cream cheese with the yogurt by straining the water out of it and flavoring it with whatever herbs you like (very yummy!), or make your own frozen yogurt by adding some natural sweetener such as honey and fruit and freezing.
#2: Dip your veggies in salsa or hummus instead of high fat/sugar dressings like ranch.
#3: Use cottage cheese as a dressing on your salad
#4: Use hummus or avocado instead of mayonnaise on a sandwich.
#5: No more white flour!! Whole wheat everything.
#6: Water Water Water! Dump out those pops and juices, all your body needs is water. If you're bored of regular plain old water try it with some lemon in it or fresh fruit to flavor it.
Here's an idea of what I eat on an average day:
6:30AM - Fat Free Greek Yogurt with 1 tbsp natural peanut butter & organic granola (usually make my own clean recipe)
10:00AM - Salad with cucumber, tomatoes and peppers topped with cottage cheese & 1/2 a chicken breast
1:00PM - turkey chili
4:00PM - fruit with almonds or cottage cheese
7:30PM - chicken & steamed veggies
Every meal has a protein and a carb (fibrous/complex) in it and I avoid eating any complex carbs like bread/rice in my last two meals of the day because otherwise it just sits in my stomach.
There's no time like the present people - start now! You've only got 3 choices in life — give up, give in, or give it all you've got.