Once you know where you are headed, you can take steps to start your journey. Some tips to consider when you start and along your journey are listed below.
- Know your calorie needs. Cut intake by 200 calories per day and increase burn 200 – 300 calories per day.
- Make the most of each workout. Incorporate full body exercises to maximize your calorie burn. This works great if you have a limited amount of time.
- Make your calories count. Food is fuel. Each and every bite should be packed full of nutrients to fuel your body to perform both physically & mentally.
- Exercise in the morning, if you can. No chance to postpone the workout due to unexpected crises that may arise through the day and you will feel a nice boost of energy and sense of accomplishment.
- Track your food. Not necessarily calorie counting, but everything that goes into your mouth. Hold yourself accountable for what you choose to eat throughout the day, every day.
- Portion control. Learn proper portion sizes – chances are you are ingesting more calories than you think due to improper portion sizes.
- Be active in all areas of your life, not just your workout. Take the stairs instead of the elevator; park farther away from the store. Shopping in a strip mall? Park at the opposite end or hit several stores in the strip. It all adds up.
- Eating out: Don’t drink your calories – choose tea or water. Pack up half of your meal before you begin to eat for lunch or dinner the following day. Don’t like leftovers? Split a meal with a friend. Special occasion? Choose one for a treat drink or dessert – not both. If you choose dessert – ask for several spoons or forks and share.
- No time for a workout? Do 10 minute increments of exercise throughout your day. It all counts!
- Drink water and lots of it. Hungry between meals? Try drinking a glass of water before reaching for a snack – chances are you are really thirsty, not hungry.
- Get enough sleep. Your body will not function properly when sleep deprived and you may make poor food choices due to being too tired or worn out to cook. Try going to bed half hour earlier and focus on breathing to help fall asleep.
- Do not skip meals. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – it stokes your metabolism and provides much-needed energy to power you through your morning. Plan accordingly to have healthy snacks available to avoid poor choices from vending machines or the office kitchen.
- Check in with the scale only periodically - once a week or twice a month. Weight fluctuates based on a number of factors and weighing daily will drive you nuts. Plus, muscle weighs more than fat.
- Keep your workouts interesting. Vary your routine to keep your body guessing and changing. Try a new class outside of your comfort zone – you may be surprised and find a new love!
- Don’t keep treats in your house. If the food isn’t there, you can’t eat it. Keep healthy snacks. Prepare food in advance – clean and chop vegetables and fruits, pre-package nuts or a homemade trail mix.
- Don’t diet – make lifestyle changes. Once you reach your weight goal you can’t just abandon your healthy eating patterns and go back to the way you used to eat. Lifestyle changes are for life. Exercising and eating healthy are lifelong commitments. Embrace the change.
- Make sure to include intense cardio in your workouts. Example: Warm up, run as fast as you can for 1 min, then jog for 2 minutes, repeat for 15 minutes, cool down. If you don’t run, use an elliptical, bike, ARC trainer or rowing machine for a similar workout.
- Make sure to include plenty of protein and fiber (25 to 35 grams for women) in your diet. Both will help keep you properly fueled and feeling satisfied.
- Don’t skip evening workouts. Working out after a long day at work, school or wrestling kids can be tough, but do your best to keep those scheduled workouts. Write them on the calendar like you would any other appointment, meet a friend for a fun new exercise class or run and knock it out! You won’t regret that workout, I promise.
- Avoid empty calories - highly processed foods are usually high in sugar and fat and have very little, if any, nutritional value. They may satisfy a craving, but often leave you hungry a short time later.
- Eat healthy fats – nuts, nut butters and avocados are great sources! Practice portion control – 1 oz of nuts, 2 TBSP nut butter, ¼ avocado. Healthy doesn’t mean all you can eat.
- Choose a non-food treat for reaching a goal – new workout top or shoes make great motivators!
- Don’t be afraid to build muscle. That muscle will burn more calories and help you reach your goal faster.
- Make sure you are eating your fruits and vegetables – 5 to 7 servings per day. Know what constitutes a serving.
- Give yoga a try. Not only can yoga help release stress, but there are plenty of challenging practices out there to help build strong, lean muscles and help alleviate tightness that stems from repetitive daily activity.
Hit a plateau? Check this list:
- Are you eating enough calories? If you are starving your body, it will protect itself and conserve energy.
- Are you drinking enough water?
- Monitor your calories for a few days to make sure you are taking in enough and not too much – it can be a delicate balance.
- Are you getting all of your workouts in? Try switching up your workouts – add in an extra burst of high intensity cardio. Try a Boot Camp class to spark that metabolism.
- Are you getting enough sleep?
- Are you stressed out?
- If you are close to your goal and lifting weights/strength training, it could be muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat. If you feel healthy and are strong, you may need to modify your goal weight. Consider using measurements instead of the scale to see change.