Thursday, May 09, 2013
This spring, I've lost 34 lbs so far. I made the leap to just go for it, no matter how annoying it is or what I have to give up to get there - just commit to tracking daily and follow the "rules".
Here are the secrets for what works for me (so I remember later and might work for other people):
1. Track food and exercise in separate programs. I use MyFitnessPal for food tracking and Sparkpeople for exercise tracking. Whether the exercise is accurate or not, at least I'm being consistent.
2. Exercise calories are not one for one with food calories, more like 3 to 1. If I go over my calories and want to make it up, I'm looking at tripling the calories burned in the gym.
3. Going over every so often is totally fine. You have a life: you go out, you drink beer, you like to be social. Just don't do it too often and try to make good choices, when possible. And going out will slow down your progress.
4. Partial servings are awesome. Do I want chocolate? Hell yes. Can I afford it? Probably not a whole serving...Sooo I'll have a half serving or a quarter serving (awesome with like M&Ms and such). But junk food is a slippery slope - can you stop at a partial serving? If you think not, don't do it! Just put it down and walk away. It's easier to resist without that lovely taste in your mouth to remind you that you want more !!!
5. There are no forbidden foods, because that's just dumb and makes you bitter. There are stupid foods - ones that use up a lot of calories and don't fill you up and leave you with few calories left for the day. For the stupid foods: ask yourself "Is it worth it? Do I really need this right now? Will it be worth being hungry or going over today and making it up in the gym? WILL IT!?" Sometimes the answer is YES! Go for it and enjoy it. You know what you're doing. Just make sure you track it.
6. Don't get hungry. Eat legumes and veggies and other low calorie/high fiber foods. Eat that 100 calorie granola bar before your stomach is so pinched that you have a headache and you're grouchy and tired. Starving in the middle of the afternoon? Eat a massive amount of mixed greens - yep, still only like 50 calories, even with oil and vinegar.
7. Don't eat a salad FOR dinner, eat it WITH dinner. Salad is all well and good, but you hate your life when you try to eat just that and not a nice warm meal. Salad is filler and should be used as that. It is a side, not an entree. Eat one or two a day to aid will fullness and digestion (in case those legumes make you feel bloated), but don't substitute your meals with it.
8. Eat a second breakfast. It's ok to eat more in the morning, as long as you're eating less at night. You burn most of your calories during the day, not when you're sleeping. First breakfast (a yogurt) when you get to work, second breakfast (instant oatmeal or fruit) mid-morning when the coffee-full is wearing down. Do it and love life.
9. For me, weight loss is 70% food tracking and 30% exercise. I already was exercising a lot prior to this spring and little has changed (yay bootcamp). It was all about sticking to the average daily calorie goal without calories added back in. Track everything shamelessly. You went over 600 calories today because you had 3 beers? Well you need to know that so that when you don't hit your weekly goal, you don't freak out and get discouraged, you just point your finger where it should be pointed: yourself. Don't lie or cheat because you're only cheating yourself.
10. Weigh yourself daily and track it daily on one program, so you have a general log of your freakish weight fluctuations. On the other program, track your weight weekly to watch the lovely trend downward. That 4 lbs you gained during your monthly cycle? Yeah, that happens every freggin month. Don't sweat it. You went under your calories yesterday by like 150 and weighed in 2 lbs higher this morning...wtf? Ok whatever...It'll work itself out in a few days.
That's it for now. Enjoy.