(In case you missed it, find the main article where I outline my weight loss plan here!)
Here a few other things that I have learned along the way as a personal trainer that have helped me to succeed:
1. It takes 1-2 weeks to start seeing results. How many times have you had a near perfect day of dieting, maybe even a string of three and the scale doesn’t even budge? It generally takes at least a week to see significant weight loss, if not two, so don’t get discouraged! Keep going, it WILL HAPPEN!
2.Period related cravings. Many women experience strong food cravings at some point during their cycles. For some it is when you ovulate (a week or so after your period) as your body prepares for possible pregnancy and for others it is a PMS symptom. The key is to know your body. For me, I just try and maintain my current weight during these times, allow myself to eat a little extra, and know that in 2-3 days it will be gone and I will continue with my plan (and even though I allow myself to eat more at these times, I generally don’t gain weight from it). It is helpful to know what is going on, though, you haven’t lost all self control, its just good old hormones :)
3. Calories average out over a week, not a day. Have a day (or two) where you just really blow it? That’s ok! The week isn’t ruined. While we often focus on daily caloric intake, your body doesn’t work that way. So, if you have a couple higher calorie days amidst an otherwise good week, it will likely average out to a bunch of pretty good days :) (not that we’re counting calories!)
4. As Americans we eat about 50% more food than we need to. Wow, that’s alot of extra food! And while this is a pretty broad judgment, it’s probably safe to assume we can all shave a good amount of calories without risking malnutrition ;)
5. While I’m not an avid exerciser like I used to be, it’s still good to get out and move. This helps with creativity, stress relief, and of course you burn a few calories while you’re at it :)
6. As a trainer, I would much rather have had control over my client’s food intake than their exercise. What we eat is a much bigger factor on our weight than our exercise, period.
7. If you do want to introduce more activity into your lifestyle, don’t do it at the same time you are reducing your food intake. Exercise, or any type of increased energy expenditure makes us hungry! Pick one (eating less or working out) and do it for at least a couple of weeks before incorporating the other.
8. Our stomach shrinks and expands over time depending on how much food we generally eat. You’ve probably started a diet before and felt like you are STARVING (remember the eating 50% more than we need statistic I mentioned above?), our stomachs need to shrink back down in size when we adjust how much we eat. It may result in feeling hungry for a few days. To help combat this, make sure you are getting plenty of fat and protein during mealtimes and drink lots of water.
9. Eating sugar makes you crave more sugar. I hate this. You just want to enjoy a piece of cake…but when you’re done you just keep thinking about more cake…hoping your 3 year old won’t finish their’s so you can have just a little more. And an hour later you would just kill for something, anything sweet. I won’t relay all of the science behind this one, but it is proven that eating sugar (or artificial sweetners) makes you want more. This is another reason I can’t keep sweets in the house, but when the cravings do arise I try to fend them off with dark chocolate, peppermint gum and drinking water.
10. Speaking of water: drink water. Oh if we had a nickel for every time we have heard this one! But it really, really does work to help keep you feeling full longer.
11. The more organized the rest of my life is, the easier it is for me to lose weight. This is why I mentioned before that if you are in an especially chaotic season of life, it likely isn’t a good time to try and lose weight. I’m fortunate that my kids are still young and aren’t involved in alot of activities so we can generally eat most meals at home. I’ve also spent a lot of time lately de-cluttering our house so that it feels more like things are in order and under control.
12. If you do want to follow a weight loss program, they all work (when followed!). Weightwatchers, Body for Life, South Beach…oh, I could go on…the only one I would shy away from is Atkins (you can do it in a healthy way, just limit the processed meats and cheeses)…I’m also a fan of the Paleo lifestyle…do each of these have pros and cons?…yep! But, basically, any plan that helps restrict calories will work for weight loss.
And remember, this is just advice from a personal trainer turned busy mom to lose weight. I would love for us all to only eat whole foods and exercise consistently, but I know that’s not always practical.
The good news? It doesn’t take perfection to lose weight, just day in and day out consistency…you can do it :)