I have lost over 20 pounds in the past 4.5 months without working out. My baby was 3 months old last Summer when I purchased size 12 shorts and pants from the Gap. It is now a year later, my baby is 15 months old and I am wearing size 4 shorts while writing this post.
I chose not to make working out a priority this year, because it is difficult for me to find kid-free time. I have tried to do workouts at home with my kids around and I get annoyed when they get in the way or need something. What I can easily control with three little ones underfoot is what I eat.
In February Daniel began using the Lose It app to count calories and his results were inspiring. I decided to join him by counting calories as well. Then Daniel and I learned about eating clean and plant-based diets. We decided to change our diet for the rest of our lives. We definitely have more energy, self-confidence, and self-control after changing our eating habits. Daniel has lost 30 pounds so far!
Here are 7 things that I have done to lose 20 pounds:
1. Counting calories for everything I eat and drink. I was amazed at how many calories I used to eat. After the first ten pounds I readjusted my daily calorie intake. Using a calorie counting app was a pain at first, but I got used to it. It also helps that the app can scan barcodes.
2. Be active. I don’t workout, but I mop, vacuum, pick up the floor, scrub the bathrooms, go on an occasional family walk, push a double stroller, carry laundry baskets up a flight of stairs and go outside and play with my kids.
3. Eat cheat meals on the weekends. I love food truck food, so I limit myself to enjoying kebabs, meat pocket pies, burgers and other food truck goodness to the weekend. I know Monday morning that I may weigh a little more than I want to, but I will quickly lose it when I get my healthy habits back on track. However, I have found that even some of my cheat meals are getting healthier and I no longer crave what I used to eat.
4. I don’t drink my calories. Other than coffee creamer I don’t like to drink my calories. I stick to water, lots of unsweet tea, or occasionally some Crystal Light. I do however enjoy homemade cocktails, wine or a beer on the weekends. The cocktails are included in my cheat meals.
5. Food repetition. Tim Ferriss mentions in his book “The 4-Hour Body” that we don’t really need a lot variety in our diet and that we often eat the same things anyway. My Monday through Friday meals don’t have a lot of variety, but I do like to cook with different spices and techniques. Eating the same things over and over may be boring, but I like how it tastes and I like how easy it is to meal plan. Here is what a typical day in my diet looks like.
Breakfast: ½ or ¾ cup of Quick 1 Minute Oats flavored with 1TB of brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Coffee with 1TB of creamer.
Morning Snack: Coffee with 1TB of creamer.
Lunch: 1 slice of whole wheat bread (50 calories), spicy mustard, turkey, cheese, lettuce, tomato. 12 tortilla chips and salsa. Maybe some fruit or a side salad.
Snack: Usually an apple, grapes or a cheese stick
Dinner: Fish (tilapia or salmon) or chicken breasts with two vegetable sides and one of the vegetable sides has to be green (broccoli, zucchini, spinach, asparagus, green beans, bok choy, brussel sprouts, Romain lettuce, etc.)
Dessert: A square of 72% dark chocolate or some strawberries
It is not mentioned in this typical day example, but Daniel and I often eat a lot beans. I like making a huge pot of black beans or pinto beans at the beginning of the week and eat from them throughout the week.
6. Daily weigh-ins. I like to weigh myself every morning and track my progress. It is really encouraging to see results after a good day of eating and hard physical work. The weigh-ins are a daily reminder of the goal I am working towards.
7. Don’t give into cravings. Stephanie at Blood, Sweat, and Minivans wrote this incredible post about not giving into your cravings and I use her tactics all the time. Also, When I start craving something like spaghetti, then I wait and reserve it for a cheat meal on the weekend. But when I do enjoy spaghetti I use whole wheat pasta and serve a side of broccoli with it.
These items are what has worked for me and I know it may not work for others. However, I do believe that everyone can eat more vegetables and limit processed foods. It is amazing how much better Daniel and I feel now that we limit junk food. In fact, sometimes our bodies don’t react well to the junk food, so we want to go back to eating well. Go watch these documentaries and get motivated!
-photo courtesy of stock.xchng
Have you ever used a calorie counting app? Have you changed your diet?