We all know that exercise helps us burn more calories so we can lose weight. We also know that what you eat also helps you lose weight. In fact, eating is at least half the battle (a lot of nutritionists say it's up to 85% of losing weight). What are some healthy ways to lose weight other than just cutting calories? I would love to share what I do and some tips for you to start doing, not only to lose weight, but to go more towards a healthy lifestyle.
Cutting calories works to lose weight but there is much more to it than that. First, how many calories are you consuming each day to start off with? How much do you weigh? What's your BMR (basal metabolic rate)? BMR is how many calories you burn while resting. Are you breastfeeding? What's your body fat percentage? Knowing the answers to all these questions are key in figuring out how many calories you should be eating to maintain your current weight. Do you know all these answers? Do you know any of them besides your weight? If not then guessing how many calories to cut in order to lose weight doesn't always work. Once we find out how many calories you should be having, that's when we can figure out how many calories you can cut to lose weight.
Now, a lot of people don't even like to count calories. Understandable. There's a good amount of work involved to figure it out and keep track. I want to focus on this aspect. Not many people are going to go to a personal trainer or nutritionist to get the answers about how many calories they should be consuming (yes, you can do a general formula to figure it out...but you need to find the right formula).
Let me talk about what I do. When Kyle and I got married, over 5 years ago, I was not a personal trainer and I didn't know that much about truly being healthy. I bought boxed mac and cheese, frozen pizzas and processed snack foods. I believed the companies about their healthy granola bars and bought Fiber One Bars, protein bars, ate Lean Cuisine, and Healthy Choice meals. I truly believed that those "healthy" items were really healthy, and if you just didn't eat too much you could eat whatever you want (within reason) to lose weight, and just exercise to get the body you want. WRONG. I had a typical view.
It wasn't until the chiropractor I worked for and my nutrition training that I made changes and saw the difference in myself! I was doing some of the same exercise routines but changed my eating habits. That's when my body took the shape I always wanted. It was subtle changes yet desired changes. My tummy flattened, love handles disappeared, and body looked more toned. I had even more energy, was stronger, and didn't struggle so much with mood swings/low blood sugar. I began to "listen" to my body and noticed how I felt if I ate something my body didn't like.
What do I do to eat healthy??
Yes, I have counted calories in the past. I do feel it is a great measuring stick to see where you are at. I actually enjoy doing it....weird I know. Because I counted my calories, I have a lot of things memorized and I can guess what foods might contain. That took a lot of repetition though and it is kind of my job :)
First off, I DON'T BUY PROCESSED FOOD. Well, we'll say 99.5% of the food I buy is not processed. That's the biggest thing. Eating processed food is the biggest culprit to our society for eating. I could do multiple blog posts on this. Let me know if you want more info.
Second, I don't drink soda. I cut that out a few years ago. It's crap for your body and ALL statistics point to being at risk for multiple health problems and overweight if you drink it. Why make your body try to sift through the loads of chemicals and/or sugar with only negative known affects??
Third, I cook everything from scratch. Pizza, mac and cheese, garlic bread, lasagna, muffins, rolls, tortillas, and every meal. If I want breaded chicken, I make my own breading and bread it. Stuffing? I don't buy a box of it, I make it out of bread. Desserts are a current downfall but I ALWAYS make them myself as well. I can't imagine buying a boxed or store bought dessert now. Yuck tasting and filled with chemicals. The more you can make on your own, the more nutritious it will be. Overeating is harder to do because the food will have more fiber, protein, vitamins, and won't have chemicals (processed) that create reactions to wanting more. It's proven. Processed food contains higher amounts of fat, sodium, and chemical make-ups that make your body crave more food.
Fourth, I eat every 2-3 hours. This keeps the metabolism high and burning more efficiently. Plus it cuts cravings, balances blood sugar, and helps avoid overeating (blood sugar plays a huge role in weight).
Fifth, I NEVER EVER starve myself. If I am hungry, truly hungry, I eat. I do not skip meals. I eat in the evenings actually. If I ate dinner at 6 and am not going to bed until 10, I eat around 9. Eating every 2-3 hours keeps your body running like a machine. Fill it up and it works efficiently. I try not to eat just for eating sake though. Once your body gets into a cycle of 2-3 hours then it burns more calories during the day and it knows the next time you'll eat.
Sixth, I eat balanced. Look at your plate and make sure you have protein, fruits and veggies on it. Most people don't have an issue with carbs being on their plate (fruits and veggies contain carbs). Our biggest problem is that we eat mainly simple carbs and not enough of the other stuff. Spaghetti and garlic bread, pizza and breadsticks, etc. I try to eat good helpings of green vegetables and I'm not just talking salads. Peas, green beans, carrots, cucumbers, and broccoli. These are the powerful vegetables that have whole lists of health benefits, contain protein, have high amounts of fiber, and have tons of vitamins and minerals. Just increasing your daily intake of green vegetables alone will boost weight loss quickly.
I know this is a long post but so many people don't know about these things. I don't realize how most people live because I'm so used to cooking everything from scratch myself and buying a lot of fruits and vegetables for my family. So when I have a meal at someone's house or see what people have in their grocery cart at the store, I get a reality check of how most people live.
So remember, listen to your body. Eat whole foods (not processed). Get a variety of fruits and vegetables. Eat your protein. Consume food every 2-3 hours. These things alone will balance out your calories and promote weight loss. Ahh I just love talking about nutrition. If you have questions please ask and I can always do another post to explain more :)