Ladies Home Journal had an article in February featuring the Biggest Loser trainers Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper. They gave some good tips for staying healthy and losing weight. Here are some of my favorites:
Gradually rehab your eating habits
Try introducing a new nutritious food to your diet each week. I have the book “150 Healthiest Foods on Earth” and use it to discover nutritious foods I don’t normally eat. Bob Harper’s other advice is to cut out one unhealthy thing each week as well, which I think is great advice. The main point is to NOT make drastic changes to your diet that you won’t be able to maintain. Do it gradually.
Steer Clear of Temptation
Jillian Michaels suggests “If you always pass your favorite fast food restaurant on the way home from work, find an alternate route or pop some gum when you drive by”. She also recommends stashing healthy snacks at your desk. I would take that one step further by advising you to keep healthy snacks in your car and in your purse too. In addition to steering clear of temptation, you also need to get temptation out of your house. If you have unhealthy foods in your pantry that you are likely to eat in a moment of weakness, get rid of them!
Start with small goals vs. bigger goals. If you haven’t exercised in a long time, start off with walks 3 days a week vs. committing to run 3 miles every day. Taking on smaller goals and SUCCEEDING at them will inspire you to take on the larger goals.
Get fit with friends
By scheduling workout sessions with friends, you are much more likely to follow through with your commitment to exercise. It’s much easier to blow off exercise if you are doing it on your own. One Weigh 2 Go member schedules a call with her friend who lives in another town, and they go for a walk in their respective cities while talking on the phone.
Shop for a week’s worth of meals
Take time on the weekend to plan out all your meals for the week, and put together a comprehensive grocery shopping list with all the ingredients you need. When you are at the store, be sure to ONLY buy those items on your list. When you are tired and stressed during the week, you’ll have the food you need on hand and won’t be tempted to get take-out.
Put exercise on your schedule
Plan out how and when you will exercise and put it on your calendar. You need to treat it as mandatory me time and prioritize it as such.
Trick yourself into exercising
If you feel too tired to work out, tell yourself that you’ll just exercise for 10 minutes. After ten minutes, if you feel like you are still too tired, stop. Chances are that once you get your blood flowing and the endorphins kick in, you’ll want to go longer.
Get your family on board
“If everyone is eating burgers and fries while you’re having fish and salad, it’s easy to lose your willpower” says Bob Harper. Even if your family doesn’t need to lose any weight, foods devoid of nutrition aren’t good for them either. Incorporate lots of vegetables, fruits, and lean protein into your meals at home. It will help YOU lose weight and enable your family to get important nutrients that can prevent disease and help them feel better every day.
Spice up your workout
Doing the same workout all the time can become boring, and over time, your muscles will adapt and you will likely stop seeing results. So change it up with new classes or less traditional forms of exercise like skating, hula hooping, or swimming.
Don’t obsess over the scale
The scale will go up and down depending on how much water you are retaining that day. Some people’s mood for the day is completely based on the number they see on the scale, which is not a positive thing. Try to limit yourself to weighing once a week, and use how your clothes fit as a way to track your progress. If those too-tight jeans now fit, THAT is a reason to feel great about your progress.
Remind yourself of this bottom line every day:
“Exercise is not about getting in a workout on a Wednesday,” says Michaels. “It’s about adding 20 years to your life.” Aside from quitting smoking, exercise is absolutely the most important thing you can do for your health.
Fuel up your workouts
“Never exercise on an empty stomach” says Harper. About 30-45 minutes before your workout, eat an energizing snack that contains carbs, protein, and healthy fats. If you exercise on an empty stomach, you may end up feeling weak and not able to workout to your fullest extent.
Keep it simple
You don’t need to belong to a gym to get great results. Working out at home can save you time and money. Using your own body weight and some dumbbells is all you need. Push-ups, squats, lunges, crunches are all very effective. Check out Happy Dieter’s strength training workout at home.
Eat every four hours
If you wait any longer than that you’re likely becoming ravenous, which sets the stage for overeating. It also will negatively affect your metabolism.
Let music move you
People who listen to upbeat music are more likely to workout longer and harder than those who don’t.
Reward yourself the right way.
This is a MUST DO with the Happy Dieter approach. “Learn how to nurture yourself with nonfood rewards” says Michaels. Need some ideas for rewards? See my article on the importance of rewards.