STEP 1: Put away your scale until next week. Daily fluctuations in weight are normal, but it can be very discouraging when get on the scale and it goes UP when you’ve been working hard. Also, if the scale goes DOWN one particular morning, you may think to yourself “I’m in good shape, so it’s okay to splurge a little”. It’s better just to focus on your weight loss plan and get on the scale ONCE a week.
STEP 2: Get rid of temptation. Go through your refrigerator and pantry and remove unhealthy foods, particularly foods that you have a hard time resisting. Get rid of sodas (even diet sodas), juices, chips, cookies, non-whole grain carbs (if the word “whole” isn’t the first word in the ingredient list, dump it), ice cream, and any other high-fat, high-calorie foods lurking in your kitchen.
STEP 3: Stock up on the right foods. Stock up your kitchen with foods that will help you lose weight, which include fruits, veggies, lean protein (poultry, low-fat dairy, beans), and whole grains. This may sound obvious, but make sure to get foods you actually like and will eat! There is no point in buying brussel sprouts if you don’t like them or aren’t going to take the time to cook them. I’m a fan of EASY foods – celery and carrot sticks, romaine lettuce bags (already rinsed and chopped!), and cooked chicken breasts (ready to throw on a salad!). Be realistic about what you will and will not prepare and/or eat. Need ideas? Check out Happy Dieter’s Top 10 Favorite Foods.
STEP 4: Exercise. Plan to exercise 5-6 times during the week. I find it is best to exercise first thing in the morning, so chores and work don’t get in the way of exercising later on. However, you need to do what is best for you and your schedule. The key is to NOT to do the same thing every day. For example, run/walk every other day, and do something else on the in-between days (i.e. bike, swim, strength-train, yoga, etc). That will keep your muscles from getting used to doing the same old thing every time…and keep your metabolism burning hot. Stick with your exercise plan by checking out Happy Dieter’s tips on Staying Motivated to Exercise.
STEP 5: Don’t eat out. If you really want to make this week count, then plan on NOT eating out (or eating out just once a week). It is extremely challenging to eat out at restaurants and stick with your diet plan because it’s SO easy to give into temptation. Also, you can never be sure EXACTLY how they prepare your food. Instead, focus on eating healthy meals at home. Need advice on how to eat out without sabotaging your diet? Check out Happy Dieter’s Strategies for Eating Out.
STEP 6: Don’t skip breakfast. Always eat breakfast, and make sure your breakfast includes a good source of protein (such as greek yogurt or eggs) and a healthy carb (such as oatmeal or whole grain toast). I personally feel that cereal is not conducive to weight loss – if you measure how much you ACTUALLY put in your bowl, it’s a lot of calories, and it doesn’t keep you full for long. Read about why Eggs are your secret weapon for losing weight.
STEP 7: Make veggies and protein the stars of your lunch and dinner. For lunch, have a BIG salad with chopped chicken or turkey on top. Make sure to use a dressing that isn’t full of saturated fat and/or sugar – I personally like to use balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Pair your salad with a piece of fruit (any kind), and a small handful of whole grain crackers. For dinner, eat a healthy protein such as fish, chicken, or pork tenderloin. Instead of a vegetable and starchy side, try serving your meat with 2 veggies, or a veggie and a fruit. If you can’t live without that starchy side, quinoa or brown rice are great options. If you have a sweet tooth like me, have a small piece of dark chocolate for dessert.
If you stick with the plan above, weigh-in after a week should be a happy time. Reward yourself for your your hard work by going to see a movie, buying a new book, taking a long bath, or getting a manicure. You earned it!
Have questions? Need weight loss advice? Comment below and I will be happy to personally answer your questions and/or give you my perspective on how to lose weight successfully.