So, some of you have embarked upon the Hairscapades 28 Days/10 Minutes a Day Fitness Challenge. And among a variety of goals, one of the most common is to lose excess pounds to improve health issues, energy, and/or self-esteem. As you may know, that is partly what motivated my 28 turned 365 Days of Fitness challenge almost a year ago. I started at 148.5 pounds (I’m 5’1″) with a goal to get back down to my preferred weight of 120 pounds and ultimately, I did reach my goal. So, I often get asked, “Did you have to change your diet?”
Ummm. YES!! LOL!
I have never been a person who lost weight with only diet or exercise. I have to do both. There is no way around it, in order to lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you eat. Simple. Truth. You can work out 4 hours a day. If you eat more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. If you eat as many calories as you burn, your weight will remain the same. I can’t tell you how many people I saw in the gym REGULARLY who always looked the same … overweight. And I’m not talking about the folks who only seemed to go to the gym to socialize. I’m talking about the people really breaking a sweat who looked the same year … after year … after year.
So, I’m telling you this now. You can get stronger, you can build more muscle, you can improve your endurance, and you can improve your health with exercise alone. But 80-90% of weight loss is diet. You will not lose weight if you don’t know/understand how much you are eating and how much you are burning. So, if your goal is to lose weight, you need to look at your diet and figure out how to eat enough to fuel yourself while still creating a calorie deficit. Also, you can’t tone fat and muscle is already toned. So, if you are looking to get tighter, leaner, lose the jiggle or the spare tire … you HAVE to increase muscle mass and lose fat weight.
All that being said, I’m not going to tell you what to eat. But, what I will do is share a very simple food fact and then what works for me.
THE SIMPLE FOOD FACT
FOOD IS COMPRISED OF THREE SOURCES OF CALORIES ONLY! THREE.
- FAT (9 cals per gram)
- CARBOHYDRATES (4 cals per gram)
- PROTEIN (4 cals per gram
That’s it. There’s nothing else. Most people can readily identify protein and know the difference between lean and fatty cuts. And we know whole fruits and vegetables are mostly low calorie and the good for us carbs (fresh or frozen). So, if it’s not protein or fruits and veggies, it’s fat or carbs and often both (and dairy has all three). Reduce the fats and non-fruit and vegetable carbs and you’ll probably lose weight. Because, seriously, I don’t know anyone who binges on grilled, skinless chicken breast, broccoli, or apples. LOL!! And, even if they did, the damage would probably be minimal to none. Oh, and don’t think I’m saying fruit and veggies are the only good carbs. I co-sign on whole oat oatmeal, rice (particularly brown), white potatoes, and sweet potatoes (my faves).
Okay, so that’s my spiel on that.
Now, on to my diet when I want to lose weight. As some of you may know, I am not a fan of cooking and rely heavily on Lean Cuisines and Healthy Choice frozen meals for lunch and dinner when I am “counting calories.” Because of that, I’ve coined my diet, “The Lazy Woman’s Diet” aka “Cooking? Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That!” LMBO!! That being said, this is what it typically looks like
MY LAZY WOMAN’S DIET
- Green smoothie (1-2 c. kale or spinach, 1/2 frozen banana, handful of frozen sliced strawberries, 1 c. almond milk, 1 scoop Vanilla Bean or Strawberry Mousse Nectar Whey Protein Powder), or
- 1/2 c. old-fashioned oatmeal or 1/2 cup cooked Grapenuts with 1/2 cup blueberries (Dole frozen/thawed) and 1/2 c. plain almond milk
- A cup of instant coffee w/2 packs of Truvia, 1 tsp Agave and a little powdered skim milk.
- Fage yogurt (fruit variety/2% or 0% fat)
- 9-10 almonds or handful of walnuts (occasionally)
- Lean Cuisine (chicken turkey or fish with rice, potatoes, whole wheat or orzo pasta)
- 1/2 to 1 c. added frozen vegetables (spinach, broccoli, sugar snap snow peas, mixed veggies)
- Piece of fruit
- Snack: Organic baby food
- Lean Cuisine (chicken turkey or fish w/rice, potatoes, whole wheat or orzo pasta) w/added vegetables (spinach, broccoli or sugar snap snow peas)
- A piece of fruit (occasionally)
- Post work-out: Nectar Whey Protein Shake (w/banana if after yoga) (I only do this if a regular meal doesn’t immediately follow my work-out)
If you are concerned about the amount of sodium in my “diet plan” due to the frozen meals, check out this post I did earlier last year about Sodium and Weight Loss.
So that’s it. Wait. No it’s not. One tip that I would give on “dieting” is to not worry about the amount of calories when you start watching what you eat. Think about the QUALITY of the calories instead. Rather than jumping into reducing your calories to 1200-1500 or whatever, just get rid of food that has little to no nutritional value, ESPECIALLY calories that you can’t chew (except green smoothies ;)). Seriously, soda, juice, milk shakes, lattes, etc. … squash them. Replace those empty calories with nutritious ones so that you don’t feel like gnawing off your arm by noon!! Fruits, veggies, low fat/sugar yogurt, whole grain crackers, granola, nuts, brown rice, low fat popcorn, etc. are all options. Get your body adjusted to eating a healthier type of calories. Then, you may find that you are naturally able to reduce your calories because you won’t find yourself overeating whole, healthier foods. And, because you are eating every few hours, you’ll reduce cravings and be able to start cutting back on calories without losing your mind.
(Who remembers Uncle from Jackie Chan Adventures? ;))
MODERATION IN ALL THINGS!! At least, that’s what I believe. As I said the other day on FB, some healthy foods taste great, but I don’t care what anyone says, nothing makes my toes wiggle like buttercream icing!! LOL!! That being said, I believe that we can indulge in our favorite bad foods every now again and still lose weight. It might take a little longer, but it’ll happen. So, enjoy your life along the way ;)! Because this is the thing. You can’t go back to eating the way you did before you lost the weight and expect to keep it off. Therefore, it’s important to learn to eat in a way that you can sustain a lifetime.
Aaaaaaaaand … I’m done!!
If you have struggled with weight loss, what are the challenges you’ve faced? If you’ve overcome them, what did you do to make a “diet” work for you?