Write down everything you eat this week. People who keep food diaries, according to a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, lose an average of 6 pounds (2.75 kg) more than people who don't keep a record of everything that they eat. So force yourself to write down the good, the bad and the ugly. Keep these tips in mind:
Instead of piling everything on one plate, bring food to the table in individual courses. For the first two courses, bring out soup or veggies such as a green salad or the most filling fruits and vegetables. By the time you get to the more calorie-dense foods, like meat and dessert, you’ll be eating less or may already be full. Nothing wrong with leftovers!
"Anytime you’re stressed, you probably go for food," Dr. Seltzer says. (Have we met?!) That’s because cortisol, the stress hormone, stokes your appetite for sugary, fatty foods. No wonder it’s associated with higher body weight, according to a 2007 Obesity study that quantified chronic stress exposure by looking at cortisol concentrations in more than 2,000 adults’ hair.
Many television ads are now pitching devices that supposedly stimulate muscles to contract repeatedly without exercise. I even saw an infomercial for an "ab belt" that claimed it does the work of 700 sit-ups in 10 minutes! The ad shows people doing various abdominal exercises the wrong way, hating every second of it, versus smiling men and women going about their days with "Ab-whatevers" strapped around them. How enticing!
With our pantry seemingly empty and our refrigerator busting at the seams with all things healthy and natural, I started my weight loss journey. Although I will not completely lay out the guidelines from his book I will share several things I learned that will stick with me forever. One major aspect of weight loss and overall health that I still honestly think about every time I go grocery shopping is to shop the perimeter of the store. If you think about it, the center is filled with boxes and cans and bottles of “food” filled with sugar, unhealthy oils and preservatives. It’s a great concept to remember and keep me in line. I took meal ideas from his book and would eat the same exact thing every single day (especially for breakfast and lunch) for a week or two at a time. It sounds incredibly boring but it made grocery shopping and meal planning so much easier. I can honestly say that for most all of my weight loss, I did not count calories. I ate when I was hungry and did not crash diet what so ever. I think that is HUGE in creating a weight loss journey and to changing your lifestyle. I learned the simplest things from how much sugar is in spaghetti sauce and how to make my own to what to look for in the ingredient list of boxed goods when you do want a quick and easy snack.
Over the summer, I began to figure out what "eating healthy" even meant. I spent the summer learning to balance meals with protein, veggies, fruits, and carbs. I learned what kinds of foods were good for me and ate less and less processed foods. Once the healthy foods were a regular part of my routine, I didn't have to think as much about making healthy and smart choices. My self-control was more focused on trying to avoid slipping into old habits.
Plain and simple: We just don't feel full by liquid calories in quite the same way as we do real food. Drinking a juice or caramel coffee drink, for instance, won't make you feel full the way eating a bowl of veggie- and protein-packed stir-fry will. So monitor your intake of juice, soda, sweetened coffee and tea, and alcoholic beverages. If you consume each of those beverages during the day, you'll have taken in at least 800 extra calories by nighttime — and you'll still be hungry. (Incidentally, alcohol may suppress the metabolism of fat, making it tougher for you to burn those calories.) Some other ways to skip sugar? Check 'em out here.
With fitness, just get active. Find an activity you enjoy, and stick with it. Progress will come with time. If you’re a student, try walking to class or taking laps around buildings for study breaks. If you work full time, take a lap every hour or two, use your lunch break to work out, and just find something that works. One of my favorite things was taking walks when I talked on the phone to people – that’s at least a 30-60 min time to get moving.
Drinks: I started drinking so much water! I found a water bottle I love and brought it everywhere with me. If you don't have a water bottle you like, find one and have it on you 24/7. Along with water, I'm a huge coffee drinker so that is regularly apart of my diet. I also drink Diet sodas (specifically Diet Dr. Pepper and Diet Coke). Other than that, I don't drink much else. I know a lot of people tend to consume extra calories through drinks but I don't have as much issues there.
About: It may be tough to tell by looking at her photo (complete with a very toned tummy), but Hannah’s no stranger to gaining weight. She packed on about 50 pounds each time she became pregnant with her two kids until she eventually went from a size 4 to a size 12-14. The pregnancies also changed her body and made her unhappy with the way she looked. Ready for change, Hannah created a fitness and food plan for herself, stuck to it and noticed she slowly but surely lost weight and started to look more and more toned. Now she’s studying to be a personal trainer, and her blog is a place she shares all her fitness tips, nutrition ideas and motivation to help others lose weight too.
Trim Portions. If you did nothing else but reduce your portions by 10%-20%, you would lose weight. Most of the portions served both in restaurants and at home are bigger than you need. Pull out the measuring cups to get a handle on your usual portion sizes, and work on paring them down. Get instant portion control by using small bowls, plates, and cups, says Brian Wansink, PhD, author of Mindless Eating. You won't feel deprived because the food will look plentiful on dainty dishware.