Starting a new diet or exercise plan can seem really overwhelming. Whether you’ve tried and failed on numerous occasions or have a lot of weight to lose, surmounting the weight demon can seem impossible. The way I achieved my weight loss success was through a series of small steps. I couldn’t imagine a drastic change in my life when I was going through recovery from surgery, so I made small changes. These are 5 simple steps that I feel will really help you make a change in your life for the better without being overwhelmed.
1. Keep a Food Journal
Start keeping a food journal. Use an online resource like My-Calorie-Counter.com or Livestrong.com and record everything you eat for a full week. Write down the good and the bad and see what you consume in a week. Let’s say you’re consuming 2700 calories a day, which is a pretty big number. Rather than doing something drastic like cutting it down to 1500, cut it by 500 calories a day. It’s a small amount you won’t probably notice, but this allows you to lose a pound a week at a healthy, safe rate. As you lose weight, adjust your caloric intake gradually.
2. Go the Distance
Start incorporating small forms of exercise into your daily life. Park your car in the furthest slot away from the door so you have to walk more. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Go for a 20 minute walk after dinner. Start small. If you try to take on a huge exercise program right off the bat, chances are you’re going to get sore and give up. Try to move for 30 minutes a day. If you can keep that up for a month or so, join a gym.
3. It’s All Greek to Me
There’s a reason the Mediterranean Diet is worshipped by doctors for its health and nutritional benefits. One of the big staples is Greek yogurt. Use plain non-fat Greek yogurt as a substitute for sour cream or heavy cream in recipes. You can’t taste the difference and you cut hundreds of calories with this simple substitution.
4. Breakfast of Champions
Eat a good breakfast. A good breakfast is not a donut in your company’s break room nor is it an Egg McMuffin. And don’t go thinking you can skip out on this important meal. Eating a healthy, well-balanced breakfast will jump start your metabolism working right away. If you don’t eat in the morning, your metabolism slows because your body thinks it’s in starvation mode. You feel sluggish and irritated because you have no nutrients to get you fired up in the morning.
Try 1/4 Cup Greek Yogurt, 1/4 Cup Non-Fat Milk, 8 Blueberries, 4 – 5 Strawberries, and 1/4 TSP of Honey for a great morning smoothie. Eat with a slice of bread with 1 TBS of Peanut Butter. This 350 calorie breakfast will keep you full and get the metabolism going.
5. Be Strong
Lift weights. Cardio is an extremely important part of exercising. It burns calories and builds a very strong and healthy heart. However, you can reap far more benefits from your cardio workout if you incorporate a good strength training program as well. Lifting weights builds muscle which burns fat. You will burn more fat if you both strength train and do cardio. Ladies, you will not bulk up and look like a guy with strength training. It is healthy and especially necessary for women to prevent osteoporosis.
Remember, start small and work your way up. Don’t get discouraged. Know that making small steps towards a healthy life will result in a big payoff.