If we were all honest with ourselves would realize that eating fewer calories and exercising daily would equal losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. But then the food industry wouldn’t be one of the largest in the world. Americans spend over forty million dollars a year on diet and exercise programs. So let’s face it, we like to eat and many of us would like help taking off those extra calories so we turn to supplements, diet pills, weight loss programs, gym memberships etc to help us.
In 2007 I decided to stop with the fad diets and the diets where I had to cut out one type of food completely and instead just monitor my caloric intake. I did some research to find out how many calories I should consume to lose two pounds a week. Based on my height of 5’1″ and current weight at the time of around 111 pounds according to a calorie calculator I could only eat 900 calories a day if I wanted to drop around 2 pounds each week. And that was if I was exercising 3-5 times per week. I typically do exercise 5 or even 6 days a week so that wasn’t a big change. But 900 calories! That’s not easy and I was pretty hungry the first few days. I felt restricted and I was tired of counting calories, ordering salads with no dressing, never putting anything into my mouth without thinking about it first. But then it became a lifestyle. I spent the spring of 2007 focused on dropping the extra pounds I had held onto for three years after the birth of my first daughter. I gained sixty pounds while pregnant with her and managed to take most of it off, but the last ten were the hardest. I was determined and I had a goal, we were going to the Rehab party at the Hardrock in Las Vegas at the end of June and I wanted to be in the best shape of my life. For me it’s always important to have goal. I knew the weight I hoped to be at and when I hoped to get there. I basically changed any bad habits I had, quit thinking free days were okay, drank mostly water, chose vegetables, and salads over heavy meals. For breakfast I might have a piece of whole wheat toast with peanut better and maybe some fruit, For lunch I typically had half a whole wheat pita stuffed with spicy hummus, Boars Head blazing buffalo chicken breast, and shredded lettuce or bean sprouts, I might have fruit with that, and dinner was pretty light as well just grilled meats, veggies, salads, etc. I also went to the gym 6 days a week and might have a protein fruit smoothie after a hard workout. My motivation was the results I was seeing. I also had many people ask me if I was losing weight…that’s always great to hear. Here is a link to calculate your own caloric requirements.
At the gym I lifted weights and used the bosu ball a lot. My core was getting really strong, I would stand on one foot on the flat side of the bosu ball and do all of my upper and some of my lower body workout. I did a ton of stomach exercises, most days I did the elliptical before or after my workout and sometimes the stair stepper or I’d even occasionally swim laps. My favorite part of my day was going to the gym with my husband, we both were getting into great shape that Spring and it felt amazing. It’s always better to have someone to keep you motivated!
The last month before we went to Vegas I decided to once again cut carbs out of my diet. I knew this would help me lean out even more, and by the time we went on vacation I was down at my lowest weight, I looked lean and strong and I felt great.
I got pregnant in the fall after that summer and I exercised every day of that pregnancy except for Christmas. There was no way I was going to gain that 60 pounds I had with my first child…in fact I gained 23 pounds with my second daughter and never even wore maternity cloths. I felt much better during that pregnancy and I ate healthy foods for one person not two.
That whole year from the Spring of 2007 to the fall of 2008 I was the most motivated I’ve ever been and sometimes I wish I could remember how to get my mind back to those few months where cheating on my diet never crossed my mind. I like to eat, but I realize that if you want to lose weight and maintain it, the best and most effective long term way to do that is to eat fewer calories then you burn. Today I still eat healthy, but I also realize I will cheat and sometimes more then I should. My husband and I love to eat Mexican food and my daughter loves Sushi, we eat out too often and those cheat days add up to where I have to buckle down and get serious again. I never let myself get overweight, but dieting and exercising are a constant part of my life and my weight and body image is on my mind daily. I am sure it is not healthy to obsess, but I want to be healthy and I want my family to be healthy. I work hard to make sure I set a healthy example for my daughters, but I worry too that they will see me obsessing and then they will in turn worry about their body image. I realize it’s a fine line.
We all know that eating less and exercising more is the key to a healthy lifestyle and body, but like I said at the beginning it can be hard with temptations everywhere.
A few tricks I use to stay on a low calorie diet….
I eat protein in the morning. Usually full egg and one egg white wrapped inside an Ezekiel tortilla or on an Ezekiel English Muffin, I might add half a piece of pepper jack cheese or a couple of slices of avocado. I also almost always put Sriracha on eggs…and many other foods I eat. (I try not to eat a lot processed carbs which is why I choose the sprouted grain breads, they also have a lot of fiber which keeps you full longer). I try to eat a light lunch and dinner, but if it’s too light at lunch I am starved at dinner and over indulge! Often I will cook a big bowl of cauliflower or sautee onion and garlic with summer squash and zucchini, and that will be all I have for dinner. I eat as much as I want since it’s veggies and not very high in calories, plus I love it. The cauliflower is really good when cooked until very soft and then pureed in my food processor, I will sometimes add a packet of powdered ranch dressing for extra flavor. I don’t snack a lot, but if I have to I will have Greek yogurt or some fruit. My indulgence is Wine! It’s hard to keep that in your diet if you only have 900 calories in your day, but I can usually find some room somewhere : )
My absolute favorite ingredient on most any diet plan is Quinoa and since I like to limit meat and never eat beef or pork, it gives me that complete protein I need. Cook it in chicken broth or vegetable broth for added flavor and then add it to sauteed onion, peppers, jalapenos, garlic, fresh lime juice, tomato, and cilantro….so good! I have many other recipes for Quinoa, so if you love it like I do or want to try it for the first time, check out my recipes. I even have a great one for breakfast!
So as we all know burn more calories then you eat a day and you will lose weight, but it won’t be instant, you have to work at it and stick to it.