I Cut Out Soda
I drank pretty much soda exclusively for almost 20 years! Wanna know how I finally gave it up? Read here.
I Cut Out Caffeine
I know you think you can’t live without your cup (or three) of coffee every morning, but what if I told you that you could wake up feeling just as good as you do after you’ve had your coffee (or any caffeinated beverage for that matter)? I took the plunge 3 months ago, and I am so thankful I did! Some sources claim that caffeine assists in weight loss. I have found the opposite to be true. I dropped 15 lbs in just a few weeks after I gave it up. Read more about that here.
I Started Drinking Lots of Water
It’s pretty amazing to me that once I started drinking water, and almost nothing else, I started to actually enjoy it! I fill my 9 cup jug every morning and take it everywhere I go. There are plenty of days that I drink more than 9 cups!
I Started Drinking Herbal Teas
Because I was so used to having a hot cup of coffee in the morning and a hot cup of green tea in the afternoon before I gave up caffeine, I decided to give herbal teas a try. They have been the perfect substitution! They are hot and refreshing, but don’t give me that rise and fall like the caffeinated drinks did. I have about 20 different boxes in my pantry. I love them all!
I Started Eating Healthier
When I set out to eat better, I was a little confused on what exactly that meant. There are so many articles out there about what you should and shouldn’t eat. There are just as many articles on why you shouldn’t drink wine as there are why you should. The more I read, the more questions I had! Is organic really better? What the heck’s a GMO? Should I cut out carbs? Fat? Sugar? All of the above??? It’s enough to make a person crazy! I finally settled on my own idea of healthy eating: mostly whole foods (single ingredient foods on their own or combined with others), as much organic as I can find and afford (I may not be able to cut out all pesticides and chemicals, but less has to be better, right?), and as little sugar and artificial flavors and colors as I can possibly limit myself to (I think everyone agrees that those things aren’t good for us). I have Crohn’s, so I also loosely follow The Low FODMAP Diet. Because I did so well with it in the beginning, I’m able to eat more of fruits and veggies that are on the “avoid list,” but I still try to limit them and avoid wheat/gluten and lactose. Do I still allow myself to have foods I know aren’t healthy? YES! You can be sure to find me eating birthday cake and ice cream at every birthday party I attend! There are some things that I won’t ever give up, whether they’re healthy or not.
I Started A Food Diary
This is something I still do to this day (albeit, not every single day). Keeping a record of what I’m putting in my mouth helps me keep how much I’m eating and how healthy I’m eating in check. It feels good when I can look at what I’ve eaten for the day and see that I’ve gotten plenty of protein, fruits, veggies and water. And on the days where I’ve strayed, I get that extra kick in the butt to do better the next day. It has been especially helpful in determining which foods do not agree with my Crohn’s. Last April, I even kept track of how many calories I was eating, which helped me lose 5 lbs! I’m thinking of doing that again to see if it doesn’t help the number on the scale budge again. I lost 15 lbs over November and December and I’ve been stuck ever since. I still have 15 lbs I’d like to lose. I’ve been working on increasing my strength training, but so far it’s not helping me lose any weight. I do feel stronger though, so that’s a plus!
I Started Planning
Nothing kills eating healthy like poor planning. Every week, I sit down and make a meal plan and a grocery list before I go shopping. I come up with 7 meals to cook for dinner each night of the week because I like to eat leftovers for lunch, unless there happens to be enough for another entire meal for all 7 of us. I don’t make a specific meal plan for breakfast and snacks because I typically eat the same foods for those meals. If you’d like to know exactly what I eat, go here. And if you need some inspiration for dinner, check out one of my What’s For Dinner posts or my Recipes I Love board on Pinterest. I try to make sure that if I know I’m going to be away from home, I pack something to take with me. Like I said, nothing kills eating healthy like being unprepared. If I don’t have something healthy with me to eat while I’m away from home, I’m likely to choose cheap convenience over health (which is why I used to often find myself in the McDonald’s drive-thru…it’s not like I loved their food, they just happened to be the cheapest and quickest place to get food no matter where I went!).
I Started Exercising
I have found the saying, “Weight loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise,” to be true. “You can’t out-train a bad diet,” but you still need to exercise. When I began my weight loss journey three years ago, exercising was tough. I remember the first time I got on the elliptical machine at my gym. I lasted two whole minutes before I had to stop, and I had really pushed myself to do even that! It was painful. It was not a stress-reliever like so many people claim. In fact, I was more stressed from being so exhausted and sore! But I soon discovered why avid exercisers praise it so much. It’s addictive! The more I exercised, the stronger I felt, the less sore I got and the more I craved it. Instead of exhausting me, it energized me! It took a lot of pushing myself through not wanting to do it to get there though, and I was not able to do it on my own from the comfort of my home. Now, I workout every day except for Sunday (although I occasionally workout on Sunday too if I do yard work, go on a hike with the fam or I had to miss another day for some crazy reason, like being sick…or having a colonoscopy). I do an hour of Zumba, 45 mintues of Spin, and 15 minutes of Abs on Monday; an hour of Boot Camp (cardio and strength) and an hour of Zumba on Tuesday; a 20 minute Bikini Body Mommy strength video, 20 minutes on the elliptical and an hour of yoga on Wednesday; an hour of Zumba on Thursday; an hour of Pump It Up class (weights) on Friday; an hour of either Zumba or Chisel (weights) on Saturday; and I’ve just recently started trying to run again. That’s 9 hours if I make it to all of my classes! If you would have told me in the beginning that I would enjoy working out enough to do it for an hour or two nearly every day, I would have laughed at you…or given you a death stare. It is something I have built up to over the past 3 years. I started out walking, then tried running, then went back to walking after I got shin splints that never fully healed, then tried one class, then added another, and another, until I ran out of days to add classes to, so I added some more to do at home. It’s only been 6 months since I went full throttle like this, but it’s made all the difference. I’ve never felt healthier or stronger, and I’m not even at my full potential yet! That’s exciting!
So if you find yourself freshly embarking on a weight loss journey, be encouraged! It can be very overwhelming to try and make all of these changes at once, so just take it one step at a time. Don’t feel bad for where you are when you start out! Everyone starts at the beginning, and the beginning is hard for everyone. Anytime you feel discouraged, remind yourself that every little step you take in the right direction brings you one step closer to your goal. It might take way more steps than you could ever imagine, but as long as you don’t give up, you’ll get there eventually. The only way to ensure failure is to stop trying. My journey has been long and slow, much more than I could have ever imagined it could be. There are days when I let how far I still have to go get me down. On those days, I take a look at how far I’ve come, and I instantly feel better. If you’d like to read about my entire journey so far, go here.
Are you ready to get serious about losing weight? What changes are you ready to make?
60 days ago, I embarked on a 100 Day Challenge with my cousin, who had…
It’s been 20 days since I ended my Whole30 Challenge. I wrote about…