How to Lose Weight Without Losing Your Sanity

About a week ago, I was asked by a friend, what worked for me when I lost a bunch of weight. I am (clearly) not a doctor, but I thought I’d share this email I wrote, which is what worked for me:

1 ) Don’t eat after 8 p.m. If you absolutely must eat something, make it raw veggies or a handful of nuts & a small glass of milk, and don’t eat more than 100 calories. If you eat properly during the day, you should be fine till morning. Of course there are exceptions – going on a date with your husband stuff like that, and those days are OKAY! You can’t obsess over every calorie, or you’ll drop out of the whole thing.

2 ) Use LoseIt or My Fitness Pal (if you have an iphone/itouch) If not, there must be calorie counting programs online and ways to figure out how many calories you should eat as determined by your current activity level, height, etc. Also, when you eat 1200 cals a day and work off 800 of them, making your allotted calories 2000 a day, do not eat the 800 you “earned” – at least don’t eat all of them. That’s where you lose weight. Don’t starve yourself, obviously, but try drinking water first in case it’s just your body telling you you’re thirsty. Hunger pains aren’t always about hunger – quite often, I’m thirsty.

Bottom line of #2: record everything. even a tablespoon of peanut butter.

3 ) Re-learn what to eat and how much. Half your plate should be veggies, a quarter of it should be a lean protein and a quarter a complex carb. Read. Learn what portion control is and try new things. OR eat 5-6 smaller meals a day – I ever had time (or patience) for that. Do you like spicy? Spicy stuff ramps up your metabolism nicely. If you miss your faves, learn how to cook your faves in different ways. I LOVE mac ‘n’ cheese, but 2 eggs + 2 laughing cow cheese, scrambled, topped with shredded real romano = very close to mac n cheese taste. Try new recipes. I can give you a small list of blogs I like for healthy stuff that isn’t super complicated (another post if you guys want?). And every veggie tastes good drizzled with olive oil and baked in the oven; especially cauliflower.

4 ) Move. Every day – something. Running = high calorie burn but it’s hard on the body. Join classes, a gym (I go to one & love the variety of classes – especially Zumba! AND I’ve made friends there and told them I want to be accountable so we support each other.  Try not to be shy – every last person at that gym has flaws and struggles just like you, and when you talk them up at a few classes, they become more friendly and open and are just as glad to have a new friend! Try a bootcamp, search facebook for groups in your city that will help you get started. Join teams, sign up for races, give yourself goals to work towards and try to mix it up a lot so you don’t get bored.

5 ) Get off the net. Set times to do your blogging, business, email etc. Quit twitter for a week and see how much time you have. It’s amazing the time we lose on the net, being in the community we’re in. Dance while you clean house. Get outside. Play with the kids, go for bike rides, hikes, walks, swim, whatever. Sit as little as possible. I know. I KNOW. And GO TO BED at a decent time so you get 7-9 hours. I struggle with this one big time, but lack of sleep = body making cortisol which = more body fat.

6 ) I use google calendar to set appointment times for exercise whether it’s boot camp, a class, a bike ride, a walk, or shred. I try to stick to it as much as I can – obviously life gets in the way but if you’re making yourself a priority, you’ll take good care of yourself. Sign up for dailymile & track your workouts too – it’s rewarding to see the awesome work you’re doing.

7 ) Water is your best friend. Don’t drink anything but water (and some milk – especially if you’re running – it’s good protein for getting rid of muscle pain – as are bananas.) No soda, alcohol, and no juice – juice is terrible for you!

8 ) When is the last time you went to the doc? Had iron checked? Blood pressure? My doc gives me access to a free nutritionist too – I haven’t gone yet but maybe find out if your doc offers that? If it’s been a while since you’ve seen your doc, write out your plan, and have things checked out so you aren’t hurting yourself.

9 ) Take it slow at first. You gotta walk before you can run. Walk for a week, 5km a day. Should take you about an hour to walk that far. If you have an iphone/ipod touch, you can start couch to 5km if you want to start running. Find a buddy, and if you do work out with friends – do not compare yourself to them. Always compare yourself to yourself in the past. You’ll look back at a month ago or a year ago and realize you started all of this by walking. you’ll be faster, and stronger than you were. Celebrate your successes!

10 ) Stretch each muscle 20-30 secs after you work out. Injuries aren’t fun. Do you see a chiropractor? I find mine is a godsend and educates me on how to stretch and avoid injuries. Not totally necessary but definitely something I personally wouldn’t want to go without.

Lastly, you are going to have days where you don’t wanna work out. You’re sore, hungry and grumpy. Put your shoes on and walk anyway. BUT – you should have planned rest days.  Also, it’s okay to occasionally fall off the good food wagon. This stuff doesn’t happen overnight and if you make it so regimented that you can’t enjoy life, then loosen up a bit – take a day off. Try not to weigh yourself very often – you’ll see your clothes fit differently before you lose pounds – pounds really are not a good indicator of fitness & health.

If you lived here, I’d totally support your efforts and take no excuses – I do that for friends and they do it for me. I know this email is loooong and overwhelming but I’m here if you have questions, or if you have a bad day or whatever you need.

You can do this. and if I believe that, shouldn’t it be easy for you to believe it too?


p.s. Don’t forget to avoid Pebbles in Your Underwear!