I have been on a mission to get healthy and lose some weight! In early January it sort of hit me across the face that I had become very "soft."
Honestly, I had just gotten lazy about moving my body and was indulging in way too much cheese, butter, sweets, and eating at restaurants with wild abandon.
Inspired by the movie Food Inc. and Michael Pollan's books (and that fact that I had quite a tire around my lower belly), I ventured on a new way to live life eating mostly plants and staying away from fake foods.
I'm was (and still am) always looking for tips and tricks to help me. Here are some of the ones that have helped me the most:
- Eat lots of veggies. Veggies have so few calories and you can eat a ton of them. I know that's not very sexy and sounds like a drag, but you have to get creative. Modify recipes to amp up the amount of veggies included. Try new veggies (I just tried cabbage and I love it!). Try grilling them...yum!
- Eat whole foods (meaning things that your great grandma would recognize) and shop the perimeter of the grocery store. I pretty much stay away from the center aisles because that's all the processed junk. Focus on the veggies, whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, whole grain pasta), and legumes. Read the labels and avoid anything with chemicals that you can't pronounce or a huge, long list of funky ingredients. Again, you're going to need to be creative to modify and find recipes, but it's worth the effort. There are tons of books and blogs that are great resources.
- Buy an air-popper for your popcorn! There are only 31 calories in a cup of air popped corn. I mist my (see below) with olive oil and then jazz it up with spices and other natural flavorings. Salt, pepper (yes!), a bit of parmesan cheese (22 calories in a tablespoon!) are my favorites. I also like adding some cayenne pepper. Be creative and try and other spices that you like. I always smuggle a bag of this popcorn with us to the movies.
- Get yourself a Misto. This is a pump and spray for olive oil. Please, please use this instead of any other spray oils. The spray oils in the grocery store are generally filled with chemicals and preservatives. I use the Misto on everything: cooking pans, frying pans, over cooked veggies, to spritz my salads, spray breads before toasting.
- Lara bars rock! Most of the weight loss and "healthy" bars contain all kinds of crap (just try and read the ingredients) and they're usually fairly high in calories. But Lara bars only contain a few ingredients that you will actually recognize (like dates, peanuts, unsweetened cherries). No chemical preservatives here!
There are tons of flavors. My favorites are Peanut Butter & Jelly, Key Lime Pie, and Coconut Cream Pie. You can even get little mini bars that are about 100 calories. I always keep one in my purse and several in my car so that I'm not tempted in certain situations. These bars, to me, are all about being prepared.
- EGGS! Did you realize that eggs are only 70 calories each? For about 250 calories, you can have 2 eggs and a piece of toast. Yum, man! Imagine all these low-calorie dishes you could make: veggie frittata, huevos rancheros (I skip the tortillas), fried rice (easy on the rice, heavy on the veggies), and egg burritos. I am super picky about my eggs though. Read more here.
- Drink tea. I am not a big water drinker, so I drink lots of tea. I make a big pot in the morning and drink it hot for a while. Then I pour it over ice and have iced tea. Sometimes I put in a little squeeze of agave syrup. My favorites are English Breakfast (with a tiny bit of rice milk), peppermint, and Good Earth's Original. The Good Earth tea is so sweet and spicy...it's amazing!
- Move your body! I joined a new gym and committed to working out everyday, but Sunday. Because I wanted to accelerate my weight loss, I work out like a maniac. Not nearly the hours that The Biggest Loser crew work out, but I work out no less than an hour each day. While I'm working out, I also push it hard. If I'm going to be there, I might as well go for it. Find something that you like doing. I love spinning! So it's easy for me to show up and work my tail off because it's fun. I sweat like crazy and imagine that it's the fat melting off me!
I also have been trying to be more active overall. Rather than meeting a friend out for coffee, I suggest we go for a walk. Or instead of indulging in an episode of Oprah, I'll walk the dog. Now that the weather is getting glorious, I can't wait to do more active recreating like roller blading, hiking, kayaking, biking, etc.
- Frozen bananas! I was first turned onto this by my buddy Donielle in her blog (thx u!). This "ice cream" recipe is basically frozen bananas put in the food processor...and it rocks! I like to also just eat the frozen chunks of bananas without putting them into the food processor. It's really creamy and decadent. Frozen grapes are also amazing!
- Track your calorie input and output. I track my days via Lose It, a FREE, application on my iPhone, but there are lots of free trackers online. I adore it! In fact, I wrote a separate post about it here. I am very diligent to track everything I put in my mouth and really honest about it. I don't want to cheat myself! It's great though because it lets me plan my day and work in little splurges here and there.
- Surround yourself with "healthyness." These are positive support and influences such as friends and family, the books and magazines you read, where you grocery shop (check out those farmer's markets and coops!), the blogs you read, the Twitter people you follow, etc. Actively seek out this kind of circle of influence.
As I think of other things that were or are helpful, I'll share those, too! What are some of your best tips for either maintaining your weight or losing weight...or just getting overall healthy?