I’m not a health or fitness expert. I’m just an average woman who wants to stay decently healthy and look good without sacrificing a ton of time and energy on it.
It all used to be a lot easier before there were other people who I had to think about feeding and eating with; back when my stomach was permanently sucked in and I wanted to look good for whoever Mr. Right was…
Don’t get me wrong, I still want to look good for Mr. Right, it’s just a lot more complicated now that I already have him 😉
Here’s a quick rundown of my weight history, including pregnancy and something that happened to me from a diet that my body apparently didn’t like..
I’m always, always looking for better, easier ways of doing things, so I’ve always tried to be conscious of simple ways I can cut calories and maintain a good weight without giving up food groups or spending a ton of time exercising.
Here are some of my go-to tips, the habits that help me reign in my propensity to over-indulge and become a human blimp:
1. Ditch Temptation
Quite simply, we don’t bring foods or ingredients into our house that we don’t want to be tempted by.
2. Say No to Snacks
I know there are plenty of healthy snacks that done right can be a helpful part of a one’s diet, but there are several reasons why I stay away from snacking.
- Snacking trains your body to be thinking about and looking for food more often.
- Snacking becomes a habit to turn to when you’re bored.
- The snacking process disrupts productivity.
- If your body thinks it needs a snack, you’re likely to choose something unhealthy over nothing when you’re not prepared.
- Snacking easily turns into an extra meal calorie-wise because portion control…
- Snacking rarely actually replaces calories that are normally consumed during a meal.
Having supper with my family at the end of the day is something I really look forward to. I don’t want to have to sit there not eating if I overdid it snacking earlier in the day. For me, it’s just much, much easier to forego it altogether.
3. Water is Key
If there is any one thing that makes the MOST difference in my appetite and ability to maintain weightloss, it’s water.
If I start drinking my water in the morning and drink my full water allotment throughout the day, there is a night and day different in my appetite. When I don’t drink my water, I can’t seem to get satisfied, I just want to eat and eat.
I read somewhere that you should take your weight in pounds, divide that number in half, and drink that many ounces of water each day. I’m not sure if that is true across the board, but it comes out right for me.
This infographic has a bunch of other great information about water.
Infographic Source: GetSkinnyBeHappy.com
4. Implement Sugar Sundays
Not only do I not want sugar in our house to sabotage myself, I also don’t want it to be a common part of our family’s life. I really appreciate that I didn’t grow up having dessert because it’s not something I crave now. In our family we have the policy that sugary stuff is for Sundays, holidays, and special occasions.
When something is on the table as a viable option, it’s way too easy to justify the reasons you should go there – it’s been a long day, I need a little pick-me-up, I deserve this, etc. etc. Just. No.
I think “cheat days” are necessary – it’s important to leave room for some indulgence, but within boundaries so that it doesn’t become a free-for-all. Sugar Sundays work really well for us.
5. Indulge in Low-Calorie, High Volume Food
I don’t know about you, but I get kind of mad at the world when I’m still hungry at the end of my calories. It’s a personal problem and I’m not proud of it.
One of my biggest issues with food is that I suck at portion control, so I like to trick myself as much as possible with foods that I can eat a lot of without huge effects on my calories.
Cabbage is a low-calorie food that you can actually get full on. I use it in so many things!
As long as you go easy on the dressing, you can pretty much go ham on salads.
A bit of salt and some balsamic or apple cider vinegar makes vegetables like green beans or brussels sprouts into a delicious meal almost on their own.
Sunflower seeds in the shell are something you can eat for a while without adding too many calories. The best are definitely the kind you can get in a Chinese market (I learned to love them when living in China, and they have a lot more flavors there), but you can get ranch-flavored at dollar stores, so that’s usually my second pick.
Popcorn is another thing that takes longer to eat – I like to eat one kernel at a time, so I feel like I’m eating more. air-popped has the the fewest calories of course, but we like to use our stir crazy.
I realize that popcorn and sunflower seeds seem like snacks – yes, they’re my go-to on the weekends when the Mr and I stay up late and indulge in some show-watching. I don’t believe in being too extreme about anything 😉
6. Don’t Drink Calories
I almost made my friend Hillary blow a blood vessel for saying this, but I don’t really like to drink stuff other than water. I just really like to chew my calories, so I can’t even enjoy a drink because the only thing I can think the whole time is how much food I’m giving up…
Be honest, how often do you pay really close attention to how many calories are in drinks??? And how often do you really adjust your food intake accordingly? It’s just annoying.
7. Cut Out Caloric Condiments + Extras
Condiments are another category of calories that just make me mad. They’re really sneaky and really mean because they often pack in waaay more calories than seems remotely fair and you often forget to count them because they’re not the main event.
Mayonnaise, ketchup, whipped topping, extra butter, jam/jelly, sprinkles, chocolate drizzle, etc. – I tend to just snub them altogether.
I also don’t put cheese on my sandwich unless it’s a cheese sandwich, or in my salad.
I know it might sound like a quick trip to blahville, but the truth is that it doesn’t take long to get used to whatever you darnwell choose to get used to, and even be happy with it!
8. Pump Up the Low-to-NO-Calorie Flavor
Although I might have you thinking otherwise by now, I’m definitely big on flavor! I just prefer my flavor punches don’t hit me in the gut.
Chiles, hot sauce of all types, mustard, lime or lemon juice, and various vinegars are some of our favorite ways to kick it up a notch. So. Easy.
9. Use Mental Tricks
Have you ever noticed that you tend to have subconscious ways of interacting with food? For example, you probably tend to want seconds, even if you’re not really that hungry.
Here are a few of the tricks I like to use, some of which I’m sure can be adapted to other things:
Don’t fill your plate with what you think you’ll eat, instead take small portions so that you can have seconds.
In fact, use a smaller plate. And utensils, while you’re at it.
Grate cheese in thinner shreds – it makes a larger volume, so you end up taking way less. (This is a good way to save money by stretching the cheese, too, obviously.)
10. Do-Anywhere Exercises
There are so many little moments throughout your day that can be seized for exercise.
- standing in line
- waiting for the microwave
- use your imagination
Many little exercises can be done anywhere, and once you get in the habit, you’ll easily begin to spot the opportunities to burn a few extra calories here and there. I used to be really proactive about this, and I felt so much better when I was. One of my favorites has always been calf raises. Pretty soon I’m planning to get a standing desk, and get in the groove again!
Have any questions or more tips to share? Let us know!