Happy 2016!! I know that like me, lots and lots of you are probably resolving for a healthier year. 2015 will always be known as the year I became not scared of the gym (major milestone, I know)–in fact, it’s kind of become my happy place. But I’m also ready to kick it up a notch for 2016.
Sara and I are hosting (and playing in) another DietBet, so we’d love for you to join us! We’ll have more details next week, including how it works if you’ve never played before and also about all sorts of awesome prizes we’ll be giving away (over a thousand dollars worth of stuff, yo!) But until then, here are a few things you can do while you’re excited about healthy living.
You can do this. And even if you don’t do it as quickly as you’d like, you’re still transforming your life in the process. I didn’t lose as much weight as I wanted to last year, but I did lose more than I lost the year before. I’m fitter, I’m happier, I’m more confident, I eat healthier, I have more energy. There’s more to life than what the scale says and even if you don’t achieve that particular goal, there are many worthy “side effects” of a healthier lifestyle–the effort isn’t wasted.
Read about other people’s healthy lifestyle transformations–Sara has two great posts here and here. Follow people who inspire you on social media. Learn about the benefits of healthy living and how it works. But most of all, get excited!
Believe it or not (sarcasm font), food is my biggest stumbling block when it comes to weight loss. I love food. I love treats. Why eat one cookie when I can eat…a lot more?? I’ve fiddled around with a lot of different weight loss plans and one thing I’ve discovered is that just counting calories doesn’t work for me. If you know that just counting calories works for you, that’s awesome and run with it. Skip the next few rant-y paragraphs if you want.
But. If you’re frustrated that you’re eating within your calorie range every day but still not losing (or even gaining), I hear you. Ever since my pregnancy with my daughter (she was born in 2007), I feel like something in my body fundamentally changed and I cannot handle sugar/carbs the same way I used to. I’ve lost weight with South Beach, but there’s a lot there I don’t agree with like eliminating whole grains, fruits, and some veggies the first two weeks, and after that, there are still a lot of restrictions in Phase 2, plus relying more on artificial sweeteners than I like. I felt like I didn’t have enough energy to get me through the day, let alone workouts; I hated the “all or nothing” mentality–if I “screwed up” and ate a bite of chocolate, I felt like I had suddenly magically replaced all my glycogen stores and had lost 2 weeks of hard work that I didn’t want to repeat and it was all over what’s the point let’s go eat all the doughnuts.
I did kind of a modified South Beach last year, but, since I was making it up as I was going along, it was hard to figure out what rules I had made for myself; I needed more structure. I went a long time without losing any weight, just counting calories, and became increasingly frustrated. Then I heard that Weight Watchers had re-worked their program (again). (This is NOT sponsored by Weight Watchers–we have no relationship with Weight Watchers, other than the fact that I pay them money and they let me log into their app.) I lost about 30 pounds on Weight Watchers years ago, right after I got married. When they changed to Points Plus in 2011, it stopped working for me. I’m not sure what the deal was, but there was something that was just off for me and it didn’t work (except for when I was nursing). Add in the fact that the points swapping was convoluted and confusing and that they were woefully behind the times in terms of fitness tracking and I gave them the boot.
Anyway. The new plan. Smart Points. As I was looking into the new program, I saw that basically, they had put structure to my own invented weight loss plan–lots of whole foods, lots of fruits, veggies, whole grains with room for occasional treats. Sweets are worth a lot more points than they used to be (a small Frosty at Wendy’s would be about half my points for the day). Protein, which used to add points, reduces points (like fiber does). It really steers you in the right direction in terms of healthy eating–180 calories of Blue Bell ice cream would be 8 Smart Points, but Skinnytaste’s Asparagus Egg and Bacon Salad, which is 219 calories, is 5 Smart Points. If you eat lean proteins, fruits, veggies, etc., you can eat a lot. If you don’t, not so much, so you’re highly motivated to make good choices (lest you be very hungry).
That’s really more than I meant to say about healthy eating (and I still have a lot to say, haha), so if you have questions/thoughts/feelings, leave a comment or shoot me an email.
Oh, hey, more healthy eating! Just kidding. But really. If you don’t have our most recent book, it’s full of recipes that will keep you right on track and they’re easily modifiable depending on how you’re choosing to eat (so if you’re making Banh Mi Tacos but that tortilla isn’t worth it to you, you can eat the marinated, grilled pork and pickled veggies while everyone else goes taco-style). When we set out to write this book, we wanted recipes the whole family could eat, so Mom (or Dad) isn’t sitting over there with her (or his) sad steamed veggies and poached chicken breast while everyone else is chowing down on lasagna. That’s not practical OR a good plan for long-term success. There are several recipes in there that I make on a weekly basis and I know will become regulars in your rotation as well.
Get rid (or hide) the stuff you know will cause you unnecessary temptation and load up your house with things that you can easily make healthy meals with. You don’t have to stock up all at once–that can be expensive. But slowly over the course of the month, fill your fridge and pantry with things you’ll know you’ll eat (that big bag of kale won’t do you any good if you hate kale). Things I always try keep around (in season) are: whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, oats), whole grain bread, snacky cheeses, peanut butter, nuts, Greek yogurt, dips, healthy salad dressings, hummus, Sea Salt Caramel Almond Kind Bars, protein shake mix, unsweetened coconut almond milk, berries (fresh and frozen), oranges, clementines, apples, bananas, leafy greens that can’t be cooked (like salad mixes), leafy greens that can be (like spinach), cucumbers, baby peppers, bell peppers, baby tomatoes, alfalfa sprouts, avocados, red onions, white onions, garlic, baby carrots, sugar snap peas, potatoes, frozen veggies (green beans, broccoli), canned beans, beef broth, chicken broth, canned tomatoes in various forms and sizes, eggs (I keep a container of boiled eggs in the fridge, too), grilled chicken and/or rotisserie chicken,, chicken breasts, chicken thighs, beef top or bottom round roast, pork tenderloin, and pork sirloin roasts. With those ingredients and basic kitchen staples, you can make so many healthy meals and snacks!
We hope you had a wonderful, happy, safe holiday season! Check back next week for lots of recipes to help get you/keep you on track and for more details about the DietBet!