Everyone wants that top 10 list to lose weight. You’ve seen them, they’re all over the internet. Most of them are ridiculous and even though some study might have shown some people losing maybe a pound from trying these things, how many of us are actually going to incorporate them in to our lives?
Who is going to take an ice bath everyday to help their metabolism? I’m not
Who is going to remember to smell a banana if they are feeling hungry? Not me
Do you always eat your meals at exactly the same time everyday? How is this possible for anyone who does anything?
I am not a nutritionist. I am not a fitness expert. I am a person. A person who seemingly no one could help. A person who was told that maybe I’m just supposed to be fat. They wanted me to believe that I was meant to be fat, and nothing else.
I am someone who had to try everything, because nothing ever worked for me. Take this post for what it’s worth, but I have done countless hours of research. Most importantly, I have experimented on my own body.
Here is what works, for me. Everyone has their own journey, some find their way easier than others. Maybe, just maybe, there is someone out there like me who needs to read this. There are some no-brainers on this list, but guess what? When someone tells you something like drink more water, believe them.
1. Drink water. Don’t roll your eyes at me, it is the absolute truth. Forget the 64 oz a day rule, drink more. 64 oz is the bare minimum. Drink half your body weight in ounces. I try to drink 100 ounces a day. It is really tough to get used to, but the rewards are incredible. You will not drink too much water. If you’re chugging gallons of water, because you’re pledging some fraternity, well yes, you could die. Space it out evenly through the day. The biggest proponent to me being successful at this? I bought a Camelbak water bottle with a bite valve. I carry it everywhere with me, mostly because I love it. That 15 dollar investment has changed my life.
2. Dump the junk. This may seem obvious, but you might not realize what junk is. When you hear junk you think: chips, soft drinks, cookies, cake, and fast food. Well yes, this is junk, the worst kind, but I’m talking about things that we’ve always thought were healthy. I’m speaking of cereal, 100 calorie packs, sandwiches, any heavily processed food. I used to think that a turkey sandwich was a healthy lunch, but really, it’s killing us. Pre-packaged deli meat is full of preservatives. I’m talking about the really bad stuff, nitrites and nitrates. These are certainly linked to cancer and they are in almost every processed meat product. All cold cereal is very heavily processed. Even the stuff that is marketed as healthy. Not to even mention that most cereals contain as much sugar as a candy bar (I used to eat Kashi cereal until the day I looked at the nutrition label). 100 calorie packs? Don’t fool yourself, it’s still the same junk. When junk is involved, there is no such thing as a “correct” portion. And please, leave the tv dinners at the store, I’m serious, even if it has ‘lean’ or ‘healthy’ in its title. Don’t be a victim of marketing, you have to be educated about what you put into your body every day. Always eat fresh and always prepare your own food. Don’t let some mega corporation decide what is best for your body.
3. Listen to your body. This step is incredibly important, and dependent on the successful acceptance of number 2 on this list. You have to know what your body needs. Once all junk is eliminated from your body, you will understand what it is that is making you fat. Did you hear that? Wow, that’s a big deal. Once I gave up the junk I realized that having an upset stomach after a meal doesn’t have to be a normal occurence. Chronic stomach sour-ness (like that super medical term?), being itchy, or an increased heart rate after consuming a food, can mean that you are intolerant of a food, or worse, allergic. Most of us have a certain food that is holding us back and you won’t even know it until you clean up your diet. I discovered that I was intolerant to bananas, pineapple, grains, pork, and milk products. Guess what was making me fat? Dairy. I’m serious, once I realized that milk was making me sick, I eliminated it and the weight just started coming off. It was almost magical.
4. Stop counting calories. It is overwhelming, frustrating, and not always the key. I used to be an avid calorie counter, I would obsess about it. I ate 1500 calories a day religiously and I couldn’t lose weight. According to science, I had to have a calorie deficit of 3500 calories in order to lose one pound. Well, it didn’t work, and I would love to know why. If you eat real food, slowly, and with lots and lots of water, you will not eat an unhealthy amount. So stop worrying about calories and start worrying about the quality of your food.
5. Check out the paleo way of life. If you’re like me and nothing else works, just try it. It is not going to hurt you to try. It is absolutely a great guide to eating real food. I’m not saying you have to buy into everything, but just research, and it may resonate with you. It changed my life, actually, it saved my life.
What is paleo? Eating the real food that we are intended to eat. Don’t agree with giving up grains or milk? Just make sure that the products you are buying are as close to what you could get right off the farm. I believe that grains are very damaging to the body, but that is because it was damaging my own body. It’s your body, you can figure out what works for you.
What paleo is not: Going to McDonalds, ordering a hamburger, and removing the bun. This is a common misconception. Oh and paleo does not equal no carb. I would NEVER suggest no carb.
Also, don’t think of it as replacing grains and dairy with more meat. Think of it as adding way more vegetable and fruits to your diet- we all could benefit from that, regardless of your diet.
6. Combining Aerobic and Anaerobic exercise. We’re talking about combining cardio and strength training. I do cardio and strength training 3 times a week and weightlifting the other 3 days. Always take a rest day. I really encourage you to lift weights, it is most effective at changing the way your body looks, which to me, is better than just losing weight. Don’t think you can keep up with a workout regimen? Just make sure you sweat once a day. That means, do something hard enough and long enough to really get your heart going.
7. Add yoga to your work out routine. Besides the physical advantages to doing yoga (flexibility, building strength, even a basic post-workout stretch), the mental advantages help you to stay focused on your goal. The more positive things you do for your body, the more you will want to take care of it. Being at peace with yourself, will help you become closer to understanding how to help your body. Yoga seems daunting, but forget whatever idea you have of yoga, try some beginning yoga and reap the benefits, it is highly customizable to your abilities. Keep at it and before you know it, laying down will no longer be laying down, it will become savasana.
8. Mental Readiness. You will not be successful at losing weight until you’re ready. Someone who is not ready will not endure the patience and experimentation that weight-loss takes. Unless you are one of the lucky ones who can just eat less and lose it all, you have to be ready for battle. Your friends and family will fight you, the government will fight you, the media will fight you. You have to be ready to take on the challenges if you want to for once and all, lose that life threatening weight.
I hope this helps someone out there. These are things I would have loved to know before I started my journey, but honestly we have to learn these things for ourselves most of the time
Health and Happiness,