10 Real Mom Tips to Lose or Keep the Weight Off This Year

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It’s the season to talk about goals for ourselves. Many of us have decided it’s time to lose the extra weight from the holidays or just weight we have not made it a priority to lose before now.  For some, we realize we will have to pull on a swimsuit in 6 months and the thought of that is truly scary.  I am usually a person who stays within a ten pound swing of my ideal weight and I only vary slightly from the weight I was when I was younger.  In recent months, however, my lack of working out, over indulging and the holidays have me at a weight that is out of the swing and it is time to take back my healthy lifestyle.

I am not a dieter.  I am a healthy person that let too many bad habits creep into my life in 2010.  Until a year or two ago I never drank coffee, ever, and last year I found myself drinking more than a cup a day.  I, of course, use sweet rich creamer which adds up to over 100 calories a day.  Add to that any other food additions, the lack of daily exercise and the holidays and I was on a self-destruct course.  The good news is that I have always been one to exercise since high school and I eat healthy meals.  My problem was not scheduling exercise into my days and also eating sweet snacks and drinking an adult beverage.

I want to share with you how I am setting myself up for success in 2011 to be my best year ever, both physically and mentally, by implementing 10 easy strategies to keep me on track.  These strategies are ones I have used for many years and are straight-forward and basic concepts everyone can do.

1. Stay Hydrated with Water

Try and keep a glass of water in front of you all day long to keep yourself hydrated.  Also choose water instead of soft drinks, coffee with creamer, or sweetened beverages.   If you do have a sweetened beverage or coffee with sweetener you need to account for the calories in the beverage.

Fill several water bottles up the night before and put them in the fridge.  Grab the bottles the next morning to put in your car and bring with you for the day.

I notice that when I have a glass of water beside me throughout the day I will drink water and I am less likely to pick other beverages such as coffee with flavored, sweetened creamer or sweet tea.

2. Eat High Protein, Low Fat Snacks and Meals

Purchase and prepare high protein, healthy snacks.  Add into your day more low-fat protein, such as plain Greek yogurt, hard boiled egg whites, and pinto beans.  Often, I end up eating more empty calories like crackers, or I crave sweets, because I have not added in enough protein or fruits and vegetables to my meals and snacks.  If you have a snack or meal without enough protein you may find yourself reaching for food much sooner because the food selection did not fill you up (and because protein takes longer to break down).

3. Eat More Fresh Vegetables

Buy more fresh vegetables and fruit each week and prepare it so it is ready for you and your family to have as a quick snack and eat throughout the day.  Make it your goal to add veggies to each of your meals and snacks.  For breakfast you might try an egg white scramble with diced veggies.  For a snack, carrot sticks and celery with a tablespoon of peanut butter.  And for Lunch and dinner, add a big salad or a cup or more of a fresh or steamed veggie.

Another important strategy is to eat a piece of fresh fruit, a bowl of veggies or a broth based soup before meals to curb your appetite a bit before eating so that you do not eat too much.

4. Prepare your Home, Car and Office for Success

Buy lots of fresh foods at the store and fill your fridge with those foods.  You can also take part of a day and make healthy soups, stir-fry, and snacks and have them ready for the week.  If you will be on the go all day, or at the office, pack a cooler of fresh foods, healthy snacks and water to help keep you on track.

Stock your office with a few pieces of fresh fruit and bags of veggie sticks and a healthy treat.

5.       Minimize Your  Sugar Cravings

If you are like me, and have a real sweet tooth or sugar addiction, you need to keep all of the candy, goodies and sweets out of your house and office.  Then, make sure you have a piece of fruit on hand to satisfy your sweet tooth as a healthy alternative to a junk food sweet.

You might be shocked but when you add in more protein and veggies to your daily food menu, your sweet tooth will likely shrink, the cravings will go away and you will feel better the entire day.  Kick your sugar addiction by feeding your body right.

When you want to treat yourself, try getting a high-quality dark chocolate square to eat.  Make sure it is over 60% cacao and organic, or higher quality, because it will not have the ingredients in it that some foods do to make us crave more.

6. Bite size Motion – Get Moving Every Day

Exercise should be an important part of our daily lives but often it is not.  If we are to be healthy individuals it is important we move our bodies and keep it toned and strengthened.  And, of course, if we want to lose weight, or maintain our weight, it is even more important to exercise.

It is easier to add in movement to your day than you think.  One easy way to track your movement is to get a pedometer and see how much you actually move each day for a week.  Then set a goal and work towards hitting it every day.  Most pedometers say you should try to walk 10,000 steps a day.  I found that often I was hitting 14,000-16,000 steps a day without a workout so my goal for myself is 20,000 steps a day.  But some days I only hit 8,000 steps.  You may find you only hit 4,000 steps a day if you are at a desk most of the day.  Just slowly work to add more steps into your day by parking further away from the store or taking the stairs instead of the elevator or take a walk in your neighborhood.

In order to do strengthening, try doing stretching regularly and buy a resistance band to do resistance exercises with you arms, legs and abs.  Once you feel you have mastered how much you move and you are using the resistance band, then you may consider adding in cardio workouts and additional resistance or weight training.

Remember, every extra motion will help keep the weight off or help you lose those extra pounds.

7. Track Your Food and Exercise

If you are trying to lose weight or get a better understanding of what you eat, how much and what amount of exercise you get daily, then I would recommend tracking your food and exercise each day.  You can get a notebook and start noting what you eat and drink, and when, and note the type of exercise and how long you exercised.   Or you can pick up a Fitness Journal to track your food and exercise.

I prefer to use an app on my iphone called Lose It.  It allows me to enter everything I eat each day, put in my exercise, enter in my weight and goal weight and it helps me map out my week and calorie intake based on what I ate and how much I exercised.  Of course the program is only as good as my effort to enter the data but, if I do so, the program is very helpful to see how I am making progress towards my goal for the day and week.

8. Get a Fitness Buddy

You need someone to help you reach your goals.  If you have a friend who is also committed to losing weight or getting in better shape then set up a plan to check in with each other to keep each other on track.  If you don’t have a friend then ask your spouse or sister to help you stay the course.

Another great option is to sign up and use a program like Weight Watchers to keep you accountable to your goals and your progress.  Still others prefer to use sites like CalorieCount.com to learn about the foods you are eating and to keep track of your progress.

It is easier to give up or cheat without the additional accountability of a partner or program, so get busy finding a fitness buddy.

9. Limit Processed Foods

Many processed foods contain food ingredients such as excess sugar, salt, fat, or food additives that make us crave more of the food.  These foods most often contain white flour, high fructose corn syrup, MSG, and too much sugar and salt to be healthy and you should limit these foods as much as possible.  Packaged foods will often not satisfy us and we will find ourselves looking for something else to eat after eating packaged foods.

10. The Rule of 100

Remember the Rule of 100.  Is the extra snack or drink worth it?  100 calories over a day = 10 extra pounds a year.  The math is simple really.  Every 3,500 extra calories will result in gaining a lb.  So if you eat or drink an extra 100 calories a day you will gain a pound every 35 days which results in 10 lbs a year.

If you really indulge or eat or drink in excessive nearing 500 extra calories a day you will gain 1 lb a week and 48 lbs a year.  You might think I would not consume an extra 500 calories, but a large glass of wine can be 150 calories.  A slice of pizza can have anywhere between 230 to over 600 calories, depending on the size, toppings and crust style.   And portions are another big issue.  If you eat larger portions you may be consuming many more calories than you realize and adding on the lbs.  Simply learn proper portions or purchase a portion plate which helps you see what to fill your plate with in order to have better control of your weight.

Also, be an educated consumer.  I research food options at fast food restaurants, chain restaurants and drink options from place like Starbucks so I know what food and drink options are smart choices.  In other words, don’t let ignorance sabotage your weight goal.  The information is available in the store, online and accessible on most smart phones.

Educate yourself about food and nutrition.  The more you know the more in control you will be of your health and weight.

Disclaimer Note :  See your doctor before starting any diet or exercise program.  This post is not intended to be given as medical or health advice but instead tips that the author has had success in following for herself.  Please consult a professional for medical, health, or diet advice.  I am not in the medical profession and I am not giving any professional medical advice.

By Kristin Pierce Fitch