I originally started my low-carb lifestyle back in January. I also had jumped back into college classes with just a couple days’ notice and lasted about 3 weeks on low-carb before my class schedule got the best of me. Life throws challenges at us. To reach our goals, we need a set of tools to get us there. Today, we’ll talk about some of the absolute basics when it comes to weight loss and lifestyle change.
Know Your Why. We have to know the reasons we’re making changes because we’ll face temptation daily. Sitting through a movie while my kids are eating popcorn next to me is torture. I have to tell myself the truth, “Girl, you are just pounding that fat into your arteries. You’ll be dead before you can have grandchildren.” Focusing my attention on the future allows me to ignore that popcorn. Why? Because eating it interferes with my long term goals. Having a clear vision for our lifestyle change allows us to stay on track.
My weight loss motivations have to do with my long-term health. Good health is my retirement strategy! According to the Centers for Disease Control, heart disease and cancer were the leading causes of death for women in 2013, the latest year information is available. Stroke and Type 2 diabetes were the 3rd and 4th leading causes of death. What do these diseases have in common? They are all lifestyle diseases that can be prevented. Recent research indicates inflammation is the root cause of these diseases. The standard American diet is full of foods that cause inflammation. To name the biggest offenders . . . Processed foods. Fast foods. Junk foods. Sugary foods. And especially the high fructose corn syrup that’s found in most sodas, breads, and other convenience foods. So, a change in eating habits is necessary for me to avoid these diseases.
Have a Plan. Planning is the key to weight loss and lifestyle change. Knowing my health risks led me to several eating plans that will lower the risk of the lifestyle diseases. Mediterranean. Low carb. Paleo. Because each of these “diets” are heart-healthy, choosing recipes from any of these eating plans will keep me on track. Intentional living makes losing weight almost easy. A few hours on the weekend menu-planning and prepping for the week ahead helps me avoid those last minute trips for pizza or tacos on a busy day.
Make Changes Gradually. The best way to make a change permanent is to do it gradually. This gives the brain time to adjust to the new normal. I started with breakfast. I’m not usually a breakfast person, but since I’ve started eating breakfast, I no longer have those mid-morning munchies. A quick breakfast is important, though. I bake egg “muffins” ahead of time, flash freeze them, then individually wrap them. Bacon can be baked in the oven and stored in a ziplock baggie in the refrigerator. Breakfast comes together quickly by popping an egg muffin and slice or two of bacon into the microwave. Add a small serving of blueberries and you’ve got a quick and easy breakfast. For dinner, I make up a quick marinade. This one is my fave. Pour the marinade over the chicken, toss it in the freezer, and pull it out to thaw later in the week. Grill the chicken, add a side of broccoli and some faux potatoes, and you’ve got a great paleo meal.
Be persistent. Life will get in the way. Situations will arise. Friends and family will tempt us. We will fall. That’s when it’s time to “know your why” and “have a plan” to fall back on. We’ll have a talk with ourselves, pick ourselves back up, and put ourselves back on plan.
How have these tips helped you in your weight loss journey?