This is a great thread! Lots of good tips. I think the most important one, though, is just finding what works for YOU. Most of us have been on a million diets or we've at least read or heard about all of them. I know all about the diets I'm NOT doing (low carb, no sugar, etc)--I've read the books, I've tried them, etc--and I know they don't work for me. They do work for some people, and that's fantastic.
Sometimes people get so caught up in their own diet plan because it's working and they think they have the secret key, but we have to remember that what works for us doesn't necessarily work for the next person. If I had to cut out sugar completely, I'd last about one day. If I had to cut out ANYthing completely, I'd last about one day. I have to have freedom -- my restriction is my caloric intake (WW points, but it's the same thing). For some people, they hate that kind of counting, and they'd rather do away with certain foods.
Try something and if you know you can't sustain it forever, dump that plan and try something else!! If the scale goes down or your clothes get baggy, you've found your own "secret key" to weight loss. The great thing about this message board is you can always find a group of people who are doing it "your" way, and you can read about other ways if you need to switch.
Lisa Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible. -- St. Francis of Assisi
I nearly did too! It took the cat about 1 day to train me to turn on the faucet, and then when she became a real pain about it, took me several weeks to untrain her! I have 2 siamese cats, and they are stubborn little devils!
"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." Christopher Robin to Pooh
•Iced coffee with Equal and 1% milk will fill you up --from the milk but also the coffee itself gives "bulk." It's a great way to get your milk in -- but you gotta try to love decaf to keep it real. Drink it through a straw.
•When I HAVE to buy something sinful (say, a brownie or cookie at Starbucks -- which actually end up looking a lot better than they taste) I immediately throw half away and eat the rest. Wasting money? I don't think so -- what's the difference to my wallet if I eat half or the whole thing?
•One of the best habits I broke was to stop buying a candy bar every time I checked out at a drug or grocery store. I realized that the cheap chocolate they use really isn't that good -- kind of waxy and uninspired -- and they certainly aren't going to stop making KitKats anytime soon, so I'm pretty safe. Cocoa Via bars are amazing and only 2 pts. per.
Woo-hoo! I figured out how to do the bullets! Here are my tips:
Eat vegetables. I usually double the amount of vegetables called for in any recipe and I eat a salad or vegetable with every meal except breakfast.
Don't drink beverages with calories.
Keep fresh fruit on hand for snacks. Start shopping at your local farmers market--you'll get better tasting fruit and veggies for less $$ and you are supporting your local economy.
If you can afford it, hire a personal trainer. My trainer has really helped me stay motivated and on track both in terms of diet and exercise.
Plan out what you will eat every day and don't eat anything unless you know it fits in your calorie limit (or pt limit).
Drink a no-calorie beverage with every meal. Even better if some of those bevages are water.
As you lose weight, buy clothes that fit. You'll look better in your clothes, feel better about yourself, and people will notice your weight loss more and compliment you.
Resist the temptation to weight yourself every time you walk past a scale. Always weight at consist times of the day in a consistent manner. Take your measurements so you have another way to measure your progress.
Eat breakfast. Itís great to start your day with it.
Walk as much as possible and take the steps instead of the elevator. I cant stress this enough.
Also I agree donít be afraid of fats. Just stay away from Saturated fats and the Trans fats.
I also agree on dancing around to your favorite tune. I've been doing that since I started, and so far I lost about 40 pounds.
Making fruit shakes/smoothies is a great alternative to that sugary fruit drinks/shakes.
You can EAT SNACKS like lowfat/low salt popcorn, peanuts, lowfat yogurt, and those 100 calories snacks, just donít over do it ladies.
Lastly dress cute, like you are your goal. Treat yourself, you donít have to buy expensive clothes too look cute, I've been doing this, and do far I have so much more confidence.
•Write everything down, even if you're way over your points. It will give you something to look back on later and see your improvement!
•A hot mug of tea is a great way to have "something" while you're on the computer or watching TV.
•Always take the stairs -- but if it's too much to tackle at first, try taking them DOWN for starters...
•If you must: buy one regular donut rather than Munchkins, which you will undoudtedly pop one after the other without thinking or counting. At least with the donut you know exactly what you're doing.
•Jimmy Dean frozen Breakfast Ham Scramblers are fabulous and if you use only 1/4 c (which is plenty for one egg), it's no more than 1 pt (plus the egg points).
•DH--my faithful walking partner-- did something stuuupid to his foot and can't walk this morning. Think I'll do our route backward to break the monotony.
When you have to take your small child to the track with you to get your run in, run backward. The little one can keep up and you will work muscles you never knew you had and your heart rate will stay up.
* Buy a large drinking container (I once found a Rubbermaid drinking container) and fill it up however many times you need to fulfill your daily water intake (i.e. I knew I needed to fill up my container 2.5 times each day, so it was easy to keep track of).
* If you drink bottled water, keep the bottle caps or labels around so you can count how many you drank during the day.
Plan your menus weekly. This eliminates the "what's for dinner" shuffle...you have a plan and the groceries right there.
Eat your leftovers for lunch the next day - this is my biggest helper. I cook 4 portions of dinner...my partner and I eat one for dinner, one for lunch the next day. I never have to worry about making an off-plan lunch choice...if my dinner was on plan, my lunch will be too. And I get a tasty, hot meal every day for lunch!
Keep healthy snacks on hand, easy to grab. I keep fruit, yogurt, and beef jerky around all the time, as well as a healthy bar or two if I get into a pinch (FiberOne bars are my go-to). Make sure you plan to eat snacks and carry them with you if you aren't going to be home. Getting too hungry is a sure way to get off-plan.
My exercise rule: Just 15 minutes. Even if I really don't want to exercise, I tell myself I have to, for just 15 minutes. Usually, that is enough to get me going, and I finish my planned amount.
My food rule: Tomorrow. If I get a big craving for something, I tell myself I can have it tomorrow. 4/5 times, I don't crave it anymore the next day. The 1/5 times I do, I go get one of whatever it is and have it. If I really want a cupcake, enough that I've craved one for two days straight, I'm having a cupcake...buying ONE and eating that ONE cupcake.
1. Planning tomorrow's meals/snacks before I go to bed. I don't do weekly planning, but that's because I have a freezer full of meals/meats so I don't need to. And Costco has big boxes of spring mix lettuce, so it's always ready for a salad.
2. Using a cheese blend instead of a block of cheese. It's almost impossible to cut an ounce of cheese, but I use the scale when adding cheese to a dish. It can go back into the bag if I'm over. I admit that I buy one, but I've made them in the past with a selection of low-fat cheeses with some full fat cheddar mixed in.
3. Pre-measure some of the high cal snacks, such as nuts. I keep one container of soy nuts, and one of almonds, already filled. When they're used during the day I refill them right after dinner. A time when I'm less likely to eat some as I do it.
4. Protein shake/snack about an hour before bed. I used to be a very bad nighttime snacker. I couldn't sleep, so I'd get up and get something. And although it was often too much, it was because of hunger. The shake (made with water) and a little fruit salad (& a small biscotti) keeps me from adding anything later on.
My planned mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks are my best ammunition for staying on plan. Those are the times I am most likely to dig into workplace chocolates, cookies, chips, etc that permeate my entire office.
Also, this might sound like a weird one -- but I go to bed really early. Most nights I'm in bed by 7:30-8pm. I get about 9 hours of sleep per night. That's 9 hours when I'm not feeding my face! Plus there are lots of benefits to getting a good night's sleep: higher energy levels, better concentration, better skin... I highly recommend it, if you can do it.
Maintenance since October 2008.
1.Reading the labels on food. Once you know what is in it (both ingredients and cals/carbs) you probably wont want it as much.
2. Trying new meals. I try to get something new in at least once a month. This way I can find new foods that I enjoy. It also gives me something to look forward to.
3.Measure it! A smaller portion can be just as satisfying (I love my sweets) and if I have it I'm less likely to binge. After a while I can tell how much without the cup, If I feel like I'm going over, I start measuring again.
4. Smaller plates.
5. Take it home- I eat very little when we go out to dinner thanks to the salad. I always remind myself I will be happier to have that for dinner 3 times instead of just one.
Like Amanda, I will put off a craving for a day. I have a "free" day each week according to my plan with my trainer, so I tell myself I can have that grilled cheese sandwich or ice cream on my free day. By then the craving has passed. If it hasn't then I can have a reasonable portion. Delayed gratification is important to self-control.
Have a little healthy fat everyday. Olive oil, nuts, and avocados are staples for me.
If you screw up, it is not the end of the world. This is a lifetime process and we will all have mis-steps. I can't control what I just did (though I can learn from it), but the next meal, next exercise session is an immediate behavior I can control.