It’s important to wrap you brain around the fact that weight loss starts in the kitchen so starting with your eating habits is a great way to begin your weight loss journey.
This post is by OYS writer Alexis from Trading Cardio for Cosmos. You can also find her on Facebook and Instagram sharing lots of awesome weight loss tips and motivation!! She’s lost over 100lbs so she has lots to share!
Forming new (good) habits is an essential part of weight loss. It’s about retraining your body and your mind, and it takes some time to get it right.
Here are 10 eating habits that have helped me along the way:
#1 As I started my weight loss journey, I knew I needed to be 100% honest with myself about where I was starting from.
Smoking, drinking too much, stressed out and unhappy at work, on the brink of serious and not with Mr. Big, I took time to privately take stock of my life. It was painful. It was a little embarrassing to confront head-on how heavy, slow and generally unhealthy I felt. I knew I was being honest with myself about what needed to change. This habit continues to this day. I need to remind myself that it was really more like two ounces of cheese, or really only a 40 minute workout, or that Saturday’s family party that caused me to get off track.
Check out this post about finding your “a-ha” moment so you can finally get motivated to start your weight loss journey.
#2 Plan ahead.
By planning out my weekday breakfasts and lunches, and having a rough idea of what’s happening for dinners, I enable myself to plan ahead for splurges and generally make better choices. A steak dinner means a light lunch- maybe a nice piece of fish or shrimp. A business lunch usually means a heavier snack in the afternoon. And when I want that cosmo at the end of a long day, I know I’ve eaten lightly enough to really enjoy it that evening!
Meal planning isn’t always easy, but fortunately there are tons of resources out there today to make it so much more manageable. Check out Tammy’s healthy meal planning guide to find a resource that’ll work for you.
#3 Meal Prep.
Meal prep is the key to making sure you have delicious, healthy options around you at all times. I don’t have to rush around in the morning because the veggies for my omelettes are already done. No need to make a poor decision on-the-fly at lunchtime because I already have a delicious meal waiting in my bag. I pre-portion and package snacks for the morning, afternoon and my commute home, so I’m not tempted by whatever sweets are lurking in our break room. Now, I have heard a lot of people say “I would meal prep, but I can’t eat the same thing four days in a row.” To them I say “Who says you have to?” Grill four pieces of chicken, and top each differently – fresh tomato salsa, Emeril’s Bayou Blast seasoning, teriyaki sauce, herbs & garlic, BBQ sauce… The options are endless, and they keep variety in your meals!
Check out Tammy’s meal prep page for more guides, tutorials, and resources to get you started on preparing meals ahead of time. Out of all the weight loss tips I give this is #1 piece of advice I can offer to get your eating habits on track.
If you need to purchase meal prep containers then check out our favorites here on Amazon.
#4 Drink water.
Drinking water is not only good for your skin and your digestive system. It’s also essential for your body to function, and often the sodium and caffeine in our diets leave us dehydrated. In order to get more water, your body tells you it’s hungry. By drinking a glass of water, you can train your mind to understand the difference.
I use, and love, this CamelBak water bottle.
#5 Put down your phone.
As we have become a multi-tasking, immediate-response driven society, our cell phone goes everywhere with us. And by focusing on something other than the food as you eat, you (a) don’t get to enjoy your food as much as you should, (b) are probably not focusing much on the people you’re there with and (c) could be missing simple cues from your body that indicate you’re full or have had enough. It takes anywhere from 10-20 minutes for your belly to tell your brain you’re full. Think about how much overeating already occurs during that time *without* the distraction of a cell phone.
#6 Choose the one thing you really want, and build your meal around it.
I so admire the people who say “I will just have a little of everything so I won’t overeat.” Eating a little of everything is a guarantee for “I will eat a lot of many things,” for me, so I need to pick the thing I really want at the party, dinner out, etc and build from there. My friends own a restaurant and I *love* their cheese plates, so when we go there I know I need to eat lightly through the day, eat a salad as my appetizer, order fish or seafood with no butter, and swap any carbs for extra veggies. Then I can eat the cheese, guilt-free. If I try to have a bite of fried calamari, just a little mashed potatoes and just half a steak, I’ll end up eating WAY more than I planned, and I’ll feel guilty about the cheese. And who wants to live in a world where they feel guilty about eating the cheese? LOL
With that said, it’s important to keep track of your food and portions. The best way to do that is to use an app like My Fitness Pal or Lose it. Both of these apps will keep you honest with the amount of food you’re eating.
#7 Add veggies. And then more veggies.
My lunches and dinners typically consist of 4-6 ounces of lean protein, a salad and two veggies. Yup, two. I work out often and my metabolism is very high, so that extra veggie or two help keep me satisfied longer!
#8 Limit carbs.
You can absolutely lose weight without cutting out carbs like pasta and bread. Just ask Oprah, who is on TV every day talking about her love for bread! But just because you can, does not always mean you should. Carbs slow my weight loss down, and for me, carbs don’t keep me full and satisfied the way a portion of lean protein does for the same calories. I ate an English muffin every day for the first -60lbs I lost, but now I eat a flagel, English muffin or toast 1-2 times a week. I also make sure we have pasta once a week (or Mr. Big might mutiny), and usually quinoa, rice or potatoes once a week, as well. But they are not a daily event in my life anymore.
#9 Know what your trigger foods are, and develop a plan for them.
For me, French fries are a trigger food. So are snack-y type foods like chips, pretzels or anything that comes in a big ol’ bag. My ways of handling them are (a) don’t buy them or (b) buy individually packs or pre-portion out my serving ahead of time. By not purchasing cookies, crackers and chips, I’m less tempted to eat them, and will instead eat a piece of fruit or some veggies. By buying individual packs or individually portioning them out when I do eat them, I don’t graze or mindlessly eat. I eat my portion and then have an automatic “stop.”
#10 Treat your treats like treats.
I love a Cosmo, or a cheese plate, or creme brûlée. But I know those things are treats and not really healthy to consume daily. As much as I may want them to be, cosmos and desserts are not anywhere in the food pyramid, so I’ve chosen to make eating them not part of my every day life. Weekly life, yes, of course, so I plan ahead for them, get a great run in to earn them and then totally savor them while I have them.
These foods habits helped me get on track to losing over 100lbs. However even if you need to lose 10lbs these habits will work for you, so will these Tammy put together. Oh check out this post for some of Tammy’s best weight loss advice she wishes she learned years ago.
What about you? What are some healthy habits you swear for your weight loss journey?