I know there is a ton of information floating around on the internet on how to lose weight. There are diet pills, carb-blockers, appetite suppressants, you name it! Save your money. My personal opinion is, if you can’t do something for the rest of your life, don’t do it at all. That includes restrictive dieting. I don’t recommend it. Restrictive dieting can actually harm your body and metabolism for the long-term, causing you to become flabbier (or fatter) over time. Not good!
When I set out on my journey to lose 50 pounds, I had no idea what was going to work, but I knew I had to make a lifestyle change for long term success. It took me a few years of trial and error to find out what worked best. I hope this saves you some time! Had I known what would really work, I could have lost the weight in 5-8 months.
Here are my top tips for healthy and sustained weight loss.
- Eat every 3 hours, at least 5 meals a day.
Nutrition determines 80% of your results. You cannot out train a bad diet. I know people who work out six days a week and never see a change because they never change their nutrition. I used to be one of them. Choose 5 small meals to make up your day. For each meal, choose a lean protein, complex carb and veggie. Eat healthy fats in moderation. If you are trying to figure out how many calories you need per day to be successful, I recommend taking your goal weight and multiplying by 10. Then adding about 300 more calories for training.If you want to really get your body down to a science, you can try counting macros. There’s a great calculator on Bodybuilding.com.
You can meal prep ahead of time or if you don’t have much time (like me chasing my toddler) you might want to go with a meal replacement shake at two of those meals to save time and money.Supplements only “supplement” a healthy meal plan so you can’t rely on only shakes to get you through the day. You need to make some healthy meals to have on hand. If you are sensitive to dairy, I do recommend a plant-based shake for you. I would avoid soy and sucralose if you go with another product line. Those ingredients are not good for you. The meal replacement shakes I use have 24g of protein and carbs, so I don’t have to worry about adding fruit or any extras that add to the cost. I simply add water, ice and blend (or shake in a shaker cup).
These meal replacement bars are some of my favorite options for when I’m out and about. If your kids are active or in sports, these are great to stick in your purse and go! They give you no excuses for missing a meal or running through the drive-thru. Plus, they are cheaper. The bars don’t taste protein-ish or have some weird after taste. These taste like dessert! Here is a dairy-free meal replacement bar option. These are delicious, too! I have a BIG sweet tooth so this line has kept me from making unhealthy decisions plenty of times. My favorites are lemon crunch, chocolate decadence and oatmeal raisin. I recommend this product line to all my friends and family, even my grandmother uses it.
I choose this line because it’s all-natural with no artificial sweeteners, it’s gluten-free, soy-free, hormone-free and undenatured. It is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Love it! Plus, let’s be honest, you can’t find a healthy meal anywhere for $2.85 – $2.99. The last time I went out to eat for a healthy meal it was over $20.00.
- Stay Hydrated
In order to meet your weight loss and fitness goals, it is important to stay hydrated. 60% of the human body is made up of water. Drinking water will benefit your body in the following ways:
- Helps you avoid fluid retention and bloating
- Improves your metabolism
- Maintains body temperature
- Allows nutrients to flow freely through the body
- Increases your body’s ability to burn fat…and more
The average sedentary adult should consume 2.2 to 3.0 liters, which equals about 75 – 101 ounces. This is approximately 9 to 13 cups per day. An athlete who participates in a workout program should drink about 8 additional ounces per 25 pounds of body weight. I personally consume a gallon of water a day (128 ounces). I find that by drinking my water and keeping my body hydrated, I am less likely to get hungry before it is my meal time.
- Work Out
You are probably thinking, “Duh, Kelsey. That’s an obvious.” I used to think I needed to do an hour of cardio a day to get “skinny.” That was my goal in college, skinny. My, how things have changed. My goal now is to build lean muscle so I burn more calories all day. Ladies, weight training changed my body. You won’t get bulky, you will get lean AS LONG as you focus on your nutrition as well. If you lift heavy but eat junk food, your jeans can fit a bit tighter because you’re adding muscle but not losing much fat. When nutrition and weight training compliment each other, it’s a beautiful thing! Plus, it’s a really cool process.If you are not sure where to get started, you should try one of my workout plans. I will have you feeling great in no time if you follow my plan. You have to be ready though. No one can make that decision but YOU! You don’t have to spend hours in the gym to get results. I typically work out in 45 minutes. I work out at home or at the gym, so I build my plans that way for others. You don’t need much equipment either. Check out this blog post I wrote about my favorite home equipment.
- Cheat Meals in Moderation
I don’t diet, I eat for my goals. While you are on your journey to build your strong, healthy body, I recommend eating one cheat meal a week. If you find you are not getting to your goals fast enough, you can skip cheat meals for a while. On your cheat meal, you can eat anything you want. Pizza and wine, a cheeseburger with fries, you get the idea. The goal is to eat until satisfied, not binge eat and make yourself sick. As a rule of thumb, I like to save my cheat meal for a Sunday afternoon because I like to start fresh on Monday. Sometimes people indulge on Friday night and that can send them into a downhill spiral for the entire weekend. I’ve definitely been there!
Okay, friends! This advice is simple, but not always easy to stick with. The nutrition part is what people struggle with the most. If you are a meal prepper, make some healthy options to have on hand when the weekend gets here so you won’t be temped. If there’s something in your pantry that’s unhealthy and “calling your name,” throw it away. Chances are, your family doesn’t need it either. Or, if there are things your kids eat that tempt you, have something on hand for yourself that you would rather have. Mine happen to be my meal replacement bars that curb my sweet tooth.
Just know that not everyone will understand your journey or your goals. That’s okay. Just keep plugging away at the vision you have created for your life. If someone offers you a tempting food but you’ve already had your cheat meal, don’t tell yourself you can’t have it. When you do that, you want it even more! Tell yourself, “I can have that if I want it, I just don’t want it right now.”
Lastly, if you find yourself falling off the wagon, identify the action (or lack of action) that made it happen. Maybe you went too long and skipped a meal. Maybe you consumed too much alcohol at happy hour. Maybe you got busy cleaning the house all day and let yourself get dehydrated. Whatever the case is, identify it, then prepare better for next time.
I often take a mental note of how a certain food or drink makes me FEEL. If I consume something super unhealthy for me, often times I feel sluggish or gross in an hour. Making that mental note of how I feel makes me think twice next time I am faced with the decision to eat or drink it- or not.
Hope that helps! Love you all.