If you’re anything like myself you have a hard time with losing weight. Since I was 10 I was considered overweight (for my age) and that has followed me into adulthood. I feel like I have tried so many attempts to get in shape, working out, eating right, starvation, and even diet pills (I would sneak my mom’s supply from the cupboard) and nothing stuck. Mostly because I never did the right stuff together, I either ate great but didn’t work out and was lazy or I would exercise and eat crap food, nothing ever really linked up for me. I knew I never wanted to take the easy way out, no surgery, lipo, things like that. I also never had consistency, I can blame it on many things in my life the made me this way but regardless, I have been my own person since forever and if I truly wanted to succeed then I wouldn’t let the excuses get to me.
My best success was back in 2015, I was on a Paleo diet, several of my cousins ate Paleo and it was easier for me to know what to do and talk food with them. I got excellent tips and was motivated to keep going, those cousins were also personal trainers and fitness models, so it made me want to exercise more. For the first time in my life, I was doing things right, eating properly AND working out at the same time! I was 47 pounds down and feeling the best I ever did, I kept up with this for the better part of a year. In June 2015 I graduated from college and promptly moved to LA, I was excited about this, I had money a career, a healthier lifestyle and I was ready to take on LA!
The day before my first payday (I was planning on getting a gym membership with this) an idiot kid pulled out in front of me and pretty much totaled my car! So began months of depression, financial damage, and significant damage to my overall health. I gained almost 50 pounds, my eating habits were horrible, and the most working out I did was taking Beowolf for walks because that was all I could do. I always had body issues and was not comfortable exercising outside in public, so I didn’t. Living with my grandma was no picnic at all, I love her to death, but living with her is not for the weak hearted. I solely relied on her to take me everywhere which was nowhere if she had her way so forget about dropping me off and picking me up from the gym, all my money went to saving for a car of my own, we lived with the windows closed in near total darkness, and her negativity sent me into a downward spiral.
Fast forward to March 2019
This past year has been a bit of a roller coaster, but it’s been progressively better! Finally the time has come to restart the lifestyle I started years ago but living 500 miles away from the cousins who helped me before it all boils down to me myself and I. Sick and tired of hot summers where I feel uncomfortable wearing unflattering clothes or hardly wanting to leave my house because sweating and difficulty breathing was not appealing.
Lucky for me I have always been someone that when I showed consistency with my habits I would see results. The problem usually is a length of consistency, I lose 5 pounds and treat myself with a cheat meal that leads to a cheat day that never ends.
I started researching, everything, all over again, from the science behind willpower to relearning the benefits of eating Paleo. Then I reminded myself of all the tips I had back in 2015 (I had an awesome journal with everything that helped me before, but it disappeared and now I’m re-creating it from scratch!)
My tips (and pretty much what I’m doing again):
1. Drink water– Because duh. Water is good for you for an abundance of reasons, and it plays a huge factor in the success of weight loss. Keep an aluminum bottle with you always, not something too big, something easy to carry with you and refill frequently.
- Lubricates organs
- Clear skin
- Full lips
- Hydrated hair
- Helps you feel full and staves’ cravings
- And those are just a few!
2. Meal prep- Yes you read this one repeatedly. This will never change unless you have the will power of a monk. Mainly this helps with keeping you from making impulse decisions, you get off work and you’re starving, it’s been a long day and you really don’t feel like cooking. Creating dishes to wash just seemed like more work when all you want is to eat and watch tv. Obviously, you pick a day to do all your cooking try to be as efficient as possible, cooking items at the same time and using similar ingredients to different variations. Example: You cook up some grilled chicken, with asparagus and brown rice. The brown rice can go a long way and cooking the asparagus with other veggies will save time. Then you can add the chicken to each meal with different seasoning or toppings. Pick several easy grab-and-go snacks that you can choose from at any given point.
Now nobody is perfect, I certainly am not, so making a list of places you are likely to go to will help you. Then within that list create a cheat sheet, items you can eat that won’t break your progress. Stick to that list the best you can. If your order comes with a drink just get water or tea unsweetened (if you need sweetener, add it yourself or just get used to drinking it plain).
3. Grocery shopping- So Paleo, in a nutshell, is eating anything not produced in a factory, if it wasn’t altered in a warehouse then you can eat it. Fresh produce, meats, nuts, and seeds. My personal rule is shop along the outside perimeter of the grocery store, staying away from the middle isles. Don’t get things in a box or can, bags or wrappers, etc. Frozen selections would be the exception of this rule as I like to buy frozen foods to save money and still eat clean.
4. Consistency– The first few days will be easy but then the temptations come, work party has a cake and candies, holiday food with delicious gravy and stuffing! Whatever the reason there will always be temptations, which will test you, the colorful sweet foods will call your name like a song. Try not to think of it as saying “No” that subconsciously messes with your mind and then suddenly by telling yourself no you find yourself wanting to say Yes even more. Eventually, you cave and reason with your mind that it’s just a small bite, or one piece or half a slice. Try telling yourself that it isn’t No forever but No, for now, use phrases like “that’s not good for me” or “I don’t need that”. Wording it differently will start to change the way you look at junk food and will boost your will power.
5. Willpower- This is one I struggled with my whole life. In my early 20’s I started admitting that I have no willpower, I said it so much it was my excuse for everything, and I started believing it. After doing research I learned that willpower is not something you are just born with, it’s a skill that you acquire. Your own mental reasoning is what strengthens your skill, maintain your resolve now for a bigger payout later. We all have willpower that is weak or strong in a different aspect. For instance, I have great willpower when it comes to certain things. For example, I love maple and chocolate covered donuts but pretty much all the others I can pass by, I don’t hate the other ones and would still eat another type but if I don’t see my faves in the box I close the box and walk away. Some girls at work go nuts over chocolate candy, but me I can live without having a piece, though white chocolate I go nuts for.
Training your mind to start looking at clean food the same way you look at junk food will turn your appreciation to eating right when you start seeing junk food for what it is, then you won’t be so eager to eat it or crave it.
6. Exercising– When I started exercising I told myself that 10 minutes a day of something is better than 0 minutes of nothing. I read an article that said squats are the ultimate full body exercise, that if you only do 1 exercise at all, let it be squats. So that’s what I did, 5 minutes of squats in the morning and at night before bed. Eventually, I included push-ups and crunches. I like doing body strengthening exercises at home for 2 reasons. 1- I can start conditioning myself with muscle memory and just doing HIIT. 2- I had a gym membership at so many gyms: 24-hour fitness, LA Fitness, Fitness 19, MMA Compound. All of which I paid every month for membership to a gym I NEVER attended, so I learned not to waste my money on things I’ll never use.
So I started working out at home, doing what small amount I can just to remain consistent and build a habit. It takes 21 days to build a habit and so 25 was my goal, for good measure. Every day no matter what time it was I made sure I did something, anything, for 10 minutes. Once your stamina is built take the exercise a little further, increasing it each time when you’re ready. Consider it like leveling up in a video game, setting goals each time.
If you’re looking for routines to try you can find them just about anywhere, Pinterest is an amazing start it has images of charts that you can save to your phone or write out to keep track. There are many apps you can try that as well will tell you what exercises to do and will even time you or count your reps. YouTube is one of the biggest platforms for at home work out videos, from dancing routines to straight forward personal trainer. Look through some videos and find what works for you.
I created a Workout folder that saves all the videos I enjoyed so I can easily find them when I need them, I also subscribe to my favorites to get the new videos.
7. Journal– Write it out however you want. I see people who chart what they actively do each day, keeping track of everything will help you see your progress and monitor your habits. This will show you what areas you’re high and low in. For me, this is usually high in sugary foods and low in exercises which severely needed to change.
I did my journal a little differently, I used it like it was a manual, keeping my recipes and the workout routines I find online so I can access them quickly and not need my phone. I number all my recipes and workouts so when I chart them I can just use the number and refer to them, so I don’t have to re-write it each time. Do your journal how you feel it best to keep you on track and make your life easier.
8. Weight- This is the biggest draw for someone wanting to get in shape. Even this should be routine, weigh yourself at the same time every time but don’t overdo it. There is such thing as weighing yourself too often, we plateau, we fluctuate. Ladies we bloat for a week out of every month. Life comes into play with our weight so try not to stay focused on that too much. Muscle weighs more than fat, so you can’t solely rely on 135 pounds looking the same on everyone. The shape and how you feel is what matters most, fitting into a pair of jeans or climbing a set of stairs without losing your breath.
Again give yourself a goal to strive for, taking the stairs to the floor of your building for work, training for a marathon, or finally getting to wear that bikini for the beach trip! For me, it was an outfit, a nice pair of jeans and top I’ve had for years but could never fit into. The scale just gives you a number to work for, but the clothes don’t lie.
9. Don’t give up- Okay so you did pretty good, but you cheated and skipped a day of working out, that makes you feel like you fell off and so there’s the end of your diet right? Wrong! Just because you skipped the workout today, there is always tomorrow! You cheated at breakfast so there goes your diet for the day right? Nope wrong again, there are still 5 meals left in the day to stick to it! A moment only lasts for a short while, what you make of the rest of them is what matters.
10. Finally, have fun! – Clean living can be hard at first and temptations are everywhere to throw you off, but once you get used to it you really start to love working out and eating clean. Your body was designed to thrive off a healthy lifestyle and once you get nonsense out of your system your body will tell you what it wants and crave what it truly needs.
I know this was a long post, but I hope it was helpful. I like many others out there know what it’s like to fall off the wagon many times, I cheat, skip workouts and full on just fail. It’s about getting back up and trying better the day.