There is a lot of talk about dieting, getting in shape,
Now, before I move on to the list let me quickly tell you my story . . . (did I lose you, yet?). About five years ago I was in denial that I had gained over 25 lbs. How? I got married. I got busy. I got lazy. But, being in denial I went to the doctor to see why I was feeling blue, tired, lethargic, my hair was dull and thinning, my skin looked horrible (I sound awfully attractive, don't I?) . . . you name it. I was ICK. I knew part of it could be attributed to the PCOS, but that didn't explain everything. I started unzipping my pants and tucking back the button. I started wearing larger and larger sizes. My wedding ring became stuck on my finger (I just figured I was swollen--water retention). The clues were all there--including the ever increasing number popping up on the scale.
The doctor wanted to put me on some meds to combat some of the symptoms. I decided that before I went the medicinal route I was going to try to tackle this with my diet. Why did I decide this if I was still in denial about the weight gain? Simple. I knew I wasn't eating all that well--I'm not that naive (and I have a biology minor and a background as a personal trainer--clearly not using either at the time!). I knew that a lot of the foods I was eating could very well be impacting my moods, skin, hair . . . so, why not? Plus, I finally realized that ALL the scales in the doctors' offices I had been on could not be wrong. (Though I did think for awhile there was a scale conspiracy.) What did I have to lose? After reading/skimming a bunch of diet/nutrition/fitness books for ideas, I started to formulate an easy, lazy chicks plan to eat healthier, lose weight, and feel better. I don't believe in a one-size-fits-all plan. I educated myself, took the best ideas for me, and put it all together. My overall philosophy is MODERATION. I don't really eliminate anything . . . why deprive yourself? Life is way too short. What I did may or may not work for you--but consider the tips as more weapons in your get healthy arsenal . . .
Without further adieu, I give you some of my top 13 tips/strategies:
1. I love cake. Can't live without it. Well, eat it! But, instead of adding the eggs and oil to your favorite cake mix, add a cup of pumpkin and a cup of water. Bake according to the directions on the box. Top with whipped cream and viola--YUMMY!!! AND, you save nearly 100 calories per serving!
2. I hate salad. I mean, I don't hate hate it. I just hate making it and hate the fact that it sits in the fridge for way too long . . . so, instead of salad, I am big into veggie marinades. Take celery, carrots, olives, red and green peppers, green onions, and any other veggie you like (I avoid cucumber and tomato unless you'll eat it all within a day or so). Mix it with olive oil/vinegar and some Italian seasoning and put in the fridge for a few hours. Super low fat, low calories, and satisfying.
3. Take the above recipe, cut the veggies into even smaller pieces, heat it up (stir fry is best), wrap in a tortilla shell (careful, these can have lots of calories) or lettuce. Add a little mozzarella (lower in fat, melts nicely, and tastes yummy).
4. I have a major sweet tooth. Some of my not-so-guilty pleasures: Dark chocolate, Jello squares, Nilla wafers topped with a banana and whipped cream, apples and peanut butter, yogurt (Activia and Yoplait for digestive health are my favorites).
5. I am a carb addict. I mean, who isn't. Warm, buttered, white bread . . . oh my. I opted for a 100% whole wheat variety when I could. However, when wheat would just NOT do it for me, I bought a bakery loaf of white bread and cut it in really thin slices. I got my white bread love without the extra calories (and I barely noticed the difference).
6. Warm liquids. I don't know what it was, but a cup of tea or coffee when my appetite was raging was enough to calm it down.
7. EGGS!!! I love eggs. You can buy Egg Beaters or just nix the yolk. Use olive oil instead of butter. Add veggies, a little cheese, some garlic salt and viola! I would eat eggs for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Protein=appetite suppression . . .
8. Stir fry city. I loved stir frying. Broccoli, mushrooms, onions, peppers. Throw in some water chestnuts, pineapple, nuts, edamame (soy beans). Meat eater--chicken, lean beef chunks. Some seasoning and/or Teriyaki sauce and you are good to go. Serve over brown rice or noodles--or not!
9. I'm a snacker. I sometimes just need something. Anything. Quaker Rice Cakes, unbuttered popcorn, pita chips (cut up a pita, spritz with olive oil, sprinkle with either garlic salt or cinnamon/sugar-Splenda and bake), string cheese, trail mix (make your own--peanuts, walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, raisins, dark chocolate chips, whole grain Cheerios or similar cereal).
10. Other yummy desserts--make Rice Krispy treats without the Rice Krispies--use Fiber One or Kashi Go Lean cereal instead. Or, use 1 box of above cereals with 1 12 oz bag of chocolate chips. My sis-in-law refers to these as Poo Poo cookies. :) Click on the picture for more Fiber One recipes.
11. EZ Strategies that don't take a lot of work . . . I eat on a smaller plate. I try to eat my heaviest meal at lunch. I attempt to have all my eating done at least 3 hours before bed. I ask for a take-out box when my food comes at restaurants. I eat half at the restaurant and save the other for tomorrow's lunch. I FORK my salad dressing. Instead of having them pour it over, I order it on the side. I dip my fork in it and then load the salad on. Grab some snack size baggies and make your own 100 calories pack snacks of your favorite foods--a heck of a lot cheaper than buying them prepackaged--or try this idea! I opt for water with meals (I don't bother drinking a big glass before I eat with hopes it will curb my appetite--that just makes me have to go pee . . . ). I chew gum. I munch on nuts before a meal--especially going out to eat. I wear a belt when I go out to eat--not kidding. It makes unzipping and tucking my buttons back a lot harder.
12. Just move . . . even a little. You all know that my treadmill and me are not the best of friends. I mean, we like each other, we just don't like spending all that much time together--even though we know it would be good for out relationship. I love being in shape and feeling fit. I just don't always have the time and willpower to work out every day. So, what I do is SOMETHING every day. I make it a point to MOVE. In the am I wake up and right away do some crunches, modified push ups, mini squats, stretches. I do the same in the evening (just at a slower, more relaxing pace). I don't spend hours doing this--maybe 10-15 minutes max. You may ask, "What good will that do?" Well, it is more than doing nothing, right? Plus, it gets the blood pumping, muscles moving, and metabolism primed. There was a while when this was all I had time to do (teaching schedule was really hectic and my treadmill and I had a major falling out). My body may not have looked like anything you'd see in a magazine, but it remained fairly toned. I didn't put on any weight even though I had all but abandoned a regular work-out routine.
13. Finally . . . I can't stress this enough. Keep a food and activity journal. Use a little notebook, start another blog. I didn't keep up with one forever, though it would have been a good idea. But, the time that I did do it helped me understand my eating habits. For me it was valuable information to see that I was having issues with sugary foods and with portion sizes. I also realized that I was spending way too much time in front of the TV and computer. Also, keeping a journal makes you accountable. And, it might be the very thing that keeps you front eating certain foods. You'll ask yourself, "Ugh. Do I really want to get up, fetch my journal, and write about eating that Krispy Creme? Nope. Too lazy." Click on the picture for an article from Real Simple on how to keep a food journal. Want FREE online food journal? Try FitDay!
What was the outcome of my Lazy Chick's plan to get healthy? My skin started clearing up--it looked a lot brighter. My hair started falling out at a slower rate and eventually returned to its normal thickness. I lost a decent amount of weight. Although the actual weight loss per the scale was slow, the changes in my body were evident week after week. Clothes fit better. Areas were firmer. My belly fat didn't flop as much. My behind didn't feel all jiggly. Most of all, I felt better, healthier. To me, that was the most important. Out with skinny--in with healthy! Out with feeling yucky and in with feeling yummy! Life was good . . .
Where am I now . . . nearly 8 months post baby and I'm back at my pre-pregnancy weight. Things have most definitely shifted, but that is to be expected and it not necessarily a negative thing. I don't stick to the "plan" above like a diet. Just suggestions, ideas, strategies for keeping me feeling good. And, best of all, with this "plan," there is no need to punish yourself if you eat a whole box or Crunch N' Munch or ignore your treadmill's pleas for attention . . . you'll survive. It's all about moderation, moving, and feeling good . . .
*Upon reading this post a fifth time I realized it was riddled with errors. I was so eager to get it out that I did a horrible job proofreading. Please forgive me . . . I think I caught most. If not, forgive me again . . . *English teacher bows head in shame*
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