Want to get healthier but don’t exactly know where to start? Having a plan definitely makes it simpler so I’ve outlined a couple steps to help you during this new project in your life.
- Know what it takes to lose weight. You need to burn more calories than you consume and create a 500 calorie deficit. If you’re eating 2,000 calories a day, you should cut back to 1,500 calories. So how do you know how many calories you’re eating and burning? There are a few tools you can use to help you with this.
The first is an app called My Fitness Pal. It’s an awesome way to track calories and macronutrients (protein, carbs, fats) from foods and also track the amount of calories you burn from cardio exercises. You can input your current weight, goal weight and how many pounds you want to lose per week. It will give you the whole break down at the end of the day of your nutrition + fitness, and how much you’d weigh in a couple of weeks if, for example, you did everything the same as that day. Pretty motivating if you ask me.
Secondly, using some kind of Fit bit or fitness watch/tracker can also help get an average of calories you’re burning by tracking your heart rate. Some I’ve seen to be popular are the Polar A300 watch which comes with a chest strap to track your heart rate.
Thirdly, using a food scale. Although I’ve personally never used one, it seems like a good way to learn portion control. It can be used particularly for meat or any food thats serving size is in ounce form. When starting to change your nutrition habits, measuring food will be important to learn the correct serving size per meal.
Note: These tools are simply suggestions and not at all required to lose weight.
Although counting calories and measuring food is not for everyone, it’s an aggressive approach if you want to laser focus on your goals. I am a huge advocate for flexible dieting, but again, for a more aggressive approach, this may be something to consider until you get into the swing of things.
- Create a workout schedule. Think about your day. What time can you make the daily commitment to exercise and for how long? It doesn’t have to be very long if you do a high intensity workout. 15-30 minutes is better than nothing at all.
- Create your workout routine. What kind of workout are you going to try first? High intensity training will scorch calories so try exercises like jump-roping, jump squats and burpees. High intensity exercise is tough so expect to feel challenged. Just remember that it doesn’t matter how slow you go as long as you don’t stop. Workout alone, with a friend or find mommy and me workouts on YouTube.
Try this 10 Minute Victoria’s Secret Model Workout on YouTube. I promise it will have your heart racing and it’s ONLY 10 minutes. No excuses.
- Clear your cupboards of tempting junk and go grocery shopping for healthy food and snacks. If the cookies and chips are not there, you have no choice to eat it. Healthy grocery shopping can be exciting! Choose lean protein, vegetables, fruits, whole-grains and high protein-snacks. Stay away from added and artificial sugars. Key tip: Stay on the outer perimeter of the grocery store. The middle aisles tend to have more of the things you want to stay away from. Learn how to read labels here.
- Create your daily nutrition timeline. Figure out the times you eat and what you usually eat. If you work early in the morning, chances are you are grabbing something quick to eat which may not always be healthy or maybe skipping breakfast entirely. By lunch time you are famished and susceptible to over-indulge in high calorie foods. Instead, you should spread your meals out into smaller ones throughout the entire day – about 2-3 hours apart – to keep your metabolism up and running. It might even help to set alarms with fun captions like “Eat a snack” or “Fuel yo’self” so you don’t forget to eat or just listen to your body.
Try to model this daily eating routine: Breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, and low calorie, easily digestible snack before you start winding down for the day. Your meals should include a combination of protein, greens, grains and veggies. Your snacks should be high in protein. Key tip: When reading labels, snacks should contain double digit grams of protein and single digit grams of sugar.
Breakfast Ideas: Oatmeal with 1 tbsp Peanut butter, protein shake, egg whites with spinach, avocado toast, omelet loaded with veggies, turkey bacon, turkey sausage, vegan options, healthy and green smoothies.
Snack Ideas: Celery with Peanut butter, carrots, grapes, apple slices with peanut butter, turkey slices, veggies and hummus, cheese sticks, cottage cheese, hard boiled eggs, greek yogurt, trail mix (You can create your own at Wincos or Sprouts. Opt for unsalted, raw nuts with no chocolate), half a sandwich, bananas.
Lunch & Dinner Ideas: Collard green chicken wraps, whole grain breads for sandwiches with Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted bread and Dave’s killer Bread, grilled chicken breast, sweet potatoes, mixed green salad, ground turkey, stuffed bell peppers, spaghetti squash, Buddha bowls loaded with black beans, veggies and protein, salmon, shrimp, brown rice and quinoa. The list is endlessly delicious!
- Log your progress. Keep track of your current and goal weight. Take your body measurements and progress pictures of yourself, too. A couple of months from now, you could look and feel totally different. Log your energy levels and how you’re feeling. Make any notes that will help motivate you and allow you to see how much progress you’re making. Get a cute fitness notebook, start a blog or a vision board.
- Binge search for motivation. Pinterest, Blogs, Instagram, Facebook. Look for someone or something that inspires you, research new recipes to try – make the foods you love healthier by switching up the ingredients, find new workouts to try at home or at the gym. Get your partner, a friend or family member to make the change with you. Have some kind of accountability to keep you on track.
Okay, you’re all set! Now the rest is up to you! There are so many reasons to get healthy including increased energy which anyone would dream of, feeling better physically and emotionally, being healthier, living longer, more confidence, etc.
Remember that you are allowed to put yourself first. When you take care of your health, your energy and enthusiasm will radiate towards everyone around you. You’ll have a better outlook on life, improve your work performance, strengthen your relationships and start to actually live and enjoy your life in the present moment. Good luck!
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get a full grocery list. Thanks for reading!