Everyone knows that you need to burn more calories than you consume to lose weight. But if it were that simple! This is a list of tactical suggestions from the PEERtrainer community to help you lose weight.
This first list is from a woman who lost close to 100 pounds, and still works every day to keep it off:
1. Eating dinner early and not eating or drinking anything after dinner except water
2. Eating wheat bread instead of white bread whenever I have the choice
3. Not ordering appetizers other than salad in restaurants
4. Ordering the best choice I can find (fish, chicken)
5. Asking for vegetables in place of potatoes or rice when possible
6. Not ordering dessert
7. To satisfy my sweet tooth, I have: low fat/non fat ice cream or frozen yogurt, a WW Smart Ones dessert, a Slim Fast snack bar, or non fat sugar free Jello pudding
8. Only drinking water, skim milk, and cutting back to one Diet Coke a day (I used to drink like 6)
9. Not having mayonnaise on sandwiches, only mustard
10. Not eating cheese on sandwiches or burgers, or at all, really
11. Eating turkey burgers instead of beef
12. Not eating peanuts/peanut butter
13. Choosing pretzels, low fat popcorn or low fat chips (like Baked Lay's) instead of regular chips or other salty snacks
14. Eating a LOT of salad, with only low fat dressings
15. Choosing low fat cereals for breakfast, like Cheerios or Kelloggs Tiger Power
16. Exercising 3 - 4 times a week (when trying to lose a lot of weight, doing 1 hour of cardio; when getting closer to goal, doing 30 min. of cardio + weight training to tone up)
This list is from a woman who was considering gastric bypass surgery:
To get an accurate account of what I did to lose weight, I feel like I need to tell about where I was before this journey began. I'm a 38 year old stay at home mom to my five year old daughter. In the fall of 2004 I lost my job. I kept thinking, "I need to join a gym while I have some extra time and get myself in shape." Then, shortly after, I had a car accident that caused me severe head, neck and back pain. Some days I could barely stand up let alone go for a walk like my dr. encouraged me to do. I went into a downward spiral of overeating and unhealthy eating and packed on 20 extra pounds on what I dubbed "my ice cream and beer diet." I made it through the holidays and soon it was spring. My blood pressure was higher than it had ever been before as was my weight at 249. I had borderline hypertension at 134/90 and could feel it in my veins. I was so winded by every little movement I made. I desperately wanted to do something about it but couldn't get myself to the place it would take to start. I did not want to die. I wanted to be here for my 5 year old daughter.
Finally, after a lot of research, my husband decided he was going to have weight reduction surgery via lap band. He told me that I should consider it as well. Surgery. To lose weight. No way. I just couldn't do it to myself. While I completely supported him in his venture, it just seemed like the absolute last option to me. As the surgery date got closer I decided it was time for me to get off my butt and do something. I mean, how could he have surgery and lose weight and I stay fat? Ain't happenin'!
Since he had a very specific diet for the first four weeks of before and after surgery, I let the food in the house dwindle down to nothing and then before surgery went grocery shopping for only good and healthy food. It was slow at first. Just making myself consciensous of what I was eating was a big step. Having my husband be supportive of me and me being supportive of him was a major hurdle. I think that a household needs to support each other through a lifestyle/diet change.
Then, in an email from a website I subscribe to was information about a website that offered support and advice on how to get healthier and eat better. And it was FREE! It was Peertrainer. I joined and was immediately welcomed by the people in my groups. I realized that accountability was going to have to be a priority for me. Even if I ate a piece of cake. ok, two pieces of cake, I had to write it down. If I couldn't admit it to myself, how could I admit it to my group members? Some of the first rules I taught myself were:
1) Eat healthy foods. Whole grains. Fruits. Vegetables. Drink plenty of water each day. I don't drink a lot of caffeine but do allow myself a diet soda on occasion. Diet sodas are really just a lot of chemicals. And some have high sodium. You don't want that extra sodium to retain fluids in your body.
I stick to fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables. Frozen fruits and vegetables are flash frozen and retain almost all of their nutrients. Plus, they don't spoil in the fridge if you can't use them on time. Try to stay away from corn and peas as much as you can. They're loaded with carbohydrates.
I generally have cereal for breakfast. Something like raisin bran w/skim milk. Sometimes I have oatmeal. Sometimes a couple of scrambled eggs. I usually go to exercise in the morning after breakfast so it's not a problem for me to have these carbohydrates. You also need to make sure you get enough fiber in your diet every day so cereal helps with that too.
There are some favorite frozen items that I like too. I like the Boca burger cheese burgers. There's only 100 calories per patty. Also, Voila makes some low carb frozen meals like chicken and garlic sauce and beef and broccoli. They have about 120 calories per serving and there are about 2 ½ servings per package. I have no guilt eating the whole package. LOL
Let me also add that I do not starve myself. Ever. It ain't right! I love my food too much.
2) Be accountable. If I eat something that I know I shouldn't have I don't beat myself up. I don't even say that tomorrow is a new day. I say, "my next meal is a new meal." There's always time to start over. My favorite indulgence is Dove dark chocolate pieces. I might have two or three at a time and it's plenty. It's my favorite so I don't feel like I'm eating something fat free, sugar free, flavor free. Plus, it's an antioxidant so I'm getting health benefits from it.
Peertrainer has helped me so much with accountability. It is so easy for me to keep a window on my computer opened to Peertrainer all the time and quickly type in what I've been doing for the day. Plus, I can read what my group members are doing and bounce things off them. It helps me so much to know that my group members are reading my posts and commenting on them.
It's very motivating.
3) I try to get my major carb items in early in the day. I usually have Kashi go lean crunch as my cereal for breakfast these days. I like how it has fiber and lots of protein. I sometimes a sandwich for lunch. I like to use low carb wheat wraps for lunch too. Then I try to keep it to lean meat and vegetables for dinner. Not that I don't ever eat pasta for dinner or have some brown rice but it really does work.
4) Don't eat after 7:00 at night. This works well for me because I'm usually in bed by 10:30 every night. I know for people who stay up later it's better to stop eating 2-3 hours before bed. This really works too.
5) Keep the food simple. Honestly, I don't even try to make elaborate recipes. For me, the simpler, the better. If I have to put too much effort into a recipe or have to go shopping for too many special ingredients, it gets overwhelming for me. A bowl of cereal, a sandwich, some soup, fresh fruit, steamed vegetables, baked, grilled or sautéed meats work for me.
This helps with grocery shopping too. I like to make baked chicken parmesan with a chicken breast, Barilla baking sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top. No bread crumbs. It's good!
6) Limit the alcohol. Believe me, I like my beer and wine. But not every day. Some nights I have a glass of wine while cooking dinner. Sometimes I completely overindulge in beer while out with friends. But not every weekend. Maybe once of month if not every couple of months. They're empty calories and if you drink often it can really affect your progress.
7) Exercise. Even if you have to start slow you need to get up and move. I started out taking water aerobic classes because I couldn't take the pounding on my joints at the weight I was at. I also took walks in my neighborhood with my dog. It really helps having a dog to walk because they help you keep moving and they love you so much after their walk! After a few months of the water classes I had lost weight and built up my strength and confidence in myself and started trying other classes offered at my gym.
I'm now doing strength training, step classes, free weight classes, stability ball classes, ab classes and swimming, amd I've started taking Pilates classes. I like to get in about 5 good work outs per week. I'm telling you, this works! Mix it up.
8) Sleep. I sleep 8-9 hours a night. Your body needs to rest. If you start exercising your body will need it. If you do strength training your body will need to rest for the entire next day before you strength train again. You will sleep better too if you're exercising.
9) Avoid eating out. I know this can be hard for some people. I didn't have a problem with it especially knowing I have a kitchen stocked with healthy foods. When I do go out I am very consciencous of what I order. I do on occasion order a filet mignon with a baked potato. This is rare but it does happen. I don't deny myself foods that I'm craving because it just makes it worse. I just eat till I'm satisfied and stop. If I go to a buffet I only go through one time. I eat a healthy soup before my meal. It helps fill you before you eat too much of a main entrée.
10) Goals. I keep my goals in check. While I do like to think of the future (next summer) and how I will look and feel, I take baby steps. My first goal was the first 10 pounds lost. Then the 20 pound mark. Then (this is my most important one so far) I reached the weight that I was when I first went to the dr. when I was pregnant. It meant that I finally took off all the baby weight. It took five years, but I did it! My next goal is to get below 200 which will also be my 50 pound mark. This will be especially sweet. I've lost 3 pant sizes :)
11) Weighing. I weigh myself on Wednesdays. I call it Wednesday weigh day. Something about the W's helps remind me. Sometimes I do go crazy weighing myself the other days of the week but only count what I have achieved on weigh day.
I make myself aware of what I'm eating throughout the day. If you make good choices it will all come together. I have good snacks in between meals to keep me going and keep my metabolism working for me. A handful of dry roasted nuts is good as are fruits, low fat yogurt and cheese. Occasionally I like to have veggie crisps chips.
They're crunchy and sometimes I just need that. I'll also have homemade popcorn. I don't buy the microwave stuff. Too much added.
What I've learned over the past 7 months with 60+ lbs lost:
1. If it's not in the house you can't eat it. Purge your entire house and workplace of unhealthy food. If you want to "cheat" you'll have to go out to do it.
2. Vegetables are your best friends. The more vegetables I eat, the more weight I lose. If you're just starting out on your weight loss journey, just add more veggies to your diet and cut out those foods that are overtly unhealthy. If you can't maintain a change of addition to your diet you most likely won't be able to maintain a change of restriction.
3. Move. Start out with how much you are truly willing to do and commit to it. When I first started I could only walk 5 minutes at a time. I commited to doing that 3 days a week. Every month I added an additional 5 minutes and eventually added more days per week.
4. There is no short-term solution to a long-term problem. If you've been overweight for a long time expect your weight loss journey to take a long time. Just being prepared for the fact that it may take years to lose all your weight in a manner that will become your new, healthy nature will help you through those rough spots when you feel like slacking off.
Here is what is working for me:
1. I have cut out all added sugar as well as obviously sweet foods (like cakes, cookies, etc.) For some people, this approach just leads to intense cravings. For me, after a few days, my cravings are at a minimum and my appetite has gone way down.
2. I am NOT a morning person. I find it challenging to have any coherent thought other than "where is the coffee?" before 10:00 am. Nonetheless, I have spent THE LAST FIVE MONTHS converting myself into a morning exerciser. It has taken the full five months because there have been weeks when I only made it to the gym once before work and weeks when I have not made it at all. I have kept at it, however, and am proud to say I have gone to the gym almost every day before work this month. I forced myself to become a morning exerciser because I have just found that life gets in the way of all my best laid plans for mid-day/end-of-the-day exercise. This change has made a HUGE difference in my ability to workout consistently.
3. Exercising 5-6 days a week for 60 minutes (as opposed to 30 minutes) at a time has seriously improved my weight loss.
4. Ensuring that I get enough protein and fat in my diet has been super helpful in ensuring that I am not super hungry.
5. Logging EVERYTHING I eat and drink here on PeerTrainer.
6. And holding everything else together is getting enough sleep. Without enough sleep, I am grumpy, lazy, exhausted and absolutely unable to do anything useful for myself - like eating well and working out.
A couple from me.. some of mine are opposite of other's positng. which just solidifies that everyone is different and motivated by different things.
1. Dress up! Wearing skirts and cute clothes and suits to work, as well as bumping my casual clothes up a bit has really made a difference. When I look good, I feel good. I feel feminine and pretty and am much less likely to sit on the sofa and eat chips. I am Much less likely to go get a philly cheesesteak for lunch at work... when you dress and feel sloppier, you're more likely to eat a bit more relaxed and let things slide. Plus, I wouldn't dream of spilling saucy, caloric stuff on my new silk skirt!! Lettuce doesn't leave a mark.
2. Bring everyhting to work that you could ever want to eat. Lots of it. Every morning I bring in something light for breakfast, usualy fruit and then a lunch. But I also bring cottage cheese, extra fruit, cut veggies, low-cal options and let myself snakc during the day. with lots of options and all of them healthy I have very little motivation to go get cookies or chips. I rarely eat all that I bring in but even if I do, its only another few calories and nothing tragic.
3. If you are going to cheat, then cheat. Don't half-ass it. If you're going out to dinner or to some special occasion, order what you want to eat! Don't stuff your face until you can't move though. Eat a sensible portion and leave the rest. You will be satisfied and, yes, you will have gone astray for a moment but that's easy to fix. It's better than cheating a little and getting some quasi-healthy but not really option that you never really wanted but got because you wanted to be good and are left feeling upset and cheated. This leaves you more likely to cheat again soon with the rationale "well, when I had that sandwich, it was healthy so I didn't really cheat... I have earned it to eat this..." its puts you on a dirty cycle of eating foods that are supposed to be good for you but are just as bad as almost everything else but are masked.
4. From working in the restaurant business for a long time I can tell you that salads, burgers, fish, veggies etc... anyhting in a restaurant has twice the calories you imagine it would and even more than it would if you made it yourself. Any restaurant with a chef (not a chain with line cooks following a pattern) is going to produce meals wiht a LOT of butter, fat, sodium and whatever else can possibly taste good. If you're going to go out, ENJOY it!!!
1. Make incremental changes, don't try to boil the ocean. Make 1 change every week or so, like, eat 2 more servings and fruit and veggies for 2 weeks. Then add on 2 more hours of exercise per week for 2 weeks, then add on another goal every other 2 weeks. You are more likely to succeed with making changes if you do it in baby steps.
2. Give yourself monthly challenges. I did no chocoalte for June and for July I am doing no baked goods. It's just for a month, but it trains me into avoiding specific problem food. Now that I've avoided chocolate in June, I can have some, but I also know I have the willpower to go without. Feel free to reward yourself with a non food item after you've successfully completed a challenge, such as a new purse, shoes, weekend trip, etc.
3. Tell everyone you know that you are making changes, and even tell them what your goals are. This will make you more accountable. If others are expecting you to meet your goals, you may challenge yourself more. Also, those people are less likely to offer you junk food.
4. Take the stairs, park further away
5. Donate your clothes once they get too big, unless you plan to alter them in the near future. This takes away your safety net of gaining weight and wearing them again. I held onto some of my clothes in case I got pregnant, but instead I just got fatter.
6. Believe in yourself!
Here's a fun one -- buy more comfortable shoes and clothes. The other day I wore a cute new dress to work, so naturally I needed to wear pumps, not my usual lace-up walking shoes. My feet hurt so bad I hardly wanted to walk down the hall to the bathroom! With my usual comfy walking shoes, it's easier to have energy to take the stairs, go for a walk, etc.
Also I want to second some previous suggestions:
-- a high-protein breakfast, and don't be afraid of a little fat. This keeps my hunger reasonable the rest of the day. Eggs eggs eggs. And my cholesterol is fine.
-- try for daily exercise (and maybe achieve 4x a week). Find fun stuff -- I like kickboxing, running, tennis. I, too, started w just walking and built up (70 lbs ago)
-- make it a game to eat as many vegetables as possible
-- eat tiny healthy meals all day long, so you never feel starved. Store a variety of healthy food at work. My coworkers think I'm nuts, but it works.
-- lots of water and tea
-- log everything
-- get lots of sleep. This has been proven to help lose weight (probably hormonal effects in your brain) and I can totally vouch for it -- when I feel low-energy I EAT
-- treat yourself in other ways! Very important
-- tell yourself it's okay to spend TIME and MONEY -- on a gym membership, healthier food, etc. People around you may not be supportive of losing your time, or hassle you about the money, but they are both necessary
1) laying out a workout plan for the whole week in advance. i can shift my workouts around, but by the end of the week, i know i have to get them all in.
2) eat cottage cheese and wholegrains for breakfast. it's quick, easy, healthy, a great source of energy, and SO FILLING.
3) eat REAL FOOD in appropriate portions. don't eat anything fake. no high-fructose corn syrup, no partially hydrogenated soybean oil. nourish yourself.
1. Focus on the mental part of weight loss. I spend a lot of time thinking about the person I want to become.
2. Find a calorie counter and use it every day. I make it a fun challenge to find out.
3. I have ultimately lost almost 90 pounds, but I have lost the last 30 - the hardest part - since joining PEERtrainer in May 2005, and I know my biggest successes have been the good habits I have formed as a DIRECT RESULT of belonging to this online weight loss community and being accountable to myself as well as others by maintaining my logs.