I don’t really like focusing on weight loss.
I think the goal should be good health and strength. Weight loss can be a pleasant byproduct of that. For some people, good health may mean gaining weight, for others, maintaining weight but adding muscle mass.
That being said, you may find the following information useful as you seek a healthier lifestyle:
First up: Know your body morphology. We are all so different in our physical structures. Here is a great website to help you determine your morphology, along with considerations for your specific body type. Never ignore this.
And then…figuring out your own caloric need is imperative. This all depends on your age, your height, how active you are, your gender, etc. This is a handy little calculator for all of that.
Once you have an idea of how many calories you need to consume every day, I suggest some serious calorie counting for a month. Here’s why: Calories simply represent fuel, and most of us have no idea how much fuel we’re putting into our tanks upon eating any given food/meal. Case in point: I was once shocked to discover that my beloved basket of chips and salsa at Chili’s gave me 910 calories. Guys….my little 5’3″ frame needs 1,130 calories a day. After a month of the (c’mon, annoying) practice of counting calories, I had pretty much memorized the calorie content of my general canon of foods, and, yes, this did help me pause before I carelessly opened the pantry door. I personally love the MyFitnessPal app for my phone because it’s free, it has a handy bar code scanner that I can use to quickly find nutritional info on nearly anything, and it also has a “friends” function so that I can share my daily food/workout log with other people. This one function, the friend function, adds so much accountability! My husband and I do this, and I cannot tell you how many times I would talk myself out of eating junk because I did not want him to see that.
As far as meal planning, I have two strategies to suggest. The first is eMeals. This is a great thing. You choose a meal plan (such as “Quick & Healthy”, “Low Carb”, etc), along with your preferred grocery store. Every week eMeals will send you a new weekly menu, along with the grocery store items and pantry staples that you will need to prepare the meals. It just saves time and helps us eat healthier meals. (*Note: Take the time to search for a coupon code if you’re going to sign up; there are usually a few floating around…)
We utilized eMeals for three years? I think? Don’t know, but it was awhile. Now I have a huge binder full of recipes from them, but of course our family didn’t like every recipe we tried, or even prepare every recipe, but we did emerge with many favorites, and so what we’re doing now is: I’ve downloaded a free trial version of Paprika on my desktop, and am paying my 15-year-old to enter in every eMeals recipe, every cookbook recipe, and every recipe on torn bits of paper that I’ve saved over the years into the Paprika library. Once this is complete, I will get the Paprika app on my tablet and phone. The app is cloud-synced, so I’ll be able to view every recipe in one place, and the app will also create shopping lists for me based on which recipes I select. I’m really excited about this!
Another (perhaps) helpful hint to get healthier is to simply have a designated lunch/snack prep day. I personally like to shop on Friday evening or Saturday morning and then chop up veggies and boil eggs the following day. Bell peppers, cucumbers, sugar snap peas, some pineapple, egg salad, turkey roll-ups, whatever. And experiment with different dipping sauces! Check the labels, but a tablespoon of balsamic vinaigrette, or some soy, or teriyaki…probably not going to break your calorie bank. I also like to pre-mix some peanut butter concoctions to spread on apples for lunches. I’ll mix a few tablespoons of peanut or sunflower butter with a teaspoon of flaxseed (fiber!) and some hemp seeds.
If you’re trying to decrease your white bread intake, consider some Joseph’s lavash with some low (or no) sodium deli meat and some olive oil and vinegar. And you know it’s OK to just eat an avocado, right? Like for lunch. And sprinkle some salt on there (this kind–support your thyroid).
And that’s all I’ve got for now.
Join me next time for a lovely discussion about fiber, whole grains, and poop. You’ll not want to miss that.