Weight loss is on lots of minds coming into 2018. The commercials about New Year’s resolutions are already starting. Last month I shared my weight loss journey and received many calls asking : “how did you lose so much weight?” and “how are you keeping it off?”. This month I will share my list of “Making Healthier Decisions” and hope that it will inspire you to live healthier in 2018 and beyond.
***Disclaimer***I am not a dietician nor a weight loss expert, the following was what worked for me. I followed a medically supervised weight loss plan using the Cleveland Clinic Modified Protein Sparing Fast (MPSF) which has been around since the 1970’s and am currently on “maintenance”. No matter what anyone tells you– Pilates and Barre classes do not cause weight loss unless paired with a sensible eating plan, lots of discipline and the decision to make this a permanent lifestyle change. It’s really not rocket science, you already know these things are true.
Eight Steps to Take Every Day to Stay on Track for Weight Loss
1. Eat Breakfast Every Day. I never ate breakfast. As in EV-ER. As long as I can remember, I had hot cocoa as a kid and coffee as an adult. I always thought that having an empty stomach was the best when exercising. Except, that I wasn’t exercising either! Now, I eat breakfast every day. As part of my eating strategy, I need to eat a specific amount of protein which includes egg whites. I make a low-carb protein pancake with liquid egg whites that keeps me feeling full and energetic. To add more flavor and some extra protein, add a half scoop of protein powder. I am a big fan of Quest Protein shakes. Ah-mazing flavors (banana cream, cinnamon crunch, chocolate chip are a few of my faves), sweetened with stevia, high protein/low calorie ratio.
2. Eat Lunch Every Day. Ok, so I skipped breakfast AND I skipped lunch too. Then I was so starved I ate too much at dinner and before bedtime. Now, I always eat lunch. Lunch is six ounces of protein, a cup of cooked vegetables and unlimited raw green vegetables. Easy to find in any restaurant or take in a lunchbox. As a back up, I always have a protein bar, a package of salmon or kosher beef jerky with me in case I can’t get a protein. My challenge is that I also observe the Jewish dietary laws of kashrut aka “keeping kosher” meaning I do not eat non-kosher meat or poultry, pork or shellfish in either a restaurant or at home. Before going on the MPSF, I would order pasta or cheese pizza. Since pasta and pizza are no longer choices for me, its a bit trickier now. Dining out offers relatively narrow choices, meaning that I choose either vegetarian or fish entrees as a rule unless I am at a kosher restaurant when I can order meat. For you, my dear reader who does not keep kosher, you have many more protein options and possibilities when dining out.
3. Have a Snack. I have a protein snack or a fruit around 3-4pm. Cottage cheese, non-fat sugar-free Greek yogurt, cheese stick, or a Quest protein drink instead of going for the sugary Starbucks choice. The goal is to never let yourself get hungry. Loving caffeine, I do indulge in a Starbucks grande Americano with half and half (I pour it to control the amount) and a Splenda from time to time. Too bad Starbucks hasn’t gotten on the sugar-free bandwagon as they only offer two sugar-free flavoring choices (oh Peppermint Mocha! oh Pumpkin Spice! I do miss you sometimes) and even their iced teas are filled with sugar.
4. Plan Ahead. Be organized. Make meals ahead and freeze them. Make your healthy choices convenient. I grill a dozen chicken breasts and turkey burgers, weigh them with a food scale (6 oz. packages) and freeze. When I come home after a long day at the studio, dinner will be ready quickly without my urge to binge. Clear out your shelves of the temptation foods and replace with what you should and could eat. I suppose it could get boring but I welcome the sameness and lack of decision making when it comes to meal planning.
5. Cut Out the Sugar, Bread, and Alcohol. This part is hard when you’re a sugar addict. However, it is remarkable how quickly the weight will come off when you stop eating those things. Going from size 22 to size 2 is the best motivation to give them up forever. It’s really easy to give in to social pressure, family pressure, holiday pressure with all of the above, believe me. Passover I did not have the Four Cups of wine, matzo balls, or my famous Strawberry Fluff. Everyone expected me to and looked at me like I was crazy. Vacation? Going out to eat every meal would have been a great excuse but I found that the waitstaff in restaurants were awesome and made sure I got what I needed. Halloween–there are Hershey bars still sitting around untouched. Dessert isn’t the reward-the way I look and feel is. Weight loss is 90% mental. You have to be ready to make the decision and strong enough to carry it through. Eventually everyone else will see you are serious and will support you but it can be lonely at the beginning. I think I will write another post on sugar soon and how addictive it is.
6. Drink Lots of Water. If you’re thirsty, you’re dehydrated. If you’re hungry, you’re probably dehydrated. Hunger is often just thirst. Buy a 32 oz water bottle, fill it and drink the contents twice every day. Water, green tea ice tea, herbal tea–drink!
7. Track Your Intake and Movement. Back in 2010, I bought one of the first FitBit trackers. It was a little bitty thing that clipped onto my bra (and once in a while ended up in the washing machine by mistake–oops!) and I wore it religiously. Not just wearing it, using it to log my foods and activity. In yonder days, the food logs were so primitive, everything had to be manually input from the ingredient labels. It was a huge improvement when the UPC label could be scanned and the FitBit database has grown tremendously. To this day, I log in my weight every day, my foods, and my movement. I don’t wear my FitBit anymore but still use the tracker app. It’s really great to see my historical trends – weekly, monthly, yearly and since 2010. I don’t get hung up about weight fluctuations of a pound or two, it’s the overall trend that I watch. The activity log includes all kinds of movement even housework and gardening so no excuses! Katy Bowman has some great ideas on everyday movement if you are not the exercising-type.
8. Move Your Body Every Day! Get off the couch. Get away from the fridge. I love that my Apple Watch tells me to get up and move when it senses inactivity. Pilates has helped me firm up loose skin on my arms, back and abs that frequently accompany weight loss, has improved my posture and flexibility while Burn at the Barre classes have burned off more fat and sculpted my lower body. All of my beautiful lean muscles that have been hiding under layers of fat are becoming visible after years of hard work! Let me help you sculpt your body at BellaBody Pilates! Movement everyday will make a huge impact on your mood, energy, waistline and confidence. Come visit me for a 30 minute complimentary consultation to learn more.
For more fitness inspiration, call Deborah Lavinsky PMA®-CPT at 602-318-5068 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit facebook.com/thebellabodypilatesShare