So I’m gonna break it down for you…every BL Alumni, or someone who has lost a significant amount of weight, has a little bag of tricks they learned along the way to help them lose weight or create habits to maintain their weight.
I’m only speaking for myself and can’t represent the other BL Alumni members or other people’s experiences, but this is MY personal list, and I hope they help you along your journey. So let’s break it down by category:
- Eat within 30-45 mins of waking up. It’s the best way to get that metabolism burning.
- Eat every 2-3 hours. Keeping your metabolism burning, and not letting it slip into a slower pace is done by eating at consistent intervals, once you miss that 2-3 hour window, you have to fight to get it back up…just don’t let it slow down and you’ll be burning all day!
- Don’t allow yourself to get to that hungry point. It’s too late, and you’ll be playing catch-up all day if you get to the point you “feel” hungry. Rely on your time intervals.
- Preplan your meals. Whether it’s the night before or the week before, you need to have a game plan. If you just wake up and take it meal by meal, I guarantee you it’s going to be hard.
- Don’t go grocery shopping without a set list of things to grab. This helps with your budget, but also keeps your eyes off tempting stuff that isn’t on your list.
- Don’t go grocery shopping hungry, you’re just asking to fail and grab something off that chip aisle.
- Watch your sodium. No matter what eating plan you follow, sodium is the killer of weight loss. I use an app called “MyFitnessPal” to track my macro and micro nutrients and sodium is one of them. You can be doing everything “right”, but if your sodium is above 2,000-2,500mg a day you’re flirting with water retention, bloating, swelling, etc.
- Taper down your meals starting with breakfast being the largest or most calorie dense and tapering down by dinner. You may hear me talk about “lean and green” for dinner. That was the #1 rule I learned on the show. Stay away from any starches at dinner (unless you have an early morning lifting session or run that you need the fuel for the next morning.)
- Cut out things like animal dairy (switch to unsweetened almond milk), too much red meat (keep it lean if you do eat it occasionally), and processed carbs (switch to things like sweet potatoes and quinoa.)
- Watch your fruit intake. Now I’m not a HUGE stickler on this one because if I have a sweet tooth I know it’s way better to grab an apple over a snickers. But fruit does have a lot of natural sugar, so you just want to keep an eye on it and limit it to one or two small servings a day, i.e. small apple, small orange, or berries are a good choice.
- Realize that not all fat is bad. This was a hard one for me to wrap my head around because good fat sources are pretty high in calories…hence the higher amount of good protein. Things like 1/4-1/2 of an avocado, 4-5 oz of salmon, 1/4 c of almonds, or a couple teaspoons of olive oil are great sources and actually help you lose MORE fat when you make them a part of your daily meal plan. Portion size is key here, just make sure you’re not taking in too much of a good thing.
- If you can’t recognize an ingredient in a prepackaged food or dressing, don’t buy it (or at least look it up to see what it is.) Adding chemicals into your body will sludge up your revving metabolism, so make sure that you’re buying natural products that may not last as long, but you know they aren’t going to sabotage your goals. I love things like Bolthouse Farms or Tessemae’s dressing, Epic or Chomps Bars and Jerky, Bare apple chips, Simple Mills crackers (if I’m indulging a little and going against my no processed carbs rule), and other natural meat products like Butcher Box and Pederson Farms.
- Not everything needs to be organic. If you’re on a tight budget don’t worry about buying everything organic. Just think, “am I going to take the skin off of this piece of fruit, or eat it like it is?” If you can peel the outside of something it’s not AS important to buy organic because you’ll be taking that outside part with the pesticides off. If you’re eating something like an apple or bell pepper that you won’t peel, then those things might be more important to try to get organic. There’s lots of debate on this one, but that’s the rule I follow.
- Don’t start an eating style that you won’t do the rest of your life. Now, I’m all about using certain tools here or there to help you stay on track, like doing the Whole 30 reset when I’ve gone a little cray-cray lately in the eating department, but if you aren’t going to stick to something close to it the rest of your life (like Whole 30-is or Paleo) then it’s probably not something you’ll end up being successful with.
- Cheat with veggies!! If it’s not time to eat yet, but you’re starving…cheat with veggies! Whether you get a little veggie tray together with some hummus, make a giant salad, or throw a steamer bag full of your favorite veggies in the micro…it’s going to fill you up and get you through to the next eating time without throwing off your plan.
- Start small. If you haven’t been working out for awhile…or ever, than you’re not going to show up to the gym and run a 5K and do an hour worth of weight lifting. Take it slow and give yourself realistic goals, i.e. “I’m going to walk on the treadmill and raise the incline a little each couple of minutes for a total of 30 mins,” then be proud that you did that and move on.
- Never do the same cardio for more than 30 mins. The fastest way to get results is to keep your body guessing. If you go and walk on the treadmill for an hour, at the same pace and same incline, your body gets use to that and it’s not challenged anymore. The minute your body sees the routine, it’s going to stop progressing and get comfortable. If your goal is an hour of cardio, split it up between 2-3 different exercise.
- If you can carry on a conversation, you’re not working hard enough…period.
- Keep progressing. You should never be using the same amount of weight, or running at the same incline/pace for more than 1-2 weeks. Continuously be adding a couple pounds and maybe drop your reps, or speed up the pace, but drop the incline a little until you gain strength, when you can start adding on more. It should NEVER feel comfortable, easy, or routine.
- Do something you actually LIKE to do. Crazy concept, right? If you HATE running…don’t run. If you think group classes are boring, don’t go. But if you like hiking, cycling outside, or dancing around your living room, then those are the things that you should make a part of your routine.
- Have some kind of accountability. Whether you’re a social media person, have a workout buddy, are part of a mom’s club that are all trying to get healthy together, or part of a weight loss competition at work…having someone or something to check in with will get you through the temptation moments and keep you motivated.
- High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) will burn WAY more fat in WAY less time. Pinterest or Google “HIIT routine” and you’ll see what I’m talking about. These are usually 10-15 mins worth of “balls to the wall” exertion. You will go hard for 30 seconds – 1 minute with everything you got, followed by 30 seconds of a slower pace, then right back at it…back and forth for 10-15 mins. This spike in heart rate, followed by recovery is what’s going to TORCH fat.
- Rest day is essential. You shouldn’t be working hard seven days a week. If you want, you can do “active recovery”, which is like taking a leisurely walk or some yoga classes to work on flexibility or flushing out lactic acid from your week of hard work.
- Getting enough sleep is even more essential. You can be working super hard all week and doing everything according to plan, but if you’re getting less than 6 hours of sleep a night, you won’t burn fat or build muscle like you want to. Letting the body go into a state of prolonged rest is when the results actually happen. If your body can’t rebuild muscle and burn fat during that sleep cycle it’s not going to during the day. Taking the time to get your body used to a new routine is crucial, and if it means taking your calcium right before bed or drinking some sleepy time tea to get you in a restful state, then that’s what you need to do. This is the MOST overlooked part of a healthy routine, but in reality it’s the most important.