If the ideas of trimming down, making healthy changes, and boosting confidence appeal to you, then look no further! (Well, look a little further… like, at least to the bottom of the page).
I’m no health or nutrition expert. I’m just a girl who decided that it was time to crack down and get serious about eating cleaner and getting leaner. Over the course of six months or so, I shed a few pounds, gained some lean muscle, and increased my energy. There are so many factors that play into fitness or weight loss, but I’d like to share a few of my guidelines that helped me get where I wanted to be.
- Drink lots of water.
You’ve heard it before, but it’s so true! Sip on it all day long, and don’t go anywhere without a reusable water bottle. It will help hydrate you and keep away belly bloat.
- Choose foods where you can pronounce all the ingredients.
Basically, stay away from anything highly processed. Or better yet, shop for foods that don’t even have an ingredients list such as produce, eggs, and grains.
- Make one day a week totally meatless.
The power and deliciousness of plant-based proteins should not be underestimated. Experiment with lentils, quinoa, beans, eggs, and tofu. Meat eaters may be surprised at their versatility!
- Dinner: mostly lean and green.
The whole “carbs after dark” thing is widely disputed, and I definitely don’t think carbs should be treated as enemies. But I eliminated rice, potatoes, pasta, and other starchy carbohydrates from my dinners. If I do have carbs with dinner, they take up a small amount of room on my plate, and don’t steal the show from my protein and veggie.
- Don’t bring it in the house.
Know your weaknesses, and make them inaccessible. I’ve been known to overdo it on yogurt-covered pretzels (there’s crack in there, I’m telling you) and trail mixes, so I stopped buying them.
- Downsize rather than eliminate.
Even though I was eating all healthy foods before, I was eating more than I really needed. A bowl of cereal AND a banana AND peanut butter AND a yogurt for breakfast was way too much! Try cutting your portion sizes in half and saving the other half for a snack later on.
- Don’t eat past 9 PM.
… But snacking at 8:58 is totally okay (just kidding… kind of). I have found that I don’t really need to eat too close to bedtime. If I’m truly hungry past 9:00, I’ll have a low calorie, high protein snack just to stop the grumbling.
- Incorporate strength training.
I’m looking at you, cardio bunnies! I love a good run or spin class, but strength training 2+ times a week totally leaned me out and changed my physique.
- Remember the 5 P’s: Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.
I have borrowed this mantra from one of my high school teachers, because it really applies here! I plan and prep many of my meals in advance in order to avoid the whole “standing in front of the fridge and eventually just eating everything” situation when I get too hungry. We’ve all been there.
- Keep it up!
Trust the process, and know that even small steps will still bring you that much closer to the finish line. When you start seeing results, you’ll be even more motivated. Now go do it, you got this!
By Emily Gasper