So, it is about that time of year we all start to figure out what our New Year’s resolutions will be and wonder if we will actually follow through with them. In the past few years I have been a bit more practical when making my resolutions. For example, last year I committed to flossing every single day. Something relatively easy to incorporate into my daily life and something I really should be doing anyway – and it actually turned into a habit!
So – I know the large majority of us has a different kind of resolution in mind. Weight loss. The scariest resolution of them all. But don’t worry!! It can be easy!! Just remember, baby steps.
The easiest way to stick to a diet and actually seeing results is to make little changes and add to them. Which is why a New Year’s resolution is the perfect start to this journey!
So, the first step is to consider your daily diet. Is it fairly healthy with a few bad choices here and there? Are you addicted to fast food and pop (or soda, for you non-Mid-westerners) like I used to be? Just love food too much to cut the good stuff like carbs, fat, and sugar out? Well, the good news is, is that any good diet never forces you to cut anything you love out of your diet cold-turkey.
Here are a few small things that I did to drop 25 pounds (yes – 25 pounds!!) in 6 months. Disclaimer: this may not work for everyone and you have to be committed to the lifestyle change.
6 Easy Changes I Made to Lose Weight and Be Healthier
1) Cut out sugary beverages
Ok so I used to be obsessed with Dr. Pepper. And juice. And chocolate milk. And fancy coffee drinks. THESE ARE WASTED CALORIES PEOPLE!!! Of course, they are delicious, but are those few minutes drinking them worth all the sugar, calories and extra weight gain? Not really. These are easy habits to break as well when you do it slowly.
Coffee for example, just use a little bit less creamer and sugar each time you drink, eventually you will begin to love the strong, bold taste of hot, black coffee in the morning. And when you think about juice, wouldn’t you rather actually eat the fruits instead? You could have like 5 pieces of fruit with that sugar intake!
2) No more butter
So, when I studied abroad in Spain, I learned this trick the hard way. My Host-Madre was a major health freak and despised butter. I remember one day I had a friend over to our apartment (it was just me and Madre living in a flat) and we had made popcorn and she was furious. I remember hearing “engorda mucho!”, meaning l would get really fat, about 100 times a day after that incident.
“But how do I cook without using butter?!?”
I was wondering the same thing!! But this is seriously the easiest swap and it tastes way better, too. Use a little bit of extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil and you’ll get that healthy fat intake as well! (I am obsessed with olive oil)
3) Walk at least 2 miles a day
So, you probably think you need a crazy cardio and weights exercise routine to lose weight. This might be true for some people. But for me, I honestly do not exercise at all. I hate sweating. One thing that was super easy for me to incorporate was a few miles of walking. This is even easier when you live in an area with lots to see, but is also super manageable on a treadmill (which is what I do most days).
Did you know walking at an incline actually burns more calories than running AND doesn’t kill your knees?! Win-win in my book. Yesterday I walked for 20 minutes and burned 200 calories – say whaa?? This is easy – you can do this!
4) Incorporate more veggies
Think of it this way – it doesn’t count if it’s veggies. I truly don’t think you can go overboard with the veggies, unless it’s a filler veggie like corn or potatoes (if you consider that a veggie). I bulk up most of my meals with peas, green beans, tomatoes, spinach, and a TON of mushrooms. Pro-tip: sweet potatoes and mushrooms are so good roasted in the oven. Another easy way to get your veggies is to start lunch and dinner with a small side salad, and incorporate veggies somehow into the main dish.
5) Substitute fish, eggs, and beans for your protein intake
I think the main contributor to my weight loss was cutting out all the burgers, bacon, and other red meat. Living by the Mediterranean during this time, I ate more fish than I’d like to admit. Fish is such a great source of protein, you can cook it a million different ways, and keep you full for several hours
I think eggs need to be their own food group. I eat eggs at least once a day. One of my favorite things to eat is eggs with a little bit of taco sauce on a tortilla. SO GOOD. Scrambled, poached over veggies, fried with avocado – the opportunities are ENDLESS. And FYI the whole “the yolk is bad for you because of cholesterol and stuff” thing is a myth – there are different types of cholesterol, but I won’t get into all that now.
6) Chug water
This is the easiest step. My college roommate and I tried to do the gallon-challenge my last semester of school where you would carry around a gallon jug of water and drink it all within that day. This was really hard to do the first few days (or weeks if I’m being honest). I went from drinking maybe 2 glasses of water a day to a gallon a day!
Eventually, your body will crave the water so it won’t seem like such a chore to drink the water. Now, I don’t drink a gallon every day anymore but I definitely have upped my water intake. I drink probably 2-3 liters a day, which is enough to keep cravings down and feel fresh and energized!
Like I said before, these may not all work for you or your body type but it definitely worked for me! Take a few of mine and make up a few of your own. Or completely change my regimen into something of your own! Just find a few small steps/swaps you can take that you can follow through with!
The moral of the story is: small steps, big results.
I promise, you’ve got this!