Saturday, February 21, 2015

Three steps to weight loss

There are three things you need to do to lose weight.

ONE:  Watch what you eat - balance your nutrition.

TWO:  Exercise.  Weight bearing exercises are essential.  Most women do cardio only.  Cardio is not enough.  I used to do 30 minutes on the elliptical machine and got out of dodge fast.  Now I do cardio, stretching and weight lifting.  I am at the gym six days per week, for at least for one hour, sometimes longer.  And I don't mind!!!!  I like the results I see.

Disclaimer:  This is not me, it's a model for another website.

THREE:  Stick with it.  Don't give up.  There will be ups and downs along the way.  Setbacks should not become road blocks.  Do not detour, just get back on the wagon.

This blog is about nutrition.  If you want to look lean, you must eat right.  Fad diets are not going to do it for you.  I do not adhere to any of them, as they do not result in long term weight loss or maintenance.

The most important step is to keep track of EVERYTHING, and I mean EVERYTHING you eat.  Use an app, such as My Fitness Pal, or one that came with your Jawbone UP 24 or Fitbit.  Input your health information and follow the app's nutritional guidelines for calorie intake.  There should be a healthy balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fat.  The number of calories you eat depends on your height and weight.  Remember, if you put it in your mouth, log it!

The next most important step is to drink plenty of water!!!!

It's only when I started logging my food that people actually started to notice that I had lost weight.  In December, when Dimitriy said, "If you want to lose weight, you need to keep track of your food," I reluctantly agreed to try it for a week.  It's February and I'm still doing it.  Since my November weigh-in, I lost 22 lbs and my body fat went from 36% in November to 28.6%.  That's a pretty radical improvement and it certainly motivates me to be more religious about my eating habits.

Here are some MUST haves for your grocery list:

  • Protein Powder (Look for whey protein isolates - 24 grams of protein per serving is what you want.  These come in different flavors.  I prefer vanilla because you can mix it with different things to make it taste good.)
  • Protein Bars  (Watch out for high carbohydrate counts in the ones at the grocery store!!!)
  • Almonds (great to snack on between meals)
  • Almond Milk  (I am not lactose intolerant, but almond milk is lower in fat and calories than milk.   I buy the plain kind and I don't drink it, I mix it with the protein powder or put it in my oatmeal.)
  • Bananas
  • Frozen mixed berries or other frozen fruits
  • Fresh Spinach
  • Mixed greens
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Eggs
  • Greek yogurt
  • Cottage Cheese (I prefer the chive flavor)
  • Feta Cheese
  • Peanut butter 
  • Ground chicken and ground turkey  (the ground turkey serves well in place of ground beef, but when it comes to a burger, I must have ground chicken)
  • Frozen chicken breasts  (I buy the 10 lb. bag of frozen, boneless, skinless ones at Costco.)
  • Frozen steamer vegetable bags (any variety)
  • Oatmeal
There may be other things you want to include, but these are my must haves.  As it is February, I am relying on frozen fruits and vegetables.  This will change when the local farms start producing fresh produce.  

For breakfast, I eat a fruit smoothie with protein powder almost every day.  Sometimes I have a three egg frittata with spinach and feta cheese.  (I use cooking spray to keep the eggs from sticking to the pan.)  

For lunch, it's often home made vegetable soup with protein from the previous night's dinner.

Dinner changes, but is always protein and a vegetable, which is typically a bag of frozen steamer vegetables.

I eat snacks in between - a handful of almonds, a protein bar or shake, a banana, a piece of fruit, a handful of grape tomatoes or a Greek yogurt.

If I am low on calories after dinner, I will have oatmeal.

Note:  I eat bread and pasta very sparingly.  I prefer my carbs to come from other sources.

I crave hot fudge sundaes.  My friend Hannah gave me this suggestion as a substitute:

1 over-ripe frozen banana
1 tbsp. peanut butter
2 tbsp. chocolate sauce
1/2 c. almond milk

Put it into a blender and you have a healthy version of a  "banana split."
This is a 331 calorie snack, with 9 grams of fat, 6 grams of protein and 52 grams of carbohydrates.

I had one last night.  It was delicious and held me until bedtime.  While high in carbs, I had plenty left over for the day, so it satisfied me without the guilt.

Experiment with different recipes.  Try new things.  Eat the calories you are supposed to consume, based on your height and weight.  This is important.  Your body needs calories to burn calories.  If you starve yourself, your metabolism will slow down.