fit food · fitness

Finding Balance

For me, learning that food is not my enemy was key in finding my new balance. If you have read my past blogs you know all about the roller coaster love affair I had with sugar and secret eating.  If you have not read about it, I strongly suggest that you take a few minutes to read through some of my other posts.  A big part of who I am today comes from what I learned about myself throughout this weight loss adventure that I am still on 3 years later.

Yes, you read that right…3 years. You don’t gain 90 pounds overnight, it’s a series of events, choices, and life circumstances that lead you there.  The same is true for weight loss.  It is not like I decided to join a gym and 90 days later I was amazingly fit and had it all figured out.  Now 90 days into my journey was I stronger, healthier, and happier than before?  Well that is depends on which fitness journey you are asking about!  The one I started in 2009 before I got pregnant? The one I started after I had my daughter in 2011?  The one I started in 2012 before I got pregnant with my son?  Maybe the time I worked out my ENTIRE pregnancy with my son? I still walked into the delivery room weighing the same as when I had my daughter despite being 15 pounds less when I got pregnant with my son.  The first few times I tried I did not have great success and that’s because I said I committed to the process but did not truly commit or have the knowledge I do now.  During those times I did not know about non-scale victories, proper nutrition, strength and cardio training, and so much more.  I tried MANY times to lose the weight but I would either quit because the scale was not moving, I could not see progress and would get frustrated, or I would lose some weight then reward myself with food.

So, why was the 5th time a charm?  Well, because I stopped looking at it as a diet. This is a lifestyle.  Working out and making good food choices is a lifestyle.  “I cannot eat that” changed to “I’m choosing to not eat that.”  Eating enough food throughout the day stopped the binge eating when I would get hungry.  Also, for me, learning about how to not only track my food calories but also my macronutrients helped me to keep my food balanced and my body happy.  When your body is happy and getting all the nutrients that it needs, your body will let go of stored fats because it is no longer in starvation mode.  I’m going to let you in on some of my tips and tricks. Since there is a lot of information, I am going to break this into 3 posts: Nutrition, Exercise and Non-Scale Victories.  Today let’s start with Nutrition.  I could add much more information under each bullet point but I will provide you with an overview.  Throughout this month I will circle back and post about some of the tips in more detail.

Nutrition:

  • Ask yourself before you eat:
    • Is this food helping my reach my goals?
    • Is it in my macronutrients or will it throw my whole day off?
    • When was the last time I ate off plan: 2 weeks ago, 2 days ago, 2 minutes ago?
    • What is my body craving and is there a food I can eat instead that is a better choice?
  • If you are going on a date night, eating out with friends or going to an event, adjust your macros earlier in the day or make the best choice possible to fit your goals. If you are not tracking macros, simply make smart choices. If you know you are going out to dinner, do you best to eat clean, whole, non-packaged or fast food early in the day.
  • Remove the mindset of, “I messed up on my diet early so I will just keep eating whatever I want and start over tomorrow.” I used to do this all the time. So, count the calories from the one slip up and continue to eat well.  Do not use the one slip up as an excuse to continue to binge eat the rest of that day.
  • Do not reward yourself with food. Food is not a reward, it is fuel.
  • If you have other people living with you, stock your cabinets with good clean snacks for them, it’s less temptation for you and healthier for them. If they have snacks that are not on your plan, try to buy the ones that are the least tempting to you.
  • Eat the cupcake, just one. Don’t take any home, don’t eat every dessert available, and make sure it’s worth it. I cannot tell you how many times I have tasted something and decided it was not worth the calories. I’m not rude about it; I don’t announce I am throwing it away. I simply make the choice to not finish it.
  • Make the cookies, but only bake enough for each family member to have one and freeze the rest of the dough. If the thought of cookie dough in your freezer will drive you bonkers, bake it all and give the extras to a neighbor.
  • Stop saying you will start your diet Monday. Start now, why wait? If you wait you will continue to wait and nothing will change, except your pant size.
  • Track food in a calorie tracking app and be honest. If you eat out, log it. If you pig out, log it. Have some wine, log it. Eat a cupcake, log it! You need to see exactly what you are putting in your body, not just the good foods you choose to track. It helps to see where you can make changes when you hit a plateau.
  • Have food ready. If you have healthy options available, you are more likely to reach for them than some pre-packaged or fast food.

Now some of you are already on your journey and know what a macronutrient is while others are still stuck on the make cookies part and that is okay. For me everything finally clicked once I learned all about macronutrients, especially tracking my carb, fat, and protein grams.  I will soon be posting more in-depth about macronutrients and what has been working for me.  Finally, giving my body what it needed allowed it to let go of the fat that it had been storing.    Again, I cannot express enough that weight does not fall off overnight and a .5 to 1.5 pound weight loss a week is normal and healthy. Even if the scale is not moving, you still need to look for changes in your energy level, gut health, or the way your clothes fist.  Next Tuesday I will post some of my favorite exercise tips and tricks.  Do you have any nutrition tips that keep you on track?  I would love to hear them in the comments!

You can do this.

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