I'm certainly not perfect in the weight loss arena but there are a few strategies I've learned along the way that have helped me out time and again.
1. Don't rely completely on the scale for input. It doesn't tell the whole story and can be frustrating as water weight can vary as much as 5 pounds daily. And muscle gain can look ugly on the scale but take up less room on the body. Take measurements and photos for progress feedback.
Don't believe me? This is Deb Hunter. She is the exact same weight in both pictures but a size 12 on the left and a size 6 on the right. I'm not kidding. If she only relied on the scale she would have been frustrated that she was working hard but making no progress. Measure and go by how you look. Not just that silly scale number.
2. Plan ahead before going out to restaurants. Try to find their menu online. Decide before you go what you'll order and don't stray. See if their nutritional info is available online. Ask the waiter/waitress to take away any chips or bread (unless you're with other people who may not want you to send it away.) Deciding what I'll order before I go has really helped me. Otherwise, I tend to stray to the dark side.
3. Keep a list of restaurants that are friendly to your way of eating. For instance, I know I can eat at Chipotle easily. Also, Red Robin will wrap any burger in lettuce and I can get steamed broccoli instead of fries. Carl's Jr has a low carb burger.
4. If you know you'll be on the road and eating fast food, check the nutritional value of items before you go. Often chicken salad looks like it'll be a good option but they can be high in carbs and calories because they brine the chicken in a sugar mixture. Sometimes I'll get a burger and toss the top bun. Or crumble the burger meat and cheese into a side salad. Just have a plan.
5. Again, if you know you'll be on the road, bring along some snacks. Some of my favorite non-refrigerated snacks are nuts and beef jerky. I also will put a little ice pack in a lunch bag and bring olives, cheese and/or a guacamole pack. I've also brought deviled eggs, boiled eggs and slices of cooked chicken before. You do what you gotta do.
6. Make a menu. It can be for the week or for every 3 days. Whatever works for you. If you know exactly what you'll be eating day to day, all of the guesswork is taken out and you're not standing in front of the fridge at 6pm wondering what you're going to cook for dinner then throwing your hands up in the air and just going out instead and then ordering bad stuff. I know. I've done that a couple of times this week. Shame shame! I've found that the more I plan (including breakfast, snacks, lunch, dinner) the better my success.
7. Always, always keep something that's easy to grab and eat in the house. Something that doesn't require cooking. I like to have some strips of bacon, boiled eggs, jerky, cheese, olives, nuts and fat bombs at the ready. That way there's never an excuse even though I can probably find a way to make up an excuse.
8. Don't wait to lose weight before you start taking care of yourself. This is my newest lesson learned. Don't wear something just to cover the mass.....dress nicely. Care for your skin and hair. Put on makeup if you wear it. Don't just wear race tee shirts out (that was about all I wore). Don't wait to lose the weight before you start caring for yourself. Do it now. Life is too short to wait anyway. And it'll make you feel better about yourself. You'll care about what you put on the inside when you care about the outside.
9. Go for a walk. My doctor told me to walk 15 minutes every morning when I was diagnosed with insulin resistance/PCOS. Walking is easy on the joints, requires no special equipment and makes your muscles more sensitive to insulin for hours after the walk. It also releases feel-good hormones and makes for a happier day. 15-30 minutes. Also, if you happen to monitor your ketones, exercise raises your ketone levels.
10. Don't give up. If you mess up don't just throw in the towel for the rest of the day and go crazy. It's like dropping your cell phone and then running over it with a truck instead of just picking it up. Get right back on the wagon, don't beat yourself up, and move forward.
11. Recreate favorite restaurant recipes at home. It's fun and you can control the ingredients. I'm currently working on transforming a very high carb meal from Pei Wei into a low carb option for a cookbook. Yay! More info on the cookbook later. I'm just contributing.
12. You haven't failed as long as you don't give up. That was a hard one for me to accept. Each diet that I failed? No, they failed me. But I learned something along the way and it finally led me to what works best for my body.
13. Don't worry about what everybody else is doing. Do what will work for you! I'm low carb because that's what works for me. Optimally, low carb/paleo works the best for me. But that may not be best for you. Especially if you can't sustain it. I had to find something that would remove my cravings otherwise I felt weak when around the stuff I normally wanted like soft pretzels and pizza.
14. Be patient!! Worry about being healthy and being hot will be a side effect. Work on health and everything else will fall in place.
15. Strength train. Two-three times a week. You can even use body weight exercises. It's easy to find things. You can go to Mark's Daily Apple and on the right side is a place to subscribe and you will get a free ebook about Primal Fitness that goes over easy body weight exercises you can do.
16. Don't skip meals just to cut calories. You'll end up hungry and overeating. Lesson learned there!!
17. Don't be afraid to experiment to find what works for you. You'll learn a lot.
18. Keep a positive outlook! Self explanatory.
These are things that help me. Do you have any tips to help?? Please leave them in the comments. We can all learn from each other.