I have to be real here for a minute: growing older can be both a wonderful thing and, at the same time, majorly frustrating. I love looking back at all of the blessings in my life and am thankful for so many things. One of those things was the ability to just hit the reset button after putting on a few pounds with my eating and exercise routine and see near real-time results. Now, what used to take weeks takes months! What is up with that?!?!? This year, I’ve decided it’s time to put some effort into building solid habits I can live with over time instead of those quick fixes I (sadly) can no longer rely on.
My friend, Stephanie, was also struggling, so we started working with a personal trainer a couple of weeks ago. (Adam at Fitness-4-U in Lebanon – he’s great!) Adam also specializes in nutrition, so we are learning about fitness PLUS eating strategies as we go. In fact, Adam says the secret to weight loss isn't just working out, but healthy eating. It actually accounts for 70% of success! So far, working with Adam has been a good thing for Stephanie and me. If you’re thinking about making some changes with regard to healthy habits, I highly recommend checking out options in your area for training. And, if you have a friend to help spur you on, even better!
I love Adam’s formula for health: it’s not just working out that makes you lose weight. Even more than the time you spend at the gym, the choices you make about what goes in your mouth can make a huge impact on your results. Adam recommends 30% protein, 50% carbohydrates and 20% good fats as a basic nutritional breakdown over the course of a week. Apps like MyFitnessPal and LoseIt provide great insight into what is going into your body if you are in to tracking food. In the past, I’ve started out amazing with tracking when I dieted, but had a difficult time sustaining that habit (especially when I’ve ‘cheated’ and don’t WANT to log my food!)
For me personally, giving in to the notion that I’m too tired to cook is a great excuse for dining (pigging) out. I also like getting together with friends for lunch and struggle with making healthy selections when a juicy burger with bacon is delivered to the table next to me. So, how to beat these temptations? GOOD STUFF AT HOME that takes a few minutes to pull together and enjoy (or pack for snacks and lunches). The good news about eating like this is not having to worry about tracking because I know I’m making healthier choices. Now that’s a habit I can live with!
Over the years, I’ve tried a couple of programs to lose weight. At their core, they align with Adam’s nutrition recommendations of 30% protein, 50% carbohydrates and 20% good fats. Eating balanced portions of each for meals and snacks throughout the day makes it easier to keep these targets in mind. A trick to measuring portions is to think of your palm as the perfect size of protein and your fist as the amount of carbohydrates to eat. Your thumb is a good stand in for a tablespoon guesstimate, too.
With those ‘handy’ measurements and a list of great options, it’s pretty difficult to make a bad decision. As long as I can resist the aroma of the burger next to me, this will even work when dining out. To encourage myself, I’ve put together a pretty list of protein, carbohydrate and good fats options I keep on the fridge. It even has a bonus column: vegetables I can eat as much of as I want to! It’s there front and center to inspire me to grab something healthy instead of the phone for pizza. Want to try this, too? Here’s my list with some blank spaces for you to add your ideas as well:
What are some of your favorite ways to make healthier choices? I’d love to hear from you!
Have a wonderful day,
P.S. Here are 8 of my favorite super quick grab & go combos of choices on my list to get a balanced meal or snack. Enjoy!
- Sour Cream - mix cottage cheese with spices in a blender or food processor to make 'sour cream' for Triscuits or veggies or try cinnamon dip for fruit. This packs well in small containers if you make a big batch for the week. Just stir when ready to eat.
- Creamy Goodness to Go - mix yogurt or cottage cheese with your favorite fruit.
- Shake - mix cottage cheese, a little bit of milk, a banana and 1/2 tsp honey for a yummy treat (bonus if you freeze it into pops or use another kind of fruit!).
- Cheesy Bites - slice of cheese + triscuits + microwave for 10 seconds = a yummy snack!
- Italian Salad - fresh mozzarella with slice tomatoes drizzled with vinaigrette. This packs well in a Mason jar the night before for a work lunch.
- Egg Burrito - rinse a ramekin with water, crack an egg and slightly mix, then microwave for 35 seconds; place in a tortilla wrap and enjoy! (bonus with salsa)
- Stir Fry - take any solid protein (fish, meat, chicken) and saute in a pre-heated skillet with a splash of olive oil over medium-high heat until nearly done, then add in your favorite veggies. Try a little bit of soy sauce or your favorite spices to add flavor. Serve over rice and enjoy! Another option is to make a big batch of rice at the beginning of the week, then take out portion sizes and add to the skillet after the vegetables to make stir fried rice.
- Rollups - using a whole turkey or chicken breast lunchmeat, place slices on a tortilla, then add spinach and other veggies. For a bit of zip, add my 'sour cream' first and use a little dollop to help keep the rollup closed.