I never thought I’d be the type of person to shun Juicy steaks in favor of working out six days a week, putting arugula in my fruit smoothies and rocking adidas tiro training sweatpants 24/7. I have no shame anymore.
My goal is to lose 20 pounds in a healthy way and my motto is: anything goes. Although I’m still quite new at this, I’ve learned some things already that have helped me out so much, and I’ll back it up with science to convince you! From one newb to another (i’m presuming), here are the top things that the pros don’t tell you.
A.k.a I discovered some things through trial and error, and i’ll let you know what they are so you can learn from my mistakes.
- You will never have all the information you need to begin. Start today, listen to your body, and learn along the way. If you wait until you feel like you’ve done all the research you need before you start being healthy, you’ll never actually get your butt off of the couch and start moving. That’s because the amount of conflicting fitness information on the internet could bury the earth 10 times over. (okay, I’ll admit, that’s not a scientific measurement, but I thought some motivational advice from someone who always wants to get all the facts before starting a project would be helpful too. I GET it. You want to know what the best diet is. What will give you results without damaging your body in any way. But don’t let that prevent you from starting your journey in the first place.) As Shia LeBeouf says: JUST DO IT! Also just remember:
- weight loss = using up more calories a day than you take in (KEEP IT SIMPLE)
- 3,500 calories is about 1 pound of fat. So that means, if you screw up and binge let’s say 5,000 extra calories of food one day, the number on the scale the following morning will say that you gained 10ish pounds overnight. BUT DON’T PANIC. That’s all water weight and other stuff you’ll get rid of with one satisfying poop the day after. (tmi? Good, now you know. Like I said, no shame here). The real question you need to ask now is if one binge is enough to justify giving up on your weight loss goals. Most likely your answer is: no. If so, get back on the horse as soon as possible and drink lots of water to flush those toxins out! No biggie. We all screw up. Don’t let it become a habit.
- That being said, if you binged because you felt really hungry, that means you’re restricting your calories too much and your body is telling you that you need more fuel. That means, don’t starve yourself the day after a binge (i’m talking about under 800 calories here), because that could lead to you binging again the same night or the day after (cycle!). The rule of thumb is to eat around 500 calories less than you need to maintain your weight in order to lose weight. Here’s a quick calculator: https://authoritynutrition.com/how-many-calories-per-day/. Here’s another calculator to figure out your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE): https://www.iifym.com/tdee-calculator/. That is, how many calories you’re burning a day (not just by working out, but by just living and being a potato).
- Going to the gym is really important for building muscle, but if your goal is to lose weight, your primary focus should be your nutrition. You can’t burn the five cups of rice you scarfed down for dinner by pounding away on an elliptical for two hours. At the very least you’ll break even. Don’t be afraid to count calories! I didn’t realize how much I underestimated my food intake before I started counting calories. You can get a solid food scale for under $20, and you can even scan in the barcode of most packaged foods on MyFitnessPal to get the nutritional info and macros (proteins, fats, carbohydrates- the things that make up the calories in your food. SCIENCE!) I’m not saying that working out is unimportant. You just can’t neglect your nutrition if your primary goal is to lose weight, thinking that your hours in the gym will “even it out.”
- If you blend blueberries, you will get jello! (not the good kind hahah) And if you try to stir it up to turn it back to liquid, it will remain jello- just the chunky monkey kind. It’s because blueberries (especially unripe blueberries) contain a lot of pectin, a primary ingredient in jams and jellies. Lesson: don’t put a lot of blueberries in your smoothies.
- Don’t overlook accomplishments that are not on the scale. Being able to run faster, farther, jump higher, lift more, be happier and have more energy should be just as important as the number you’re getting on the scale. When I first started working out, I couldn’t do a single pushup. I mean full, chest-to-ground, arms-past-90-degree pushup. Not a single one. So instead of struggling with half-ass full pushups, I did “girl pushups” and other modified pushups around 4 times a week (3 sets of 10 reps). It’s only been two weeks, and I just did my first actual pushup. Pretty wimpy if you ask some people. But me? I am over the moon! I can also run for 40 minutes now without stopping, which would have been impossible for me one year ago. I weigh about the same weight, however. 😉
- Recognize if you’re an emotional snacker and find another way to keep yourself occupied because food should not be your answer- I need to improve on this! So far I find that setting an alarm for 20 minutes after I first get that craving is really helpful. If I still want the food after 20 minutes, I’m probably actually hungry so I can go fix myself a snack. If the feeling passes in 20 minutes, it was probably just a craving.
- SLEEP MORE! Other than scientific froofroo (here, here, and here) that backs up this statement, sleeping earlier will make it impossible to get those late-night munchies. WIN!
- Sneak popcorn rice cakes (or your own popcorn) to the movie theatre to munch on instead of popcorn. It tastes the same, you avoid 1,000+ calories of movie popcorn (THAT’S 1,000 CALS UNBUTTERED! YAH! IKR! I COULDN’T BELIVE IT TOO) and you feel like you’re not missing out on anything when your friends are eating movie popcorn.
Did any of these tips help you out? I’d love to know! Again, I’m not a pro, I’m just a girl who’s slowly turning her life around one kale smoothie at a time (lol).