7 Tips For a Healthy Lifestyle

There is no magic bullet for losing that excess weight, and living a healthier lifestyle.  In today’s post I will share insights based on what has worked for my wife and I on our weight loss journey.  Right after Christmas, my wife said she was going to start Weight Watchers.  I thought it would be better for both of us if we were both eating the same things, and I also had some weight to lose myself.  My starting weight was 268 lbs with a goal to lose 48 lbs. Over the last five months I have lost about 33 lbs.  My wife is at a similar place in her journey.  I am definitely out of my area of expertise in diet and nutrition, but I want to share what is working for us and why we are extremely hopeful that we can meet our goals, and keep the weight off.

Share the Journey with Someone

The first thing I have to admit is that much of my success is due to my wife Diane, who does most of the cooking, and I fill the gap many of the days she is working late.  The biggest help is that we are both working towards the same goal.  A good team is better than the best individual.  If you are going to start a weight loss journey, it will work better if someone is taking the journey with you. If that person eats from the same kitchen and you are both supportive of each other, it is even better. Don’t let it stop you if you don’t have someone to share the journey with yet, and read on.

A New Lifestyle Decision, Not a Diet

If you have in your mind that you are going on a diet the statistics show that you will be more likely to gain the weight back.  When we started we agreed that we were starting a new lifestyle, not just going on a diet.  We also knew that whatever habits we started had to be something we could sustain indefinitely.  If you can sustain a healthy diet for a period of at least three months, your appetites will change, and make it easier to maintain.  The important thing is that you see it as an indefinite commitment to a healthier lifestyle.  Making a healthy lifestyle decision is much better than trying a diet program.

Don’t Starve Yourself

I have to give Weight Watchers (WW) credit for this one.  There is something to the science behind their program.  They assign points to all of your food based on the facts on the nutrition label.  Without getting into the deep specifics, foods that are higher in fiber and protein are weighted lower in points than foods of similar calories with lower fiber and protein content.  Foods that are processed, have sugars / syrups, and bad fats, are weighted higher in points than their more healthy counterparts with the same calories. Because of this we have gotten into the habit of favoring protein and fiber in our eating habits.  We also avoid high sugar and processed foods because they are so high in points.  There are also foods that are 0 points.  If you have a failed diet day, you don’t have to starve yourself until the next morning.  

Track What You Eat

If I had to credit one thing for my success, it would be this one.  Before we started this new lifestyle, I would have told you my diet was pretty decent.  I would have also told you that I didn’t often over eat.  Just having an easy way to quickly log all the things I eat, and being conscious of serving size, fat, and sugar content has been a game changer.  I have found that a salad with two tablespoons of dressing, tastes just as good or better than one where I just poured until I thought it was enough.  An extra tablespoon of dressing has a third more fat and calories than two.  

Weekly Cheat Day

Give yourself a cheat day once per week.  Everyone’s body is different, but I think a cheat day ramps up the metabolism, and you’ll get more benefit out of eating lighter the next day.  Another thing a cheat day does is gives you something to look forward to each week.  This also lends itself to not starving yourself.  If you starve yourself your metabolism will slow down.  

Cleaner is Better

I have found that since I have eliminated or reduced  sugars, bad oils, dairy, and processed foods that I rarely feel bloated or stuffed in a bad way. Up until recently I told people that it feels good to be hungry, but I realized that it was the fact that I felt lighter and emptier. I wasn’t getting many of the foods known to cause bloating and weight gain. Before starting this new lifestyle I didn’t eat nearly enough fruit and vegetables.  They didn’t taste as good as those processed foods designed to increase cravings.  Now that my diet is clean, a good piece of fruit tastes like dessert. After I had lost the first twenty pounds I did a short elimination diet.  I found that while I didn’t have an obvious food sensitivity, that dairy and bad oils were causing me to feel bloated and otherwise bad after eating.  The oils that most restaurants cook with are seriously bad for you.  Many people also have sensitivities to dairy and gluten without knowing it.  If you can, I recommend that you experiment with eliminating foods from your diet and properly supplement nutrition.  I actually did a published elimination diet from an integrative medicine doctor.  In short, a clean diet made me feel better so I am more motivated to keep going.

Daily Exercise

I put this one last, because if you don’t get your diet under control, exercise won’t likely help you lose weight. Exercise helps you physically and mentally.  It is also known to release feel good endorphins, that help with motivation to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Do exercise that you enjoy.  If you love dancing then use dancing for exercise.  If you like to play a particular sport, use that.  I love taking walks in nature, so I just pick up the pace a bit as I go to raise my heart rate.  Getting at least twenty minutes per day of exercise that raises your heart rate will go a long way in making you feel better, especially if you don’t exercise now.

Just like anything else worth doing, starting a healthy lifestyle can be a challenge until it becomes a habit.  If I can do this, then I am confident that you can too.  Good luck and I hope you found something here that will help.   


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