OK first I must admit that I put on a few extra pounds over the winter. It’s not that I stopped working out, I just stopped paying attention to what I was eating and enjoyed beer, wine, and sweets a little too much. Unfortunately, aside from packing on a few extra pounds I also irritated my lower back in was in pain for a few weeks. I decided I needed to shape up so I set a goal to go on a strict 4 week diet after my 41st birthday. Unfortunately, my strict diet only lasted about 4 days but I stumbled onto 3 simple steps that have allowed me make steady progress over the last 3 months. I am convinced that these steps will also work for just about anyone. The 3 steps are:
Step 1: Track Your Food
Tracking what you eat is probably the most important steps you can begin doing. Most people we coach are surprised at the amount of calories and fat they are eating. To start, download a fitness app like MyFitnessPal or LoseIt!, enter your personal settings and it will give you a recommend calorie target. Next, you’ll need to get a food scale and some measuring cups. This takes out the guess work, accuracy is important. It requires a little leg work upfront but after a while the app will remember your most common foods and make tracking a lot easier.
Step 2: Make Adjustments
Now that you’re armed with the information of your diet, it’s time to make healthier choices. Here are some ideas that can help:
- Began preparing batches of lean meat. What really seems to work is cooking 3 days of chicken in a crock pot and shredding it. It’s easy to prepare, easy to weigh and portion out, and you can use different spices for variety.
- Purchase meal prep containers. This just makes it easy for you to put lunches together so you can grab and go. Most people make poor food choices if they are hungry and healthy choices aren’t readily available.
- Enter as many meals as possible into your fitness app each morning. Since your meals are already prepared in your meal prep containers, this should only take a few minutes. Now you only need to track your last meals of the day.
Focus on your total calories and the grams of Protein, Carbs, and Fat you consume. For simplicity sake, I recommend mainly focusing on your total calories and keeping your protein intake to 35-40% of your total calories. Also, keep your fat consumption low.
Step 3: Exercise
Try to exercise 180 minutes per week. The best way to break this up is to do either 60 minutes 3 time per week or 45 minutes 4 times per week. Ideally you should have a good mix of weights and cardio but I’ve seen people get results doing just one or the other. Bottom line, get your sweat on!
These are the 3 steps I took that gave me results. I would like to add that I usually have about 3 cheat meals on the weekend, enjoy a few glasses of wine or pints of beer, and treat myself to some type of dessert once a week. I’m sure my progress would be much further if I didn’t treat myself as much but I still want to enjoy things too. I just do it in moderation.
If you are interested in making similar changes, schedule a free fitness consultation and see how we can help!