A lot of people try and slim down and get healthier in the spring/summer months. The cliche is to prepare that “beach body” for recreational bathing in public. However, I prefer the idea of preparing that “back to school body.” Either way, chances are a lot of you are working on having a better diet and getting more exercise. I am doing this myself and I have discovered some tips and tricks that work for me. My disclaimer for this post is that they work for me. What works for you might be something entirely different. But here is my advice, take it or leave it as you will.
1. Count your calories and measure your food:
I am getting this one out of the way first because it is both fundamental and a little obsessive on my part. The majority of my diet has been based around this. I use an app called My Fitness Pal, in which I record every last calorie I eat (with as much accuracy as possible). You can add in your exercise for the day and it will calculate how many more calories you can eat to make up for it and it has a wide library of foods to find your meal in. I love it and I couldn’t do this without it. Now in order to make using this the most effective, I also measure most of my food. So I don’t just pour out my cereal in the morning, I measure to make sure it is exactly a cup and then I measure half a cup of milk into it. Honestly, I do it by eye now because I know what level it should be in my bowl, but still. This method ensures that you actually know and can control how much you are eating. When you guess, believe me, you are often going to be wrong. I also just can’t measure anything by eye really all that well so this is a necessity for me.
2. Lick your plate:
Once you have allotted out how many calories you can eat a day and what you are spending those calories on, eat everything you can within those bounds. Being on a restricted calorie diet already sets up the framework for losing weight. So if you have a plate of pasta, eat every noodle. Obviously, if you are truly full then you don’t have to keep eating, but once in this framework try to take advantage of really finishing your meals. It will save you money, too, because you aren’t wasting any food.
3. Have a midnight snack:
Don’t make dinner your last meal of the day. Unless you are asleep by nine, eating around six isn’t going to be enough to tide you over for the whole rest of the night. Make sure you have a few hundred leftover calories to spend on a snack around nine or ten. I know they say snacking late at night is bad for you but falling asleep hungry and compensating the next morning by eating twice the breakfast isn’t going to be good for your diet either.
4.Don’t eat broccoli:
Or anything else that you really really hate. I am not a huge vegetable fan. I freely admit to liking almost none of them. And I really don’t eat them. But I am careful to watch my nutrition and I do my best to replace what I would get from some horrid foods with the same nutrients in foods I like better. Diets fail when they become a chore. If you sit down to eat and it’s a terrible experience of you trying to force yourself to eat something that you just don’t like, then chances are you are going to eventually say “screw it” and grab a Snickers instead. Similarly,
5.Eat some french fries:
A lot of people would refer to this as a “cheat.” The truth is chocolate and fried food are a part of our lives. French fries are a wonderful invention. Don’t give them up. Cheat. Just make sure you are keeping a good balance. And balance is really what this whole crazy world is about. Or prosciutto wrapped truffle fries. It might be about that.
Believe me when I say this actually works. I have tried dieting before and just never been able to lose more than five or six pounds because I either gave up or wasn’t really paying enough attention to how much I was eating. I’ve lost thirteen pounds and counting now, I don’t mind saying. And I hope this helps anyone out there who is looking to find a way to be healthier by September 🙂
All photos courtesy of the massive amount of food porn on Pinterest.