Let me be clear and upfront with you: this is not one of those “Lose 10 pounds in a week!” type of blogposts. Oh, and it’s also not about dieting, cleansing, juicing, or any of the latest weight-loss fads. This is about making a few, long-term lifestyle changes so you can slowly but steadily lose 1-3 pounds per week without killing yourself.
Personally, I believe that short-term thinking and the pursuit of quick fixes will only lead to disappointment, and in the end, discouragement. My approach to losing weight and keeping it off is to do it slowly and consistently. These 7 strategies I’m about to share with you, enabled me to lose 40+ pounds of pregnancy weight in less than six months, which is equivalent to about 2 lbs. a week.
I’m wearing Fierce Capris pants & Balance Sports bra from Senita
Are you ready to slim down, get stronger and gain unstoppable energy in the new year? Well, let’s do it then!
MOVE YOUR BODY
1) Walk Yourself Thin – believe it or not, I lost almost all my pregnancy weight simply by walking consistently. The operative word though is CONSISTENTLY. Soon after my baby was born, I started walking with the stroller around a lake in my city between 3-4 times per week. The lake is approximately 3 miles and it usually took me about 45 minutes to complete the loop.
If walking is not your thing, not to worry! Simply replace walking with your favorite form of exercise – light jogging, boot camp, Pilates, or even salsa dancing. The key is to do something that you truly enjoy so it becomes part of your lifestyle. For most of us, it’s already a challenge to fit exercise into our daily schedule, so make it easy on yourself by doing something that your body loves. I think that the “best exercise” is the one you’ll enjoy and keep doing.
In addition to being an effective workout, consider this about walking:
Walking is safer. It doesn’t require athletic skills and it’s easier on your joints. And you can do it at your time and pace.
Walking is free! A good pair of shoes is all you really need = no special equipment or gym memberships necessary. You can do it in nature or outside around your neighborhood.
Walking is therapeutic. Research also shows that walking just 30 minutes a day boosts mood faster than antidepressants!!
2) Upgrade Your Fitness Gear – When you look good, you feel good, right? And when you own clothes that you love to wear, you’re more likely to find excuses to wear them, right? Well, it’s no different with fitness! Personally, having stylish workout clothes reinforces my identity as an exerciser. Wearing flattering and fun clothes increases your confidence, motivating you step get out and move more.
And Senita Fitness Apparel is one of my favorite brands for looking good on the move. Senita is not only a small business that’s run by two moms, which I love. But it’s also the only brand that has figured out how to make athletic wear both stylish and comfortable at a price I can afford. Their clothes are made for movement but I pretty much live in them these days – even wear mine when meeting friends for brunch! My favorite combo right now are the Criss Cross Tights and the Balance Sports Bra.
FEED YOUR BODY
3) Kick The Sugar Fix – sugar is the biggest hindrance to weight loss. I repeat, the most important thing you can do if you want to lose weight is to significantly reduce your sugar intake. If you do just one thing, cut out sugar from your life!! You won’t be missing much because sugar is nothing but an empty calorie with zero nutritional value.
The trouble with sugar is that it’s literally hidden in everything (cakes, cookies, bagels, cereal, soda, energy drinks and fruit juices). It’s even in foods you would not expect to find it (salad dressings, spaghetti sauce, “health” bars, soups, sports drinks like Gatorade, yogurt, you name it). So you must always read labels – you can’t let your guard down at the supermarket! Just keep in mind that sugar goes by 50+ names so educate yourself on this. Oh, and organic sugar is still sugar.
Since completely eliminating all sugar is unimaginable for most us, the key is to cut out the man-made sugars and instead, get your sweetness from naturally occurring sources such as whole fruits and organic raw honey, in moderation. Reducing sugar cravings and eliminating it from your diet might be challenging but not impossible. You can in fact give up refined sugar and still enjoy a sweet life 🙂
4) Ditch The Junk – you can’t out-exercise a crappy diet. You can’t just eat what you want and then exercise like crazy. Trust me, it doesn’t work.
This is where my 90%-rule comes in: the idea is that you stick to “clean” foods – ingredients that are free of preservatives, chemicals and additives 90% of the time. These include fresh organic veggies, lean protein like wild Alaska salmon, whole grains and seeds like quinoa and high-quality fats like extra virgin olive oil. And the other 10% of the time, you give yourself permission to indulge without feeling guilty! For instance, my guilty pleasure is eating out so I generally eat clean 6 days a week and reserve one day a week to splurge, which usually means meeting friends out for a drink or brunch on the weekend.
To help you minimize processed foods (anything that has a label) from your diet, follow my top clean-eating tips:
- Prepare your own meals as much as possible. This is the only way to really know what goes into your food. This is because restaurant food is often loaded with sugar, salt and unhealthy fats. To make cooking more fun, experiment with easy new recipes every week and invite friends over. An added bonus? You save lots of money!!
- Some general rules about packaged food: If it claims to be fat-free or low-fat run the other way. These foods usually contain high quantities of sugar to compensate for lack of flavor and fat. Also, if an item has more than five ingredients, you can’t pronounce any of the ingredients, or the first item on the ingredient list is either some form of sugar or white flour, don’t put that food in your shopping basket.
5) Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate! – want a glowing complexion, less cellulite, better digestion, and unstoppable energy? Well, drinking water throughout the day is your answer! I could literally write an entire book about the endless reasons you should drink water. But I’ll instead highlight a few of the benefits:
- Water is the perfect slim-down beverage because it is a natural appetite suppressant. Often times, dehydration is the reason you feel hungry, moody, and why you crave sugar. Before you grab that sweet snack, have a glass of water and wait a few minutes to see what happens. Plus, it has zero calories, it’s sugar-free, carb-free, and sodium-free. Need I say more?
- Water is the ultimate body detox. I repeat, NOTHING supports the body’s cleansing and elimination ability like Water! Your kidneys and liver will thank you for it. You don’t need some trendy juice cleanse to flush toxins and chemicals out of your system; most of those packaged juices are loaded with sugar and waaay overpriced anyway.
- Water has a natural anti-aging & youthful effect. Dry, itchy skin, acne, and wrinkles are often the result of dehydration. But you don’t have to shell out hundreds of dollars on fancy creams and facials; drinking water is the best anti- aging skin care solution money can’t buy.
NOURISH YOUR SOUL – Lifestyle tips
6) Sleep Yourself Skinny – lack of sleep tends to slow down your metabolism and raise your level of cortisol, the stress hormone that increases cravings for high-carb and sugary foods. People who lack adequate sleep also produce more of the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates your appetite, and less of the hormone leptin, which sends a signal to your brain when you’re feeling full. Basically, more ghrelin plus less leptin results in weight gain. Here are some tips to help you get quality sleep each night:
- Unplug electronics. An hour before bed, avoid watching TV or surfing the internet. Turn your Smartphone off, or leave it in another room, so it’s not accessible when you get the late-night urge. Instead, invest in an actual alarm clock (remember those things?). And resist the temptation to bring your laptop into bed with you.
- Avoid afternoon caffeine. This includes coffee, black tea, soda, and energy drinks. The stimulating effects of caffeine takes hours to wear off. Stick to herbal tea or decaf coffee after lunch.
- Keep dinner light. Don’t go to sleep hungry, but don’t stuff yourself either. And avoid heavy sugary foods 2-3 hours before bedtime.
7) Un-clutter Your Life – believe it or not, there’s a connection between ridding your life of clutter – both physical and emotional – and shedding unwanted pounds. Put simply, releasing unnecessary stuff frees you to release unnecessary weight.
In the same way that people shop and collect stuff to self-medicate negative feelings, loneliness, and boredom, some people also hold on to layers of weight as a protection against emotional pain and trauma. If you’re trying to lose weight, the obvious thing to do would be to eat clean and exercise regularly. But de-cluttering your home and donating unwanted stuff and organizing your life make huge difference too.
Here are some tips to help you start uncluttering your life:
- Pamper yourself. Do you turn to food when you’re feeling stressed out or whenever uncomfortable or painful emotional feelings creep in? How about you replace that with a therapeutic massage, fresh flowers, or a mani/pedi?
- Simplify! Get rid of something that no longer serves you – a bad habit, a toxic relationship, or a job you hate. And don’t keep anything in your home you don’t find to be absolutely beautiful or useful.
- Say NO. And get comfortable saying it more often. Don’t over-schedule and clutter your life out of fear and guilt. Life is too short.
Ultimately, the new you begins with self-love. So you should want to slim down and get fit because you love your body and what it’s capable of doing, not because you loath it. When we love ourselves, we see ourselves as worthy of the very best, and that translates into making food and lifestyle choices that nourish us.
Happy New Year babes!!
Photos by: Laydee Kaye Photography
* Post sponsored by Senita Athletics. Thank you for supporting the brands that enable Bella Diva Lifestyle to stay in business.