Avoid elimination diets. Any diet that tells you to eliminate entire food groups or certain fruits or veggies should raise an eyebrow.
Focus on whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, fruits, veggies, healthy dairy, and plenty of water. ONLY REAL FOODS- no meal replacements, no pills, no shakes. Just real foods.
Find exercise you enjoy. Experiment! And give something more than one chance to win your heart. I started running because I knew it would help, and I hated it. But eventually it grew on me, and I love it now!
Do more than one kind of exercise. Your body will adapt to doing the same thing over and over. But if you mix it up, you keep your muscles guessing, and you'll see better results. You'll also work different muscles. Plus, you'll be less likely to get bored.
Be flexible about when you exercise, if that's what will work for your life. Sometimes I have to get in a 10 minute run here, a 10 minute run there, or do a morning run one day, and an afternoon gym session the next, then an evening run the following day. Ideally, you will be able to do it at the same time every day. If that's not realistic for you, go with it, and do what works for you. Just make sure it happens!!
Eat smaller meals throughout the day. It'll keep your blood sugar on a
more even keel, keep you from starving, and keep your metabolism revved
Carry water with you. I literally take it to the store with me. I have a refillable water bottle (CamelBak Podium Big Chill, but find one you like) that I refill from the fridge.
Find ways to keep yourself motivated. You WILL lose steam. It happens. What's your game plan? How will you get through that?
Experiment with foods to find what works for you. I have a crazy busy life as a mom and a nursing student, and I carry food with me everywhere. I eat breakfast in the car 4 days a week. So quick, easy, portable and healthy all make a difference for me!
Find an eating plan that you like. One you can see yourself sticking
with for life. I eat clean, and I've lost over 100 lbs. I'm not perfect
with it, but it works for me. **Update 3/26/14- I am now eating gluten-free and clean, as I have symptoms of celiac disease.
Don't expect perfection. You're human. Forgive yourself when you slip up and move on.
Be flexible. Life has a way of changing our plans for us. Go with it, and make it work. There will always be barriers. How will you overcome them?
Don't expect everyone around you to change with you. Cook healthy meals for your family, but don't expect your SO to jump on board. Find ways to compromise.
Don't make certain foods "off limits". Allow for small treats here and there. But here's my rule for myself: if it doesn't taste amazing, don't waste the calories.
Know that you cannot out-exercise a poor diet. You just can't. Believe me, I've tried! LOL it doesn't work. What and how you eat is 80% of the battle.
Remember that your kids are watching your every move. Be the example you're proud of!
Plan, plan, plan. If you're going out of town, or just going to be out for the day, what's your plan? How will you ensure that your food choices will be healthy? Are you going to take some food with you? Are there healthy restaurant choices? Can you get a hotel room with a kitchen? Can you take an ice chest with salads in jars?
If you feel overwhelmed by how much weight lies ahead, refuse to think about it. Focus on the next pound, and any pounds you've already lost. This isn't for everyone, but I know when I had 135 lbs ahead of me, that was a *tad* overwhelming, and focusing on losing 1 lb was much easier. Then the next, and the next. Then I started thinking about how many pounds I'd lose ("Woo hoo! I've lost 15 lbs! No idea what's ahead!"), and I absolutely REFUSED to do the math on how many pounds lie ahead. It was too deflating to think about it! So I chose to focus on where I had already been succeeding. Even as I approach my ultimate goal, I continue to take this approach. This goes into staying positive.
Keep ALL self-talk positive. This takes work. No going on about the
pudge here or pinch of fat there or what a failure you think you are or
whatever. Only positive!!! Tell yourself that you deserve to be healthy,
to feel sexy, to take time for yourself to exercise and prepare healthy
meals. When you're struggling through a workout, tell yourself you have
to work hard if you want that flat belly! Nothing worth having comes
easy. You have to work for it! Picture someone whose body you
admire- I bet they work hard to have it! You can work hard, too! You
have it in you!!
Make more decisions that help your efforts than ones that hurt them. Every decision falls into one of these categories. Think about that next time you're tempted to indulge. Also ask yourself, can you stop at just one bite? For me, it was best to go cold turkey in the beginning, then I allowed things back in slowly. But do what works for YOU.
If you'd like more about what's worked for ME, you can click here.