In order to lose weight and reshape your body, not only do you have to exercise regularly, you must eat right. My definition of eating right to lose inches means that you are eating the proper portions, the proper proportions of protein, carbohydrates and fat, and you are eating a reduced caloric amount that is less that what you need to sustain. You are eating more whole foods, eating things with fewer additives and are monitoring both your food and liquid intake. Eating a restaurant meal and ordering a salad rather than a burger and fries is not going to get you there. It is going to take more effort than that.
Take Inventory of What You Are Eating
Just like any New Year’s Resolution or any other revision to the current plan, one must take inventory as to what their consumption habits really are. When you take stock of what you are doing, then you can make your plans to start revising what you are doing to get where you want to be.
Let us begin. As most people don’t have time to think about what they eat, a good idea might be to make food dairy for 2 or 3 days and write down what you eat. You will want to write down what you are eating for meals and snacks as well as what you drinks. You may want to include a column for “where”, meaning are you eating at home, in a restaurant, brown bagging it, etc? You will notice that the bigger role that you play in your own food preparation, then the greater the chances are for success. If you are eating at a restaurant, fast food establishment or even something prepackaged from a grocery store or deli, then you will find that the calories pile up quickly. You will want to record not only what you eat, but also how much!
How much you say? To many this might be a little foreign. A portion is what somebody gives you, right? Wrong!! Your mother could give you a double or triple portion, a family style Italian restaurant gives you enough for an army, a steakhouse brings you enough for several meals; you get the picture. Even a sandwich at a sub shop that sounds innocent can be a major caloric over load! Start paying attention to your portions. Does the menu say it is a 10 oz steak or burger? If you are a man, then that is two servings, and if you are a woman, that is 3 servings. What about side items? How much did you get served or put on your plate? Write it all down. Start researching calorie amounts online. In your search engine, you can type for example, “calories in rice”. A cup of rice has 242 calories! That is before the butter. My meals average 300-400 calories, so a cup of rice for me calorie-wise is almost my entire allotment for a meal. Does it satisfy me and fill me up? I think not!
How is it Prepared?
You also need to consider how something is prepared. Is it fried, steamed or roasted? Is it seasoned with herbs and spices or butter and sauces? If it is a sandwich, is it slathered in mayonnaise or zero calorie mustard? What is in the salad that you are eating? Many restaurant salads that look healthy and good can be in the neighborhood of 1,000 calories, egad! I say this with remembrance of an absolutely delicious salad I used to order regularly at a restaurant. I remember thinking how good I thought I was because I didn’t order a burger. Just saw online a day or two ago, this salad is 1,000 calories! No wonder I wasn’t losing weight at the time!
Patterns and Habits
What are your patterns and habits? Are you grabbing one of those 500-600 calorie muffins at the convenience store while you grab coffee? Are you eating the donuts that somebody brought into the office? Are you even eating breakfast at all? If not, you should and that breakfast should contain some protein. Again, I recommend that you stay away from most fast food breakfasts, as they are loaded with fat, calories and sodium. Do you eat out, do you brown bag? Where does most of your food come from?
Determine any obstacles that you may have.
Do you take clients out to lunch or dinner regularly? Are you fixing kid lunches or eating on the go in-between the soccer games? Do you often meet up with your friends for cocktails? Do your social activities center on food? Are you a drinker? Alcohol and beer aren’t the only things loaded with calories, so is that soda that you are drinking! What about fruit juice? Are you drinking a big glass of OJ in the morning? A cup of OJ is over 100 calories; think about that next time you order a glass. I have always read that it is better to eat the fruit than to drink the juice, that way you get the fiber and not the added sugar that goes into processed fruit juice. Now if you must have that OJ every morning, then factor that in your daily budget. Liquid calories put on the weight quickly and don’t fill you up. That wonderful healthy looking fruit smoothie that you’d love to drink in July? There are more calories in a lot of them than in a meal when watching your calories. Knowledge is power! Observe your lifestyle, make notes and evaluate your habits to make healthy revisions that bring results.
Make a food diary. Depending on your lifestyle, you may need to make one for weekdays and the weekends too if you are social and go to lots of parties or football tailgates or spend time in nightclubs. Make your own or Google food diaries for sample templates. It doesn’t matter what you use, just take inventory of what you eat and drink. After doing this for a couple of days, you may see red flags automatically of things you know you need to change right away. Good! You will make your first round changes and then continually revise what you are doing until you get the results that you want. Begin now. The journey of 1,000 miles begins with the first step.