How many calories are you eating now? Keep a journal or log your food intake for a day or two. This will give you a baseline. I use an app called My Fitness Pal. The reason I like this one is that I can scan product codes and it finds the calories for me really easily. I’ve saved meals that I frequently eat and named them to make this quicker logging for me. I’ve got Smoothie #1, Chicken Spinach Salad, Breakfast #1, etc.
Fitness Pal, see the screen shot at right, http://myfitnesspal.com, lets you enter how much you’d like to lose, how fast, and based on your height and weight sets a reasonable daily intake for you. The best function is setting the macro nutrients goals. Mine are set for 40% protein, 40% carbohydrates and 20% fat. You can also watch your micro nutrient intake. I tend to need iron and magnesium so I check my micros nutrients, too.
It will take you the couple of days to learn if you’re eating too much or too much of which macro. Maybe you’re a carb hound, like most of us. I don’t eat a bunch of bread or pasta but I make up for that with sugar. Those are all carbs, it’s just that some just process faster than others.
You’ll also need to set aside an hour or so with a calculator, find out your BMR (that’s basal metabolic rate, find it at http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr) and get your device to get your calorie counting app started.
2. SET GOALS.
You’ve got to set some goals. And maybe tell some people about them. I always tell my husband so he won’t sabotage my diet. I’ve done this for so long that when my daughters were little they would say, “Mom’s taking a diet,” so we still say that. That way family or friends can check on you. Tell them to ask you about it next time they see you. That’ll put some fear in you.
I’m a big goal maker and I LOVE LISTS! Make a goal of which days you’ll workout with weights, which days for cardio and which days you’ll stretch. I actually have time blocked on my iCal calendars in both my iPhone and iPad. Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, I work out with weights for 1 hour. Tuesdays and Thursdays, I do 30 minutes of cardio. These are on my calendar and I include drive time, shower time, getting ready for work time, the whole she-bang (whatever that is) and then I know without a doubt when I need to leave my house for the gym. I check the clock when I get there, don’t talk more than a few words to anyone, work HARD and leave. This way you won’t have anything getting you side-tracked from your goal.
Now you’ve got to plan your meals. WHAT? More planning? YES! If you want to look better and feel better you’ve got to make plans. You’re not twenty anymore with a fast metabolism. (YES, THAT STINKS!) Life gets in the way and you don’t want to have to grab a fast meal from a restaurant. Even if they’re low in calorie they’re usually not nutrient rich.
Try to figure some quality protein (low-fat) and some good carbs in each meal. Include egg whites, protein powder, chicken breast, turkey breast, fish, or even 97% fat-free ham. You’ll get to have a little complex carbs like oatmeal, brown rice, whole grain pasta, quinoa, sweet potato, but not much because those are dense in calories. The rest of your carb intake should be…drum roll,please….VEGETABLES!!!!! These are the best thing ever for us. They’re packed with vitamins and not packed with calories. Fruits are good for us, too, but they have more calories and more sugar. I do take in a small amount of berries each day, 1/2 cup of blueberries with my non-fat sugar-free Greek yogurt, the antioxidants in them are worth it!
4. SHOP AND CLEAN.
This means shop for the good stuff and clean out the bad stuff. Throw out cookies, chips, candy, chocolate, whatever. If you’re like me and it’s there, you’ll eat it. I keep 40 calorie fudgesicles in the fridge for treats and I’ve got some Werther’s Butterscotch candies that are sugar-free, hidden in a drawer, but that’s it. At Halloween I have no doubt my house is known as the “Gross Candy House” because I purchase nothing that is good so I won’t eat it!
5. SHOP SOME MORE.
Get the gym membership, buy the bike, the DVD, the weight set, the workout shoes, the jump rope, etc. Know where you’re headed for the workout. We’ve had a gym membership at the same place for about 22 years. I know where everything is, I keep the same locker, keep my gym bag always packed and have lots of inexpensive workout clothes. I leave nothing unplanned. I also have a heart rate monitor and a bike I occasionally ride to the gym or for a few miles. If nothing else, make sure you have the shoes and start walking.
Do these 5 things and you’ll be off to a great start. Do these 5 things and you’ll have a REGIMEN.