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I am a firm believer in the, “one size does not fit all” ideology. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, what works for one person may not work for another when it comes to weight loss and healthy living. We all have our own lifestyles and what fits into yours might not fit into someone else’s. That’s totally fine. Ultimately, what matters is that you’re finding your own way to a healthy life and that is fantastic! This is how I lost 50lbs in 5 months without giving up a single thing.
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You might be wondering at this point, what the gimmick is. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. That’s what I have learned anyways when it comes to weight loss. There is no magic pill that can melt the weight off me at the speed of light. (Although, I wish there was. Don’t we all?) What I’ve done is learned what works for my body and what is best for me. At this stage in the game, I have done it all. I have done the 21 Day Fix and Beachbody programs and I have done Weight Watchers. While each of these programs worked, they weren’t sustainable for me and my lifestyle – and that is what’s most important.
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Ok, so now we’ve reviewed what doesn’t work for me. What does?
The 80/20 Rule
If you’ve looked into getting healthier, you’ve probably heard of the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time you should be eating whole, clean foods and the other 20% of the time you can eat whatever you want. I basically follow this rule to a T. To be fair, I also try to have at least one, if not two ‘carb-free meals’ a day.
Before I divulge any further, let me define ‘carb-free’ the way that it works for me. Some people might view ‘carb-free’ as a meal with no fruit, no sugars, no carbohydrates. Those people are hardcore and I tip my hat to them. When I say that I try to eat one or two ‘carb-free’ meals a day, I mean I leave out the potatoes or I substitute where there would be pasta, bread or buns. This might be zucchini noodles instead of pasta, a lettuce wrap instead of a tortilla or a bunless burger (which is literally fantastic). On the days that I workout, I don’t substitute out the carbs. I enjoy all the carbs in all of their glory.
I want to say that even though I typically follow the 80/20 rule on a day-to-day basis, sometimes I completely fail at that too. You want to know what? That’s also ok. Sometimes my two kids have been up all night long and I wake up in the morning and I want some leftover cold pizza. I will eat that pizza guilt-free because it’s not going to stop me from reaching my goals – but it might momentarily make me forget that I slept for 0 hours (not really though, #momlife).
Ok, enough already. Let’s outline what I did in 6 easy to follow steps so you can be on your way to a healthier you too!
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1. Track Your Calories
I’ve spoken about it before and it’s no secret that MyFitnessPal is what works for me. It’s a completely free tool that can help you lose weight. I track my calories in MyFitnessPal every day. It helps me stay focused and eat mindfully.
I’ve had people tell me that it’s a lot of work to track food every day. From my brief stint in Weight Watchers, I wouldn’t disagree with that statement. It took a lot of work to convert all of the food into points and figure out what I could, and couldn’t eat every day. MyFitnessPal is not like that. The food database MyFitnessPal has is unparalleled. It’s as easy as picking up your phone and scanning a bar code to input what you’re eating. Let’s be real, you probably already have your phone in your hand or within arm’s reach while you’re in the kitchen.
What’s better is that MyFitnessPal also remembers your meals. This makes it even easier – if it were possible – to enter your food each day. Your favorite foods will be readily accessible for you to add quickly. The more you use MyFitnessPal, the easier it is.
2. Follow the 80/20 Rule
Hopefully you’ve now downloaded MyFitnessPal, your free weight loss tool, and you’re ready to go. Currently, I eat 1800 calories per day. So how does this work with the 80/20 rule? If I break it down following the 80/20 rule exactly I get:
1800 x 0.8 = 1440 calories
This works out to approximately three 400 calorie meals and a 240 calorie snack that contain whole, clean foods. The other 360 calories in my day might be a glass of wine, a bowl of frozen yogurt with mini chocolate chips (what I’m on lately.. I just love froyo) and my flavored coffee that I absolutely love.
Some days, I don’t eat any or much of my ‘20% foods’ and my entire day is full of whole, clean foods. When this happens, I will save my ‘20% calories’ for another day. This does not mean that I add 360 calories onto my next day. It means I have ate almost 1800 calories worth of healthy food one day, and another day in that week I might only eat 1100 calories worth of clean food. It’s all about balance. When we do family pizza night – which I have often planned in advance – I will have had some ‘cleaner eating’ days before, so you can bet I’m having more than one slice.
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3. Drink All the Water
I’m not going to talk a lot about this one because you’ve probably heard it one million times. My Contigo water bottle follows me everywhere I go, all day long. They are no leak – which is why I love them. If I’m not drinking coffee trying to survive the new baby sleepless nights, you can find me drinking all the water.
4. Set a Weekly Weigh-in
My weekly weigh-in is Thursday. Every Thursday, I wake up and weigh myself in my birthday suit on an empty stomach. It’s important to weigh yourself at the same time to accurately compare how much you’ve lost. While I do keep track of my weight loss in MyFitnessPal, I use the atkiBMI Weight Loss Diary to keep track of my weekly weigh-ins. It has some great pre-made charts, updates your BMI and just displays the weigh-ins in a format that I prefer. It also has notifications to remind me that it’s my weigh-in day.
5. Find an Exercise You Enjoy
I think adding exercise into our day can be intimidating when you haven’t in a long time or at all. I did not workout once while pregnant with my son. The idea of incorporating exercise back into my life was really daunting. I started by adding walking. Walking is an excellent low intensity activity to rebuild your strength and endurance while preparing to take it to the next level.
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Once I had worked myself up to 2km walks, I started incorporating low impact strength moves by way of Jillian Michaels Hot Body Healthy Mommy workout. You can read more about my review of that workout here. A great, free resource that I highly recommend with beginner workouts is FitnessBlender.com. They have a fantasic 10 minute, low impact workout designed for beginners that can help you begin to incorporate exercise into your day!
If you’re wondering how often I incorporated exercise into my routine to lose 50lbs – only 3 to 4 times a week. I like to get my workouts done between Monday-Thursday and I leave my weekends open for time with my kids. Find a time that works for you and stick to it.
6. Take All the Photos
This is the most motivating factor in weight loss for me and I will repeat, repeat, repeat how important it is to take the photos for me. It’s hard, staring at yourself in the mirror every single day to see change. Maybe your clothes start fitting a little better and the scale goes down – which is great – but actually seeing huge change in your body on a day-to-day basis is hard. Having photos to keep track of your progress is highly motivating because you can actually see the results you’re getting from your work!
What seemed like small, slow changes ultimately led to a 50lb loss in only 5 months! I can’t wait to see what the next 5 months brings.
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