I’m working out every day, eating great, and at the perfect weight… all these things are as far from the truth as possible right now in my life. These last month has been busy, it has been fun but it is time to get back to normal. I feel the effects of the lack of exercise, the exhaustion from the sugar crashes and the scale is far from my friend. Time to ditch the diet and get back on track… um what? Hang in there with me, we have a lot to talk about today.
It seems appropriate to write about diets since today we kick off a new fitness challenge at work. A fitness competition that two years ago changed my life. In years past, whenever I want to lose weight I look for a diet to follow. Slim fast ruled my life (and helped me lose ten pounds), I laughed when someone explained the paleo diet to me, Shakeology roped me in and I’ve spent hours looking into various other forms of fad diets. Ironically it wasn’t until I decided to ditch the diet and rethink how I ate in general that I changed my life for the better.
Little man was just about a year old. I still had about 15lbs of baby weight, I was exhausted, working full time but knew something had to change. We had a fitness competition at work that kicked off the day after cookie day (two weeks before christmas) and then ran through the end of January. Virtually no one participated since who eats healthy over the holidays. Towards the end of January the fitness competition got pushed back… suddenly we had until April 1st to try our hand at winning. The game changed.
I found the late night workouts to be my sanity, the salads I ate for lunch tasted better and better, cooking at home was healthier and my overall attitude about everything was better. Yes, I counted calories but I didn’t let it rule my life. In fact, I counted sodium, carbs & cholesterol more than I did calories. I had good days, I had bad days. If I went over calories because something was higher calories but less sodium, I was okay with it.
In the end I dropped 4.5% of my body fat in 3.5(ish) months and about 10% of my body fat in a year. I am NOT an expert and in no way am I saying that all of my advice will work for everyone. Every person is different and somethings that worked for me might not work for you. Some things that didn’t work for me, might work for you. I made some simple, but major, changes to my life style and in the end I lost close to 40 pounds.
How To Ditch The Diet & Change Your Life
The number one thing I discovered in my success a few years ago was to ditch the diet. Okay, that sounds incredibly stupid, huh? I removed the word “diet” from my vocabulary and suddenly the healthy eating, working out and day to day temptations were suddenly not so bad. Diets are temporary, lifestyle changes are permanent (hopefully). The idea of ditch the diet wasn’t something that was going to happen over night, in fact it happened over a year and a half.
As I worked to change my lifestyle, there were a few things that helped me along the way.
Ditch The Diet, Change Your Life. Kickstart Your New Year's Resolution Right. Click To Tweet
Yes, activity trackers are EVERYWHERE right now. I can honestly say I wouldn’t have stayed as close to on track nor would I have been as successful with the ditch the diet mentality as I did without my Fitbit. Working a desk job, I don’t move a lot during the day. When I first realized how few steps I actually took on a normal day (between 3,000 and 5,000) I was shocked.
Having a Fitbit tell me that I hadn’t moved much throughout the day encouraged me to get up and walk at lunch or go for a run at night. It held me accountable to get to my 10,000 steps. I’ve worn a Fitbit for almost two years now and if I don’t come close to my steps I find a way to make up for it the next day.
Track Your Calories
This is a hot debate in weight loss. I’ve read hundreds of articles over the last two years as to why you should or shouldn’t track your calories. I understand both sides of it but for me, it held me accountable. If I went over my calories, I didn’t freak out completely. I took a look at what I ate that day, some days I went over calories because I ate 6 snacks that were fruits and veggies instead of 4. Those days, I was okay with going over on my calories. The days that I ate two pieces of chocolate cake or a large blizzard at Dairy Queen, I made sure to do a longer run at the gym.
Track Sodium, Carbs, Sugars, Etc
More important than calories, I tracked everything else. Instead of saying “omg I’m screwed this is 400 calories” I would look at the back of a package and make my decision based more on the sodium percent and sugar percent. If a granola bar is 12% of your daily sodium, chances are it’s loaded with a bunch of stuff that is pretty bad for you.
Maybe this seems like a “duh” moment, but finding a healthier lifestyle has to be two parts. Eating right will only get you so far. Yes, it might help you shed a few pounds the first week but without exercise you will not see your total results. Sometimes it can be as simple as getting on the treadmill and walking for 30 minutes a day if you have a job (like I do) where you barely move all day. Just a little bit of extra movement a day can go a long way.
As you evolve in your effort to ditch the diet, try running, an elliptical or a spin bike. Each of those will take a little more effort than walking and each day you can progress more into something stronger.
Have a Partner
The reason biggest loser competitions or DietBets work so well is because you have accountability with your competitors. There is no question in my mind that I wouldn’t be where I am today without one of my closest friends. She and I had our babies 10 weeks apart and both were in a similar situation needing to lose weight. While she kicked my ass in the weight loss department she also held me accountable to go to the gym. If she could do it, I could too.
Most Importantly Remember… Everyone Starts Somewhere
Changing your life doesn’t happen over night. Comparing yourself to someone who is 3 months ahead of you will not help you move forward. Focus on your journey and only your journey.
What is your favorite way to ditch the diet?
What have you found to be successful in building a healthy lifestyle?
This is a great post and a great philosophy to live by! I think most people are always looking for quick fixes and most diet fads are just that-quick fixes and then you gain the weight back. Learning to make lifestyle changes and healthier choices is ultimately what has helped me stay on track over the years. Thanks for sharing!
Cara recently posted…3 Easy Ways to Style a Scarf
I agree! The fad diets drive me crazy these days. Every time someone tells me that is what they are doing I get frustrated.
I’m loving my fitbit! This is one of my goals for this year, is to make better lifestyle choices & find at least 30 minutes to get my heart rate up. I sit at a desk all day so my body is tired and angry from sitting all day when I get home.
Leslie recently posted…The House That Built Me
Fitbit was such a huge game changer for me! I love seeing others get great use out of them as well!
I still love my daily Shakeology, simply because I haven’t been sick in two years since doing it. But, I agree that fad diets are not the best way to get to your goals. People want quick fixes, when in reality it takes time to get your body back to normal. I got a Garmin for Christmas and can not wait to sit and have some time to play with all of the features. Great post and Happy New Year!
Meredith recently posted…my 2016 goals
I do love the taste of Shakeology but I couldn’t justify the cost anymore. If I could afford it I would def. still have it every morning! Enjoy your garmin, one of my best purchases ever!
These are all great tips and are especially helpful for someone who’s trying to get back into the exercise routine.
Jenny recently posted…24 Lessons in 24 Years
Glad I can help!
These are awesome tips! Good luck on your journey!
First off, good luck on your jounrney! These are great tips. I love shakeology, but haven’t been able to purchase recently because it is so expensive.
Thank you! I agree with you on Shakeology. I did do it for a few months but in the end just couldn’t justify the cost.
I agree, diets don’t work.. lifestyle changes do! I am 50 and starting to take it very serious, so I am ditching sugar, flour and dairy..hoping it improves my asthma and skin allergies!
Happy N year!
That is awesome!!! Good luck on your journey!
Great advice! I also changed my lifestyle in May and have lost over 30 lbs. I count calories too because it helps me stay accountable. I’m definitely here as a virtual buddy!
Shann Eva recently posted…Micro Preemie Monday and Emersyn
Congratulations!!! Yes it really does help to have calories hold you accountable. Glad to find someone else online working on their journey!
Diets work great while you’re on them, but most are not sustainable for everyday life. When you eat in moderation and exercise, that’s the the ticket to weight-loss success and becoming a fitter and healthier person. Thanks so much for this inspirational post! 🙂
Denay DeGuzman recently posted…10 New Year’s Resolutions That Will Bring You Joy
Yes! I love the idea of eating in moderation!
I work right next to a park and walking every hour has really helped me focus better and improved how I feel!
Kari recently posted…Detox Tea for the New Year
That is an awesome way to get extra steps and move around a little more! I bet it feels so nice to get out each hour!
I love your philosophy! Sounds similar to mine. 🙂 I can’t make a New Year’s resolution to eat healthier because I would never achieve 100% success in a year….for me it is a daily resolution with daily chances to fail, lol. Overall, I do better than the average person I think…
Yes!!! It is so much easier to take everything day by day. You never know what could get in your way!
Counting calories whips me into shape everytime! I am always shocked by how many I consumer when I first get started!
Lauren recently posted…December Family Favorites
It really does make you realize how much extra stuff you are eating! I never realized how much I ate until I started writing it all down!
This is a good post. It’s really nice to see that someone isn’t changing their diets because of the new year. It’s been done so many times before.
I love that everyone starts out motivated, I always would like to see them continue to be motivated as the year goes on!
Oh man WOW, I love love love the face on the girl in the first picture. When you think of healthy living as a lifestyle, not a quick fix diet, it seems so much more feasible.
I agree, instead of fixing it temporarily why not fix it permanently!
I love this messaging, great post to start my morning!
Glad I could kickstart it right 🙂