Guest post by Colleen from The Lunchbox Diaries
Over at my blog, The Lunchbox Diaries, I talk about my favorite foods, my favorite cocktails, and my favorite exercises – but I usually skirt around addressing my weight, mainly because it’s never really been an issue for me.
Recently I had a reader contact me about providing tips on how to maintain her diet, and ultimately her goal weight once it was reached. At first, I was hesitant to reply for two reasons: I’m not a professional and I’ve never had to lose weight.
That said, I do hang out in a profession where I study how thoughts and behaviors play into weight loss/gain, and although I’ve never had to lose weight, it’s because of conscious choices that I make.
That said, I compiled some tips that have helped me maintain a healthy weight. She said they were helpful, so I thought I’d share them with you as well!
1. Eat throughout the day.
I eat a calorie-heavy breakfast every morning – a big bowl of oatmeal topped with 1.5 T of peanut butter (and sometimes jelly), 1/2 a banana and a small handful of cereal for a little crunch.
I eat small meals throughout the day to avoid feeling starved. When I’m absolutely ravenous, I turn into a raging you know what and I stuff my face. Not a good combo. My favorite go-to mini meal is a serving of Chobani Greek yogurt with Love Grown granola mixed in.
2. Don’t Marry the Cardio Machines, but Don’t Divorce Them Either
I used to believe that 45 minutes on the elliptical was the be-all-end-all. And you know what? I never saw a change in my body until I added weights to my regimen. My normal routine is 35 – 45 minutes of cardio on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and strength workouts on Tuesday and Thursday. The weekends I leave open for hiking, kayaking or simply taking the dog on a long walk.
3. Have a cheat MEAL not a cheat DAY
I can’t give up Mexican food forever, you know what I mean? So if that’s my cheat meal, I eat what I want and don’t worry about it. But having a whole DAY of cheats can easily undo a lot of the hard work that I put in earlier in the week.
When I have a cheat meal at a Mexican restaurant, I order two soft chicken tacos and enjoy every bite. I also eat my fair share of chips and salsa before the tacos arrive. That night I usually enjoy a lighter dinner like fish and veggies.
4. Alcohol has Calories
A friend once told me that beer didn’t aid in her 15-pound weight gain. Sorry honey, yes it did. I drink socially, but not every weekend. I’m also a huge fan of “skinny” cocktails, which helps me feel less bloated when I do decide to drink.
My favorite cocktail: Vodka + Zero Vitamin Water, lemonade + a splash of Sprite Zero + a splash of cran. So delish.
I also make smart food choices during the day if I know I’m going to be drinking that night. That said, I try not “drink my calories” on a normal day. I don’t actually count calories, but I stick to water, skim milk and coffee (with skim and truvia).
5. Find a buddy to hold you accountable
Someone who’ll be straight forward with you and give you hell if you skip the gym. My BFF and the blogging community do that for me. If I feel like I might not make it to the gym, I tell someone that I am going to the gym that afternoon because then I know I’ll feel like a lazy slob if I don’t.
6. Avoid the “health halo”
I fall privy to this from time to time. An example of the health halo effect would be running a quick three miles in the morning and then eating a huge dessert after dinner with the justification of “Oh, it’s no big deal. I worked out today.” This usually happens to me when I’m with my girlfriends! I’ll workout before seeing them, and then use that as my justification for pizza, frozen yogurt and wine in one day. Oops!
It’s really pretty easy if you break it down into smaller steps, don’t you think? Again, I am not a professional. These are simply strategies that I personally use to maintain my healthy weight.
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What tips do you have for weight maintenance? I know we all have a few tricks up our sleeves! Share them below.
Feature photo courtesy of nixxphotography via FreeDigitalPhotos.net