6 EASY Changes I made to Kick Start My Weight Loss

As much as I love The Biggest Loser (its the only show I've watched consistently for 5 years) , I have a problem with the attesting to h...

As much as I love The Biggest Loser (its the only show I've watched consistently for 5 years), I have a problem with the attesting to how easy it is to get healthy and then enforcing a incredibly strict diet and workout plan. I mean I get it: their weight issues are far more severe and they're in a competition. But when its just you, no Bob, no Jillian and no Dolvett... is it really that easy to take the dive?

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I made a couple of changes to my lifestyle, easy sacrifices, that have been doing me well! So if you're not sure where to start, start here!

1. Get a Calorie Counter
If you have an Apple product (iPod/Pad/Phone), iTunes has a free calorie counter called Lose It! A very important factor in my weight loss but this is not forever. In fact, I currently don't use mine. But it did help me to get an idea of how I was eating in the past and helped me learn to satisfy my apetite on fewer calories. It was with the calorie counter that I started incorporating more produce into my diet.

2. Drink. More. Water.
This seemed hard but it's really not! Once you get the idea of how many calories sugary drinks steal from your budget, you'll learn to drink more water. Once, I took a whole week and just drank water and milk. Surprisingly, I saw a difference in my body without even exercising much. Train yourself to drink at most 2 flavored drinks a day (one of them tea or coffee) and water the rest. Or get a reusable 20 oc water bottle and refill at least once a day.

3. Less Processed Fast Foods
If you're always eating out then be aware of the restaurants that serve the fresher foods. Once I learned about the Pink Slime found in most processed fast food meats, I axed McDonald's out of my diet altogether. That's not easy for some folks and I get that. Instead I opted for places like Five Guys (once in a while) who pride themselves on using fresher products. I also love the Veggie Delights at Subway and avoid the meats! Other restaurants that use fresh ingredients? Chipotle, Baja Fresh, Panera Bread, ABP are just a few of my favorites. I also made smarter decision at the places I visited regularly. I used to order Caramel Macchiatos with extra caramel, until one day the barista called it my "diabetic coma drink" that was enough for me. Iced coffee for me with the occasional fancy drink. I really don't deviate beyond that.
Another important tip: Do your research before hand. Look into the nutritional information before your outing.

4. Don't Punish Yourself!
This is what I feel many weight loss programs or fitness gurus fail to mention. Of course as I strive to eat healthier, I don't want to give up all the foods I like. What I know about myself is that if I give them up completely, I'll eventually binge. So I concentrate on one weakness. I've edged out candy and hostess products (like twinkies) and my only weakness is icecream. My favorite sweet and what I proclaim to be my comfort food! But instead of going to Ben & Jerry's and getting a pint of Americone Dream, I, again, go for a good quality icecream. Talenti Gelato has great flavors and uses the best natural ingredients. Oh and the icecream is uh-mazing (Try the Sea Salt Caramel). Remember, just don't over do it; practice portion control.

5. Develop Little Tricks and Shortcuts
There are certain healthy foods my body metabolizes better than others. For me, oranges are my ideal source of fiber but ah, the fiber comes from the white membrane which I HATE. So instead of peeling the orange, eating it wedge by wedge and peeling off the white stuff (yes I actually did that), I cut it on the equator (not the axis where the navels are), I take each hemisphere and cut them into 1/4ths. I'm left with 8 orange wedges, membranes hidden inside. Other peculiarities to help me eat better: cold milk after a workout (I used to hate milk but ice cold milk is surprisingly refreshing); gala apples with a slice of cheddar cheese makes a yummy and filling snack; my favorite way to make and eat my own salads: mix in some fruit, nuts or herbs but my favorite is definitely cilantro and lemon (with a wittle organic ginger sesame dressing)!

6. Exercise!
Okay, you guys this is where you have to bite the bullet a little bit. I think at least 30 minutes of activity a day is enough to maintain your weight. As you already know I'm a zumba zealot and their 45 minute classes (twice a week) has really made a difference. The days I don't zumba, I walk about 3 miles or do a video of zumba. You'll find that once you get into an exercise routine you like and see results, it'll be easier to get out and go. My plan is to fit one more zumba class into my schedule as well as a pilates or yoga class to strengthen my core.

These were just baby steps for me. You tell me, did it make a difference?
I hadn't really realized how much I slimmed down til I found some pictures from last year
In June, I seemed to be a little heavier than my usual weight but November 2011 was the heaviest I've ever been! According to the scale I'd gained about 17 lbs since my last year of college! I knew I had to get going. An important lesson I learned more recently is that sometimes you can't rely on the scale to gauge your progress. The needle on my scale seems to be broken but the mirror and my body are telling me a totally different story. I am toning up and getting healthier. Whether my weight will follow suit is up to my weight.

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