This is a topic I have been wanting to write about for a while and now I’m finally getting around to it! I wanted to share a few tips on how I have kept my weight stable through a long period of being unable to exercise in the way I usually do, or at all.
Please note that I am NOT a registered dietician and these are just some things that have worked for me. They may not work for you and you should always consult a doctor before making any major diet changes.
1. Eat a lot of protein or healthy fats with breakfast. I find when I have eggs or oatmeal with a tablespoon of peanut butter in it I stay much more satisfied throughout the morning and early afternoon than when my breakfast is mostly carbs. I usually include a little something sweet with breakfast but if I eat all sweets I have a crash later and end up eating more than I should for lunch or my afternoon snack.
2. Drink a ton of water. In between meals, I am always sipping a glass of water or making myself a huge mug of hot tea. I don’t put honey in my tea because it’s about 60 calories a tablespoon and those can really add up when you’re on about your 4th glass. When your stomach is always full of water it won’t shut off your hunger (which is a good thing!!) but it keeps you from grabbing a snack out of boredom. Also it’s great for your skin!
3. Snack on fruits, vegetables, or yogurt. All three of these things are naturally very low in calories and they really satisfy you. If you have to choose between a “100 calorie” pack of chips that is mostly air or an apple for about 70 calories, the apple will keep you full much longer and give your body nutrients that it needs. Nature made some pretty great snacks for us humans and we should take advantage of them!
4. Enjoy a square of dark chocolate once a day. I prefer Cadbury brand because it is creamy and delicious. Dark chocolate is actually good for you and by having it once a day you can appease your sweet tooth for only about 50-70 calories! It’s a win-win.
5. Eat dessert (or whatever your “guilty” pleasure is) one day a week. It is impossible to completely swear off the things you love, and why would you want to?! What’s the point of being perfectly in shape and feeling deprived all the time? Plus, when people forbid themselves a treat they usually last about a week or two and then go crazy and let out days and days of pent-up cravings. Not good. Knowing you get to eat something delicious on the weekends makes it so much easier to pass up that store-bought cookie and save your special treat for something truly worth it.
6. Count calories. This one isn’t for everybody and if you can maintain your weight without it, go right ahead! I tried to stop counting for a while and a few extra pounds crept on that I am now working on undoing. What I love about counting calories, though, is it really teaches you what foods give you the most bang for the buck. A sweet potato, for example, is only 100 calories and will keep you full for HOURS! One thing to remember when you’re counting calories though is just to use it as a guideline. Our bodies are designed to tell us when we are hungry or full, so even if the calorie counter tells you that you are done eating for the day, if you’re starving, EAT! Have a little snack. It won’t kill you. For a while I was much to obsessed with not going into the “red zone” on my calorie counter and I would put up with being lightheaded all afternoon because I only had 500 calories left I needed to save for dinner. That’s dumb.
Anyway, these are what work for me and I hope you find something in this long-winded post that is helpful for you! It’s pretty basic stuff. Once I am back to exercising (and I WILL be eventually, gotta stay positive!!) I probably won’t be quite as strict about these rules with myself. But if you’re dealing with an injury, please know that you do not have to give up having a good figure just because you can’t exercise. You won’t be able to have the muscle tone you want, but it comes back SO quickly once you’ve already reached a certain level of fitness. Not having a layer of fat to work off once you’re healed makes the path back to fitness that much easier!
What’s your favorite healthy-living tip?
Mine is counting calories. I will probably always count them because it’s just such an easy way to stay on track.