1. Eat fruit alone in the morning only. First thing in the morning is ideal to get your metabolism going and give you energy for the day. Watermelon on an empty stomach has a natural cleansing effect and is an excellent choice.
2. Have a protein shake or smoothie in the morning. Use almond, soy, or coconut milk for added fullness in your shakes. Plant based protein is long lasting and will signal to your body that you have enough nutrients and reduce your cravings. Add any fruit or veggies you enjoy to your morning shake.
3. Ideally substitute 2 meals a day with your shakes. Getting in rhythm of focused nourishment will help create a healthy routine. If you have a meal instead, that’s okay, just don’t have your shake with it.
4. Your afternoon snack is important. Have a protein or veggie snack. Snacks should be around 100 calories. Good choices are veggies of any kind, string cheese, half a protein bar, slices of turkey or chicken. Roll up a couple of turkey slices in lettuce with a little mustard. Yum. Or enjoy soft mozzarella slices with a fresh basil leaf and tomato on top. Super Yum. Your afternoon snack will keep you energized, keep your metabolism going, and help you keep your portions small for dinner.
5. Stay away from white flour, white bread, regular pasta, white rice, sugar, and alcohol. Have whole wheat (make sure by reading labels), durum wheat pasta (De Cecco is really good), and brown rice. Because even good carbohydrates raise your insulin levels which make you absorb fat, when you do have whole grain carbs keep your fat intake low. For example you can have durum wheat pasta with a nonfat organic tomato sauce and veggies sautéed in bullion (no butter or oil). Try to have carbs during the day not at night so you have enough time to burn them off.
6. Have protein and veggies at night. Fish, chicken, steak, turkey, or soy products with a salad and yummy grilled, sautéed, or steamed veggies. It is OK to add a little butter if you do not have carbs! I use a product called Earth Balance rather than butter. It is a soy product that tastes just like sweet butter with no carbs or cholesterol!
7. Drink water all day long!! Often our bodies send “hunger signals” when really we are dehydrated. Being well hydrated helps satiate hunger, flushes toxins from your body, and reduces water weight. Carry a water bottle all day long and get in the habit of sipping on water throughout the day. Drink three big 10 oz. glasses of water with your supplements. Make sure you get at least 64 oz. of water a day.
8. EXERCISE. Get moving at least 30 minutes a day. Make it part of your life. We pay so much attention to taking care of our homes, our cars, our children, our loved ones, while often times putting ourselves on the back burner!! No more. You have made a commitment to yourself to take control of your health and your weight, and exercise is your number one priority. Walking is a great start. Every day try to go a little farther and a little faster, until you can jog or hike up hill. Try to incorporate some strength training as well for added muscle building which will increase your metabolism and is great for bone density. Exercising everyday will make it a habit, a routine, an essential part of your life, and a tool for staying young, agile, and sexy! (If you have not been physically active or have any chronic conditions please consult your physician before beginning any exercise routine).
9. Do not eat 2 hours before you go to bed. This is so important! Night time snacking is the biggest downfall for weight loss success, and is largely attributed to emotional eating. Try an alternative instead; Take a hot bath, sip on hot decaffeinated herbal tea, and write down your feelings. Often just releasing your emotions through words is helpful and cathartic while honoring your personal feelings. Start a journal just for you. Learning to recognize and take care of your emotional needs is a key element for weight loss success and maintenance. Making sure you’ve had enough nourishing food during the day also helps with night time munchies.
10. Pay attention to your eating patterns and track your progress. Look for patterns of success. The above suggestions are guidelines for your success based on the science of how our bodies respond to protein, fat, and carbohydrates. But remember, every body is unique and responds differently, so pay attention to what works BEST for YOU. For example, I find that my body can only tolerate about 2 whole grain – nonfat meals a week. If I have more than that I start to put on weight. So I generally stick with my shakes in morning/afternoon, and protein and veggies at night. Occasionally I will have whole wheat pasta, or a veggie sandwich on whole wheat bread, or brown rice with veggies for lunch or dinner. I also find the more water I drink, the more I lose weight! Look for YOUR patterns of success so you can get the optimal results for YOUR body!
Remember every morning the reason why you began a healthy routine for yourself. Close your eyes and picture your goal. Create a vision of success. You can do it! I believe in you.
Here’s to your health!