Let's Get Started!
Congratulations! You've decided to make some changes and start down the healthy living road. Many, many, many people have told me that they want to be more healthy but they just don't know how. I hope the NoSkinnies Newbies orner can help! I really want your process of getting started to be as simple as possible.
A Few Things We Need to Get Out of the Way First
1. Let me start by saying that I not an extremist when it comes to healthy eating. I try to keep fried foods and most processed foods out of my meal plans but I don't subscribe to the "grow your own food at home and never again eat white carbs" mentality that is so popular right now. It's not that I have anything against growing your food at home or being an extremist of any sort; it's just that I don't have time for that so I do the best I can with what I have time for. I try to cook with fresh vegetables but some nights I'm in a hurry and I pop open a can of green beans (GASP - A Can??!!!). Sure, that can of green beans might not be the absolute most pure form of a vegetable but it is a vegetable by damn and I'm eating it! Again, there is nothing wrong with those who do go to extremes .... you just won't find it here. I'm not going to ask you to throw out everything in your pantry and start over. I'm not going to tell you that you will die a young torturous death of cancer if you eat white flour and non-organic foods. Baby steps people.
2. I believe living a healthy and happy life is about moderation! Try to make healthy choices 90% of the time but throw caution to the wind the other 10% of the time. Here's a good post to read through when you get a chance: Never Again Say, "I'll Never Again Eat Cake!".
3. If you are here to lose weight then you need to know how many calories you can take in daily. First, calculate the amount of calories you need per day to maintain your weight using Calorie King's Calorie Calculator. To lose weight you will need to take in less than the number you just found. The number you just calculated is to maintain your weight. To lose up to 2 lbs per week you will need to reduce your total daily caloric intake by 500 calories. You'll do this by taking away 250 calories from what you eat and taking away 250 calories by working out (just start walking 30 minutes a day for now - we'll cover working out next week). So, if the number you got from Calorie King was 1500 then you would reduce 250 calories from that to determine the amount of food calories you should get each day (1500-250 = 1250). So, your daily calorie intake in this case would be 1250 and you would add on a workout each day that burns around 250 calories.. This is not an exact science. I am not a certified nutritionist or personal trainer. I am simply telling you what I do.
4. Very important - Download and print these free templates:
- Plan - Use this template to plan your meals.
- Actual - Use this template to record what you actually ate.
You will use these 2 pieces of paper to build your meal plan and track your daily food intake. I fold these two pieces of paper together and keep them with me at all times. This way I always have my plan ith me and can glance at it during the day to know what is coming next. I always have my journal with me so I can keep up with what I have actually eaten as the day goes by. Don't freak out if your plan and actual aren't exactly alike; just do the best you can!
As you build your meal plan I want you to put your mind in "clean eating" mode. Clean eating emphasizes eating whole grains, lots of fruits and vegetables, and lean protein. Processed foods are discouraged. For an idea of what types of food are encouraged when eating clean check out this post: 50 of my favorite clean eating foods. Do not freak out and get yourself all worked up thinking that you can never eat your favorite foods again. It's all about moderation! Learn how you can have your cake an eat it too in this post, How to Stay Fit & Never Again Say, "I'll Never Again Eat Cake".
Enough chatting! Let's get down to business and build a meal plan!
1. Sit down with your meal plan template and choose 1 breakfast item, 1 lunch item, and 1 dinner item from the Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner Links here:
These are "living" lists that I do add to from time to time. Make sure you have signed up to receive my emails so that you won't miss it when I add a new recipe! You can sign up for emails at the bottom of this post. Just enter your email address and click Subscribe Me!
2. Add up the amount of calories you have so far from breakfast, lunch and dinner. Subtract that number from the total amount of calories you can have each day. Fill in the snack sections on the meal plan with the number of calories you have left over after breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Use these snack links:
It's okay to leave a lunch or dinner blank and enter "misc" plus the amount of calories you will allow yourself. I do this if I am going to dinner out and don't know exactly what I will have. While at the restaurant look up calories on your phone so you can stay within your allotted calories. If you don't know how to do this on your phone then leave a post on the NoSkinnies FB Page and ask me! I'll be happy to answer!
Don't be afraid to mix things up a bit - if I know I am going to dinner I may skip my snacks that day and apply those calories to my dinner since it is hard to stay within a low amount of calories at a restaurant. I still make healthy choices though - no loaded baked potatoes, blooming onions, or fried platters!
I don't want you to freak out about eating every 2-3 hours. This type of eating is great if it's what you do already or can easily work it into your schedule. I know all of the hype these days is about keeping your metabolism fed and rev'ed up. This theory is based on not allowing your body to go into starvation mode and old onto your body's fat supply. There are also studies that show that this type of eating is not required to lose weight and that you have to go 60 hours without food before your body sees a change in metabolism. So, for now, just eat whenever you want and keep your calories within your daily allotment. Remember - we are making baby steps here!
Didn't see something you liked in the food posts? Comment and let me know what you'd like to see. I want you to build a plan hat you can actually stick to!