Thursday, March 7, 2013

Tips and Tricks

****WARNING***** Super long post and full of all the dirty details.  Turn back now if it's too much to commit to! ;)

So I mentioned in a previous post that I would share some of my tips and tricks that I find helpful through this weight loss journey, so I am here to start that process.  When I first got diagnosed I did really well and lost about 10 pounds instantly, but I did it by drastically cutting out EVERYTHING and it made me miserable.  I realized it wasn't going to be something I could keep up and it was a lot of pressure to maintain.  Because of that I fell off the band wagon fairly quickly, just like I always have.  So with restarting and getting re motivated I have changed my game plan!  Yes some of those drastic changes will have to be made and maintained in the future but I have decided some of them I need to build up to and that I need to focus on my small successes, because looking at the big picture is just too exhausting! 

Tip #1 Watch out for fruits
This happens to be one I'm still learning and adjusting to!  I think for a long time I just had it in my head that oh it's a fruit then it must be healthy. FALSE!  Many fruits have a TON of sugar in them and because they are fruit not ice cream we tend to eat excess amounts of them which equals more sugar  then if we had just had that bowl of ice cream to begin with!  Like all things in life there are good, better and best choices.  This is simply that principle that yes fruit in general is a good thing, but there are certainly better and best choices when picking which fruits to eat!
Tip #2 Don't waste Calories
As I have learned that depriving yourself completely of something is not the best way to go either.  This will lead to binging and over eating later.  All things in moderation right?  You have to know what works for you, but for me most of my favorite foods I am having to cut out right now for health reasons.  I do know myself though and know if I feel like I can never eat anything I like ever again I'll go crazy.  So just be aware that most those things you like that are bad for you are NOT worth the calories.  So what I will do is plan for it.  If I know Eric and I get to go out and I'm not feeling like a salad I prepare by eating really low calorie meals and saving up my calories that week so I can have a little bit of what I want without blowing my whole diet.  This helps me to keep on track knowing I can "cheat" a little and it keeps me from losing control and binging when I feel deprived.  But for most days of the week it's about making smart choices.  Yes you could have that 200 calorie chocolate bar, but you will still be hungry after and then will want to eat more.  Or you could have 200 calories of a healthy balanced meal back with lean protein and veggies.  You will be eating a lot more food, but it will be less calories and will keep you full!
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Tip #3 Cutting out Carbs completely is not the only option
When I was told I needed to be on a low carb diet I first thought that meant I needed to cut out all carbs completely.  I quickly learned that this wouldn't work for my life style.  I needed to have quick and easy lunches so that I didn't eat out on my lunch break.  That leads me to these beauties below.  They have a lot of different brands, but these are my favorites so far!  It's so easy for me to make a quick wrap or sandwich with the flat bread and I have a healthy but filling lunch.  I actually like the fold over bread better then normal bread, imagine that!  They range from 40-90 calories and are packed full with fiber! I even made Eric a special treat on Sunday with these.  He is missing his pizza so I mad mini pizzas on the flat bread with low skim fat free mozzerella cheese and some yummy toppings.  There are ways to still have your favorite foods, there are just smarter ways to have them.  You have to find what compromises you are willing to make and modify things to make them the better substitute.

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Tip #4 Don't drink calories
Cutting out soda is one that hasn't been too hard for me, I think Eric has struggled a bit more.  I mean I would be lying if I didn't say I have Dr. Pepper withdrawals on a weekly basis, but I can feel and see the difference so it makes it worth it. It's amazing how many calories, carbs, and sugars are in one little can and how easy it is to down that can.  It's such a waste really!  Water is so much better for you and if you are drinking lots of water like you should be you'll be less hungry!  If I'm ever craving something other than water I like to use crystal light, or minute maid has a new line of juices that are only 15 calories for 8 oz.  This is still not a substitute to water, but it's a good craving buster if you feel like you are going to die without the soda!  It's one simple step that really will save you so many calories in a week.
Tip #5 Move
This is one that is a big deal for my PCOS.  Many diets out there claim that you will lose the weight without working out.  Which is true in some cases.  A lot of the weight process is built in the kitchen and around your diet. 
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But for me and women with PCOS exercise is the key to success.  My doctor even told me that I pretty much need to be working out for at least 45 mins a day at least 6 days a week.  Now this freaked me out and was really intimidating, but I know it's for the best and this is how I will see results.  I have to tell myself that If I'm not reaching this goal at first that it's okay.  I need to build up to it and that's okay! But the basic principle is I need to be moving and being active everyday.  I think my head for awhile was like oh well I didn't make it to the gym today, better luck tomorrow.  This pattern would continue until a whole week would pass and I would not have worked out at all!  I'm now at a point that if I don't make it to a gym, or if I don't get a hard 45 minute work out in I still need to go walking or do some quick sets at home.  It's not an all or nothing mentality, it's a do something no matter what.  Anything is better than nothing.  Even while watching your favorite show throw something like this in.

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We are finally getting a planet fitness here and I'm super excited.  I haven't been very impressed with the gyms here (I know it's no excuse) and that's a big reason why I haven't been working out as well as I should have.  It just goes to show that if you find the right things eating healthy and exercising can be fun.  You would never of heard me say I'm excited to go work out before, but now I have days where I cant wait.  It's an hour I can take off and unplug, I can let out frustrations and stress, I get more energy and I feel better! I'm making it so working out has a positive reaction and correlation in my brain rather than negative.  Now it will be an activity I look forward to rather then dread.
Tip #6 It's just as much mental and emotional as it is physical
This is something I learned quickly and am having to continually adapt to still.  First the battle with weight is emotional.  People have a stigma of fat people that I don't think is always fair or applies to everyone.  It's treated almost that they don't care about themselves or take care of themselves.  Well I'm here to testify that isn't true.  We are all built differently and have different bodies, different strengths and weaknesses.  Yes I'll be the first to admit that I have not always eaten like I should or have worked out, but it didn't mean I didn't take care of myself.  I have felt like in a way food was my addiction.  I don't drink or smoke or do some other common addicting behaviors, but I have spent my life turning to food to celebrate, to cope, to socialize, to mask or really for every emotion I would turn to food.  That means this wont be easy and that's okay.  This means it's not as simple as some thin people say of "Just don't eat crap."  It's an addiction and a habit that has to be broken.  And you do that by replacing it with Good habits.  It's validating to know that it wasn't all me my whole life, that pcos has effected the chemistry of my body.  But then it's emotional thing too because of this diagnosis I will never be able to eat like everyone else my whole life, and it will have to be something I always watch.  That's daunting and frustrating at times, but I have to just take it one day at a time.  I got really emotional when my doctor talked to me about some of the symptoms and what weight she wanted me at.  Emotional because I'm excited to finally do this, but also emotional because I have never felt like there has been a time in my life where I wasn't "trying" to lose weight and here I was again having to lose weight.  I realized at that moment I needed to change my thinking.  Yes I have always tried and always failed due to my own faults, but no matter where I got I failed because I wasn't satisfied!  I decided I had to stop looking at it just as a number I needed to get to, and start making it more about a healthier lifestyle.  There are girls that weigh 150/160 who are healthier than a girl that weighs 120.  It cannot purely be about the number.  There are many other factors and I decided if I continued to only focus on that I would never be satisfied and I would always find something else that was wrong.  So I'm deciding to be enough.  I know I'm eating healthier and working out more than a lot of people.  My body and my weight might take a longer time to show it, my I know it and that's what matters.  We need to focus on taking care of our mental and emotional health as much as we focus on physical.  If we are not happy and we are miserable then what is the point?  Now that I have changed my attitude though all of it is inclusive.  I'm happier because I'm feeling and looking better.  I'm feeling better because I am working out, putting good things in my body and having more energy. I'm less stressed or irritable because I'm working that out at the gym. So on and so forth!  I can sit and list all the things I don't like about myself or am unhappy about or I can change them.  And you will find that just making a few changes will effect a lot of those things on the bad list!
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Tip #7 SLEEP
This is KEY, and I'm still super horrible at it.  Our bodies need sleep and it's going to be a huge part to success.  With working out, I'm already sleeping better which is a huge help and I can feel the difference.  I have never been a morning person, but I'm learning to be that.  We need to be getting more sleep, and getting up earlier.  I have needed to do this so that I will get up in time to get ready and feel good about myself and to make sure I have time to prepare a good breakfast!  Getting the right amount of sleep is going to be what determines how you morning goes, and your morning determines how the rest of your day goes. Make it count!
Tip #8 Vitamins
I was never good at taking vitamins, but now I have hopped on the band wagon.  This is extremely important for me since PCOS makes me intolerant to certain foods.  With taking a vitamin it assures that I'm not going to miss out on any of the nutrients I need.  Currently my doctor recommend I switch to a pre-natal vitamin for the folic acid!  I also take fish oil for my skin, hair and nails! 
Tip #9 Greek yogurt/Dairy
I love this stuff and I swear by it!  I have been bombarded with advice and what I should and should not eat and dairy has been one many people have told me to avoid.  Well this made me really sad and I wasn't sure I was going to be able to do it.  Well after my appointment my Dr. told me to put all that out of my head and to not get overwhelmed and to listen to my body and to listen to her advice and that's it.  So that's what I have been doing.  So I have not cut out dairy, I have just been trying to make better choices.  I have limited cheeses, and the cheese I do use are low fat and smarter cheeses.  I have turned to using almond milk.  I still use skim milk in some things, but I like the taste of almond milk and it's only 60 calories so it's just a better choice for me.
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I love greek yogurt because it's a perfect substitute for so many fatty things I enjoy.  It can add that sour bite to a lot of meals, and adds the creaminess to my smoothies or other recipes that it needs.  It's high in protein and really good for you! 

Tip #10 listen to your body
This one incorporates most of what I have already said, but I'll just restate it a bit.  This one has been huge for me.  Like I said, everyone and their dog were giving me diets right and left.  Everyone was telling me what work outs I needed to do and so on and so forth.  I got way overwhelmed and had no idea how to do it all.  Eat Paleo, cut out all processed foods, don't eat meat, don't eat dairy, don't eat fruits, don't don't don't. Before I knew it I would have been on a diet of celery and cabbage broth haha.  So I just shut it all out and have listened to my body for the foods it likes and doesn't like.  You can tell the difference between a big fatty burger and a lean meat and veggie.  My stomach let me know, my acid reflux lets me know, my energy level lets me know and even my mood lets me know what food are and are not working.  So I'm not here to tell you what diet to follow or what foods to eat or not to eat.  I'm here to tell you listen to your body.  You will know what is working and what makes you feel good.  If you see success then you must be doing something right.

Tip #11 Spinach
Yum Yum I love this stuff and has been a key to my diet plan.  I pretty much try to throw it in everything I can.  This plan works for me because I like to sneak in those daily veggies anywhere I can.  I throw good handfuls into my smoothies, I put it in my omelets, I put it in wraps, salads, and really anything I can think of!

Tip #12 Count your Calories
I have pretty much talked about this in all of the other categories but I'll emphasis on how important it is.  The really basic theory to losing weight is burning more calories than you are consuming.  For me who has a desk job, this is more difficult since I'm not as active during the day.  That is why it's important to make sure my calorie intake matches my activity level, weight and height.  My biggest tip is myfitnesspal.  It is an app I have on my phone and it is my saving grace!  I love this thing.  This is not a picture of mine, it is one from pinterest seeing as I only eat 1300 calories a day.  It's so easy to track what you eat.  A lot of foods are already in there and you can just search it.  It will track your measurements, weight, work outs, calories and so much more!  It's one of the best tools I have found thus far!
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Tip #13Find what motivates you
 I'm still trying to decide exactly what I want to do for myself, but you have to have something to look forward to and to motivate you.  For me the threat of diabetes or infertility was a pretty good motivation, but I needed something happy at the end.  So I'm thinking about doing money for weight lost and then be able to buy new clothes at the end.  There are lots of other ideas and you each need to find that for yourself.  But having something makes it fun and gives you goals to work towards.

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Well that's it for now folks.  I'll continue to update you on my journey!


  1. this is great . way to go girl . I am proud of you.

  2. Wow, my daughter-this is TERRIFIC!!!! U R AMAZING! You have motivated me to do better with MY body & situation....Love ya lots, Mom