These are three very common New Year’s resolutions. I know I’ve made this list for myself quite often over the last few years. And, like so many others, I have failed to uphold these resolutions. It was always the same old song and dance – start a diet, to to the gym, count my calories. It worked for about two weeks, one month tops. I wanted results, and I wanted them a heck of a lot sooner than what I was getting. Naturally, I got discouraged and would quit before I really got started.
I finally booted myself in the ass about four years ago and told myself I was going to make my resolution and stick to it. Over a six month time frame, I managed to lose 60lb and 4 inches off my waist through diet and exercise. I managed to maintain this for awhile, but life started to get in the way; I started working three jobs, went through a bad breakup, and slowly that scale started to inch back up.
After having a rude awakening with some health issues, I decided it was time to get back on the horse (pun intended) and start over again. I renewed my gym membership, went grocery shopping, dug out the workout clothes, and made a plan. I took my initial measurements in December, and got to work.
I used to always focus on fad diets – paleo, Adkins, keto, etc. Some worked, some didn’t; my plan of attack changed to the basics: high protein, low carb, serving sizes. Serving sizes became the most important – I logged all of my meals and noticed a trend in my intake versus output. Turns out, some of the things I was eating were two servings in one sitting. Whoops! I became more proactive in monitoring this, and once I made that a habit and my body adjusted, the weight started to melt off!
My Meal Plan
Here’s a look at one typical day of my meals. You can vary this to your liking – the main thing is to watch your servings and focus on higher protein and fiber foods; these will keep you fuller, longer. Another habit I’ve taken on heavily is drinking half my weight of water in ounces. It sounds like a lot, but hydration is key!
I posted the times so you can get a general idea of the time frame between meals – adjust it to your own schedule as needed. This is for an average week day – weekends are different depending on plans and what my trip to the gym consists of.
2 eggs, hard boiled or scrambled
1-2 slices of bacon
1 slice honey whole wheat toast, dry
1 whole wheat tortilla wrap
If I’m in a rush, I’ll slice up some of the hard boiled eggs the night prior with one slice of bacon and make a wrap that I can easily grab and go in the mornings. You can do the same with scrambled eggs, just pop the wrap in the microwave for a few seconds.
0800 Morning Snack
Homemade granola energy bites
1/2 cup granola
1/4 cup Nuts (unsalted)
1/4 cup Cubed ham
1/4 cup Cubed cheese
You can use any kind of granola you prefer. I personally use Bear Naked granola. The cubed ham and cheese is optional – I’ll use these as a filler if I know I will be taking a late lunch, or sub them into my afternoon snack.
Homemade granola energy bites
Homemade yogurt parfait
Your protein shake is pretty straight forward. I’ll use almond milk instead of cold water – I like a creamier shake and it usually sits with me longer (make sure you include the calories from the almond milk into your daily log!). I usually alternate between Muscle Milk and GNC whey protein powder. I added the granola bites just for something solid, I don’t always like to just drink my lunch.
1400 Afternoon Snack
1/2 cup dried fruit
1/2 cup mixed nuts
Just enough to tide me over until supper time.
2-4 oz grilled chicken breast
1/2 cup long grain wild rice
I usually attempt to make breakfast my larger meal of the day; some times I will pass on the slice of toast for breakfast, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing to have that little bit of carbs for your body to use as energy for the morning.
It’s difficult to start into the habit of eating those snacks in between meals. By all means, do not force yourself to eat if you do not feel hungry when snack time comes around. I would suggest at least nibbling on something, though. On my busier days of work, especially when I’m running around with the ponies, I am starving by 0930 if I don’t have that little snack. The purpose of my meal regiment is to continuously give my body fuel with smaller meals more often – this seemed to help my body jump-start my metabolism by having a more constant intake to burn. Ultimately I try to limit myself to 1200 calories per day. It sounds like a lot, but when you start keeping a food journal and logging everything, you’ll be surprised just how quickly you eat up (haha another intended pun) those calories.
Remember, try to make breakfast your largest meal of the day. You are “breaking” your “fast” so fueling up what you burned overnight is important.
Drink half your body weight in ounces of water.
Hold yourself accountable. Keep a daily food journal. Monitor your calories. I use the MyPlate app for finding nutritional values and calorie counts for everything I eat.
Stay tuned for part 2 of this post where I discuss my workout routines!