Throughout the entire year, I repeat the same cycle over and over with the same few pounds. I get down to what I consider my ideal body shape…and then over the course of a week (it happens fast!), I gain several pounds back. And it shows up fast on my body. I know this is typical for most people and I never let it go too far in one direction, but when I hit my high point, I know it’s time to make some corrections and get back to where I feel most comfortable. And I feel most comfortable in my own skin when I’m trim and muscles are visible. Not like right now… At the moment, I have a small-ish layer of belly fat around my waist and my bum is a little too big for my liking!! So, I thought I would share what I’m going to do about it! When my lifestyle is in top shape, so is my body! I want my abs back. And I want my firm backside again. 😉
So…I’m ready to commit. Again. And this time around I have some extra motivation: after school gets out for the year, we’re headed to FL for vacation! I want to be beach (and bikini) ready…and that means no roll of belly fat around my waist is allowed. 😉
Before I dive into my tips for losing weight, I first want to remind everyone that I am NOT a nutritionist or personal trainer (at least not yet, anyway). This is what works for ME. When I put all of these tips below into motion, my body bounces back and I feel trim and confident again. 🙂 I hope they will help you, too!
- Get in the right mindset. I think this one is really important. If I want to lose weight, I have to REALLY want it and be fully committed. If I’m just sort of so-so about it and don’t really care if I have excess fat on my bottom, it’s going to take me longer to reach my goals. Getting my body where I like it takes dedication. And while I NEVER want to feel like I’m depriving myself, I do know that going to bed feeling a little hungry at night is a good thing. (Note: I said a little hungry…not ravenous!)
- Drink water! I make sure to drink at least half of my body weight in ounces of water each day. Or more if I’m sweating a lot. My goal is AT LEAST 60 ounces each day. I fill a pitcher with this amount every morning and by the end of the day, I should have it finished. I like it room temperature so I can “chug” a big glass whenever I get thirsty. If I sat and sipped cold water all day, I would NEVER be able to drink this much. When I’m drinking enough water, I’m not as hungry throughout the day and I don’t overeat. (I also think it helps my skin and my mood.) And I think this goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway…I never drink pop (soda)!
- Get enough sleep: at least 7 hours each night. While I would LOVE to get 8 hours every night, with young kids and a never-ending to-do list, I feel like this is really hard. When I’m getting enough sleep, however, not only is it easier to get up in the morning to workout, but when I’m not tired, I’m more motivated to get moving, in general, because I have more energy. Keeping a consistent bedtime and wake-up time is super helpful. Even on the weekends, it’s good if I don’t sleep in too late or else I’ll struggle to fall asleep on Sunday night, therefore I wake up feeling exhausted on Monday. Never a good way to start the week.
- Lift weights!! I cannot stress this one enough. Lifting weights is so beneficial for lots of reasons. Plus, it takes more work to move bigger muscles, therefore the more muscles you have, the more calories burned with every move! And even though muscle weighs more than fat, it takes up less space.
- Exercise consistently…but don’t do the same thing every day. I’ve long committed to working out 5-6 days a week and it makes a big difference…but if I do the same thing every day, it stops being as effective. Switching up my training and adding in high intensity intervals is the best way to kick things up a notch. If I’m running, I’ll add in some bursts of speedwork. Same when I’m on the elliptical: increasing the elevation & resistance and also going faster helps kick up my metabolism. And when my metabolism is at maximum efficiency, it makes it easier to lose weight. Same with my lifting routines. After a month or so of one program, I usually move on to something else. I try to keep my muscles guessing so they never know what’s coming next!
- Don’t stress too much. This is my downfall. Having three kids so close in age is stressful, no matter how you look at it. I know how blessed I am and they really are good kids (overall!), but they fight with each other. A lot. And there are toys everywhere, all the time. And that stresses me out. It’s also loud in our house…and I prefer quiet. So, yeah, stress is a hard one for me. However, the less stress I feel, the better I feel overall. When stress levels are high, our bodies produce more cortisol, therefore wanting to hang on to excess fat. Try to find ways to reduce your stress and you’ll be skinnier because of it!! For me, this means finding a good routine for our day, sticking to it, and getting outside as much as possible.
- Eat the right foods. Avoid processed foods. Watch your sugar intake (even with natural sugars). Eat superfoods. The more your diet consists of foods like vegetables and fruit, quinoa, brown rice, oats, nuts/seeds, almond butter, lean meats and seafood…the better! The closer to nature our food is, the better for our bodies it is. I can honestly tell a difference in the way my body look by the foods I’m eating. Avocados, lots of raw veggies dipped in hummus, all.the.fruits., quinoa with extra virgin olive oil, oats….those are the foods I’m going to be focused on for a while now.
- Eat the right amount of food. This is one of the hardest for me to follow all the time. There are always distractions around me at meal times (my kids….the laptop, a magazine or book, my phone), but I try to put the fork down before I eat too much. I eat until I’m comfortable. What does this mean? It means that I am still able to eat more, but I don’t feel like I need to anymore. I’m satisfied without being full. If I’m overly hungry before my next meal, then I’ll try to eat some fruit with a little protein. (Protein examples: a hard boiled egg, almond butter, nuts or seeds, or one string cheese.)
- Don’t eat after dinner. Once dinner is over, I brush my teeth and I’m done for the night. A 12 hour fast every day (7pm to 7am, for example) can be good for weight loss! This is probably THE most important thing I can do for myself when I’m trying to bring my abs back to the surface again (aka-lose the excess belly roll).
- Allow a little wiggle room. Don’t be so hard core about your weight loss plan that you fail to allow any room for “fun.” When I’m trying to get myself back into shape, I usually have dessert once a week, usually ice cream on Friday night while my husband and I watch a movie together. Or if I don’t workout one day, I don’t beat myself up about it. Sure, I may try to get some other type of exercise in later that day, but if my routine gets thrown off for some reason, I just get back to it as soon as I can. If I’m too strict with myself, it will only cause me to overindulge once I hit my final goal weight. I don’t ever want to feel deprived because it only backfires on me in the end!
So, what would you add to this list??
Losing weight and maintaining a trim body is hard work and takes dedication. I cycle in and out of my commitment to it. It’s harder for me to care as much throughout the cold Indiana winters (when I wear layers upon layers of clothing at all hours of the day), but now that bathing suit and tank top weather is approaching? I’m ready to get my abs back and re-commit to my 10 tips above. Because you want to know what happens when I do all of these things each and every day? Yep, I look good, feel good, have more confidence, and am HAPPIER because of them. I highly recommend living a healthy lifestyle…it makes all the world of difference for me! And when I’m my best me, I’m a better mom and a better wife. #truth