The dreaded diet and exercise—two words that can strike terror in the heart of any bride- or groom-to-be! But if you have specific goals in mind and stick with a plan that works for YOU, it might not be as bad as you think. It might even be rewarding and make you feel healthier than you’ve felt in a long time. Remember that there is no magic bullet—fad diets don’t work nor does starving yourself. (I’ve had several friends who refused to eat any real food in the months/weeks leading up to their wedding. Please don’t do that.) It’s all about making small changes to your lifestyle and habits and eventually finding the ones that work best for you. Here are some food-related changes I’ve made.
Image via FaithfulProvisions.com
Cooking more meals at home.
Healthy eating seems a bit difficult at first, but it becomes much easier once you know what foods to choose. Even better, prepare food yourself at home. With busy schedules, it’s often difficult to make meals every day, but we try to cook as often as possible because we actually really enjoy it. Plus it’s WAY cheaper than eating out every night. And with sites like Pinterest, finding and storing recipes for future reference is a breeze. I also use sites like Food Network and All Recipes for inspiration.
Image via Seekyt.com
Tracking what I eat on MyFitnessPal.com.
Shedding pounds is directly correlated to your caloric intake. It’s very simple—the less you eat, the more weight you lose. My Fitness Pal allows you to track everything you eat—it basically allows you to set certain goals, then recommends a daily caloric intake for you. Now, I am NOT one who can do diets of deprivation (No carbs? No thank you. No sugar, ever? See you later.), but the more difficult challenge is a diet of moderation. So for example, if my calorie goal is 1,400 a day, sure I can eat a burger, but that’s already 40%–50% of my daily calories used up. So do I really want to spend all my calories on that one thing, or should I reach for something healthier? Sometimes, a burger really is worth it, so that just means I need to plan the rest of my day accordingly so I don’t go over my calorie goal. But after a while, you’ll start realizing that at most other times it’s worth just eating something healthy so you can eat more.
The site is fantastic because it really makes you think twice about what you put into your mouth. And it’ll let you know if you go over your calories, a huge motivating factor to help you stay in the “green.” Any exercise you do, you can log it on the site and it will tell you how many calories you’ve burned and can subsequently “eat back” each day. With little exercise, I lost about seven pounds in two months, just by watching how many calories I consumed. MFP is definitely tedious (bordering on obsessive) but if you have the willpower, it’s well worth the few minutes a day it takes to log your meals.
MyFitnessPal.com / My Personal Food Diary (Extra calories earned by doing one hour of Zumba)
Using Fitbit, the world’s most awesome activity tracker.
This isn’t exactly food related, but it ties in with calorie counting so thought it would be appropriate to mention here. Fitbit is basically this little device you wear every day that digitally tracks your steps taken, floors climbed, miles traveled, and, most importantly, calories burned a day. I am obsessed with mine and wear it every day (for women, you can wear it discreetly on your bra). It also comes with a wristband that you wear at night to track how efficient your sleep is. But the best part—you can sync your Fitbit with My Fitness Pal and it automatically shows how many calories you’ve earned by being active.
Side note: If you use a Fitbit synced with My Fitness Pal, use Fitbit solely for activity/exercise tracking and MFP solely for food tracking or you’ll end up double counting.
Fitbit / Image via Forbes.com
Fitbit.com / My Personal Activity Tracker for 12/5/12 (My activity spike between 8:30 PM and 9:30 PM was due to Zumba.)
How do you maintain healthy eating habits?