Ditch the Diet & Change your Lifestyle
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I have a confession to make. I have a hard time sticking to a diet. Yup, I said it. Dieting is no fun. And I know I'm not the only one who thinks so.
I've tried a few (more than I care to admit) and haven't been able to successfully stick to any of them for various reasons. The most success I've seen has been with Trim Healthy Mama. But, I'll be honest and say that even that program, popular as it is, still hasn't been all sunshine & roses for me.
Sugar is my kryptonite (especially if it's something chocolate). Learning to use new sweeteners has a big learning curve and I've had more than my share of recipe flops. That can get pretty discouraging when you just want to be successful (and enjoy a good dessert!). But, through every mistake and flop I've had, I have learned a few lessons.
Small Changes Add Up
I am more successful if I make small changes instead of trying to jump in and change everything at once. Sure, the weight loss is probably going to take longer but, if I can actually stick with it, then I win in the long run.
With the goal of making a lifestyle change, there are a few things that have helped. Here are my sanity-saving tips for a successful Trim Healthy Mama transition:
#1 - Cut the sugar
Cutting out sugar is definitely number one on my list. It's addictive and there is just nothing good about the white stuff. And finding a few sweets & desserts I can enjoy helps me stay on-track. When I don't keep things in the house to curb that "sweet tooth" craving I am more likely to give in to temptation.
If sweets are your thing, then you'll want to experiment and find a few go-to desserts & chocolate fixes before you're fully "on plan". My favorite go-to desserts:
- From the Trim Healthy Mama book - Choco Pudding, Chunky Cream Pops, Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies
- Peanut Butter Cups
- No Bake Skinny Chocolate Custard
- Chocolate Cupcakes
#2 - Ditch the wheat or switch to sprouted grain products
This can actually be a fairly easy transition. Instead of buying the usual white bread, buy sprouted grain bread, tortillas, and English muffins. My family isn't keen on some of these products so I still buy other products for them and I save the sprouted stuff for me.
Add in Gwen's refrigerator dough recipe for pizza and hot dog wraps and you're set. This step has been pretty easy (at least compared to cutting out sugar).
I have been seriously considering ditching wheat all together but I'm not there yet. I think that step might take me a little longer to accomplish.
#3 - Can the soda
Thankfully I'm not a big soda drinker so this step was easy enough for me. If soda is your nemesis then consider investing in a soda stream. It has helped my mother-in-law kick the soda habit for good. She forgoes the drink mixes and flavors her soda water with fruit or a squeeze of citrus. There are even a few unsweetened flavorings you can purchase to change up the taste.
Pearl & Serene have also created a variety of hot & cold drinks and sippers to add some variety to your daily water intake. Search their Facebook fan page for some of these (my favorites: the Trimmaccino and the Shrinker). There's no need to settle for a sugary or chemical-laden bottle of soda when there are so many other great choices!
#4 - Focus on one meal at a time
When you are ready to really take the plunge and make more changes, I've found that it's much easier to work on one meal at a time. I start with breakfast & snacks. When I've got a good handle on those meals, I work on changing lunches.
Gwen has a great starter guide with some helpful tips for this step.
#5 - Dinner is actually the easiest meal to THM'ify'
As long as you're not serving casseroles full of potatoes, white rice, or pasta, then you can easily follow Trim Healthy Mama guidelines at dinner time. Serve a source of protein. Offer a good carb option to the rest of the family. Serve veggies and a salad on the side. Eat your protein and veggies and skip the carbs unless you're planning an E meal.
#6 - Add some exercise
No matter where you are in your Trim Healthy Mama journey adding in some exercise time is important. We all need to do some sort of cardio to get our heart rate up. And we (especially women) need to do some sort of muscle toning exercise. My favorite choice is T-Tapp (my absolutely favorite workout is Mindful Movement for Healthy Hormones). I've seen some great inch loss (even without dieting) and find that I actually lose more inches when I exercise less often (I average 20 minutes, 2-3 times a week).
These are the changes that I've been most successful with. I still fail and don't stick to the plan, but even these changes have helped me shed pounds and inches. Best of all I don't feel like I'm on a diet!