1. Eat a body-building and brain-energizing breakfast (good carbs and protein!).
I know, you’re in a hurry, or you’re not hungry but do it anyway. It’s not a myth, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s the meal that breaks your nighttime “fast” and tells your metabolism to WAKE UP and start burning those calories! Not to mention the fact that your body needs nutrients to function. A bagel may fill your hunger-hole, but that’s about all it does. You need protein and a good carb - the simplest breakfast combo is egg whites (or add one *yolk) and oatmeal. That is = a clean protein (muscle building) + super sonic clean carb (energy feeding) = Body and mind energy and Strong body.
Bagels (and the likes) are basically empty calories with no nutritional value and only set you up for an energy crash. Make breakfast count. Every right meal, starting with this one, is one step closer to your goal.
2. Count NUTRIENTS not calories.
You should know generally how many calories, sugar and fat are in foods, but you don’t need to count calories to the number. Unless you’re preparing for a bodybuilding or physique competition, this is wasted energy. Your success will be in the *quality* of food. 200 calories of an apple and 200 calories of candy, work very differently in the body. Even though they have the same calories, one food moves you forward, one moves you back. If everything you eat is natural and whole (veggies, fruit, whole grains, lean protein), your body will have no choice but to change. It’s the empty/excess junk food that is your barrier.
Ask yourself - Is what I’m eating going to feed my goal or push me back? Am I eating enough power-carbs for my run? Am I eating enough protein to build the muscles that’ll give me the strong athletic look I’m going for? Am I getting enough vitamins and minerals to keep my body performing at it’s best? It’s very hard to over-eat healthy food so think less about calories and more about the QUALITY of the food you’re eating. Keep your eye on the prize - your strong sleek body.
3. Don't fall for the front of food labels, the truth is on the back.
The front of the package is the selling part of the label, but the real truth is on the back. The front screams FAT FREE, SUGAR FREE, ALL NATURAL but that’s not the whole truth. Truly good for you foods don’t need to scream at you, we already know. It’s the back of the label that tells you about the ingredients and chemicals they needed to add to replace the sugar/fats to make it taste good.
What you should be checking for: carbs, sugar, sodium (a big one), calories (see #2), and don’t forget serving size. When you read something like “Only 100 Calories!” don’t forget to check the fine print that reads, per serving. What you “think” constitutes a serving is most likely much smaller than you think. Something you could eat all at once may actually have many servings so those numbers on the back have to be doubled, tripled or even quadrupled if you were to eat the whole thing. For example - Something may have only 200 calories but 20-30 grams of fat (store bought baked goods are notorious for this) so you can eat your total fat limit in only 2 muffins (and it’s not the good kind of fat). In fact, some muffins are actually 2 servings! Be watchful.
4. STOP and think before you eat. See food as a means to an end = YOUR GOAL
Immediate food gratification feels good in that moment and then it doesn’t. You either feel physically bad (for over-doing it) but more often you feel emotionally bad for taking a step back or undoing what you’ve already done. It’s so not worth it. Don’t let one moment of temptation pull you backwards.
But if you do give in?
Then pick yourself up from that moment and keep going! Don’t throw away the rest of the day (or week), you’ll only make it worse. Brush yourself off and push harder. A stumble doesn’t keep you from your goal, giving up does.
5. Eliminate as much sugar as you possibly can.
This alone will have huge impact on your weight, your goals, your fitness and even your moods and energy. You can’t look at this as “denial” you have to see it as freedom! Freedom from the extra weight, freedom from missing out on your goals and probably most important, freedom from the emotional pounding you give yourself every day you don’t stick to it.
Occasional treats are ok, like once or twice a week, but every day treats are only sabotaging you. I’ve known soda drinkers who gave it up and lost 20 pounds with that one simple change.
Don’t deny yourself your happiness over something like a piece of food.
6. Make your workouts as important and strict as a meeting or appointment.
You MUST make yourself a priority. Everything else suffers when you don’t take care of yourself. How do things go when you’re angry, frustrated, or exhausted? Not good, I know. How do you feel when you’ve accomplished the things that feed you (like your workout) and that nourish your soul? Better, I know.
Decide when you’ll workout and any extras that pop up need to be scheduled around that. Period.
I’ve said it 1000 times. Your fitness is mental. Your best and strongest body is in your best and strongest THOUGHTS. Your choices, mental strategy, and your absolute ability to *stick-to-it-no-matter-what-the-universe-throws-at-you* is where your ultimate success lies. THAT is the way you get there. THAT is the secret spice between getting there and staying here.
photo by Justyn Warner