A while ago we went to Sweden to visit my family. I only make it back every two years or so (they live faar north), so it was amazing seeing everyone again!
If you didn't know, Sweden has the BEST candy ever. (Don't trust those YouTube videos where they try Swedish candy -- they got the gross ones.) So, naturally, I gorged myself silly and I don't regret it one bit!
If you're gonna indulge, you better enjoy it, right? ;)
So when we came back from vacation I had reached 149 lbs, which hasn't happened often in my life. I'm 5'8", and even though I've usually got a good amount of muscle I normally stay around 143-144 lbs.
The problem was that I got a really bad flare-up from my chronic Lyme disease, which meant that I couldn't work out. At times I could barely walk the dogs.
Still, I wanted to lose the weight and feel confident again. You can feel confident at any weight, but for me personally looking and feeling healthy has a huge part in my confidence.
Luckily, exercising isn't the only way to lose weight! In fact, 80% of your success happens in the kitchen!
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The one change I made to lose the weight
We mostly eat at home and I cook pretty healthy foods, but what I realized was that when my work situation changed, my eating habits didn't.
The two previous years I worked at 1) Starbucks, where I spent eight hours a day on my feet running around like crazy, and 2) at Go Ape, a zip line and treetop adventure park where I spent my days working in the forest wearing a heavy harness.
With all that activity, along with lifting weights, I needed a lot of food to support this. I brought so many snacks to work, guys. And I was in great shape!
Then I started working from home. I started my proofreading business and this blog, and even though I walk and exercise and dance what I can with my illness, I'm living a very sedentary lifestyle now.
So why was I eating the same way I was before? Well, we cook such good food, it's so easy to go for those seconds, but mostly it was just a habit I never really thought about. I filled up the normal bowls with food and ate it all.
So I made one -- ONE -- change:
I started eating smaller portions.
And this small change made me lose 5.5 lbs in three weeks! No exercise, no diets. Just eating what I usually eat, but in a reasonable amount.
Mind you, I had a rough time dealing with being so sick these weeks, so I had quite a few days where I binged on candy and chips because I felt sorry about myself (read how I reset my mindset and handled those bad days here!), but even with all those "failures," I still lost weight and got to a place where I felt good about myself.
I lost 7 lbs in total by actually doing less.
Here are five tips on how to do this yourself!
Five tips to eat smaller portions
1. Reassess foods you often eat
I have eaten three fried eggs, two slices of bacon, and a banana pineapple smoothie for breakfast for over three years now. It's delicious and makes my mornings easier by being my everyday staple. However, I realized that I don't need all that food when I'm working at a computer. By taking away one egg and one slice of bacon every morning, I saved almost 1,000 calories a week!
2. Leave pots and pans in the kitchen
Growing up, we always ate at the table with the pots and pans in the middle. This makes it very easy (too easy!) to reach for seconds, so leave them on the stove. Just the fact that you have to walk somewhere to get a refill will keep you from having a second portion unless you're actually still hungry.
3. Add a little salad
We often have vegetables instead of any starches with our protein, but if you don't eat that way just chop up some lettuce and cucumbers. It's quick and easy, and I like to jazz it up with some chopped nuts and honey dijon dressing from SkinnyGirl (only 10 calories per 2 tbsp). Eat your salad first (just like Mom always said) and you'll need less "normal" food.
4. Be mindful of your hunger
For me the biggest struggle is to not eat more just because it's good. I'm doing just fine now, so obviously I didn't need the second portion I was so fond of getting. Give it a few minutes and reassess if it's still necessary or just for taste. And if you package it up as a lunch box, you get to enjoy it the next day anyway!
I also like to cleanse my palate with a piece of gum or an Outshine fruit bar -- they're DELICIOUS, made with real fruit, and only 30 calories each!
5. Use smaller plates and bowls
Even if a recent study from Ben-Gurion University debunked the popular diet trick of using smaller plates and bowls to eat less, I'd say give it a try. In my experience it totally works, especially since the large bowl is way more than I actually need and I'll automatically fill up the bowl, no matter what size it is! It's less about tricking myself and more about being honest about my calorie needs.
Join me for an awesome fitness challenge!
So now when I'm in a pretty good place and my flare-up is dying down, I decided to kick it up a notch. I was honestly going to wait until after the holidays, but then I realized: Christmas is only a few days. And wouldn't I like to END this year and START the new one being in awesome shape and feeling energized?!
If you are ready to make an even bigger change to your life and health, like I am, join me for T.R.I.M.! It's a seven-week program that includes:
- Gym + home + beginner workouts
- Meal plan examples
- Daily support
- Comprehensive guide with resources
- Fat-burning nutrition solutions
- Affordable pricing, that's "among the lowest cost option you'll find!"
It's made by Valerie Smorol from SmoFitness and is all about making workouts short and effective and focusing most of your efforts on clean eating. Because who has time for a two-hour workout each day, am I right? And the fact that you get workouts to fit whatever situation you're in is awesome. I love programs that are actually aware that you have a job and a life. ;)
They have limited sign-ups for every round, so snag your place! They start every month (but have a bonus round starting on New Year's Eve!) so whenever you're ready, go for it! But what better time is there than right now?
I know that having accountability is good for me (I learned that doing challenges like "50 squats a day" and Insanity), so why not finish the year in style? I'll get all the help I need to keep on track and learn what I need to, and I'm truly excited to do this! A program that encourages women to eat healthy foods and build strength is something I want to encourage, because it has truly changed my life and body.
If you want to read more about the program click here, and don't forget to check out the awesome transformations! I always get so inspired seeing people's before and after pictures.
I'm generally of the "eat mostly healthy foods and exercise regularly and you will get there" mentality, but sometimes it's fun and good to mix it up with a challenge for inspiration and motivation. I hope you join me, whatever time of the year it is when you're reading this, because there is no better time than now to better yourself and do something good for your health. :)
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Hi, I'm Erika!
I know what it's like living with anxiety and depression, but living and living are very different things. I believe in practical tips and methods, and I will use them to help you be the brave, daring, darling individual you are.
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