I should probably be clear. I was never overweight or in an unhealthy weight range. If you are, you need to seek the supervision of a physician (aka more than these two tips). However, if you’re like me, the pizza and booze consumed throughout your college years eventually catches up to you. Plus, my personal anxiety issues caused me to eat more to dull my stomach pain.
Now, this isn’t a post about my stomach issues (that’s a whole novel’s worth of shit). Though I will say, getting that part of my health under control was a major weight-loss factor since it caused me to cut back on heavy carbs and dairy. But, aside from that health issue, there were two things that helped me drop the pounds pretty quickly.
1. Read labels
The first thing you can start doing TODAY is reading labels, on everything! That includes Trader Joe’s sandwiches, nut packets and even water. Quick story: the other day I was at my parent’s house, drinking a bottled water they had leftover from my sister’s graduation party. Well, as I take a sip, I decide to look at the ingredients on the water’s label. I kid you not, two of the four ingredients: chloride and salt. SALT! No wonder I was flying through those waters. Who puts salt in water? Ridiculous. But that’s what I mean. Nowadays, you have to read everything. My trick? If you can’t pronounce it or don’t know the origins of that ingredient, then you probably shouldn’t be putting it in your body.
2. Track food
Now, I know not everyone is on board the “track what you eat” train. Some people have eating disorders or other issues, and I strongly encourage them not to track their food because, for some, it can become an obsession. However, when you are just starting off on your weight-loss journey, tracking your intake can be an eye-opening experience and provide you with a better understanding of where calories hide. This is especially true if you’ve plateaued. When you start tracking what you eat, it can be extremely surprising how quickly those Starbursts or mini peanut butter cups add up. I once tracked my meals in a physical journal, but tossed it in favor of MyFitnessApp since it’s always available on my phone (and has an awesome database). Just make sure not to set your caloric goal below 1200 calories per day (even that is pretty low; that’s basically you in a coma).
Reading labels and tracking your food will help you clean up your diet and become better aware of what you put in your body, which is (arguably) the most important part of any weight-loss journey. But, there is one last bonus tip:
Once your diet is in check, it’s time to start toning up and building muscle! I mean, there’s a reason everyone says diet and exercise help you lose weight. And there is a point you reach where the only way to get the body you really want is to hit the gym (assuming you don’t want a body that just withers away). Plus, once you start exercising, you may need to start eating a little more since 1 pound of muscle burns up to 50 extra calories a day. Just another reason it’s good to start by cleaning up your diet before adding in the final component: fitness.