This morning I was thinking about the different habits I have now compared to the habits I used to have. The idea of a diet is temporary, it’s something we do for a time to get a result. Want to lose 5 lbs? Go on a diet, lose the 5 lbs, then go back to your old habits and gain them back.
It was difficult for me to change my lifestyle, because a lot of my habits, or default behavior if you prefer that were things that made me gain weight. The three habits that I’m going to write about in this post, are 3 easy to do things that most people will be able to do and that will give you more control.
Eliminate Liquid Calories
I used to be a big consumer of soda, I started with a glass or two in the morning, plus maybe an energy drink. I had soda with every meal, and between meals. I pretty much never drank water. This was not only an expensive habit, but on a “good day” I would consume almost 600 calories, and on a bad day up to 1800 calories from just soda.
If I was being “healthy” I would drink apple juice or sweet tea instead, but those can have even more calories. Now, I still buy Coca Cola Zero, or Sprite Zero on occasion as a treat, but the majority of what I drink is pure water and coffee.
This little change reduced my caloric intake by enough calories to lose about 0.5 kg/1 lb every week.
I started meal planning in about March 2016. Before I started planning out my meals, I would have to throw away a lot of food because I bought it and it went bad, but even worse I was at the mercy of “what looks good”. I would go to the grocery store 1 – 3 times a day, buy whatever I wanted at that moment and finish most of it.
This meant that when I was shopping for my breakfast, I would grab whatever smelled the best, usually baked goods and an energy drink. When I was shopping for my lunch I would grab whatever was fast and easy to save time on my lunch break. When I was shopping for my dinner, I would grab whatever took the least possible effort to prepare and tasted the best, so usually a frozen pizza.
Going to the grocery store every day also meant that I had 3 times a day where I could buy candy or chocolate to snack on.
Usually what I do now is set aside 1 hour on Thursday night (I shop Friday after work), and plan the 3 main meals every day until lunch on the coming Friday. I’ll enter them all into My Fitness Pal and adjust them so that I’m on track for my calorie and macro-nutrient targets.
I also make sure to buy some healthier, lower calorie snacks, like yogurt, fruit and carrots, to bridge the gap between the estimated calories in my fitness pal and the actual calories I should eat that day based on the fitbit adjustment.
The 10 Minute Walk
This is a new habit that I used to replace the 3 x 1 – 2 hour brisk walks I used to do for cardio, and that I stole from a bodybuilder named Stan Efferding. After every meal, I get up and do a brisk 10 – 20 minute walk. On most days I used to get 5 – 6000 steps in Fitbit, after using the 10 minute walk, I get around 12.000 and this burns enough calories that I don’t need to set aside the 1 – 2 hours 3 x a week to do cardio.
It’s low impact, easy, and something just about everyone can do regardless of fitness level. It also helps with digestion and insulin sensitivity.