After a year hiatus, I recently started running again and it was a great change for the better! You can see my post about that HERE. These changes made me feel much better and as an added bonus, I did lose about 15 pounds. Change in eating habits were also a huge part of my increase in energy. People have asked me what changes I made. I am here to tell you.
Note that a 150 pound woman burns approximately 100 calories a mile when running. All calorie information is derived from LoseIt.
Eat a Good Breakfast: I know you have heard this one a million times. But how many times have you rushed out the door with barely time for a cup of coffee? Or you may say that when you eat breakfast you are hungrier during the day. Yes, this may be true, but that is because eating breakfast kick starts your metabolism (which is good). You don’t have to spend a lot of time or energy making something every day. Just have one of these quick and easy choices or something equally filling: an egg and toast and fruit; peanut butter, toast and fruit; oatmeal with fruit and nuts. It’s important to have a good mix of protein and carbs to keep you feeling fuller throughout the day. If you need a snack later, have one. But make it a healthy snack (see below)!
2 Lg Eggs (180), 1 slice Multi Grain Toast (69), Banana (105): 354 cal
2 Tbsp PB* (188), 1 slice Multi Grain Toast (69), Grapefruit (78): 335 cal
½ cup Oatmeal (150), ½ cup Strawberries (23), 2 Tbsp Walnuts (96), 2 oz Almond Milk (15): 284 cal
*2 Tbsp Almond Butter = 203
Limit alcohol intake: I am not saying you need to be a complete teetotaler, but cutting out some alcohol makes a huge impact on your calorie intake, AND your budget. Not having a bottle of wine at dinner makes it seem like the restaurant has just given you a huge discount! As far as calories go, booze is empty calories. It really has no beneficial effect on your body (excepting maybe that red wine/heart thing they keep going back and forth on).
6 oz glass of red wine: 150 cal
6 oz glass of white wine: 145 cal
1 oz whiskey: 64 cal
1 oz vodka: 64 cal (8 oz soda: 97 cal = 161 cal mixed drink)
12 oz Bud Light: 110 cal
12 oz Michelob Ultra: 96 calories
So, for almost each drink you have, you have to run 1 – 1.5 miles. Also consider that for every 100 calories, you could instead have 3 oz of chicken breast, ½ cup of brown rice or as a treat, a cookie! If you feel like having a whole bottle of wine, go ahead. Just make sure you run approximately 6 miles to make up for it!
Limit snack intake: Like I mentioned above, a cookie is nearly 100 calories (or if you get the molasses ginger snap at Starbucks, it will cost you 350 calories!) There are many snacks which we just eat to feed a craving, because we are bored or because we are sitting in front of the TV or computer (side note: bad idea!) and not even because we are hungry. However, if you are hungry, you may want to consider eating a more filling meal at mealtime. Or if you do feel the need to snack, eat something that will sustain you. Those chips will not make you feel full until you have had way too many of them. Have a banana first. If you are still hungry afterwards (or you NEED salt), have a few chips. I am not suggesting you totally cut out the things you love, just be aware of portion sizes!
7” banana: 105 cal
Lg Apple: 116 cal
Mandarin: 40 cal
15 baby carrots (52) & 2 Tbsp Hummus (46): 98 cal
27 Cheez-its: 150 cal
2”macaroon: 97 cal
¼ cup peanut M&Ms: 220 cal
½ cup of ice cream: 150 calories
Limit Eating Out: You have heard this one before as well, I am sure. The portions are huge, if it is there in front of me, I have to eat it, and who knows what they put in that food. If it tastes good, they probably loaded it with butter, salt or some kind of fat or oil. Why not go make your own broccoli soup so you can control how much of the good stuff goes into it? Why not buy your own hamburger fixings so you can do-it-yourself at home? You don’t have to give up treats altogether, but it is better if you can not only make your dishes with less of what ails you, but serve yourself less as well. If you are going to eat out, be aware of what you are eating. Restaurant food is loaded with hidden calories.
Eat Your Leftovers: I read a study where they tested two sets of people to see how full they felt after a meal. One set had one bowl of soup. The other set had a bowl with a hidden stream of soup, refilling from the bottom. Both groups said they felt equally as full, even though the second group had eaten 70% more soup! Oftentimes I make a big pot of chili or a bunch of chicken breasts on the weekend and eat them throughout the week to save time. Be careful though, or you may find yourself eating the entire pot in one go! Experts suggest serving yourself one serving size to and putting the rest away, right away. If it is in front of you, either on the table or even on the stove, you will be more tempted to have more, even if you don’t need it.
Keep Track of What You Eat: Like I said above, keeping track is a great way to help you make good decisions. You don’t have to be on Weight Watchers to realize that keeping track and keeping yourself accountable of what you are eating is a smart move! I have heard some people say that it doesn’t work for them for a couple of reasons.
1.) If they go a little bit over budget in one day, they figure what the heck, you may as well go way over. NOT TRUE. You can make up for it tomorrow, but why not just go a little bit over today if you have to, instead of binging! Keeping track helps you realize when you are getting close to enough calories per day for YOUR body. The other thing is that if you go a little bit over, go out for a half an hour walk to balance things out instead of giving up on yourself all together!
2.) They don’t enter the food until later in the day or tomorrow, when it is already too late. THAT’S OKAY. It still gives you an idea of where you did well, where you went wrong and what you need to change in the future. This is only a tool to help you plan the future, not one that restricts you! It just makes you more aware!
I hope that this post will help you to learn from my mistakes! Don’t forget that exercise is also a very important part of staying healthy and feeling good!
Have you ever tried tracking your food and exercise? What do you normally have for breakfast?