I've had a weight loss goal since February and it's very rewarding to know I am just 4 pounds from my goal which I plan to reach by Memorial Day.
I've tried dozens of diets and meal plans over the years, and here's what I've learned with this experience.
The basics are always the same, but this time I thought of my meal plan as the "caveman diet" (as my trainer calls it). I can eat as much lean protein (fish, chicken, seafood, lean beef and turkey) and vegetables as I want. Sugars are out except fruits and those need to be eaten early in the day, Carbs need to be cut out as much as possible and no alcohol for the first several weeks to achieve weight loss. Basically it's clean food for the first several weeks. Carbs with high fiber can be slowly re-introduced back into your diet as well as an occasional red wine or low carb alcohol. Keeping a food journal is essential. You may think you know what you're eating, but writing it down keeps you accountable. You can also keep a food journal on-line with websites such as livestrong.com and it will track your calories intake and calories burned.
Exercise is key! Just 20 minutes a day of any movement WILL make a difference.
I have had plenty of cheat days, because if you crave something and you completely deprive yourself, you weight loss plan will fail. Just try a little dark chocolate or a few chips, but not the whole bag. I tend to be very good during the week and then allow myself a cheat day on Saturday.
The other thing I learned this time around is patience pays off. I was fighting the biggest weight gain of my life, which wasn't a lot and it took 4 months to reach my goal. I used to try crash diets and lost weight. I've lost 5-10 pounds before within days, but it was back within days too because I went back to bad eating habits.
Once I got used to clean eating, my cravings changed and junk food didn't appeal to me. I've had "fast food" only 3-4 times in the past 4 months and I stuck to healthy menu items.
I hope my journey has helped you and I want to know your tips and tricks. Really though, there are no tricks. None that are healthy anyway. If you want to lose weight you have to eat less, eat healthier, and exercise.
I'll check back in on my final weigh in at the end of the month.