Over the past few months I’ve been able to successfully lose ten pounds without a strict diet or a crazy workout routine. Nearly everything I did to accomplish this goal can be done either at home, in your dorm or at the gym. But, let me preface this by saying I am NOT an athlete or a nutritionist. These are simply the things that worked for me as a very unathletic and uncoordinated girl who just wanted to get in shape.
- Drink at Least 64 oz. of Water a Day
Not a big water drinker? I hear you, I wasn’t either. What changed my mind was buying a new water bottle that I actually would commit to using. My favorite is the Contigo Autospout Straw bottle because they come in both 24 oz. and 32 oz. sizes and are BPA free. They are easy to clean and have a locking mechanism so water won’t spill even if the bottle is upside down in your bag. Also, if I’m using the 24 oz. bottle I only have to drink three full bottles and with the 32 oz. I only need to drink two to meet my intake goal.
- Meal Prep
It’s easy to fall into eating junk food when a bag of chips or a package of Oreos is right there, ready to be eaten. To get around these junk food binges, cut up fruits and vegetables ahead of time and place them into separate containers. This way when you’re watching TV or doing homework and feel hungry, you can reach in your fridge and grab the fruit or vegetables just as easily as you would grab a bag of chips.
- Don’t Eat Just Because You’re Bored.
I use to be the biggest culprit when it came to snacking simply because I wanted to eat, not because I was actually hungry. A small way to overcome this is to chew gum. It gives you something to chew on and to distract you from the idea that you wanted to snack. Also, if gum isn’t your thing, this is a perfect opportunity to drink water.
- Swap Out Soda and Juice for Water-Don’t Drink Your Calories!
On average, drinks that claim to be healthy and low-calorie are still negatively affecting you due to sugar and sodium counts. For example, there are 170 calories in a 12 oz. can of Mountain Dew. If you have two cans in a day, one at lunch and another at dinner, that is 340 calories from only a drink. To put that in perspective, the average apple is 95 calories. You could eat three and a half apples instead of drinking those two Mountain Dews for nearly the same calorie count.
Quick Tip: Even drinking flavored water is better than a soda or juice. You can buy preflavored water or naturally flavor your own water with fresh fruit.
- Exercise-Even if it’s only 30 minutes a day.
I’m someone who had a gym membership for over two years but never truly utilized it until recently. I thought I had no time between work and school to go to the gym, but, when I realized I wanted to make a change, I had a lot of time. The important thing is to become comfortable at the gym and gain confidence in yourself. Exercising can be intimidating, and there are tons of at-home and beginner workouts that you can find on Pinterest that I have utilized whether at the gym or at home. The reality is, everyone at the gym is there to better themselves and is at difference stages of their journey. You can’t compare yourself to anyone else because everyone has different goals and different experiences.
- Cut out Fast Food and Takeout
Eating out can be one of the biggest setbacks and another easy habit to get caught up in. Don’t torture yourself, you are allowed to have a “cheat” meal! Just be careful that that one meal doesn’t become an everyday routine. One of my biggest struggles was throughout the week I would eat healthy but when the weekend came around I would be eating junk because my friends were. Stay focused on your goal!
- Take Progress Pictures and Track Your Weight Changes
At first, this can be hard because you won’t immediately see changes. But once you start making progress towards your goal you will be so proud of how far you’ve come. Often you won’t instantly notice how far you’ve come by looking in the mirror, but pictures are proof of where you were and where you are now.
- Don’t Get Discouraged.
The first week into this lifestyle change I felt so uncomfortable at the gym and worried about what people thought of me. But, I soon found that the best way to confront this was to “act” like I knew what I was doing; a “fake it till you make it” kind of thing. Sure enough, I ended up feeling more comfortable the more often I went and I was able to create a routine for myself to follow each day. I try to weigh myself once a week in the morning, but it is also important to remember that one pound of muscle is visually less than one pound of fat. So while you may not be losing weight, you’re gaining muscle which is ultimately improving your body. Most importantly, do this for yourself, no one else!