Lately, I've been noticing tons of celebrities touting calorie counting as the key to their success in staying lean and fit. Carrie Underwood carries a food diary, and considers her meticulous calorie counting to be the key to her success at losing the last 20 pounds. Other celebrities, such as Valerie Bertinelli and Renee Zellweger, claim calorie counting is a part of what has made them successful at getting and/or staying lean.
I have always known that staying accountable is key. I have also seen over the past several years that I can be working out 6 days a week, three of those days with a trainer who is kicking my a** LIVE in the gym, and still stay within spitting distance of a very unhealthy 200 pounds if I'm not being conscious of what is going in my mouth. For the first time, I'm trying to test the reverse theory - if staying 100% accountable for what is going in my mouth will finally get me the last 10-12 pounds to goal.
Here are ten tips I have found to be helpful to keep in mind:
- Find the calorie amount that works for you (i.e., allows you to lose weight without feeling deprived and starved) and then make sure you stay in a range that keeps that calorie amount the overall average. (You should take into account how much you currently weigh and how much you workout.)
- Have a rough sketch of your food plan for each day, and pack any meals to take with you on the go
- Try to eat every 3 hours so you don't get too hungry. Extreme hunger is a set up for going off plan or binge-eating.
- Drink tons of water. Sometimes, believe it or not, you can mistake thirst for hunger.
- Find an accountability partner, someone who can encourage you when you're losing motivation, someone who can give you a high-five when you are staying on track.
- Make sure you're eating REAL food. Real food keeps you full longer and is often naturally lower in sugar, fat and calories.
- Find opportunities to reduce calories in ways that won't hurt too much - will it kill you to have a 1/2 slice of cheese on your sandwich, instead of a whole slice?
- Staying positive is key. Look for other opportunities to track your success than just the scale. Look at yourself in the mirror and see how your skin is getting smoother, your face is getting thinner. Take out the tape measure and watch the inches melt off. Feel the pleasure of knowing you are making healthy choices and changing your life for the better!
- Don't think of it as a diet - think of it as a lifestyle change. One day, you'll find yourself counting the calories in your head! (But you'll still keep a food journal, won't you? Good girl...or boy).
- If you're tired, go to bed! (Which is what I need to do now...if I stay up too late, I start fantasizing about what I can eat...)
So, that's all for me! Find yourself a good trainer to get you started with a killer workout program. My favorite, of course, is Tony D of Dreambodies. Tony can also help you revamp your food plan so you don't eat 1600 calories of sugar and fat. I generally eat Dreambodies approved meals, and I know I eat super healthy. The only difference is that I'm meticulous about keeping track of what's going in my mouth so that if I do eat something that's not on the menu plan, I'm held accountable for it. Accountability is key. There's a reason people have been counting calories forever and ever. It's cause it works!