Health

5 Healthy—And Smart—Ways To Lose Unwanted Weight

Running more and eating less is not the answer. Make these changes slowly into your routine to be smart about weight loss goals.

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Over the past year, I have managed to gain 15 unwanted pounds. I got to a point where I was uncomfortable in my own skin. Then I got to a point where none of my jeans fit me. And then I got to a point where I was fed up and ready for change.

I’m a runner and a marathoner, so in the past, my old way of getting rid of unwanted weight were to run more and eat less. That is not a sustainable way to lose weight. At some point, you can’t eat less than you are already eating without heading down a restrictive eating disorder path, and you can’t add on more miles because they are only making you tired and hungry. At the beginning of September, I hit the point where I was tired of feeling sorry for myself and decided that it was time to take charge.

Here are five changes I have made slowly over the past two months that have helped me shed 7 of the 15 pounds I’ve gained. In the process, I’m feeling better, have more energy, and my body is shifting in places I haven’t seen move in years.

1. Eat More Fat.

It may sound crazy to eat fat to lose fat, but it works. The key is eating fat and eating grain-type carbohydrates at different meals, not at the same time. My breakfasts lately have looked more like lunch but keep me feeling full throughout the day, helping me to almost eliminate the need for snacking. I’m not hungry in between meals. A typical breakfast this week has been steamed beets, carrots, salad greens of some sort, and bacon. (Look for nitrate-free and preservative-free; also make sure there is little to no added sugar). If you are a vegetarian think avocados or nuts, both of which make great additions to a breakfast salad.

2. Mix Up My Workout Routine.

I’ve been training for marathons for over 10 years, so running doesn’t quite have the effect on my body it use to. I have made running less of a priority and have opted to try new workouts. A Body Pump class yesterday left my body feeling more sore (in a good way) than I have felt in years. I mix in Jillian Michaels DVD’s weekly and just tried a kick butt Total Body Conditioning class this week. Muscle weighs more than fat, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see the number on the scale dropping right away. Pay attention to how you feel and look.

3. Drink More Water.

This is always suggested as a way to lose weight and for good reason—it works! I chronically under-consume the appropriate amount of water. When I started to drink the amount of water I needed to stay properly hydrated, my body held on to it. I was swollen and gained weight. Stick with it though. In a couple of days your body levels out and expels the extra water, because it knows you are going to properly hydrate yourself. Water helps keep you fuller, but it also helps with body functions that helps you shed weight.

4. Drink Natural Calm.

Natural Calm is a magnesium supplement drink. The drink helps me relieve stress, balances my magnesium levels and helps get things moving—if you know what I mean! It comes in a yummy raspberry-lemon flavor, which I like to drink before I go to bed. This flavor contains Stevia, so if you are staying away from that, there is an unflavored version. The unflavored version doesn’t taste as good, so I gulp it down. Both of the flavors work well for me.

5. Drink Less Alcohol.

I’m not a huge drinker by any means, but those extra calories from drinks a couple of nights a month can add up. Not to mention the fact that the day after drinking you are less likely to workout or go for a run. You can be social and not drink. Once upon a time I thought I was only fun when I had a couple of drinks in me. Now I know that I can have a great time, be silly, and not get drunk or over indulge. Drinking also lowers your inhibitions, making you more likely to eat foods you wouldn’t touch when not drinking. If the thought of giving up your precious wine makes you cringe, then go ahead indulge on the drinks. However when it’s late at night and all you want is pizza or chips, reach for the pickle or olive jar instead. Pickles are low in calories and can satisfy that need for something crunchy and salty. If pickles aren’t your thing, olives usually do the trick for me.