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Filtering by Category: Weight Loss

Weight Loss: Pick your angle

Lisa Eberly


I read SUCH an interesting article about weight loss in women recently.

The research tested several different “techniques” for weight loss in women, including: eating fewer desserts, dining out less, limiting sugar-sweetened beverages, eating fewer fried foods, and eating more fish.

They basically wanted to see which was the most effective at causing weight loss over 6 months.

You know what they found?

Each of the factors lead to weight loss over 6 months — independent of all the others.

So, that means that choosing to do only one of those things (eating fewer desserts, dining out less, limiting SSBs, etc etc) would lead to weight loss over 6 months — even if you don’t do all of them.

I find it frustrating to see women struggle with weight loss and restrict themselves so harshly. Plus, very restrictive weight loss patterns almost never work, and usually lead to long-term weight gain. (Talk about a bummer…) So, choosing a technique in which you pick 1-3 angles to approach weight loss seems like a much more promising approach (and spares your sanity a bit!).

When coming at weight loss, rather than say “I am never eating a single dessert and am living off vegetable smoothies until I’m a size 4!” (which is almost guaranteed to NOT work and definitely guaranteed to TOTALLY suck), pick a few small changes to make in your lifestyle and see results over a few months. Those results are not only backed by research to happen, but are also proven to be more likely to stay in the long term.

Side note: this study also found that in the longer term of 48 months down the line, eating more fruits and vegetables was the most effective angle at leading to weight loss in women.

So, rather than dive into the deep end of a miserable, restrictive diet, start with one angle. Then, once you’ve got that down, maybe add a second or third. That way, you’ll have more freedom, more happiness, and you’ll actually lose more weight for a longer period of time!

The 5 Absolutely Necessary Steps to Start a "Diet"

Lisa Eberly

I really dislike the word 'diet,' but in my profession, it seems to be the thing people want to do. 

Can we call it a 'lifestyle change'? Really, a 'diet' sounds so...negative...and temporary...and painful! 

In the hopes of making the goal of weight loss a little less 'diet'-y, I'm going to give you all a few tips to turn a 'diet' into an organized 'lifestyle change' -- which will ultimately make your changes more successful and lasting. 

In my opinion, the most important part of a lifestyle change starts before you even change your lifestyle (say that ten times fast!). It’s the planning. The precursor to the real change. I’ve changed my habits frequently throughout my life, and the most successful changes have always been after careful planning and consideration. If you think back on the times you’ve improved your lifestyle habits (or attempted to), what really made you change them?

The 5 Absolutely Necessary Steps to Start your Lifestyle Change

1. Make a plan! I cannot stress this enough! You can’t just say, “I’m going to eat healthy,” and be done with it. What are you going to change about your diet? What are you going to do to change it? Are you going to work out at nights? Are you going to buy fresh produce weekly? Know what you are getting yourself into and exactly what it is going to take to change your healthy habits! These are what we call your clear and measurable goals and objectives. 

2. Have specific start date and check points. Start your diet on November 1st! Don’t just dive into the change, allow yourself to plan it out and ease into it. Don’t totally disregard eating healthy and staying active until the 1st, but don’t totally jump in before then. Use this time to make yourself more successful. Also, check in with yourself throughout your diet. Instead of saying you’ll be 15 pounds lighter in 2 months, say you want to be 1.5 pounds lighter each week -- make your check points hold you accountable today, not a month from now.

3. Start with a reset button. The hardest part of a diet is the beginning. It is almost impossible to go from eating cookies and a zillion calories a day to eating veggies and what feels like zero calories a day. Detoxing your body with a filling cleanse (such as The Nourish Cleanse!) allows you to feel like you’ve hit a reset button. You don’t need to do a juice cleanse, but eating pure smoothies and veggies for a couple days can make you crave those foods again. You don’t just have to detox your body when you start a diet, you have to detox your house! Rid your house of leftover cookies, candy, and any other unhealthy junk that you don’t want around. Make your home conducive to good habits in any way you can. In the past, if I felt like I wasn't being active enough, I used to take the batteries out of my tv. It seems silly, but when I sat on my couch, I was much less likely to go get the batteries from the oh-so-high shelf that I needed a step stool for just to watch tv out of boredom. I haven't turned on my TV in over a year, and even got rid of cable.

4. Find support and motivation. I don’t know about you, but I hate to fail. For me, one of the worst parts of failing is everyone knowing I did. If you allow yourself to find support and motivation in your friends and family, or even online sources (I’m here for ya!!), you are more likely to stick to your goals. If you give up or it seems too hard, you have a whole group of people who want you to succeed and who believe in you enough to talk you out of quitting. Other than my support group, what motivates me are pictures. Old pictures of me at a thinner weight or pictures from Pinterest or fitness magazines. These inspire me and remind me that it’s possible to eat healthier and be more active. (Note: I do NOT use magazine covers or celebrities to inspire me because they are much more heavily airbrushed and unrealistically/unhealthfully skinny, something I have no interest in being and neither should you!)

5. Organize and write down the plan! Write. Everything. Down. When I start a serious diet, I buy a new notebook specifically for it. The first page of the notebook is my goals. I write down my current numbers and my goal numbers (whether that be weight, inches, BMI, cholesterol, blood pressure, resting heart rate, or all of the above!). The next page is always my plan (I also call this my objectives). The goal is the grand scheme. It’s the marathon you want to run next year. Its 20 pounds of weight loss. The objectives are the little goals that will help you reach the big goal. For instance, if the goal is to eliminate processed foods, and objective would be to shop at your local farmer’s market weekly. If the goal is to run a marathon in 6 months, the objective would be to run 3 miles 5x per week. Writing these things down helps you keep track of them and quantify your progress. If you can’t measure your progress, you’re less likely to stay motivated. After my objectives, I write about my motivations. I collect all of the things that inspire me to reach my goal and write them down in one place. This may be to have energy to run around with your kids, to wear that old pair of size 25 jeans, or what have you. Next, a schedule. Then, your exercise and food log to keep track. To summarize, this is what your notebook should look like:

-The Goal(s) [ie. Lose 10 pounds; run a marathon]
-The Objectives [ie. Eat 1400 calories per day; run 5x per week]
-The Motivation [ie. My health; that old picture of me in college]
-The Schedule [ie. Day 1-3: Detox; Day 4-10: run 10 mi/week; Day 11-20: run 20 mi/week]
-The Log [ie. what you ate and what physical activity you did that day]

What do you do before starting a big lifestyle change, or what have you found to be successful? Are there any tips I missed?

The 5 Pieces of a Successful Lifestyle Change

Lisa Eberly


Changing your lifestyle is not easy, but it's necessary to reach many goals, like increasing your energy, losing weight, building strength, or practicing and improving upon a skill. The most common lifestyle change failures I've seen are when it comes to weight loss and/or building strength, and it's usually because the approach lacks on of the following 5 things...

1. A person. You need external support from your family, friends, boyfriend, girlfriend, or whoever. But, you also need THE person. The one person who not only believes in you, but guides you and teaches you. You need someone to rely on you to follow through, and uses that partnership to push you forward toward success. That person can be a dietitian (hey I know a great one!), a personal trainer ( though I would not use their nutrition advice, only fitness ), or a best friend or significant other doing a lifestyle change with you (probably the least effective, but still helpful person). You need to know that if you fail, you’ve not only let yourself down, but you’ve let them down too. I know that sounds harsh, but it’s easy to forgive ourselves when we’re finally diving into the ice cream we’ve forbidden ourselves from having, or skipping a workout for Netflix. It’s a lot more difficult to explain to a dietitian that you had a really rough day cause you missed the bus and your boyfriend was a pain in the ass so you decided to gain 5 pounds in french fries last night. Accountability is key.

2. A thing. This thing is something to always have on hand. Something the you have to subscribe to and contribute to when you make good choices. A food log. An activity log. A goal tracker. An app on your iPhone. Something to clue you in and keep you on track. I always carry around a cute little journal to jot down my habits in! 

3. An investment. This investment can be time or money. Although it kinda sucks, money is more effective. A gym membership, a standing dietitian appointment, or a simple, less expensive meal plan are all positive investments. When you spend money on your diet, you have invested. That way, when you come home from work and think “blehhh I will literally fall over trying to do an at-home workout right now…” you’ll remember that you spent your hard earned cash on that workout video and darnit, you’re doing it.  If you don’t have the money to spend on even the cheaper option of a meal plan, investing your time is also effective. Spend Sunday afternoons planning your meals for the week and prepping them. That way, when Thursday comes along and you want to order a pizza, you know you spent hours planning recipes and cutting up veggies for the delicious dinner you picked out from that awesome site, Nourish (oh you shouldn’t have!). Time, money, what have you, invest something anything in your health.

4. A trigger. There’s an effective method to quit smoking in which you put a picture of why you’re quitting where ever you typically smoke. So, if you always smoke in the car, you put a picture of your beautiful kids who hate your smoking on the dash. The same method can be used for changing other parts of your lifestyle. First, you make your environment conducive to a healthy diet. That’s not always enough. When I get home from a long day, if I sit on the couch to read or watch tv before making dinner, I always face the brutal dilemma: well, I guess I can miss my workout today if I definitely go tomorrow…. I always decide to go. Why? My night time workout is hot power yoga. Where is my yoga mat? Right in front of the couch. I literally stare at my yoga mat when I ask myself this. I love yoga, I know I’ll love being on the mat once I’m there, so seeing the mat triggers those feelings. I also tape gorgeous food pictures from healthy recipe blogs to the inside of my pantry and on my fridge. Healthy food is delicious, you just need to remind yourself that sometimes, especially when unhealthy food is much more “accessibly delicious,” as I like to call it. A similar method is post-it notes. If I’ve been having a rough few days, I put inspiring motivational post-its on my bathroom mirror. (I am such a sucker for lame motivational quotes!) Remember How Do You Know, where Reese Witherspoon plays an athlete named Lisa (I can’t make this stuff up)? She literally covers her apartment in motivational post its and I am totally on board. So, post-its, pictures, yoga mats, whatever they may be, set up some triggers that will keep you motivated and moving through your new changes with ease.

5. A positive environment. It's important to detox your body and home before starting a big lifestyle change. You also need to be sure your environment is consistently supportive, and won’t destroy all your hard work. I have two types of friends (who I love equally): bad influences and good influences. Some of my friends just bring it out of me. I totally adapt to a “screw it” attitude about being healthy. Unluckily for me, this sometimes includes my family. When I’m with certain friends, they remind me of unhealthier times (like eating pizza hungover in bed in college, or growing up and eating terribly). Other friends have the opposite effect. I crave healthy foods that I enjoy by myself when I’m with them. Make sure that you know which friends are which, and that you know how to control your habits when you’re with the bad influences. Though I’m sure they’re great friends (and obviously not doing it on purpose!), make sure you know how to handle eating with them. Maybe eat a big healthy meal before seeing them, or find a way to suppress your lack of willpower with them. Or, hang out with your positive influence friends more often to motivate your healthy habits! If it’s your boyfriend or girlfriend that’s a negative influence (trust me, I’ve been there and it seriously stinks), try to do this diet together or cook your healthy food for them too!

What are some of your triggers when it comes to lifestyle changes? Do any of you have any ideas of a person that can motivate you or deter you from your diet? 

If you are thinking about changing or improving something in your life, I believe in you and I know you will totally crush it! Plus, you ALWAYS have me for motivation, guidance, and support

5 Surefire Ways to Mess up your Lifestyle Change

Lisa Eberly


Changing your lifestyle isn't easy, especially when it's intentional and you have a goal in mind. I have shared some tips on what you need to be successful and the steps you need to take before starting, so here's a list of what you should definitely not do...

1. Dive into a fad. Fad diets totally stink. Don’t buy into false promises of “quick” weight loss, because let me tell you, being a changing your weight is not all that easy. It requires commitment to a real change, and diving head first into whatever the latest celebrity tells you is not how to get it.

2. Wing it. Even if you know you’re not going to follow strict rules and restrictions, you’re going to need something to keep your goals measurable. Otherwise, you have no way of knowing if you’re even doing anything worth while. By saying you’re going to just wing it and start eating healthy and working out without any structure, you’re likely to revert back to an unhealthy lifestyle before you even notice.

3. Play the Hunger Games. Our bodies are typically hungrier around the holidays (like right now!), we quickly grow accustomed to eating our body weight in cookies and delicious foods, and take in more calories than usual. By following this with starvation and calorie restriction, you’re likely going to drive your willpower crazy and find yourself elbow deep in a pint of ice cream or tin of leftover Halloween candy or pumpkin pie.

4. Wait till the 1st to work out. I feel like this strange time in between pumpkin spice lattes and New Years Day is considered a free pass when it comes to all responsibility. It is super relaxed, everyone is prepping for and enjoying the holidays, and no one really has anything super important to do till January hits and we all go back to our PSL-empty normal. Many people use this time to curl up indoors, as well as a precious time to not work out. The 1st of January is the ultimate “Monday.” You know, “my diet starts on Monday..” Well, starting the official 2014 New You can start on the 1st, but you shouldn’t totally neglect your body until then. Cause, really, what are you waiting for? 

5. Eat for Family and Friends. Eating is an extremely social thing, especially this time of year. I am a total culprit of this as well. If my whole family is stoked for dinner and I’m not hungry, guess what? I’m eating dinner. If my friends are all going out for brunch but I’m still full from a post workout snack, guess what? I’m going to that brunch and eating with them. If you’re not hungry, you shouldn’t eat! There’s nothing wrong with ordering a small broth-y soup or simple salad, or even saying you’ll pick off your brother and sister’s meals when you’re not hungry. What’s even better than this is to plan for your meals ahead of time so as not to get yourself in this situation. If you know your family discussed dinner, don’t eat a late lunch. If you know you don’t have a big appetite in the morning, suggest a late lunch instead of brunch.

As always, I'm here to help you avoid these mistakes and be successful in your lifestyle changes! Do any of you have ideas for other 'dieting' mistakes to avoid?