New Year’s Resolutions
With 2020 drawing to a close, it’s a great time to reflect on the past year and look ahead to 2021. Over the past couple of years, I have made goals for the year ahead, but have also reevaluated and switched things up month by month to achieve my goals. I generally dislike the arbitrary start date of January 1st every year for New Year’s Resolutions. If you want to set a goal, or do a challenge, or try something new, you can start any time! That being said, New Year’s Resolutions can be motivating and a great starting point to reaching your goals for the coming year. Weight loss is always a very popular resolution, and after losing 80 pounds I have some great tips for healthy weight loss!
Meg’s Areas of Focus for 2021
Weight Loss Maintenance
Over the past few years, I have been on a journey to regain my health and lose weight. I have regained my health, am off all medications, and have lost 80 lbs. This year I’m shifting into weight loss maintenance, which I suspect will look quite similar to weight loss mode. I don’t plan on changing my diet or exercise habits significantly, but I’ll continue to monitor my weight and measurements to make sure my weight isn’t creeping up. If my weight fluctuates a few pounds here and there, I’m not worried about that. However, I don’t want to go down a path of regaining the 80 pounds I have lost, so I will keep track of it.
Find Balance – Mental and Emotional Health
I have the tendency to overthink things, get anxious, and get overly worked up and stress about things. In an effort to not stress and have my mind go a million miles an hour, I sometimes go too far the other way and drift into sadness and feeling down. These are all normal emotions and regular parts of the human experience. I want to allow myself to feel what I feel without judging my emotions or judging myself. I will continue to work to find balance in my life, and let go of things that no longer serve me. To find balance and greater peace of mind, I will continue with my daily yoga practice, talk things out, write about it, and seek additional support if needed.
Get Stronger – Lifting Weights, Calisthenics
In 2020, I have been lifting weights and got into calisthenics. I want to continue to build strength and progress with calisthenics. I want to challenge myself and have fun!
*I will also continue to maintain my good health, stay medication free, and improve my health!
5 Healthy Weight Loss Tips
One of the most common New Year’s Resolutions is weight loss. Weight loss can be achieved in a variety of ways. My goal in regaining my health, was to lose weight healthfully and sustainably in the process. Here are my top 5 healthy weight loss tips:
1. Eat More Plant-Based Foods – especially vegetables
When I first started a plant-based diet, I wasn’t super keen on vegetables. I started with veggies I did enjoy (potatoes, carots, corn), and branched out from there. You can check out my How to Eat More Vegetables post for other ways to incorporate more vegetables into your diet.
You can also make easy swaps such as:
- plant milk (soy, almond, oat etc…) in place of dairy
- legumes (lentils, chickpeas, black beans, pinto beans etc…) in place of meat products
- tofu or tempeh in place of meat products
Plant-based foods tend to be healthier and more nutrient-dense than animal-based foods and processed foods. Plant-based foods also tend to be lower in caloric density and higher in nutrient density. This means that you can eat a greater volume of food for fewer calories. So, rather than restricting portion sizes or weighing and measuring your food, cover your plate with vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and legumes. This could look like oatmeal with fruit and ground flax seeds in the morning; chili with salad for lunch; and whole wheat pasta with lentils, veggies, and marinara sauce for dinner.
Note: A few exceptions apply to the general lower caloric density and higher nutrient density balance of plant-based foods. Nuts, seeds, coconut, and avocado are high in caloric density. I still enjoy these foods, but I don’t make them the centrepiece of my plate. I do make sure to include ground flax seeds and/or chia seeds into my daily diet for omega-3 fatty acids.
2. Drink Water
Make water your drink of choice. Water is zero calories and is the best beverage you can consume for your health and weight loss. Some easy ways to remember to drink water and increase your hydration levels are:
- Start your day with water
- Carry a water bottle and refill it as needed
- Set reminders on your phone or computer to drink water periodically
- Drink 2 cups of water for every cup of coffee or tea you consume
- Drink 2 cups of water before meals
- Add lemon, lime, orange, or cucumber slices to your water to jazz it up a bit
- Eat higher water content foods (ex. watermelon, strawberries, melon, oranges, lettuce, cucumber, zucchini, celery, and/or tomatoes)
3. Home Cooked Meals
Avoid fast food, eating meals at restaurants, convenience meals, ultra-processed/packaged foods. Fast foods and processed foods are typically much higher calorie, and higher in sugar, salt, and fat. Making home cooked meals doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice on flavour or your enjoyment of your food. A variety of seasonings, spices, and sauces can be used to jazz up your meals.
Cooking at home can be also be as simple or complex as you prefer. I didn’t love being in the kitchen when I first switched to a plant-based diet. To keep it simple, use frozen vegetables, canned beans, and keep whole grains on hand to make delicious meals. See my Food page for easy, delicious recipes. If you’re looking for something even simpler, check out Meg’s Mishmosh Meals for super simple dishes that can be put together quickly with minimal ingredients.
4. Track Your Progress
Keep a food journal or track your food in cronometer or my fitness pal to get started. It can be helpful to build awareness around your eating habits, and allow you to see what you’re eating to fuel yourself in a day or in a week. Being honest and accountable to yourself can help to build mindfulness into food choices and allow you to make more nutritious food choices to assist with your health and weight loss goals.
Track your weight loss journey. Start by weighing yourself (if you have a good relationship with the scale). If the number on the scale will dictate whether you have a good day or a bad day, I don’t actually recommend weighing yourself. Your worth is not connected to the number on a scale! If you can look at the scale as a tool and the number as a data point, go ahead and weigh yourself and write the number down in a journal or notebook or in the notes on your phone. Other ways to measure your progress are: measuring yourself with a tape measure around your bust waist and hips; taking progress photos; and being aware and keeping track of how your clothing fits and feels.
It is also important to track how you’re feeling. Check in with how you’re feeling (are you feeling energetic, sluggish, happy, sad etc…) and ask yourself why. It can be helpful to connect with yourself and tune into your emotions, your overall health, and weight loss mindset. Reassess and make adjustments to your diet and lifestyle as needed. Reach out for support as needed as well (more on this in the bonus tip below).
5. Incorporate Movement into Your Day
Incorporating movement into your day can be as simple as going for a walk on your lunch break, walking to do errands when possible, parking the car further away, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or taking a walk after dinner time.
Do any movement or exercise you enjoy: walking, dancing, running, yoga, lifting weights, swimming, sports etc…
Another way to get your body moving is through a challenge. Challenge yourself to do the same workout program 3 days per week or do try a new class at the gym. You could also challenge yourself to 50 push ups a day, or 10 push ups a day, or a plank every day. Push ups and planks can be modified to be done from your knees instead of from your toes. Simple exercises to do at home with no equipment can include: planks, squats, jumping jacks, lunges, push ups, and crunches. Be mindful to do exercises with proper form and be safe! Find exercise you enjoy, schedule it into your day, and have fun!
BONUS TIP: Be Patient and Be Kind to Yourself
Weight loss is a process. Weight loss takes time and that’s ok. Stick with it, do your best and keep going! If you fall off track, take a deep breath, consider why you went off track, journal about it or reach out for support from a family member, friend, accountability partner, and/or online community. You can always leave a comment here or contact me through the contact page to connect with me. We can commiserate; I’ve been there! I’m always happy to answer questions and refer you to helpful resources. Check out our How to Find Support post for more resources.
Focus on losing weight in a healthy and sustainable way. Be as consistent as possible and remember to be kind to yourself, be patient, and enjoy the process. A lot can change in one year! Stick with it and do your best; you’ll get there!
Happy New Year! Wishing you a safe, healthy, happy 2021!