Regardless of what you set out to do, you must stay disciplined. I’ve highlighted, 10 simple disciplines to help you reach your weight loss goals. If you’re already familiar with the content it’s time to exercise some discipline.
1. Calorie Counting
It’s neither fun or sexy but it’s effective. When you know your daily calorie allowance, it takes the guesswork out of eating and keeps you honest.
Once you've reached your caloric goal for the day, close up the kitchen, and say goodnight. When you feel hungry just ignore it and do a crossword puzzle. If that doesn’t work repeat out loud “hunger is not an emergency, and I can wait until breakfast."
Try using an app like MyFitnesspal. It can offer some guidance to how many calories you might need, depending on many factors. Initially, you have to add everything in manually, which can feel cumbersome. After that it's easy, everything logged is saved under recent and frequent meals. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll love it.
2. Portion Control
It’s amazing how the calories add up when you are tracking every morsel that you eat. For example, 2 tablespoon of honey barbecue sauce contains 12 grams of sugar. That's close to 4 teaspoons of sugar and isn't enough to smother a chicken nugget (at least not for me). Practice reading and comparing food labels when you shop. Remember, never shop on an empty stomach.
3. Treat the weekends like weekdays
Most of us including myself like to kick back and enjoy the weekend. Who doesn’t right? That includes going out to dinner or ordering out from our favorite pizza shop.
A reckless weekend of mindless eating can erase all the sacrifice you made all week. As you stray from your normal weekday eating routine, the harder it will be to get back on track. When good ol’ Monday comes around you’ll be craving comfort food. Though delicious, not so good for the waist.
Don’t deviate from your game plan; stick with it seven days a week. Otherwise, you'll be stuck in limbo and lose motivation. But you say, “it’s the weekend and I want a cake. After all, I have been good all week, so I deserve it.” We laugh because we have all been there far too many times.
Check out #4 I’ll teach you how to be flexible
4. Flexible Dieting
If you must splurge on the weekends you’ll have to be strategic. Keep your meals light during the day. You’ll make up for those calories over dinner.
Stick to a lean protein and a side of veggies, but feel free to sneak some fries from your companion's plate. If you are feeling frisky, feel free to share a desert. By just skipping the following: bread, appetizers, and soda you’ll save hundreds of calories. Let’s not forget it’s called flexible dieting for a reason.
5. Avoid boxed carbs after dinner
While reclining and watching TV, we tend to crave something to munch on. If you have a sweet tooth like me, you might be reaching for the ice cream. When I’m behaving, I’ll settle for a greek yogurt. As for my wife, she’ll pick something salty to snack on like Doritos.
Even though chips come in a bag, they still fall into the boxed carb family. As we know, processed carbs are tasty and easy to overindulge on. Fruits, however, are tasty and nutritious and not so easy to overindulge on. Have you ever heard of anyone bragging about eating a half a dozen apples in one sitting, not likely? How about eating a half a bag of chips in one sitting? Very likely.
Replace boxed or bag carbs with fruits and nuts. Careful with those tasty nuts because one handful packs on about 200 hundred calories.
6. Measure progress weekly
This is one of the most important disciplines to master. It’s tough to measure progress if you're not tracking any. Yes, you can judge how your clothes fit but that's too subjective. After eating a couple of healthy meals you’ll start to feel skinnier and healthier. You might even think that your clothes fit better, when in fact, there is no physical change to your body. That’s not a bad thing, it’s positive and reinforces good choices. On the other hand, eat a greasy cheeseburger and you’ll feel bloated and gross.
3 practical ways to measure progress:
Step on the scale once a week
Snap a picture once a week
Once a month take circumference body measurements
The following data can help you make any adjustments to your nutrition as needed. For example, whenever you are not seeing any progress, you can tweak your calorie intake. Sometimes the hardest part about losing weight is discovering what works for you.
7. Deal With Stress
The more you stress the more you eat. It’s difficult to maintain a healthy body weight if you live in a constant state of stress. Learning to cope with stress can be one of best things you can do for your sanity and waistline. Walking can be an enjoyable activity and a great stress relief. Use it as a form of meditation, it’s a chance for you to clear your mind or process your thoughts. Learning how to cope with stress in a healthy manner will keep your waistline trim. The less you stress the less you eat. So grab a friend or hit the road solo, it’s up to you.
8. Strength Training
Circuit style strength training torches calories, builds muscle, and spikes up your metabolism. Hours after you workout your body is still burning calories while at rest for the next 48 hours. Also known as, excess post oxygen consumption (EPOC).
Pick 3-6 exercises and perform 8-15 reps with no rest between exercises. After you finish each exercise, rest for 60-90 seconds depending on how hard you are working.
9. Do cardio after weight training
After a Vigorous cardio session, you will not feel like pushing yourself in the weight room.
That's going to have a negative impact on how hard you work. If you're going to build muscle you must challenge yourself. Remember, the more muscle you carry the more calories you burn.
10. Don’t forget to eat protein
Protein is the cornerstone of most diet plans for a good reason. It improves satiety, builds muscle, and keeps you from overindulging. Protein is a highly thermogenic food. Digesting protein cost a lot of energy. The more protein you eat; the more calories you burn at rest.