Small Lifestyle Changes = Large Changes For Your Health

[Editor’s Note: Elle Davis is not a health professional or expert. The advice and tips she is sharing are her real-woman experiences with weight loss.]

I’m not an expert when it comes to exercise or eating right, but I’ve been trying to eat healthier. After my little girl was born and I stopped pumping, I tried the diet that has food that you don’t have to refrigerate. Gag. I also tried the one with very low carbs and I only made it one day. That diet plan made me feel absolutely horrible and I couldn’t keep up with the little hummingbird. So, I thought I’d try eating real food, *GASP!*, but just less of it and it was easier than I thought it would be. It’s not to say that I didn’t think about eating a pint of Ben & Jerry’s or some brownies (they use a lot of food commercials at night….the bastards). I’ve never added up the calories to what I eat, but it’s in moderation. It doesn’t leave me starving and it helps me drop some of the baby weight I still have.

So here we go….

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Hide your scale – I don’t have a scale in my bathroom, because if I see I’ve only lost 0.5 lbs when I’ve been eating healthy all week, it makes me crazy. My hubby has a scale in his bathroom so there are times when I cheat and weigh myself anyway, but I always regret it just as much as I regret that guy I dated when I was 18. It’s the “what in the hell was I thinking” regret.


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Great cereal – I saw the Ezekiel cereal in Whole Foods and thought I would give it a try. I’ll be honest, chewing on a cardboard box would probably be tastier, but it did start to taste a little better once it soaked in the milk for a bit. If I could compare it, the cereal would be closest to Grape-Nuts.

Then something happened. I wasn’t starving an hour or two later like I would with my fruity pebbles regular cereal. So, I tried it the next day and I felt good. It seems to have the perfect balance of calories, fat, and protein for me.

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Healthier food – Once my breakfast got healthier, so did my lunch, then my dinner. For lunch I usually have a sandwich that has regular cheese, just not as much as I would normally have. I also have some carrot sticks or grape tomatoes dipped in a little Ranch dressing. If I want chips then I have them, but I go by the serving size.

For dinner since my husband normally cooks and it can be fattening, I just have a small portion of what he makes along with a salad. When it comes to dressing for the salad, I LOVE blue cheese dressing, but it’s full of fat. I take a bit of dressing and mix it with some fat-free milk which thins it out so I can have my favorite salad dressing, just not with so much fat. I also like using the salad spritzer dressings. For snacks I’ll have greek yogurt, an orange, string cheese and crackers, apple slices, and protein bars. I even have a small piece or two of chocolate when the craving hits. Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches also help to satisfy my sweet tooth.


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Greek yogurt – I love yogurt, but I’m lactose intolerant so if I eat it, I’m miserable. Greek yogurt doesn’t do that to me and I read somewhere that it’s because of the way it’s made, although I don’t know if that’s a fact. It’s full of protein and so good. It’s also great to eat frozen, especially when you have a craving for ice cream.


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Water – I can get sick of water pretty easily, so I put lemon, lime, or orange slices in my water to keep it from getting boring. An easy way to know just how much water you need is to cut your weight in half and you’ll get how many ounces you should be drinking. So, if you weigh 130 pounds, you’d drink 65 ounces of water a day.

I also love drinking sparkling cranberry and blood orange drinks, so to reduce the calories I fill half a glass with sparkling water and the rest with the cranberry or orange fizzy drink. Give it a stir and voila.

If I didn’t have caffeine, I’d probably die but I also make sure to drink more water. Usually I add about 4 ounces of water to my daily intake. Yesterday, after I dropped my daughter off at preschool I was really wanting an iced coffee, but I know the calories are that of a meal, so I went home and made my own. No, it doesn’t have the same deliciousness as the coffee-house ones, but it still helps my craving. I’ve been trying to keep some chilled coffee on hand so all I have to do is add that to ice, add some Splenda, then mix some fat-free milk and stir that into a glass (sometimes I add a tad of fat-free whipped cream to the top). You can also put it in a blender. Just think of all the calories you’d be saving.



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Exercise – Since my hubby hasn’t put together our new elliptical machine (if I try to put something together, it ends up looking like a Dr. Seuss project), I use my exercise dvd’s like the 30 Day Shred. I alternate from high impact exercise to Pilates or ballet dvd’s. A couple of times a week I also use my hand and ankle weights for about 15 minutes and do some really basic arm and leg lifts.


Some things to remember…
1. Don’t beat yourself up if you give into your cravings and end up eating 5 cookies instead on 1. I used to let that give me license to eat crap for the rest of the day. Just get back on track and don’t be hard on yourself. Change takes time.
2. If you don’t feel like exercising just get moving no matter what it is, like taking the kids to the park. Every little bit helps. I have plenty of those days, so I’ll take the little hummingbird to the park and pull her in her red wagon. Walking to the park, while low impact, is better than nothing at all.
3. Don’t beat yourself up.
4. It took time to gain weight, so it’s going to take time to lose it. I used to hate that saying for some reason, but it’s true.
5. Don’t beat yourself up.
6. Love yourself and your body no matter what shape and size.


What other tips do you have for you for staying healthy? Share your weight loss stories with us!