Drop 10

By Emily McLaughlin

Pilates MCT

I’m healthy, but I am not the healthiest, so I am setting some diet and weight loss goals for the next month and taking you all along for the ride. My goals are to 1.) Eliminate the junk in my diet and eat a balanced and healthy variety throughout the day, 2.) Take no more than 1-2 days off from the gym per week and 3.) Tone up and drop 10 pounds (preferably before bikini time).

I have never been obsessive about counting calories or tracking my weight, and I don’t plan to start now. What I would like to do is prove that changing a few bad habits can go a long way. Also, I would like to develop a healthier lifestyle and gain more control over my diet.

1.) Eliminate the junk in my diet and eat a balanced and healthy variety throughout the day
Where to start—the grocery list

Coming off of spring break and traveling back to an apartment with an empty fridge, freezer and pantry was the perfect start for me. I had absolutely no excuse to eat or buy any junk food. I made a grocery list, focusing on things for breakfast, snacks and dinner (lunch is a meal I usually eat on campus).

When I grocery shop, I plan to not spend any more than $30-40. I get things I will definitely eat, and if I am craving something specific for dinner like chicken, fish, an avocado and turkey sandwich—I’ll go out and get those things during the week. This ensures that I am not wasting food and money.

This week’s grocery list:
• Cascadian Farms granola cereal
• Maple oatmeal
• Blueberries (on sale this week!)
• Chobani greek yogurt
• Yoplait Whips, chocolate mousse (… for my sweet tooth)
• Bananas (I know I can also get these on campus with YCMP)
• Frozen veggies: chopped green peppers and onions, broccoli, Asian stir fry
• Red peppers
• Bag of Spinach
• Organic black beans
• Sliced mushrooms
• Baby carrots
• Red pepper hummus
• Celery (for ‘Ants on a Log’…duh!)
• Boca Veggie Burgers
• 18 white eggs
• Mozzarella cheese

*Things I already had at home: whole grain pasta, brown rice, peanut butter, nuts, and dried fruit.
After all of my Stop & Shop savings, I spent roughly $35.00. With these things, I can create a week+ of meals, assuming I eat lunch on campus most days.

Now, I know what you are thinking… this doesn’t seem like a very satisfying list of groceries. For me, these are things I know that I will eat and also things I can incorporate into a great variety of meals. Also note that during the week, I might run out and grab chicken or fish to beef up dinner.

Important diet goals
Drink water
Half of the time you feel hungry, you are actually thirsty. I have heard that from a few different sources in my lifetime, including Dr. Oz. At times when I am feeling hungry, I am going to drink a glass of water first. This will also ensure that I do not overeat during meals.

Stop justifying the sweets
“I workout so I can eat whatever I want.” Some of you may have heard me say this on several different occasions- well I’m not saying it anymore. I am working out to stay lean and toned. More importantly, I am working out to be happy, and happiness comes with healthiness. Which brings us to…

Healthy snacking
Instead of justifying the chocolate chip cookies or bag of chips with, “Well, I worked out today and I am hungry, so I can have this chocolaty snack,” I am going to go for the carrots and hummus because I don’t want to consume all the calories I just burned off with a dissatisfying snack. It is more important to feel reenergized and satisfied after a snack than it is to satisfy a sweet tooth.

Having lunch be the big meal of the day
This is something that I already try to do. I have realized that I do not need a big breakfast to start the day—a glass of water and a yogurt with granola after a hour+ of being awake will suffice. Also, it is not in your body’s best interest to eat large amounts later in the evening. With that said, a small dinner and then a snack sometime during the night hours has been working for me, and will work for you as well.

Filling meals with little kCal
This will be a month of exploration and discovery in terms of finding filling snacks with minimal calories. Currently, I am munching on some carrots and hummus and not finding it as satisfying as I had hoped. The most filling low calorie meals I have discovered thus far include: yogurt with granola, a salad full of darker greens with nuts and dried fruit, scrambled egg whites (maybe including one egg yoke) with spinach, mushrooms, diced onions and diced peppers. The search continues…

Eating right is all about moderation. ‘Stay Healthy, Stay Happy’s” very own Lauren Duffy has told us this on several occasions. Scale down meals and drink water before and during a meal—you will be surprised with how little food it takes to fill you up.

2.) Take no more than 1-2 days off from the gym per week
I am now two and a half weeks into my “diet” plan. I have not slipped up on my gym-going goals, however, I am not working as hard as I should be. On days where I am teaching Zumba, Box Ballet or Dance Pilates, I will conduct class and call it a day. It is important, if you are looking to lose weight, to increase calories burned—and mine is essentially staying the same. Work hard, and on days where you would normally do just cardio, add a short toning routine before your session. Lifting weights before cardio has proven to increase calories burned.

3.) Tone up and drop 10
Ideally, I would like to drop 10 pounds before the summertime, however, my main goal is to tone up. Ways I am toning up is by increasing interval training and the pilates. With some help from Campus Rec pilates instructor Nicole Webb, I learned some new moves that prove to be total-body toners (see my blog on planks). With these added moves and change in diet, I will inch closer and closer to my goals as the summer draws near.

I will keep all of you healthy, happy readers posted on my progress. Stay tuned for more articles about toning up and slimming down!

Read more about health and fitness tips at Emily’s blog at: http://stayhealthystayhappy.wordpress.com/2011/04/07/drop-10/