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Beginner Weight Loss Tips

What 1 Woman Wishes She'd Known Before Trying to Lose Weight — Learn From Her Mistakes

I was no stranger to the freshman 15 in college — in fact, I experienced something closer to the freshman 30. It wasn't until I saw a photo of myself heading into my sophomore year that I realized I was carrying quite a few extra pounds and that it was time to do something about it. It took me a very long time to lose the weight (we're talking not until after graduation), all because I thought I knew what I was doing. Boy, was I wrong. Here are four things I wish I'd known at the start of my weight-loss journey.

Get That Spoon Out of the Jar!

While peanut butter is full of heart-healthy fats, it's not void of calories — one tablespoon contains 105. I found myself spooning it straight out of the jar, wondering why my jeans weren't any looser. This is important to remember with all healthy foods: just because they aren't considered junky doesn't mean you can eat as much as you want. Be aware of portion sizes when it comes to whole grains, nuts, seeds, and health-food-store snacks.

No Meat, No Dairy

My two roommates in college were tall, skinny, and vegan, so I thought eating a plant-based diet was the key to dropping pounds. I may have ditched animal products, but I ended up eating tons of pasta, bread, french fries, dairy-free ice cream, and vegan chocolate cupcakes instead. Had I focused on fresh fruits, veggies, legumes, and whole grains, a vegan diet might have helped me reach my weight-loss goal, but my junk-food vegan diet actually caused me to gain weight.

Related: I Had No Idea What Giving Up Dairy Would Do to My Body

How About a Walk?

Walking is definitely a better workout than just sitting on the couch, so I thought strolling through the mall and walking to class would do the trick. But walking isn't a major calorie burner like running. When it comes to losing weight, you need to burn or cut out 3,500 calories a week to lose a pound. A 30-minute walk only burns around 122 calories, which is well under the 500 it takes to affect a weekly weigh-in. If you want to lose weight, you'll need to kick up the intensity and the length of your workouts.

Related: The Lazy Girl's Guide to Losing Weight

Time to Dig In

After hitting a Step class with my college roommate, we'd hit the dining hall and fuel up. We worked out, so we deserved it, right? Little did I know I was undoing all the good I had done and actually eating way more than I had burned, which was making the scale numbers go even higher. If you need a little workout reward, don't do it with food. Download some new songs on iTunes, pick up a fitness mag, or buy yourself a new top to motivate you to get to the gym.

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karenfarber2710 karenfarber2710 1 year

Love the tips. I'm guilty of rewarding myself with food after a workout, and then feeling all stressed out for un-doing the good I just did! Next time, I'll just go shopping ;)

www.littleblackshell.com

Shalanda15316410 Shalanda15316410 2 years
The first tip hit home! I knew nothing of portion control. Once I did my homework, I realized that it really wasn't what I ate but how much of it I ate. I tried the vegetarian route as well during my college years but I filled up on too much pasta and bread. We live and we learn!
Jennifer14443110 Jennifer14443110 3 years
No disrespect, but I kind of think these are "duh-worthy" tips. I was hoping for something a little more useful. I think the only people to whom this would be helpful are people who know literally nothing about fitness or nutrition.
senorita senorita 4 years
@lauren i know!
lauren lauren 4 years
great tips.
alexesq33 alexesq33 4 years
I have a great poster on my wall at work - right in front of me - it says "Do not reward yourself with food, you're not a dog!" I think this is perfect motivation for me to hit the mall for new shoes if I drop a size, not to hit the food court!
noeXcusefitness noeXcusefitness 4 years
Some great ideas. I spent years trying to find the best combination of nutrition and exercise for fat loss. I wish I knew 10 years ago, what I know now. If you are looking for some more great ideas on how you can easily lose weight without dieting, not starving yourself and eating the right foods check out my COMPLIMENTARY REPORT on how to LOSE WEIGHT WITHOUT DIETING. http://www.noexcusefitness.com.au/lose-weight-without-dieting-ebook/
awc1505 awc1505 4 years
I completely agree. When I went on a vegetarian diet for about 2 years, I actually gained 10 pounds the first month because pastries and french fries are "vegetarian". What the media tells us is healthy versus what is actually healthy are two completely different things. I have a site that focuses on healthy living and fitness. It has some really great info, such as why beer is better for you than soda. http://www.commit2fitnessgal.com
leemorg leemorg 4 years
Hi Jenny, Thanks for the great tips. I, too, often find myself eating out of the jar/bag/cannister and so forth. It doesn't take long before you've eaten 2-300 calories worth, as you've mentioned. To add to this point, be sure to use a bowl or plate whenever you're spooning out any sort of snack, whether peanut butter or otherwise. Dish out a portion, then seal up the bag or jar and put it away. This will help you keep a handle on how much you're eating, both in terms of calories (has it come to 420 calories ALREADY?) and portion size. My mom taught me this trick, and I stand by it! It's so easy to grab handful after handful of chips or crackers when you're snacking directly from the bag, so whatever it is you're eating, make sure you just take SOME, and not all. The bowl trick makes sure of that! The same can be said for dishes you leave out on the table at dinner, or any other time for that matter. Serve yourself a portion of your casserole, then put the platter away. If the casserole dish is sitting right in front of you as you nosh, you'll be more likely to pick at it once you're done your plate. Put as much distance as you can between you and "the source" and you'll be less likely to overindulge. Can't put the hot-out-of-the-oven stuff away in the fridge right away? At the very least, leave the lasagna tray resting on the counter in the kitchen, instead of on your dining room table. This way, you'll actually have to take the time to get up and move if you're thinking about having more. This will give you time to really gauge if you're full or not. Thanks again for the tips; happy eating all! Best, Lee www.customizingfitness.com
amber512 amber512 4 years
I know people who have lost weight with walking as their only exercise. It might not be a major calorie burner, but it definitely helps!
PoetryRosita PoetryRosita 4 years
LOL.... I love PBJ! X) Kinda addicted to it. But I never take more than 1 tablespoon per serving (I usually just take 1 teaspoon of it and lick it out slowwwlllllyyyy and enjjoooyyy so much X"D)
SaraNoH SaraNoH 4 years
I eat PB out of the jar.... just not gobs of it xD. Granted if your a teenage boy you could of course. There was a guy in my Sr. class who carried a jar of PB in his backpack as a snack xD
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