Airman offers tried, true health tips

by Staff Sgt. GRACE LEE

We’re more than a month into the new year and since losing weight is a popular New Year’s resolution, I’d like to share a few insights I gained on my journey to lose weight.

Last year my goal was to lose weight, and I did just that by losing more than 15 pounds. Below are a few weight loss tips I used that hopefully will help others to reach their goals.

  • Track your progress. Taking before pictures — I did a front, side and rear shot. To get an even better idea of the before and after, take a relaxed pose and then a flexed pose for each shot. During my “cut,” meaning being in a caloric deficit, I took photos almost daily to track my progress. At first I didn’t notice a big change but looking back at photos a few months apart, I can see a significant change.
  • Use your smartphone technology. There are many applications available to help with fitness goals. My favorite is MyFitnessPal. It allows the user to track eating, exercising and weight loss or gain. It works well as a motivator since it notifies the user of progress made.
  • Invest in a food scale. It doesn’t have to be fancy. I recommend a scale which measures in ounces and grams. Measuring in grams instead of using measuring spoons and cups helped me tremendously by saving prep and cleanup time. Read the nutritional label on the food. The label provides the amount of grams in each serving. For example, if a serving of ketchup is 28 grams then that’s what you’ll measure on your scale. You can even place the bottle of ketchup on your scale then zero the scale out before squirting out the ketchup little by little and placing it back on the scale until it reads negative 28 grams. This may sound difficult, but give it a try and you’ll find it saves you time and gives you an exact measurement. Since losing weight means being in a deficit, I would advise to measure and track all the foods you eat, especially in the beginning of your weight loss journey. The reasoning behind this is because with my own experience, I noticed I underestimate the amount I’m eating more than anything else. A good example is with meat, I’ll look at a plate of chicken breast and think, “Oh that looks like about 5 ounces…” when in reality it’s 3.5 ounces. If you’re constantly over or underestimating food your progress may be deterred or slowed.

Another mistake I see people making is labeling food as good or bad. This can be a fatal dieting mistake because I used to think I “messed up” by eating a burger and I would be like, “well I ruined the diet anyways so might as well go all out.” This would result in a food binge and me not reaching my fitness goals. For me when I’m trying to lose weight, if a friend wants to eat out, I’ll go to the restaurant’s website and pre-plan what I’m going to eat before we get there to ensure I’m successful. A few other tips for eating out would be to make compromises such as, if ordering a burger, skip the fries. Or, instead of getting ranch dressing maybe opt for a lighter option dressing such as a balsamic vinaigrette or light ranch.

Lastly, losing weight and getting healthy is possible. There were times I thought, “Why am I doing this again?” But deep down I knew it was something that was going to make me a much happier and better person overall. Throughout the process I also learned a lot about myself and ways to make dieting easier. I hope these tips will help you with your weight loss goals and remember, the only person you’re doing this for is yourself.