Last Updated on June 1, 2018 by Michael Brockbank
Looking for a good diet and workout routine that doesn’t feel like a chore? Perhaps you don’t have the money to dump into things like Weight Watchers. Losing weight and being fit don’t have to be grueling or expensive, as long as you’re willing to put in the effort.
That’s one of the biggest problems many people have, especially in an age of instant gratification. We all would love to wave a magic wand and become instantly fit…but it doesn’t work that way.
So, what do I do to lose weight fast while maintaining a good diet and workout routine? It’s actually quite simple, really.
What to Eat
The first thing I want to put out there is that I don’t believe in restrictive diets. Yes, there are foods that are “bad” for you on the market. But if you control how much of these things you eat, they won’t pose as much of a problem as some “experts” state.
Secondly, not everyone can precisely follow the same diet plan. And not everyone will have the same experience on such plans. That’s why I suggest creating a diet that is tailored to fit your physical and emotional needs.
Basically, I like to keep each of my meals below 350 calories. But you have to understand it takes more than just a calorie goal to lose weight and be healthy. Yes, I aim for a 300 calorie breakfast. I also focus on nutritional needs at the same time.
I usually try to stick with my Net 600 Calorie diet, which does exceptionally well for losing weight – if you can maintain it.
Normally, my breakfast is fairly light in comparison to other meals. Here are just some of the things I have on a regular basis:
- One egg, slice of Sergento Colby-Jack cheese, 1/4 chopped onion and juice…or
- 2 packets of Instant Cream of Wheat…or
- 2 packets of Instant Oatmeal…or
- 2 eggs and 2 links of turkey sausage…or
- this morning I had 2 slices of Sergento Colby-Jack cheese and a cup of juice.
A lot of the time, I’ll toss in 1/2 cup of mixed berries into the Cream of Wheat. It turns it purple, but it provides a lot of vitamins and taste.
I tend to have more focus at work while having a much better mood on the days I have a higher morning protein.
My breakfasts usually average between 240 and 290 calories. The important thing to keep in mind is the quality of food. No donuts, sugary-cereals or pop-tarts start my day. Plus, I feel less lethargic after my workout routine with a breakfast like the above.
Lunch and Dinner
Lunch and dinner are usually quite similar. That’s because I cook the night before and turn the left overs into frozen meals…much like you’d get from Weight Watchers or Lean Cuisine. However, my meals cost less than $1.50 to prepare.
The key to keeping your lunch and dinner light is using proper portion sizes. A lot of us are extremely overfed, and most don’t even realize it. It’s not always about what’s cheap on the dollar menu.
For example, I use 1/2 cup of Trader Joe’s Teriyaki BBQ chicken and 2/3 cup of chicken fried rice as a meal. I scoop out the proper sizes and place them in a microwave safe container for the freezer. It’s no different from what you get in terms of frozen “health” foods at the store. It also turns out to be 190 calories and a lot of protein and vitamins.
It’s all about serving yourself up logical portion sizes. For instance, three ounces of chicken is a serving, not a three-piece meal from KFC. A 16-ounce steak is enough red meat for more than five meals. And two Oreo cookies is a snack, not two rows from the bag and a tall glass of milk.
You don’t have to cut out the foods you love as long as you eat them in moderation.
Simply reducing intake can help a lot of people start losing weight fast, depending on how much they eat.
Snacking isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as long as you wisely approach it. In fact, snacking is going to mandatory for many of you if you’re following a grueling workout routine. It’s easy to go into hypoglycemic shock if you’re not paying attention.
This is when your blood sugar goes too low while pushing yourself to greater physical levels. Personally, I start shaking and passing out if I don’t have juice, a fruit bar or something else in the middle of an intense workout routine.
My snacks bounce around quite a bit from day-to-day. It all depends on my physical activity and whether I feel “snacky” or not. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the biggest problems I have when it comes to losing weight.
Take yesterday, for example. I had more than 800 calories after having four separate snacks throughout the day. It adds up quickly, especially if you dive into sugar and chocolates like I do.
However, I still lost nearly 1/2 a pound. So 800 calories in snacks didn’t throw me into disarray, but I would have done better without that last handful of Hershey Chocolate Eggs.
When it comes to snacks, I try to keep within my calorie goals for the day. I use MyFitnessPal and Fitbit to track my intake vs output. If I don’t have the calories for a snack, I try to refrain. This means I need to turn up my workout routine if I want to “afford” a snack later on.
Also, try to keep your snacking to something more nutritious. I would rather have a serving of pineapple than Chips Ahoy! cookies.
Here’s where a lot of the work to lose weight comes from in my case. It all centers around keeping active and burning fat. If your output in a workout routine is low, make sure you adjust your food intake to compensate.
It’s a balance between what you put into your body and what you get out of it.
Every morning, I try to play about 30 to 35 minutes of Xbox Kinect. I am quite fond of Tennis, but have a number of games at my disposal. By the end, I have worked myself up into a decent sweat while burning more than 400 calories.
A workout routine doesn’t have to be something you view as a chore. In reality, any physical activity that will get the heart rate up and the sweat dripping from your brow is beneficial. This means something as simple as house chores is viewed as “exercise.”
I started focusing more on cardio workout routines after my heart stopped in 2016. Since then, I haven’t had a single problem and my resting pulse has dropped nearly 15 beats per minute.
Cardio activity is all about keeping the heart rate up for as long as you can sustain it. You don’t want to work yourself into cardiac arrest, but you’ll burn more fat by sustaining a good pace.
Other activities I like to do to burn calories include:
- House cleaning
- Yard work
- Bike riding
Any of these are going to burn fat. Find something you enjoy and stick with it.
Optional Weight Training
What about adding some weight training into the workout routine? Adding weights to your daily exercise delivers quite a few real-world benefits. One of my favorite examples is picking up a 50-pound bag of dog food at the store without realizing it was 50 pounds.
I thought the manufacturer started making smaller sized bags.
Although weight training doesn’t have the fat-burn capacity as cardio exercise, it can be very effective to improve your life. And, you can still work up a good sweat if you aim for repetitions instead of overall weight.
I own a set of resistance bands I picked up from Walmart for about $20. I use them to work on my biceps and triceps. It’s my goal to add a bit of strength to my arms without looking like Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson.
Body Weight Workouts
Another one of my favorite additions to the workout routine is activity that utilizes body weight. Things like push-ups, lying leg raises and planks are all ways to define muscle without investing in dumbbells or a bench press.
If I had a decent place to set it up, I’d love to crack out some chin-ups.
I love to set and break personal records. This helps me gamify workout routines so they don’t seem boring or mundane. And that’s a key to keeping your focus every day: not letting yourself get bored with the workout routine.
How many people do you know have exercise DVDs collecting dust? I know quite a few.
Tools for Fitness
As simple as it sounds, that’s about all I do to lose weight and reshape my body. I don’t use supplements, pills or expensive exercise equipment. It’s all about eating less and being active more.
However, there are a few tools I use to monitor my progress and help me stay the course.
MyFitnessPal is a free app that lets me track food intake as well as calorie burn. The system automatically adjusts how many calories you can safely eat for the day based on your exercise. And since I have it connected to Fitbit, I receive regular updates throughout the day.
I have a Fitbit Charge 2 strapped to my wrist. I don’t use it for keeping an eye on steps, though. I use it primarily to keep track of calorie burn and physical activity. It’s been a reliable device and has contributed to helping me lose almost 70 pounds so far.
Exercise.com is a great place to find various exercises and how-tos for a workout routine. It also keeps track of my personal records. The system will track your progress using points and show how you compare to other users of the site. Currently, I am working to be in the top 800 scoring users by the beginning of summer.
It’s All About You
Everyone is different. One diet and workout routine which works well for some doesn’t always work well for everyone. You need to find what perfectly fits your lifestyle and goals. Otherwise, you may find yourself getting bored with the plan and giving up.