9 nutrition tips from a woman who lost 75 pounds — and kept it off
Lainie Messina isn’t a model, an athlete, a paid spokesperson for an energy pill, or an actress. Her photos on Instagram aren’t Photoshopped, and her weightloss journey isn’t one that happened overnight, or even in 30 days.
But over the last few years, Messina, who had a mid-life crisis at 44-years-old, started changing her eating habits and her fitness habits. Now she’s about 75 pounds lighter than she was in 2013.
She’s working hard to keep it off — the majority of people who lose a lot of weight tend to gain some or all of it back — but she knows it’ll be just as hard to maintain her weightloss as it was to shed the extra pounds.
A few weeks ago, we talked to Messina about her eating habits before she started changing her life — and what she eats now. You can read about that here.
Now, Messina shares 9 tips for those who are beginning their weightloss journey, or trying to stay on its path.
1. Don’t cut out anything entirely — especially when you’re starting out.
Tell me I can’t have something? Well, now that’s all I think about. Find two or three things you can substitute each week, be consistent in keeping those changes, and over time you’ll see dramatic changes.
2) Don’t think of food as “good” or “bad.”
There are nutrient dense foods we should try to eat as much of as possible. For example, choose sweet potatoes over white potatoes. Choose veggies over fruits more often than not.
3) Know what a portion is.
We’re used to huge portions and most people eat 3-5 servings without blinking because they’re served on one plate or in one meal. Read labels. Get to know what a serving of nuts or trail mix is (hint: it’s not a handful!).
When you go out to eat, separate your meal into two portions and either box it right away or commit to only eating half and taking the other half home.
4) Try to avoid fried foods, heavy dressings, and cream-based sauces and soups.
Lots of wasted calories and high fat — not the fat you want to be eating (like avocado or EVOO or nuts). And if you must have your favorite creamy dressing, get it on the side and use half as much as they give you.
5) Water. Water, water, and more water.
Drink it like it’s your JOB.
6) Think of food-consumption in macros, not calories.
Protein builds muscle, and carbs give you energy. But the one mistake so many people make? Consuming carbs in sugar form.
Make sure you have some healthy fats, which keep you feeling fuller longer. Tone down processed foods, or anything that can be found in the middle aisles of the grocery store
7) Don’t starve yourself or skip meals.
I suggest eating three full meals and some smaller snacks throughout the day. Think of your body like a fire. Without kindling, the fire goes out. If you don’t eat enough, your body’s metabolism slows down (and slows down even more when you’re older).
Stoke the fire with big logs (meals) and kindling (snacks). Make sure you know what your body needs to survive based on your activity level.
(And don’t let yourself get so hungry that you eat whatever junk food is around when you finally break. Carry snacks in your bag, make sure your office is stocked with food you can grab between meals. Don’t gravitate to the office candy jar.)
8) Be patient! It takes trial and error to figure out what your body needs.
What I like to eat doesn’t work for everyone. Every body is different. Taste buds differ. But there are so many options available to you once you develop a better relationship with food.
Trial and error is good. Give a food three different tries before you say you don’t like it. Try different brands and different flavors. For example, I prefer chocolate to vanilla in most desserts, but I love vanilla protein powder way better than chocolate. I had to try these things a few time to figure that out.
9) Food is fuel.
I know, and believe, that food fuels my performance, and that’s how I eat.
For me, the scale is not important. I have lost a lot of weight, but I’m heavier than most people guess because I carry a lot of muscle, and I’m okay with that.
My body burns more calories at rest so I can eat more, and I like to eat. I fuel myself often and my body is my own machine and runs very efficiently these days.
You might be different. The scale might be very important to you. The size of your clothes may be your measurement for success. But having a healthy relationship with food is a major part of achieving any of these goals.