Hey everybody, funny how things happen, I had a draft of this article since yesterday, (it was Monday and I wanted to wish you, A Happy Week, a local custom here) but I did not have time to finish it. That turned out to be for the best because today I discovered I could participate in the WordPress weekly writing challenge, like my blog, this week the challenge is about health. (http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/08/12/writing-challenge-health/)
As you may have read in my earlier posts I was quite frustrated about gaining a few pounds and fitting into my favorite jeans anymore. So since one week now I have been trying to do something about that.
I try to watch what I eat and I try drinking a lot of water but I do not want to exhaust and starve myself by withholding food. Neither do I want to start a very intense exercise regime. I am convinced that by doing regular not too hard exercise and by eating right I will be able to shed the wait I have gained. My love is convinced that I need to do cardio training at least three times a week. I can still hear him saying: honey just get that stepper from the attic and start working out, that’s the only way to loose weight.
Up until now I have been taking the following measures. I walk every evening, between 20 and 40 minutes. At breakfast I only have fruit and ginger infusion (no sugar). I start with the warm drink, it’s good for your digestive system to start the day with a warm drink. If I get hungry I snack on mixed low salt nuts, seeds or fruit. I try to replace one meal a day (lunch or dinner) with a green smoothie (my favorite green smoothie recipe is at the end of this article) and when I eat I try to eat not as much as I used too and chew more on each bite.
My biggest issue is that I love (love love) to have a little (or big) dessert after dinner. So lately I have tried to settle that urge by making a Red Bush infusion and adding a little bit of honey and warm almond milk, helps me sleep and satisfies my sweet tooth.
I have based all these resolutions on information I gathered on the Internet and I have made a small sum up of the best ideas and advice I have come across.
Healthy Food, healthy balance
Start with analyzing what you eat. Do you really eat as healthy as you think? Try and delete the processed foods and bring in more fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds.
Try to eat balanced and do not cut out something completely, not even fat. Your body needs fat, no deep fried chicken fat but healthy fats you find in nuts and fish. Your body also needs protein to keep you going, found in eggs for example. Try to eat a lot of fiber rich food, fibers stimulate and accelerate your digestion and act as natural detoxifier.
Maintaining a healthy balance in what you ingest is important for your body, you can eat less but completely stopping to eat something, like fat, will only confuse your body instead of stimulating it to help you loose weight.
Become a Kitchen Prince or Princess
Try to make your own meals, this way you know what you are eating. It takes some time but it is good for you and it is always fun to try new recipes. Do your research and discover, there are so many tasteful, easy and fast to make dishes.
Take out the Garbage
Try to replace your breads, pastas and rice with whole grain products. Maybe at first you will have to make a small adjustment but when your body gets used to the taste of whole grain bread you will not want any other.
Try to replace sugar with sweet leaf, it has much less calories and it is not an artificial product.
Try to make your own healthy snacks instead of going for the processed cookies and crisps. My movie favorite is Japanese style Edamame, salty steamed beans.
When you have a meal try to sit down in a quiet place, no TV or distractions, accept for dinnertime conversation. Pay attention to what you eat, how much you eat and chew like you mean it. This for me is really hard because I’m a chew twice and swallow type of person, but try it; better-chewed food is easier to process for your body. Secondly your body does not tell you your hunger is satisfied until after twenty minutes of eating so by taking your time for each bite you allow you body time to feel full and you wont over eat. You’ll enjoy your food better and feel more saturated, so you’re satisfied with less and are less likely to snack.
What to drink?
Water? Yes, yes and yes
I love water, learn to love water, and drink it any chance you get
Making your own juice is best. Processed juices are filled with sugar, although you can get some nice fresh juice options at the selected supermarkets, keep away from the light juices and drinks because the artificial sweeteners in the end are worse then sugar.
Making your own with a little bit of sugar is OK, although the caffeine won’t be a plus for you sometimes you just need caffeine. But keep away from the Starbucks sugar and cream loaded lattes.
Well herbal infusions are preferable but a nice green tea will not do any harm.
Soft drinks? Nope
Do I need to elaborate?
Alcohol? Nope but….
a glass of red wine now and then won’t do any harm, try and stay clear of all the heavy alcoholic drinks because your body will take it as a pure sugar overload.
Personally I try to replace all dairy with almond and coconut alternatives but a low fat yogurt won’t do any harm.
My favorite: Chocolate
There is good chocolate, the very dark 70%+ kind and there is bad chocolate, the sweet milk kind. Try and stick with the 70% kind and you can eat a bit every day. Dark Chocolate contains numerous feel good ingredients like anandamide, tryptophan and theobromine. Because of these ingredients you feel good about yourself and the dark chocolate will still your need for sweet in just a few bites. In addition, chocolate also contains additional fiber and healthy fats. Personally I eat two pieces of chocolate with a black espresso everyday after my green smoothie lunch, and I can tell I’m always completely satisfied. (which is big coming from someone who can easily eat two Magnums and consider a third).
If you do not get enough sleep your body will make more cortisol, a stress hormone that enhances your appetite. Secondly if you are tired you are more likely to opt for eating something fast and unhealthy. So try to get eight hours sleep and listen to your body, if you feel you are still tired try to go to sleep a little earlier and try and sleep nine hours, you will see once your body is rested your energy levels will increase and even getting out of bed is not a problem.
Try to move everyday, especially if you are in an office job like me; try to just walk every day after work. Do not let the scale control your life, getting in shape is not always about loosing pounds. Make sure you have clothes that fit well and are nice for walking; you do not have to go shopping, just find something in you closet that is comfortable for walking.
Keep track of how much you move everyday. If you have time choose to take the stairs instead of the elevator. You do not need to become a member of your local gym and spent a huge amount of money. Do a few easy exercises every morning. Just start out with easy and fun to do stuff that will help you feel better.
Do not set impossible goals, impossible goals result in disappointment that results in you becoming less enthusiastic.
Make a clear plan, try it out and if that does not work for you do not be afraid to adjust.
Do not starve yourself, withholding food from your body, will stimulate your body to switch to survival mode and try and burn a little calories as possible.
Plan what you eat and keep track, I am not a calorie counter but I try to have a little list in my head of everything I eat in a day.
Indulge yourself one day a week, don’t go all out crazy but do eat a little piece of chocolate cake, or whatever is your biggest sin food. It’s a reward for all the hard work you did and it will stop your body from going into low calorie burning survival mode.
Try and eat smaller portions and make sure you do not get hungry by always carrying healthy snacks like an apple with you.
The best way of not eating unhealthy stuff is by not buying it.
Think about that next time you are shopping and buy healthy alternatives.
Also realize that you won’t loose weight locally, you will probably loose it where you gained it last (too bad because the only thing I likes about gaining weight was a bigger cup size).
Most importantly, realize that once you have started to adjust your eating pattern this is for life!
Read again, and pay attention, it is for the rest of your life! Chancing the way you eat is not something you will keep up two weeks and then you can go back to the way things were.
Finally: Stay Positive
Try to write about your experiences, it will help you get a clearer overview of all your efforts and successes. Talk to friends about what you want to accomplish, maybe you will find someone who is wanting the same and you can share experiences or even walk together. Inform yourself about what you are doing. Surround yourself with positive people. Try to reduce stress by meditation for example. If you are less stressed you will be able to focus more on what you are trying to accomplish. Sometimes everything just seems to go wrong and nothing works out the way you want. In that case just take a day, leave everything, rest, rest, rest, relax and focus on turning your mindset around to being positive. Tomorrow is another day and you will get there where you want to be!
Last but not least: The Green Smoothie
I know, I know the smoothie, or batido as we call it here, makes you think about a fruit milky cold drink packed with sugar and fat. But it can be done differently, full with superfoods like kale and chia seeds. You can make it at home in no time (shopping for the right ingredients can take a little bit more time though). And best of all it does not have to taste awful! One of my favorite recipes for a kale green smoothie can be found on this website:
It is called the wellness warrior smoothie; it is like a very healthy meal that you can drink. I use it a lot during lunch as a meal replacement and it really gives me energy the whole afternoon.
Enjoy everybody! Love and Peace