Maintaining a healthy weight is not easy. We have to resist millions temptations every day, give up amazing dishes and decide to get up from the couch to exercise.
Stress in our lives is often at high levels and eating that delicious chocolate cake is more like a gift to ourselves to get through the day. Emotional eating can get in the way and so it’s even more difficult to eat healthy food.
However, deciding to get in shape is great for many reasons:
– Avoid diseases of various kinds, such as cardiovascular problem, diabetes and so on
– Be able to perform actions that require a good physical shape that are important to us (such as playing with the kids or make love)
– Be attractive to the opposite sex
– Increase your self-confidence
– Feel better
Traditional diets usually don’t imply long-term commitment and don’t work, because the sacrifices you have to make are too many and have to be done in a very short and crazy way. Renouncing all of a sudden to eat your favorite dish and praying for the diet to finish, is usually the best case scenario. Most of the time you end up hating your lack of will power and feel a failure.
Getting in shape has to be a funny journey that doesn’t imply too much sacrifice: it’s the only way to change your eating habits into healthy ones and enjoy both the things you like and take care of your body. Moreover, some of the changes you make might even like you, so making small significant changes from week to week can really help.
Eating healthy, exercising and taking care of your body has to be a pleasure, not a work. So the aim is to start eating healthily little by little, exercise starting from 10 minutes a day and then prolong that time and and above all, find pleasure in these actions.
How can you enjoy it? To do so, you have to make positive association with the food you have to eat the most, that is vegetables and fruits. Years ago I was like “what’s a carrot? Does those things really exists?” J
You know, the first big step is making them appetizing, then everything becomes more eatable. I switched my eating habits from not even knowing what a carrot was (j.k. J ) to eating mostly vegetables and fruits. And I feel better now. So if you’re wondering if you can do it, the answer is yes J
Starting with the basics, the key to success is balance between what you eat and the calories you burn. If you eat fewer calories than you burn, you lose weight.
3,500 calories equals about one pound of fat , if you cut 500 calories from your typical diet each day , you will lose about a pound a week (500 calories x 7 days = 3,500 calories). You can calculate your BMR and your BMI here and there.
Normal diets only cause an incredible hunger, irritability and that is why they are often hated. But there is no need to do a diet to lose weight. You only need to make the right choices every day and develop new healthy food habits that make you feel satisfied but that can make you lose weight. Choosing low fat foods is a beginning, like including more veggies and fruits.
So you don’t have to diet, but deciding to change your lifestyle. Start by adding veggies at every meal and soups to make you feel fuller, decide to exercise for a short time every day and make healthy, permanent and enjoyable choices.
It means that if you’re stressed and angry, you don’t ask the fridge for a solution: find something to do of physically demanding that helps you get rid of stress (also taking a walk helps). Find pleasure in the post-workout endorphins. Find pleasure in getting out and have a breath of fresh air in a sunny day. Find pleasure in eating vegetables and fresh food.
When I was in high school and I was suffering from depression, my afternoon snack was or chocolate, or chips or sandwiches. I had to fill a void and I wanted to turn avoid the main problem that was the relationship with myself and the world around me.
Often, eating too much hides a more specific problem and therefore you gotta ask yourself: why I want to eat this cake right now? Why eating so much if I’m not even hungry? Is it boredom, stress, sadness? Do I really want to do that? What is the real problem?
Think of it of a lifestyle change, not a diet. It’s your commitment for a healthy life. Various popular diets can help to jumpstart your weight loss, but permanent changes in your life and food choices are what will work in the long run.
1. Look for support in family members, friends or a support group to get the necessary encouragement. Losing a pound a week is the right choice, don’t rush. At the beginning you will lose only water and muscle rather than fat.
You may feel tired, with no energy and experience headaches. My advice to eat a fruit, which provides glucose to our beloved brain. And exercise a bit. This will give you new energy , stimulates adrenaline and you’ll feel better after the workout. Start with little, everyday.
2. Give yourself a good reason to do it. Do you want to be more charming and attractive? You want to have a sculpted physique? You want to feel proud of your body? You want to be able to run for a long time? You want to be able to play for long periods with your kids?
Saying to yourself, ” I need to lose weight because it is right for my health ” won’t work. You need to have the right motivation, something that really is important to you. If you feel comfortable with 50 pounds of excess weight, then do nothing . But if your weight makes you feel bad and you’re objectively overweight, then change lifestyle.
The decision must come from your discomfort and suffering, not from external influences. You have to decide and be motivated to get in shape for the right reasons that are important to you.
3. Use tools to help you monitor your progress. Keep a diary once a week monitor your weight. Do your best to avoid eating too many carbohydrates (theoretically you should reduce them drastically after 3 pm ) , eat plenty of fruits and vegetables , drink at least two liters of water a day (especially if you exe. rcise ) and remember to eat proteins (vegetables proteins also exists!). If your training requires it, take vitamin supplements.
If you are hungry , eat a fruit or a vegetable . I usually recommend sweet fruits, such as bananas. My shake includes a banana , an apple, three oranges , sunflower seeds , flax seeds , walnuts, goji berries and sometimes a bit of cocoa powder. This smoothie fills about 3-4 glasses , so for the whole afternoon , I usually do not feel hungry .
If you are particularly nervous or irritated, exercise: even jumping up and down for a while decreases stress. If you’re at work and you are hungry, have a tea and a fruit or chew a gum.
4. Find your own personal rhythm. It may take time to find your own personal “diet”. My recipe for a healthy weight includes limited consumption of carbohydrates and sweets (some bread in the morning and pasta at lunch), lots of fruits and vegetables (such as the maxi smoothie) , a lot of decaffeinated tea (strawberry , peppermint, green tea) and exercise at least 3 times a week.
I usually dance to burn calories: I like samba, hip hop and Zumba fitness. Sometimes I do squats and weights at home. Abs are my weak point: my mother tends to accumulate fat in the waist and so do I.
The key is to do a lot of cardio and reduce carbs. Warning! I said reduce carbs, do not eliminate them! Eat them in the first part of the day. I never drink cola or soda or things like that: they are full of processed sugars and hurt.
5. Never skip a meal. Skipping meals slows down your metabolism. Eat 5 small meals during the day, it will help to reduce the size of the stomach (and therefore not having the need to eat 500 grams of pasta to make you feel full ) and increase metabolism .
Usually I have breakfast with whole grain bread, coffee or tea , orange juice or a banana. My lunch usually consists of a pasta or brown rice and raw vegetables, in the afternoon I drink my hypervitaminic smoothie and in the evening I eat vegetables (raw or boiled) , with vegetable or animal protein (I often eat beans, chickpeas, lentils, or fish or eggs). I do not eat cheese because I get digestive problems with that.
6. Avoid emotional eating. When I watch a movie or I’m on the couch, instead of eating popcorns, I drink tea. Two cups of green tea if I want to feel fuller and decrease my craving for junk food. I used to do it before. I used to eat popcorn, chips and chocolate.
Eating because you’re sad or angry or stressed won’t get you to the solution. Instead try to exercise, have a hot bath, listen to energizing music, take a nap, call a friend, go for a walk , read a book. Eating tons of chocolate for sure will not increase your self esteem.
7. Focus on foods that you can eat in abundance. Fruits and vegetables will only do good to you and are low in fat and healthy. Strawberries, apples, oranges , berries , nectarines , plums , salads, greens….eat them in large quantities.
Prefer vegetables proteins such as broccoli, spinach , beans, lentils etc. . Even if you go too far with the portions, this will not affect your weight as it could do a chocolate cake or a giant portion of pizza. To feel full, start your meal with a soup without pasta. Eating soup, which contains large amounts of water, will help you feel fuller. And use salt and oil for salads, not mayonnaise or other sauces .
8. Eat the foods you love without exceeding. Eating a piece of cake once a week is not a catastrophe . Nor a Sunday lunch with your favorite dishes. If you have chocolate cravings, you can use cocoa powder and include it in smoothies.
9. Make sure you have the food you need in the fridge. Remember to always have in the freezer foods that you can prepare at the last minute, such as broccoli or spinach or fish. I’m not speaking of ready meals but frozen foods.
So the day that you forgot to buy carrots, you will anyway have some veggies to eat. Plan your meals and snacks ahead of time. You will be more likely to eat in moderation, if you prepare healthy meals and snacks in advance. Cook your own meals and do not go shopping when you’re hungry.
Limit the amount of tempting foods you have at home. I have no crisps, chocolate or junk food at home. So when I’m hungry and I want to eat it, I have only healthy food. Drink lot of water and herbal teas to feel full.
10. Try to get enough sleep. Two hormones regulate the normal feelings of hunger and satiety. Ghrelin stimulates appetite, while leptin sends signals to the brain when you’re full. These hormones when you lack of sleep, don’t work that well. Let’s not forget that, however, poor sleep increases levels of stress that can lead to emotional eating.
11. Avoid all soft drinks like coca cola, pepsi , fruit juices… drink only water, lemon water, potassium and magnesium supplements and herbal teas. Beverages such as cola and soda contain endless amounts of sugar that can ruin your body, sabotage glucose levels in the blood and make you gain weight. Don’t drink too much alcohol.
12. Exercise at least 30 minutes per day. Whether it’s a walk , a run, dancing or whatever, it increase your energy levels, improves your shape and makes you feel better because of endorphins. Start with 10 minutes, but just do it.
Start right now to change your eating habits. If necessary ask for help to a nutritionist and attend dancing classes or go to the gym. Do something today to get what you want and achieve your goals. If you want something, just go and take it ! Do not sit on the couch thinking “I’ll never make it .” Make your journey interesting. What kind of person would you like to become? What kind of things you want to be able to achieve? What kind of sports appear fun to you?
These are the most important strategies that I use to keep myself in good physical shape. They are possible and simple . Do something today to get what you want and achieve your goals . If you want something take it!