Eating 3 average-sized meals and 2 healthy snacks a day will keep your metabolism in check! Eating frequently helps regulate your blood sugar, while eating large meals less frequently spikes your blood sugar (and THAT has been linked to weight gain). Eating often also keeps you full, so you are less likely to splurge at just one meal. Try to eat every 3-4 hours! This is a MUST!
A good rule of thumb: for every pound you weigh, drink one ounce of water. Example: 150lbs = 150 ounces of water! think 3 1/2 Route 44′s from Sonic, where adding ice to fill up space is cheating. While on this topic, CUT SODA! I know, it’s a bummer… Until you check out this infograph: A Sip of Soda: How Soft Drinks Effect Your Health.
If you are dying for something other than water, opt for unsweetened tea (green tea is your healthiest option! ), plain coffee (can sweeten with stevia), or add a sugar-free flavoring (like Mio) to your water! Chip junkie? Cookie Monster? Or, if you are like me, you could eat a gallon of mashed potatoes in one sitting.
Solution? Don’t let these foods in your house! Find healthy ways to substitute your vices, like the examples below: Cookie Monster: This is the best healthy dessert blog ever! and speaking of substituting your vices… There are many easy ways to turn a fridge and pantry into your #1 line of defense against weight gain! One of the best ways to make the switch is by replacing all white flour with wheat and whole grains.
This includes breads, pastas, cereals, rice etc. Whole wheat is less processed while rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Think fruit juice is healthy? Think again! Even the “healthiest” juices can’t replace fresh fruit.
Don’t even think about buying canned fruit. Both of these are examples of excess sugar and unwanted preservatives. If you are really craving a fruity drink, make a smoothie by combing real fruit with ice and either fat-free milk or water. You can sweeten things up with a teaspoon of sugar-free Jello mix, or add stevia for a sweet finish! Low or Non-Fat Dairy products provide you with essentials nutrients and protein without the added calories.
Some of my favorites are: Milk- Fat Free Smart Balance Heart Right (and it tastes as creamy as 2%). For those who are lactose intolerant, I would suggest Original Almond Milk or Silk Light. Yogurt – Greek Gods Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt (not very good alone, but combine 3/4 a cup with 1 packet of stevia and some fresh fruit for a nutritious, delicious breakfast). Note: not all greek yogurts are made alike. This yogurt is only 90 calories a serving with 0g of fat and 10g of sugar.
However, Greek Gods Honey Blueberry has 232 calories, contains 15g of fat and 25g of sugar! Point being, before you buy, read the label! These are just a few quick suggestions. For more ideas, check out this link for other easy switches: You don’t HAVE to do P90X to lose weight or be healthy (though it does work). I am a firm believer that weight-loss is 80% diet 20% exercise.
Keep in mind the following (because I will say it time and time again in upcoming posts): That being said, working out not only speeds up weight loss, it helps you lose fat and maintain muscle mass. Just because you are losing weight doesn’t mean you are losing the RIGHT weight. Even if you aren’t trying to lose weight, aerobic exercise increases cardiovascular strength, which in turn leads to a longer, healthier life! Make sure to include a mix of both cardio and strength training in your routine for the best results. Make exercise fun!
Find something you really enjoy and go with it! For example, I really enjoy dancing, so I found my work-out niche in Zumba. While I hate running, I have a friend who thinks of running as her daily alone time. Whatever the case may be, keep this picture in mind: —–> While counting calories is important for keeping you on track, eating the right foods is more important. Eating only 1000 calories a day won’t matter if all you ate that day was a cheeseburger and fries.
Instead of focusing solely on calories, try to build your plate like this: Buy brown rice you cook on the stove, not the 90-second spanish rice in a bag. Think about it, that packaged rice won’t expire for 2 years or more. If you cooked rice on your own, would it last that long? NO. So then, why does the 90-second rice have a long shelf life?
Because it is over processed and full of preservatives! Read the ingredients list on nutrition labels and if you can’t pronounce something or have never heard of it, chances are it’s a preservative or other man-made chemical. Most good packaged food will have no more than 6 ingredients in it (with the exception of bread and some cereals). I LOVE the comical info graph below on buying REAL food: On top of choosing REAL food, buy organic when you can. We will go into more details about the reasons to buy organic in later posts.
For now, just trust me on this one! This always seems to get people for some reason. I can’t relate, I’m obsessed with breakfast food (sometimes I make more breakfast food for lunch or dinner)! Skipping breakfast is a HUGE NO-NO in losing weight or just maintaining a healthy lifestyle. When you first wake up, your body has already been deprived from food for hours while you slept.
If you then go about your day and don’t eat until lunch, your body thinks you are starving, goes into starvation mode and starts storing body fat as a sort of reserve (ergo why people can go so long without eating and yet not die. The metabolism just slows way down). Don’t skip any meal, but most definitely don’t skip breakfast! Your body needs time to process your last meal before tucking in for the night! If you do end up needing a midnight snack, try greek yogurt or some lean turkey meat!
You want to aim for slowly digestible foods that will keep your belly full while you sleep. But that is, after all, why you are here in the first place, right? You already know these diets don’t work and are now trying to be healthy the all natural way! Way to go you!