My friend just came over looking HOT- she lost 30 pounds. Guess how she did it? She ate LESS and exercised MORE. WOW. What a concept huh? As a writer and avid voracious reader about health and wellness, I’ve been reading a lot about “how to eat” to maximize weight loss. Seems there are hundreds of gurus who know the perfect combo of foods, what time of day to eat them, where to eat them, what you should be wearing when you eat (kidding on that one) but you know what I mean, right? The thing I do know is that when I eat less and that food is clean healthy food, and I add walking and weights, I lose weight. When I slack off, I gain a drop. Or a drop more. hhmm..
Of all the eating plans out there, this gal chose weight watchers which, if you don’t know, is a simple system that goes by points. It assigns point values to each food and a certain value you need to eat in order to lose weight. It’s worked for millions of people over the years and I truly believe it does because it teaches portion control. Done with your points? Can’t eat anymore (no mindless munching). It helps people chose between a 12 point meal and an 8 point meal, hence less calories. But I really think the issue of good foods needs to be addressed. I’m not sure if they do that? Like if a candy bar is 8 points and so is a chicken breast with cheese, we all know which has the better nutrient value. And we all know which we grab on a stressed day too.
Part of a healthy eating plan is having healthy foods around to grab when you need. There’s nothing like a big bowl of fruit salad to munch on. Or some homemade grilled veggies to toss with pasta to lower the caloric value of a pasta dish while adding healthy nutrients and fiber (ya’all know that I wanted to go to the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and I have self-studied nutrition for years and years?)
Here’s some easy healthy ideas to incorporate into your daily diet.
Add sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds or a sprinkling of nuts to salads and pasta salads (yes, they taste fab in the dressing!)
Try roasting vegetables more often. Roasted cauliflower, brussel sprouts,onions, broccoli and sweet potatoes are delicious and have converted even the pickiest of eaters.
Cut your pasta in half by mixing it with veggies.
Eat a rainbow of foods each day- at least 2 each-red, orange, yellow, green ,blue , purple.Make it like a challenge to yourself.
Make meatless meals several days a week. This is easy for me as a flexitarian (vegetarian who is flexible and will eat meat here and there- for me , it’s chicken or turkey on occasion). Cutting meat usually cuts calories especially when you replace it with healthy grains, veggies or eggs (yes,eggs are healthy-have you heard?)
Get yourself on Pinterest and search for boards like “healthy foods,” “delicious foods” etc…I am totally blown away with my food board I call “On the Menu” and so far, I have made (and devoured!) at least 15 new dishes that are to die for!
Eat on smaller plates. They fool the eye by looking fuller than they are but usually hold less calories than using a large dinner plate.
Simple ways to add exercise
Recently I’ve read that even 10 minute sessions of exercise work very effectively at raising metabolism. and Guess what? It takes 10 minutes to wait for dinner to cook right? Or wake up 10 minutes early. Do squats while brushing your teeth. Get up at every single commercial break and do jumping jacks and squats and push ups until your show starts again. That’s about 10 minutes for an hour show.
You’ve heard this one but do you do it? I try to (as long as I’m not in a rush) park as far away as you can from stores and work and walk more.
Connect with your family by taking after dinner or daily walks. Go me- I am SO good at this. The dishes can wait but the sunset can’t. And honestly, I can’t stand doing dishes anyway. Paper plates are my fancy china, ha! Since I live 1/2 mile from the beach, I love to take a nice stroll several nights a week, watch the setting sun and then head home. Usually it’s an hour or more of a walk and not only is it exercise, it’s the BEST family time you will have (leave phones home or in pockets). How’s this for a view?
We also hit the park often with scooters and bikes- I jog or walk fast while they scoot or ride. It’s fun! What I’ve been wanting to do is get a bike for me. If you live in a bike-able neighborhood, consider yourself lucky.
No time for the gym but plenty of time for excuses? Buy a few exercise DVD’s or apps and you will always have a “class”ready and waiting. Amazon has them at great prices.Try Jillian Michaels if you like her. Or the super popular P90X work outs.
Keep flexible by practicing yoga. I’ve been practicing yoga for about 13 years now. There are many styles of yoga and all will keep you supple, while some will burn fat more and others will teach you to relax and de-stress(restorative yoga)but all will help you turn inward, calm down, focus, be aware and work your muscles using your own body as counterweight. Get your starter yoga kit and then grab a few DVD’s. I like Baron Baptiste myself. How about Yoga Journal or Yoga for Beginners?
Got kids? Then dance the night away. No need to hit up the dance clubs (and obviously no time ) so put on those fun DVD’s or Wii Just Dance and get the family moving. This is one of my favorite things. I know I look like a total fool but who cares? The family that fools together stays fit together.
Get yourself hand weights if you don’t have any. 20+ years ago I got certified as an exercise trainer. Though I didn’t work it as a business, I learned a ton about muscles, bodies, exercises and how important it is to keep your metabolism burning calories by building muscle mass. I try to use my weights at least twice a week, but now I am ready for a heavier set of dumbbells or maybe I’ll try kettle balls this time. Any feedback on them? Let me know what works for you to keep the pounds off and in the best shape you can be.
So basically, my point is, do your research when it comes to “diet”plans. Know your foods. Know your limits. Add exercise. Eat less. Eat clean. and ENJOY your meals.
*disclaimer: Make sure you check with YOUR physician before starting any exercise or diet plan.
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