Summer has totally arrived here in south Texas… but then it’s July and we’re probably due for some weather that feels like summer.
Hotter weather definitely means making sure you stay well hydrated. Whether or not you are physically active getting in adequate amounts of water in your day is essential for your overall well being and health.
I often hear from people “I’m not a water drinker”. Actually, we all are, but we’ve conditioned ourselves to other beverages that are (unfortunately) often sweetened.
Water is not only essential for life, but it also has many other benefits to it.
Consider this, water is the second most consumed beverage, after soft drinks. This is a disturbing stat considering soda is a huge health hazard upping the risk of obesity, stroke, and other health problems.
Roughly 60% of your body is made of water. Drinking adequate amounts helps transport nutrients, helps digestion, regulates body temp and more.
Drinking water can help with weight loss, it helps you to feel full making you eat less ( don’t use this as a substitute to NOT eat)
Water is also muscle fuel. Sweating out at the gym or in your workout cause muscles to lose water. When muscles don’t have enough water they get tired. Adequate water ensures smooth muscle function. Staying well hydrated helps you in those final miles running or the last set you are doing in the gym.
Drinking water also helps you have clearer skin, it flushes toxins from the body, helping reduce pimples and break outs.
It helps with kidney function. Our kidneys process 200 quarts of blood daily sifting our waste and transporting urine to our bladder. Kidneys need enough to clear away what we don’t need in our body. Yet another reason to drink up!
Water can also help boost our productivity boosting our concentration.
Feeling tired ? Dehydration is often the reason beyond that dragging feeling.
It can help with pain prevention…. aching joints and muscle cramps can occur if you’re dehydrated.
It helps with digestion and can prevent constipation.
Water may help with decongestion and dehydration helping it to bounce back when under the weather ( ok I personally swear by this… when I start feeling a little off… I up my water intake)
Of course, if you workout, it’s crucial you stay on top of your water intake and make sure you’re adequately hydrated before your workouts and replenish appropriately afterwards. A good rule of thumb is to weigh in (naked) before a hard workout, then after. For each pound lost, replenish with 16oz.water.
There is some debate on exactly how much water you need each day. Studies suggest adults need 9-16 cups per day.
Other things do contribute to your water intake (note … these don’t take the place of water…but do supplement) coffee, tea and water-rich fruits and veggies.
How to get more water in….
Start when you wake up in the morning. I always need a big glass after I hit the floor.
Try drinking a good size glass 30 minutes before a meal.
Make it a habit to take water everywhere with you. I never leave without my big water glass loaded with water and ice… I will even go back and get it if I forget it. I drink on it constantly while I’m out.
If it’s “bland” to you in the beginning ( a common complaint… in time… you won’t need anything) try adding lemon or lime to it.
Our bodies really do have a natural thirst. It’s often been suppressed. Consistent drinking of water will cause this natural thirst to return.
Water has so many health benefits, it’s a zero calorie drink, and perfectly replenishes what your body needs. Get started and in time, you’ll be drinking it all the time =)
So yesterday presented one of those golden opportunities to spring board an idea for todays post. Just when I worry I might be running out of creative, challenging, inspiring, clever or inventive ideas, life just delivers it into my lap.
How splendid 😉
So I made a stop for some iced coffee at my favorite coffee place and was hanging out on the patio enjoying the breezy warm afternoon when from behind me someone grabbed my chair and acted like they were going to dump me from my comfy perch…
turns out to be one of the guys who is typically in during the morning… one of the “regulars” I’ve gotten to know some. There is a lively group who encourages my running, wants to know what I’m currently doing, provides weather reports for my running days, ask when my next races are and wants to see my medals after I finish one.
I call them my cheerleading section and my fan club… it’s kinda nice 😉
Anyway, we just start chatting about random stuff and he moves into asking me about a particular “health” product and if I’ve heard of it or used it before ?
I tell him no I just try and eat good food, drink water, and stay away from most junk/random food. It’s been working…
Then he says… “well, what do you use for detox?”
I blankly looked at him for a moment and then said… “I have a liver that does it for me”
Haha…. the look on his face…. I’m not sure if he thought I was messing with him… but I mean seriously… it’s not hanging out in your belly for nothing.
When I mentioned I really enjoyed having a lot of veggies and fruits in my daily food intake I got the “yes, but there aren’t any nutrients left in foods anymore” mantra…( oh I’m weary of that one)
Ok… I like this guy. He’s always really nice and everything.. it’s just… he’s delivering the lines that companies have coached people into believing or saying to sell their product. They sell a product, using lines they’ve been given and not always understanding what they are actually delivering.
I told him I’d take my chances with “nutrient deprived veggies from our poor depleted soil” that it seemed to be doing ok for me so far… I mean… as if this “product” was better than eating fresh veggies and fruits ? Really ? a man made product is better than fresh, nutrient dense foods ??
That perplexed me.
He then brought up having energy and getting moving in the morning. I told him I don’t really suffer from lack of energy (usually) and I found eating well, combined with exercise really seemed to be a good combo for abundant energy…. ( oh, and coffee, always coffee 😉
He then mentioned he knew people who had some success with it. I told him my issues with all these “health” products is that people want to believe it will deliver the “miracle” cure they are looking for and bring this item on board while never changing or making improvements in their overall nutrition plan, often continuing in their poor habits… not making or building new ones to replace the negative. The only thing this product might do is make them lighter in their bank account.
A lot lighter based on many items I’ve seen.
Ah… I deal with this frequently. When people know I’m living a healthy lifestyle and that I workout and am fit, they want me to use their product to “improve” or “get better” or to have more of “something”.
Weird kinda thing here…. I got where I am, I look how I look, I do what I do, all on my own, somehow without all these amazing products to get me healthier, more energetic, fit, cleansed, etc.
My labs at doctors are great. My weight is in my perfect zone. My body fat is very low. I have lots of energy. I sleep well and am more fit and athletic than I’ve ever been in my life. All accomplished without some miracle product to get me to this point.
The biggest thing to success in weight loss and getting fit ? Is finding what works for you… the thing that is sustainable and easy enough for you to maintain and work at day in and day out without giving up.
Something that doesn’t have a shelf life of 6-8 weeks before it’s back to the old way of life. And ideally, something that doesn’t do a monthly draw off your bank account either is a good thing.
I would caution anyone…. think before you jump onto the bandwagon of a product making promises to make you healthier, more energetic, or fix your medical problems. (For goodness sake, if you have medical issues, consult your doctor, not your neighbor selling something!)
Nothing will work long term for you like learning to manage your own nutrition and developing an active healthy lifestyle. Changes must be made, new habits must be formed.
Have you ever tried a product hoping it would be your “magic pill” for success? What was the outcome ?
Food…. I think I may have mentioned before… I kinda like the stuff.
And I don’t mean stuff I shouldn’t eat (much) but the fact I appreciate and enjoy all the healthy good foods.
OK… disclaimer… this week I kinda got on a little baking/sweet treat binge. Chocolate chip cookies… peanut brittle … ( which I typically make at Christmas) but hey… I like shaking things up…
Can I just say… peanut brittle… is crack. That is all.
And this… when you don’t eat much sugar… and have “samples” of what you’ve made… it makes your tummy feel….bleh….
Is that a good or bad thing ?? 😉 I definitely am not tempted to eat much of it.
Food, I think we can all agree, is something we have total control over in our lives. Do we not ?
We have the freedom to eat when, how much or how little and what kinds we want to have. No one controls that.
To one extent, some use it as a source of power. It is the one thing they have absolute control over in their lives and sometimes it goes to the extreme, an eating disorder. It can also go in the other direction, eating what you want and how much with no accountability can lead to obesity and another type of eating disorder.
Food can definitely be a control/power issue.
Yet somewhere in those two extremes most of us are seeking to find a balance and order… a freedom with food that allows us treats on occasion but overall healthy eating the majority of the time to sustain life, give us optimal energy and health as well as maintain a ideal weight.
A couple years I started hearing about this rule… and well… if you know me by now… I’m a tiny bit rebellious against some rules.. especially when they involve food. Yet, somehow, this one didn’t repel me. In fact, it seemed to fit into my current philosophy on eating and getting all healthy and fit and stuff.
I started hearing about this thing called the 80/20 rule… meaning you eat good, healthy and balanced meals 80% of the time allowing in your week that 20% would be allowable for those things we really enjoy in life but have in moderation.
Birthday cake. A special dinner out. A couple of our most favorite, ever made cookies.
Just name your poison.
It seemed reasonable and sound, right ?
The other alternative thrown around I never got into the idea of, mainly ’cause it seemed so counter productive….
A day set aside to eat whatever and how much of whatever… with no guilt. What if I didn’t feel like cheating that day ? What if my craving for a cookie hit…. on a different day ? Not only that, but why shoot an entire day down the toilet…not to mention how it will make my body feel.
No….. that seemed like not the best fit for me.
So over time… I’ve eased into a unstructured plan of eating although honestly at this point I probably eat more of a 90/10 rule. Not to be restrictive or crazy… I just feel better when I eat well all the time.
In an athletic way… food fuels my activities and sustains me for what I do.. as an athlete I understand I have to eat well to perform well.
You know why this idea works ? there’s such a freedom to allow you to enjoy eating what you like and to find your own healthy balance. And if you’re like me and don’t care so much for rules… this allows you to develop your own.
And no, you won’t go all crazy and eat stuff you don’t need…. after all you’re a smart grown up aren’t you ? But you can build your own plan and you will learn to be selective about the food choices you make and really determine what treats are worth having. Hint: a treat is something to have occasionally.
And as you do that you’ll find a new freedom with food you’ve never had. You’ll have power, but in a good way.
What works for you ? Have you ever tried one of the “food rules” ?
So as life goes, and as I mentioned to you in yesterdays post on Motivation, I get inspiration and ideas from you, my 1.5 readers, and as mentioned, I love the fact that through my journey I’m able to motivate and hopefully inspire others to make lifestyle changes.
Yesterday, it presented me with a perfect opportunity for a new post.
But first, this disclaimer on how this inspiration occurred.
I’m gonna have to reveal I was in a store, in pursuit of a dress, I had seen the day before and I was back after it.
Like a hunter pursuing it’s prey.
You see when I’m not in full blown athletic mode, I delight in being totally feminine and have a weakness for cute dresses 😉
Hubby will now know I have a new dress 😉 Oh well…. I’m confident he will like it too haha 😉
Now….on with the show…..
After I had apprehended the dress and was ready to legally wed it, I wandered to the counter to make the transaction that would make us a permanent couple. The sales lady was one who has waited on me often and she is around my age.
She has often asked me what I “do” to look like I look. I’ve freely shared with her… and when I led a fitness challenge last Fall with 4 people she kept up with my stories I wrote in a little local magazine that tracked everyone’s progress.
I haven’t honestly seen her in awhile… till today… and I noticed she was remarkably thinner.
Of course I commented and told her I hadn’t seen her in awhile and noticed that she had really lost some weight.
She told me…. “when I talked to you during the time you were leading that fitness challenge it made me really think about things. I saw everything you had been doing and what you were doing with those people and I decided one morning that today was the day. I was going to do it!”
I commended her and said she looked good… and she responded “well I’ve lost more than…. a little weight… I’ve lost 42 pounds in 15 weeks.”
Ok… so at that point…. I kinda paused a bit……
That’s a good bit of weight to drop in such a short time…
One red flag showed up in my lil head.
She proceeded to tell me her doctor ( one locally in town) had this “diet” through her spa clinic and she had decided to follow that .
I listened as she rattled off things like no fruits, only certain veggies, “high” protein (8 oz. meat a day) using “their” products, no natural or refined sugars, ( limited artificial sweeteners??) no breads, no carbs etc…
( red flag 2 is going up in my head)
Till I finally blurted out…. “What do you eat??”
She pulls a small bag of chopped cucumber out of her drawer.
“well, I snack on things like this” (like….there are almost zero calories in that)
Ok I’m all for veggie snacks…. but I wanna eat whatever the heck kind of veggies I want….not only certain ones.
She tells me she has “their” oatmeal for breakfast, one of their protein bars for lunch (eek that’s it ??) and some chicken and veggies for dinner… “and then there’s some supplements…..those….help. It’s amazing how little food you need.” ( I feel my breathing getting shallow….)
Now…. that third red flag is up.
Hey, I get that. I’ve learned it doesn’t take tons of food to deal with your hunger and satisfy your bodies needs. But then there is a point where you’ve crossed that line of not enough food.
Then she deals the final blow……
“Well, they really discourage exercise for awhile”
I am pretty sure at this point……. my eyes…..were bugging…..out. In fact, I know they were.
All the bells and whistles were now going off in me. I wondered how many more warning flags were gonna fly before my head exploded. I was kinda chewing on my tongue at this point….
I guess I was looking a bit blankly at her and she said….. almost whispering…. “well, the calories are so low, they want you to conserve your energy”
Seriously. The times I deserve an Oscar. Or an Emmy .Or some kinda statue for keeping control of my face… or the things that threaten to fly outta my mouth.
I hear myself ask…. “How many calories a day are you eating?”
To which she responds…… “I was afraid to count them in the beginning…. I’m not sure it was even 1,000.”
I felt my head getting light just imagining it…. I said…. ” How did you manage to work? or do anything?”
She admitted in the beginning it was difficult… I cannot even imagine.
I couldn’t help it…. I told her to be careful dipping her calories that low it didn’t mess with her metabolism.
She looked kinda blankly at me…. maybe it was the lack of carbs to supply energy to her brain…. and I knew she didn’t get it.
She said she wanted to get to exercising but that she hadn’t had the energy to do so.
With calories that low I’m surprised she could work and think all day long. Actually she probably couldn’t. Your brain can get very foggy with a serious lack of carbs.
She did look good. She probably doesn’t need to lose anymore weight. I hope when she comes off their “program” she keeps it off.
Can I say this ?
First, I’m surprised a doctor would honestly put someone on such a restricted, low calorie diet. This lady was not horribly over weight, or into the “obese” range where they sometimes do drastic things for quick loss. I think of this as hocus pocus weight loss… now you see it… now you don’t.
Please hear me that I’m not shooting down her efforts. I applaud her for wanting to make changes. But if you’ve learned anything about me at this point it’s how much I hate this stuff.
Things that cost people money…a lot of it. Losing weight shouldn’t cost you a lot of money. Go buy honest food.
She also paid for the privilege to starve and buy their “supplements” and “food”.
I do hope when she’s off the program she will be able to keep her weight off eating normally again. This is the BIGGEST problem with these types of “diets”. Once you start adding real food back in, your body responds accordingly, especially when it’s been deprived.
This ( to me) falls into the category of those weight loss hype things. You pay big money, for their stuff, and yeah she lost weight, but she could’ve done it safer, and been more comfortable doing it ( not starving and dealing with all the consequences that come with drastic food deprivation) even if it took her a little longer to reach that goal.
Along with this program, they’ve not taught her about sane nutrition or allowing exercise to be a part of her fitness regime. I’m assuming as she is allowed more calories, she will have the energy to exercise.
Please….please tell me… I’m not the only one horrified that you aren’t taking enough food in during your day that you can’t even workout???
Hocus Pocus weight loss programs abound right now in this country. Most are simply after your money. Lots are sold by your next door neighbor….who knows nothing of nutrition or weight loss….or what’s in the products she/he is selling you. In this case, a doctors office offered up this great program….yikes.
Anyway, I’ll save my rant on Multi Level Marketing trends for another post.
Weight loss….slow….steady…sane….eat real food….toss in some physical activity… the only way to make it a permanent lifestyle change.
Have you ever participated in a rapid weight loss program? What were your results? Did they last ?
It’s no grand secret it’s the key to life 😉 I really kinda like the stuff too.
I mean seriously, when you are honest to goodness hungry and you want to eat the first thing that moves, doesn’t food taste… amazing ?? I don’t feel like that if I’m not hungry.
Give me an hour after an intense workout and I can do food like a piranha.
And there’s sooo much deliciousness in this world we can choose from… vast amounts of food to handle our daily needs… aren’t we blessed?
Now here comes the trickier part… if we keep in mind that food is fuel for our body… to give us energy, balance, and stability for our day…we need to consider how we are fueling.
That can require some thought and preparation so when we are in full blown hunger mode, we can still make smart choices.
One thing I’m starting and it’s not a novel idea is chopping up all kinds of raw veggies and tossing them in a Ziploc bag. Now I know people do food prep and have cute little containers for the week or day, but I think it takes up to much space and my veggies don’t mind gettin’ all close and comfy in the same bag together 😉
This is handy in several ways for me. If I need a fast snack and those veggies are ready to go, I am way more likely to graze on them ( instant gratification) and if I’m super on top of things, I’ve also whipped up some ranch dip made with plain Greek yogurt to have with them, if I’m so inclined. On the lunch menu, I really love salads so having veggies I can just toss in with my spinach and not have to cut and chop is a huge bonus.
Now all of you out there who’ve ever wondered how you get your veggie servings in … a super salad at lunch can just about get your there.. and you can snack like a ravenous beast on veggies…wheelbarrows full for minimal calories and huge nutritional benefits.
What? You can’t do it? Don’t like them so much over say, chips? Remember that habit thing we’ve been talking about ? Just start small, with what you like, and go from there.
Veggies are a wonderful fuel source for your body, and so good for you too. I love being satisfied, but not feeling lethargic, from a good lunch. The foods we eat can make us feel good, energetic, and stable or they can leave us feeling full, sluggish, lethargic and not energetic. Consider your meals and how you feel after… determine where you might need to make adjustments.
Remember the fuel illustration. If I had a high performance sports car, I wouldn’t put junk fuel in it. Take the same approach to your body.
Food prep comes in handy to help you make good choices when you need them and gives you the ability to make wise fuel choices when you might be weak. It all keeps coming back to the habits we build…. train yourself to reach for good foods.
Other things you can consider:
Hard boil eggs for a quick protein snack or to add to a salad.
Have cheese cubed for an afternoon snack with some fruit.
Make your own snack mix with raw nuts and craisins ( I like the 50% less sugar ones) keep in small bags for when you’re on the run.
Greek yogurts… ready to go.
I love sweet potatoes. I usually roast extra at night so I can use in salads or for breakfast.
Mix up tuna with avocado. I love it by itself with some fruit or you can have it on a sandwich.
Keep fruit washed in ‘fridge so it’s ready to grab.
I know when I’m hungry I’m less likely to take time to do certain things, so if I’ve prepared in advance, it definitely helps keep me on the right eating track. Making good choices makes me not just feel better physically, but mentally too.
Do you do food prep? If so, what tricks do you have?
Hey! welcome back to the next part of my little series =) I thought this would work better than writing a novel you’d be reading for days…. if you missed part 1…. scamper over and check it out first.
I wanna set the stage here for you… since we’re talking about diets…. maybe you’ll relate. This was my strategy for success years ago.
* determine I was tired of being fat (yes, I’m using that word)
* decide that, “Monday was gonna be it…time to start”
* proceed to eat all random, crappy, junk type food I could shovel in to “get rid of it” over the weekend ( because all that food would never, ever be available to me again. Ever.
* decide which seriously calorie deficient diet I was gonna do, and there were LOTS to choose from.
* start on Monday with lofty expectations of being slimmer by the next weekend. Engage some furious exercise. Think of all the foods I was gonna miss.
* Tuesday… hunger is my new best friend. Food is always on my mind and I have fantasies about my next meal more than a teenage girl does Justin Bieber. Get on scale and check for weight loss. Get mad when it hasn’t changed.
*Wednesday hop onto scale… first thing early… naked… carefully balancing and holding my breath. Yay… a pound or two gone. It’s gonna be a good day. I can do this. When do we eat again ?? Weigh again later in day hoping for more good news…think about when it’s over…
* Thursday no new change in the weight. I’m getting kinda sick of a piece of fruit, an egg and water for breakfast and similar things rest of day. Hunger sticks closer than a bee on honey. I think about…cake… and cheeseburgers… and all things fat.
*Friday almost have a week down. I’m getting used to the light headedness from not enough food… besides the scale told me another pound was gone… I can handle being hungry…. I’ve been thinking about “when this is over” and getting back to normal.
* Saturday… I’ve been good! I deserve a treat, or two, or three… right ?? And the whole day turns into a happy eating feast of all things that have been banished in the past week. OMG… it all tastes sooo good.
*Sunday… I’m not realllyyyy needing to lose weight, am I? I mean, I never will be able to anyway…so… I might as well just do what I’ve been doing…. maybe I’m supposed to just be like this. I just don’t have the will power or strength to be successful.
* Monday…. resume my old ways. Resolve to try again another day.
Do you relate ? Have you done things like this ? You can tell me in the comments section.
I’ve since learned a lot. There were several flaws with my plan for weight loss.
→ Not understanding my needs or exactly how many calories my body required to just be alive on a daily basis. At the time 1200 calories was standard diet fare ( sadly it still is today) If you were living large, 1500. Imagine my shock when not to long ago I learned that my daily BMR (basal metabolic rate which we’ll talk about later) was actually 1500 calories. This is if I were to sit on sofa doing nothing and to support the normal functioning of my body. No wonder I was hungry all the time! There were no extra calories for my daily living or exercise built in.
→ Removing, depriving and taking away everything I perceived as “bad” Giving power to foods and not keeping them in a proper perspective. We are living life and have to allow for it even as we pursue our weight loss goals. Occasional treats keep us on target and cut off binging. Putting foods on a banished list only made me think of them more.
→ Not treating my body with respect by giving it adequate food for health and living. Being hungry is a God given signal to feed our body.
→ Not having realistic goals for myself. I would not reach a slim status in one week. That set me up for failure…. as if not enough food wouldn’t.
→ Not setting long term, permanent, life goals instead of just weeks out goals.
→ Trying to fit my body into that standard diet and not knowing my own needs.
When you and I began to grasp and understand that we should be focused on all of our lives and not just a few weeks or months, we’ve made huge progress. Eating well and movement are, or should be, what we do all our life.
Now, remember your homework you had from last post ? You were supposed to set a goal and determine what your weight loss fitness goals are
Now along side that I want you to consider what your needs are. Could you relate on any level to my story above ? What mental changes do you need to make for success ?
Finally, think about your life. Your work , activities, hobbies, exercise etc. and consider what kinds of food will give you energy and help you on your weight loss journey.
In our next post we will look at how to figure how many calories you personally need to reach your goals and most importantly how to make it your plan for success.
As I shared with you in another post, one of the questions I get from seeking people is :
What do you eat?
They know I’ve been on this journey for a few years now and they are wondering what “formula” I use and would that be successful to help them achieve their fitness/health goals.
Overall, I think I eat fairly well, but will freely admit I haven’t “arrived” in a perfect nutritional way ( I still like my occasional treats 😉
I don’ t micro manage macros and micros and obsess over every single calorie. Personally, I find that really freeing, but it is a process I’ve learned for myself these past few years.
Now keep in mind, I certainly wouldn’t be offering them a horrible food plan. In fact, it would (overall) probably be very beneficial to them. I have enough knowledge to help them figure out basic daily calorie needs and how to operate within that structure.
But here’s the deal. Just because what I’m doing works for me…. doesn’t mean it will work for every person who approaches me. I’ve really developed my own thing over time that allows me to live my life, and do my athletic(y) stuff too. I’ve gotten a pretty good balance of how much food I need to lose or maintain my weight and operate in those boundaries.
You know what that’s called? Sustainable.
I’ve worked out a healthier way of eating and living that is easy enough for me to keep at day in and day out. It allows me to eat overall healthy 90-95% of the time and still lets me have some of my fav treats when I want them ( like those Peanut M&M’s 😉 and I’ll tell you, the less you eat it, the less you want it. Your tastes really do start changing with a healthier diet.
As far as nutritionally from an athletic stand point, I’ve really had to teach/train myself more to take in adequate food for training because my needs really can vary day to day. Obviously, doing a 20+ mile run will require more than a 4 mile run. It really becomes a matter of learning to fine tune what each days needs are. And I’m pretty sure, you, my lovely reader, are no different.
So what would tips/suggestions or helpful advice would I offer up to someone asking ?
First, let’s start with this. It’s important to really know and understand your goals. What are you wanting to achieve ? Have something clearly defined… write it down or post it where you can see it.
Is it primarily weight loss with the goal to improve your lab results? to lose fat, lower blood pressure, prevent disease, to have more energy, less aches and pains, and better quality of life ? To just… move better ?
Do you have a specific athletic goal in mind ? Training for a 5k, or maybe a longer race? Maybe you want to learn to run. It could be cycling or maybe a triathlon. It could be you’re wanting to get stronger, build some muscles. Perhaps it’s just to get out and walk for a couple miles and not be out of breath doing it… or hurting and exhausted.
You might be at a place where your weight is managed but maybe you’re wanting to focus more on building and defining what you currently have. More aesthetics. You could be highly motivated and want to do figure competition.
Defining your goals are very important to help identify where you want to go before you just jump into a standard 1200 calorie per day diet ( please, please don’t do that.. we’ll talk more on that later)
There’s a reason I titled this Cookie Cutter Diets our nutritional needs are not all alike! And depending on what our lives involve, those needs can change day to day.
I believe one of the keys to success is not just jumping into a horribly restrictive food plan, cutting out all things you love, and hoping to grind it out for maybe 2 weeks, getting frustrated you don’t see instant results, and then **with a sigh of relief** at the end of those weeks, you go back to what you know and what you’ve been comfortable in.
Once again you…. abandon your weight loss attempts and determine it’s to hard and you’ll never accomplish it.
BUT, if you make small gradual changes, and add slow and steady exercise that doesn’t kill you on day one, your chances of success greatly increase.
Now, you’re job is to determine what you want and how to go after it.
That’s your homework.
Think on it, and come back for the next part where we figure out what kind of calories you really DO need each day to reach your goals, and sustain them.
So today’s post is coming from questions I sometimes get… and there can be some interesting ones 😉 one that has come up several times is this :
In regards to health and wellness, it’s the “what do you eat / do for meals ?” question
Let me say first, what works for me, might not be the “thing” that works for you.
Also, on any given day what I eat depends on the training I’m doing. Obviously, my needs are greater with a 20+ mile run, versus a strength training day so my caloric intake can be quite different.
And the other thing…. it will also depend on our likes and dislikes and overall personal tastes. I don’t follow any current “trends” of don’t eat this or that. Unless you have a food allergy/health reason, eat the food. It disturbs me how many people today follow a certain trend without even knowing the why’s of doing it….
There are some things that I do which, I believe, are beneficial to everyone….
I rarely eat fast food. I don’t do a lot of processed, refined or fatty foods. I keep sugar to a minimum. I don’t drink alcohol or sugary drinks or fake sugars. I skip creamy stuff like mayo, spreads, and those sort of items. I prefer whole grain/brown foods over “white”.
I do drink a ton of water (’cause I really do like it and it’s the best thing for your body)
Side note…. I don’t use bottles… I really run around with a big glass full of ice water.. it travels everywhere with me.
Fruits and veggies make up a large part of my daily nutrition. Not shown here are sweet potatoes. Such tasty little suckers. I often roast them with some olive oil for dinner, and use the cold ones with my breakfast or toss them in with my lunch salad. These are a great nutritional super food.
I believe dairy is important (especially for women) so I try and get in a couple glasses of milk a day and my Greek yogurt snacks 🙂
Protein is very important with my training to make sure my muscles have enough to grow on =) I know it’s not currently trendy, but I love real milk. No apologies.
Eggs are a perfect breakfast food for me. I also keep them hard boiled for afternoon snacks. I eat the whole egg… the most important nutrients are contained in the yolk. I find protein does a much better job to keep me feeling satisfied and “level”.
I have no issues with “grains” and enjoy multi whole grain breads/bagels, oatmeal and some cereals.
Basically, I try and eat, the majority of the time healthy foods. I don’t believe in eliminating food groups unless you have a valid health reason to do so.
Oh, and some treats are allowed and completely enjoyed at times =)
And of course, this is always a part of my day. Isn’t coffee a food group ??
I’ll tell you this, of myself and people I know who have it going on nutritionally, they have a strong foundation in their daily diet of lots of fruits and veggies. These not only fill you up with less calories, the nutrients they deliver to your body contribute to your overall health,wellness and appearance.
If you don’t currently eat a lot of these tasty food items do this:
Start by eating more of what you like.
Try something new every day or two.
Cook veggies in different ways. I love roasting or sautéing mine
Experiment with new recipes to get more veggies in.
Do fruit salads instead of veggie salads in your meals.
Reach for these things as snack items…understand you must train yourself to do so.
Stop treating these foods like they are the enemy…they are health and wellness for you.
Oh, and if you can’t STAND a certain veggie/fruit… then.. don’t eat it! There’s a lot more out there to choose from.
Making slow shifts in your daily diet and replacing not so good foods with better choices will get you on a healthy lifestyle path =)
I’m a pretty passionate person and that passion usually carries over into a lot of things I do… what I believe… ideas I support and embrace.
It’s no wonder then I feel passionate about wanting people to be successful on their health and fitness journeys, and especially in the area of weight loss. I know half the battle is getting your mind on board and determining you’re gonna take those small baby steps to get it off.
When I began my journey I felt like this:
I want to be thin…now. I want the fat to go away…. tomorrow…. now… make it happen. Skinny jeans be on.
It’s unfortunate we live in an instant gratification society. We’re used to having things instantly. No waiting.
The reality is…. losing weight and keeping it off….. isn’t an overnight process. You didn’t put it on in 2-4 weeks it won’t come off like that either. I know it takes dedicated, consistent effort for it to be long lasting and sustainable.
That is how I encourage people to approach weight loss.
Sane. Balanced. Livable. Sustainable.
It allows the mind and body to work together doing what needs to be done.
Now saying that, here’s where my passion really spill over.
The plethora of products out there promising fast, quick, easy, weight loss in a matter of weeks. The modern day snake charmers.
I can’t tell you the times I’ve challenged down one current trending product with their hype of “Lose 15 lbs in 21 days!!”
Now I’ll freely admit to not being a great math wizard in school… but I can tell you what they’re promoting is a loss of 5 lbs per week, given 21 days equals 3 weeks. I’ve had them come back and say “it depends on person” yet all the advertising continues to be boldly proclaimed that this will be the results you get.
Not. Realistic. Is there a show of hands that would agree to that ?
Not to mention I think you’d eat the diet of a gerbil to actually, really, lose that in such a short time. Yet, all I’m told is that there is more food than you can eat each day. Somehow that doesn’t all balance to me.
Then there’s the trendy pink drink, and the drink your meals plan ( honestly am I crazy for wanting to eat real food and not drink it?) I like to eat food……
Never mind… there are wayyyyy to many to talk about and I’m not interested in offering free advertising anyway….
People are desperate. They are willing to take their hard earned money and drop… a lot of it…. on these products.
All I can think is… why not go buy real food with that and get out and go power walking?
The diet industry is a mega business to put it mildly. There are so many things out there today promising to be the magic genie in the bottle for weight loss but if you want to be successful and keep some of your money it comes down to this…. are you ready?
You have to expend on a daily basis more calories than you take in and create a deficit …. consistently doing that…will lead to weight loss.
Revolutionary, right? Maybe I’m on to something 😉
So, yeah, I am passionate about this. I want people to be successful on their journey and STAY on their journeys, not give up and go back to old ways when the “diet” ends…. or their money runs out.
Changes have to be made. New habits formed. Goals set and reset. Forward progress. Every day.
My suggestions? take it one day at a time, use your money to buy good food, and celebrate each victory and before you know it you’ll reach your goal =) and then, you can use that money to buy smaller clothes 😉
How is life treating you today? It’s been (the usual) busy day for me and I’m catching a few moments to type out this post.
I see my title, and find myself ironically amused that I’m camped in Starbucks drinking coffee and nibbling M&M’s while I write this.
Haha…. blogging in a coffee shop. Have I arrived yet? 😉
The diet thing…. or as I think of it… the diet trap….. that often has no end in sight. Let me tell you, I have had my experience with “diets” over the years and what I remember most about them is counting down the days till it ended, much like someone waiting to finish their prison time.
Is it coincidental the first three letters of the word spell….. D…I…E ?
I’ve certainly been on a few that left me feeling so hungry I thought I might. Worse yet, diets were often deprivation of the worst kind. You might as well have had a Scarlet Letter on your chest at family get togethers as you dutifully nibbled celery sticks and drank water enviously watching everyone else eating “the good stuff”. And having to watch them eat chocolate cake…while you had none… or worse yet you had some and then felt like a failure for doing so, or had the usual questions leveled at you…
“But aren’t you…. on a diet ??”
You counted off the weeks till things got back to “normal” again. Food was the only thing you thought about. You were on the scale every single day looking for validation from the damn thing.
Oh let’s not forget when you made the decision that “tomorrow was the day”. You got rid of the stuff you loved by eating it all the night before and prepared to never see it again.
You stocked up on celery. You pondered if you’d ever get to really experience chocolate in the rest of your lifetime.
Then one day I changed the game up.
I realized after one diet venture, that food, has a lot of power. It speaks to us in many ways.
It feeds our bodies and our emotions. It often comforts us. But it can be a mean task master too, controlling and manipulating you to lose sight of your goals of good health and carrying a comfortable body weight. I realized if I removed the power from food and quit playing “good food/bad food” games, and taking away everything I loved, and told myself it was there if I wanted it, that maybe I’d get the upper hand.
I decided to try my theory. I told myself nothing was off limit.
My goals were simple: begin to make overall better food choices each and every day. Eat enough to satisfy my hunger but not over eat. If I really, really wanted ( fill in the blank here) I’d allow myself to have a little. Note, not go on a binge, just enough to satisfy the craving.
I remember about a month into my experiment the fam went out to get burgers. Did I order a salad and stare longingly at their fries ? No…. I had my own. And I just moved right on with my goals in sight. I didn’t have the attitude I ate fries I might as well throw the towel in. Oh, I certainly wasn’t perfect. There were days I felt like were a total bomb. I just picked up and kept moving forward.
Every single day.
Let me tell you….. there was complete and total freedom of feeling…… in control…. of my food choices. I hadn’t gone off the wagon with my “nothing is off limits” approach.
Time marched on. There were holidays. Family birthdays. Events. And I enjoyed each one. I learned to sample. I learned to be very selective and eat only what I truly enjoyed and that it didn’t take lots of food to manage my hunger. I paid attention to my natural body signals and started obeying them.
I learned there was freedom in saying “no” to things.
And something crazy started happening…… I was losing weight! How could that be? No suffering? No doing without good foods I loved ? Yet somehow, steadily, week by week I was diminishing.
I’ll tell you what I’ve learned these past few years:
I now WANT to eat “healthy” foods. I often have salads simply because I love them. I love veggies and don’t think of them as something I have to eat. I actually crave that stuff.
The more I ventured into running the more aware I became that food is “fuel” for my body to perform and that it was important what I put into it. Endurance running has definitely made me understand the necessity of it.
So yeah….. I don’t “do” diets… and neither should you. Embrace life. Trust you are smart enough to make good choices for yourself and you will lose weight.
Slow and steady, the way you should, while you live life.
Oh and those M&M’s I mentioned in the beginning?
I didn’t even eat them all…
Tell me your success stories…. or the diet traps you escaped from…. in the comments section =)