If you're like me, you probably had a pretty darn good time during the holidays and maybe didn't pay much attention to - let's say - the quantity of food and drink that you ingested. And in terms of quality I'm going to say it was high, very high. Rich, and decadent, in fact. And in my case I had two full days of travel where bathroom stops were what counted as exercise. Needless to say, my clothes are feeling not quite as comfortable and I know I've got to reel it in and get back to business especially since my business is making You Tube videos. Exercise videos. And I don't have the budget or desire for an "expanded" wardrobe.
I don't feel particularly camera friendly right now but I know I'm not alone in this post holiday feeling. And don't get me wrong I'm not going to beat myself up with exercise. I'm too "old" (wise?) and injury prone for that sort of thing. Instead I'm going to try to move more in general, and do my shortcircuits and strength training. Most of all I'm going to follow some tried and true nutrition tips which have always worked for me in the past. And I'd say that I follow these "guidelines" 80 - 90% of the year. There's got to be some "squeeze room". After all we've got to have a life! So here we go!
1. Do try to drink half your bodweight in water everyday - yes you'll be in the bathroom alot (frequent the one that's furthest away so you'll be moving more!) So if you weight 130 lbs you're aiming for 65 ozs of water. That's about 8 cups, which is what everyone said you should drink anyway. But if you're heavier obviously you should drink more. Please drink out of stainless steel, glass or ceramic containers to keep your water clear of plastic chemicals. And just as important, you'll be helping to save the environment in so many ways.
2. Eat lean protein with every meal. Plant or animal based is up to you but either way preferably organic and humanely raised. Know where your food is coming from. Protein is vital for cell regeneration and repair. You can't be lean without eating enough protein. One palm sized portion if you're a woman and two if you're a man.
3. Eat more wild fish. Twice a week is ideal. Lean protein and full of essential omega 3 fatty acids which help to combat inflammation and lower body fat. It won't hurt to take a fish oil supplement. 3000 mg per day is a safe recommendation for most people. This will help ensure that you're getting enough omega 3's which are really important for anti-ageing! And if you're a vegetarian flax seed oil works almost as well.
4. If you're a woman, try to reduce your consumption of alcohol to 7 glasses per week. If you're a man, try to stay under ten. Not only will you eliminate a bunch of extra calories, but drinking more than these amounts has been associated with a higher risk of certain cancers. It's worth noting however that having a glass of wine most days is also associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and Alzheimers so feel free to indulge a little. Just keep in mind these four crucial words: ALCOHOL BLUNTS FAT BURNING - don't ask me how but it helps to keep me limited to one glass of red wine per night! Can you say resveratrol?
5. The obvious. Look out for sugar. Diets chronically high in sugar have all kinds of detrimental effects in addition to those on your waistline and skinny jeans. Try to avoid it by drinking coffee and tea plain (it's not as bad as it sounds), eating fruit rather than drinking juice, and limiting desserts. Sugar is highly addictive - 10 times more than cocaine! If you start off with it, you'll be making it very difficult to stay away from sugary temptations for the rest of the day.
6. Less obvious. You don't have to entirely cut out starchy carbs i.e. grains, bread, potatoes, rice and pasta, to lose weight. You just have to control them. Your brain needs carbs! And I've experienced insomnia and other brain effects by going "carb-less". Not fun. Instead save them for the 1 - 2 hour window after a workout. This will ensure that your body uses the carbs for energy rather than just storing it away as fat. And try to pick the most "whole" or "least processed" option you have. So potatoes are better than bread. If you pick wisely you'll find you feel more satiated for longer=willpower.
7. More obvious. Load up on veggies my friends. The non-starchy, colourful kind. At least half your plate. These will fill you up, reduce inflammation in your body, and give you flatter belly once the fiber has done it's job and reached it's final destination. And we all know that veggies are packed with all kinds of amazing cancer fighting nutrients which also give your skin, hair and nails a boost. Aim for 8 - 10 servings. BTW a serving is a half cup of cooked or one cup of leafy greens.
8. Sorry readers, but "snack" is a made up word. And not a good idea if you're trying to lose weight. Your body needs to tap into it's stored energy sources. That's what happens when you're hungry between meals. Yay! And snacks often contain more calories than you think. Instead try to eat three well thought-out meals per day. You should be able to last in between because your body and mind are getting what they need. Most snack foods are garbage anyway. Of course there are some exceptions. For example someone who needs to gain weight, or perhaps a growing kid may need more calories. A healthy snack like fruit and nuts might be a good idea for them. Or an extra meal which I wouldn't call a "snack".
9. What about fruit? Honestly I don't think we gain weight from eating too many apples but if you're trying to lose weight, it would be advisable to eat more vegetables than fruit. More specifically, four servings of veggies to one serving of fruit. This is because fruit is more sugar/calorie dense than vegetables. But happily fruit also comes with a ton of fiber and vitamins! And is delicious!
10. Make your own dressings from simple ingredients like lemon juice, vinegar, oilve oil and salt and pepper. I don't even blend anymore. I just squeeze and drizzle. So much better for you and so tasty - yum!
11. Cook at home most of the time. And I don't mean out of a box into the oven. A simple meal of roasted chicken/fish plus veggies or salad is easy and quick. You can always bake a potato or cut up some crusty whole grain bread for those hungry kids! Keep it simple! Cooking at home is a guaranteed way to know and control what you're eating!
12. When you do eat out, choose wisely. Of course you will. And remember that dessert will always be there. It's not on the endangered list so you don't need to order everytime...But if you do I recommend sharing...