When people make a decision to lose weight, they often want the weight to disappear in a hurry. Forgetting that the body fat did not just all appear overnight. They want a quick fix. They go on a “Diet”. 7-day green smoothie detox, apple cider vinegar magic diet, cabbage soup diet, ketogenic diet etc. Well, any diet that creates a calorie deficit will work if you can follow it consistently for the rest of forever. The question always is “Can you do this for the long haul?” “Is this something you can sustain?” If you desire to lose weight and keep it off, you must craft a way of eating and moving your body that you can reasonably sustain as a lifestyle.
Losing 30 pounds from my heaviest was hard work. The last thing I want is to have to lose the same 30 pounds again. The thought of that just exhausts me. Sadly, I still see people go on a crash diet. They shed weight but as soon as they eat food again, the weight comes rushing back bringing along all its cousins.
The approach I follow and recommend is a sustainable approach to weight loss and weight maintenance and health. It is a way of eating based on wholefoods – that is foods the way nature intended them to be. I can see myself eating that way for the rest of forever. My approach keeps your hormones in balance and makes it easier to eat with a calorie deficit required for fat loss without the unnecessary hunger and without you always having to battle with cravings. All while maintaining the energy you need to go through your day.
My Healthy Fit Lifestyle (MHFL) manifesto is as follows:
- Eat meat and njama –njama (animals and plants): Build your meals around non-starchy vegetables, healthy fats and lean proteins. Enjoy a wide array of green and colorful vegetables. Make an effort to eat 5 – 10 servings of veggies a day. Healthy fats like nuts, avocados, eggs in moderation keeps you fuller for longer. Protein keeps you satiated. Fish and chicken are leaner sources of protein. I enjoy them regularly. I enjoy beef about once or twice a week. When I can, I buy the highest quality produce my money can afford. That is organic veggies and grass fed meats.
- Be SMART with CARBS: Limit grains. Limit starchy vegetables. In other words: eat like a diabetic. Carbs drives insulin that drives fat storage. If lasting fat loss is your goal, make an effort to control your carbs intake. It may be tough to transition at first, but it does get easier. Everyone is different but generally, for fat loss it works best to have carbohydrates after your workout or at the end of the day. ½ a cup or the size of your cupped hand is a usually enough.
- Avoid refined foods: Keep your diet as clean as possible. If it has an ingredient list, it shouldn’t be a part of your regular daily diet. If it’s in a box or a bag, proceed with caution. The farther away it is from nature, the less often you should consume it.
- Don’t drink your calories. A habit of sweet drinks, sweetened beverages and too much alcohol is just not good for you and you know it. if you must indulge, do so on special occasions.
- Be a “busy-body”. Sit less. Walk as much as you can. Walk fast. Walk slow. Your body needs movement as much as it needs oxygen. Walking helps with fat loss, stress management and much more. You should be getting 10k steps a day at a minimum. MOVE YOUR BODY!
- Lift heavy things. Muscles burn fat. Your body needs muscles to be efficient at fat burning. Muscles look good- even on women. You don’t want to lose fat and have soft skin. Lift weights including your body weight. Pull-ups, push-ups, squats and planks are basic movements to incorporate into your workout routine.
- Go hard. Incorporate some high intensity interval training to your workout routine. These are movements where you go so hard you can barely talk. This is great for fat burning. My favorite is with jump rope or running sprints.
- Track. Monitor. Journal. It is true: you improve what you measure. I am a big fan of tracking and journaling. If you set a goal, you must have a way of measuring progress towards that goal. It helps me stay on target.
A MHFL way of eating is not restrictive. A MHFL way of moving is not punitive. In fact you will look and feel AMAZING! You don’t have to implement all the strategies at once. Start small. Pick one and make it your own. Make it a habit. When it has become what you do as part of your routine, move to the next. Over a couple of months, you would have developed a diet and movement routine that works for your goals and your lifestyle and most importantly that you can stay on. For the rest of forever.
Let me know your thoughts!