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!
One of the members in my private coaching group noted that even though healthy eating was more expensive, preparing and cooking healthy meals was way faster than conventional meals. This is a sentiment I hear very often and that I take exception to. My reaction often is “compared to what?” People will spend plenty of money on clothing items, skin care etc. But when it comes to buying quality foods to nourish their bodies, cost is usually used as an obstacle.
Is healthy eating really expensive? We can go down the the-health-costs-associated-with-unhealthy-eating route, but most people just want to know how to eat for good health or for fat loss on a budget. I’ll try to stick with that.
In my opinion, eating for fat loss or health does not have to be more expensive than any other diet. Can it be? Absolutely. You can spend a huge amount of money on a “regular” diet or you can spend a little. You can spend big money on a healthy eating diet or you can spend small. Bottom line: you can eat well on any budget.
Here are my top 7 strategies to help with eating well while saving money:
- Plan your meals: If you have your week set out ahead of time you’ll know exactly what you need to buy to make those dishes as opposed to buying ingredients, you might not end up using. Write a weekly menu and make a corresponding grocery list. It also helps to check what you have at home so you don’t end up buying what you already have.
- Cook at home and keep your meals simple: Focus on protein, vegetables and fat. It is not necessary to use fancy recipes that call for exotic and expensive ingredients. Complex recipes will likely cost more than simple meals.
- Only buy what you know you’ll eat. No need buying the kale when you KNOW you can’t stand it just because they say it is healthy. Stick to veggies that you like.
- Cook enough for leftovers. Left-overs from dinner is usually lunch for me the next day. I pack my lunch right after dinner. Saves me so much money.
- Grow your own vegetables and herbs. If you cannot grow your own veggies, at least grow herbs. They are so easy to grow and ridiculously expensive in the store.
- Veggie prep: Cut up and wash your own vegetables! Nowadays, it’s amazing what we’ll do for convenience. Truth is, you are paying for being able to skip those steps. I shared a blog post on how I veggie prep here.
- Buy your meat whole: It’s not actually that hard to divide up a chicken and they end up being WAY cheaper than buying the individual pieces.
Let me know what strategies you can implement or share tips of your own.
I am sure we can all agree that we should be eating a lot of vegetables for good health. In my experience from working with and listening to people, bringing the vegetables home does not always ensure that they will be consumed. A lot of the time, the veggies end up in the trash can instead of in our bodies. Part of the reason being that when hunger strikes, the last thing anybody wants to do is to start chopping up veggies to make a healthy meal. Next thing you know, you are looking in the pantry for less healthy alternatives and, due to the perishable nature of vegetables, they go bad before you ever get to them.
As a busy mom, I have found that doing a little bit of prep work as soon as I bring the veggies home increases the chances that I will cook the vegetables. I wash, chop, and spin dry the veggies and during the week I can quickly assemble a salad or stir fry for a nutritious lunch or dinner.
A salad spinner is a star gadget for this task. I use the OXO Salad Spinner.
Here is a video demo of my process.
Join me for Some tips on what to do with the vegetables when you bring them from the market Please like and share!!
Posted by My HealthyFit Lifestyle on Saturday, May 6, 2017
You will need a big tub or big container. Fill it up with cold water and give your veggies a good wash. I chop off the bottom of the romaine lettuce before washing and spinning to dry. This is to minimize oxidation and the resulting browning. After spinning the lettuce dry, I line the bottom of another container with paper towels and arrange the lettuce on top. Then I place more paper towels on top of the lettuce before covering the container. This ensures the leaves stay fresh throughout the week.
The salad spinner can also be used as follows:
- Washing and drying herbs like parsley and cilantro.
- Spinning excess water out of pasta.
- Rinsing and draining canned beans.
- Washing delicate fruit like berries.
A little preparation on the front end can make the pursuit of health that much easier. Take a little time to prep your veggies ahead of time.
Let me know your thoughts. What strategies do you employ to “veggie prep?”
Make today a healthy and fit day!