It is a new year, and some of us think it is a good time to get healthier after our holiday food indulgences.
Many of my clients, friends and children’s friends have tried to become healthier and lose weight, only to find they would gain weight quickly after they stopped their new fad diets. They soon found themselves trying another new diet, then another, which led to a constant diet roller coaster, losing muscle as well as fat, then eventually regaining fat that was even harder to lose the next time around.
Rather than swinging through various diets, it is more important and sustainable to develop a healthy lifestyle and diet that works best for you. This includes not only what to eat or what not to eat, but also how to maintain an active and wholesome lifestyle. Here are 8 of my top suggestions to help you reach and maintain your optimum weight and goals simply and successfully that will really help you live a healthier life.
1. The first part of an effective, healthy weight loss program should focus primarily on consuming fresh, whole, organic vegan foods.
If you are really serious about losing weight and getting healthier, then cutting out or down on meat, chicken, fish, dairy or egg-based foods is the optimal way to begin, for at least the first two weeks of your program.
The main reason to do this is for your health.
In fact, a recent study was done with 6,000 people between the ages of 50 and 65, who reported eating high creature sourced protein (for example: beef, pork, lamb, fowl, fish, dairy and eggs). This US Dietary Survey showed that these people not only had a 75 percent increase in dying from ANY cause, but also a quadruple increase in cancer death risk and a quintuple greater increase in death from diabetes, when compared with the low protein intake group! (1)
It is important to note that these associations were either greatly lessened or completely eliminated, if the proteins were vegan (plant) based. The composition of amino acids, (building blocks of protein), that are derived from animals (beef, pork, lamb, chicken, fish, dairy and eggs) is different than from plant proteins. What we need are amino acids, not the proteins themselves. (2)
Focus on eating whole vegetables and fruits in their fresh form, and avoiding all boxed and packaged foods, (which are often highly processed and filled with preservatives). It may feel overwhelming at first, but try to stick with it and it will become easier the more you do it.
2. This healthy lifestyle plan also involves getting yourself moving. Exercise is important for everyone and is necessary to keep your body healthy.
We need to move! If you can’t stand up, then move while seated. Exercise your arms and upper body, if that is all you can do at the moment. For example, while sitting at your desk or sitting in the car, stretch your arms. Stretch and move as much as possible. If you can move more than that, then do what you can or what best fits your body for at least 30 minutes per day, four times per week. Those who can walk, should walk for a minimum of 30 minutes per day (or at least four times per week), preferably in a brisk manner.
Studies show that when you exercise before breakfast, it stabilizes your blood sugar immediately and energizes you for the rest of the day. Also, people who exercise before breakfast lose weight quicker.
In addition to this, if you add short bursts of high intensity to your workout, it can increase your fat burn by up to 36%. For example, if you are walking, add a minute or two of jogging to your walk. If you are on a treadmill, add a minute or two of a faster, more intense pace to the workout intermittently. It is so easy to do, and, wow, what a difference it can make!
Try picking up a new fun form of exercise, such as dance classes or yoga. It’s important to get your body moving on a regular basis.
When you feel ready, increase your exercise time to 45 – 60 minutes every day. If you miss a day, don’t get upset with yourself. Simply get back to your routine again tomorrow. Always be kind to yourself. Just pick up where you left off and get going again. Ideally, we should exercise every single day, even if it’s something as basic as walking or taking the stairs.
Getting you body oxygenated, and the circulatory system moving, is important to maintaining an active metabolism. It is also very helpful to our overall health and well-being.
3. Start doing weight training!
Weight training doesn’t have to be too heavy. Find what works for you. Weight training increases bone density, and it improves muscle mass, balance, and connective tissue strength. It also increases your metabolism!
Weight training should be a priority if you really want to burn more fat. Lifting weights raises your metabolism long after you finish working out. It is estimated that your metabolism can stay elevated up to 39 hours afterwards! As you build more muscle, muscle is more metabolically active than fat. Some estimate that each extra pound of muscle you gain burns 30 or more extra calories a day. It’s estimated that a pound of muscle burns six calories at rest, compared to two calories burned by a pound of fat.
4. Always eat sitting down at some form of table.
This does not mean eating in the car. In fact, a good lifestyle means to never eat in your car, standing up, walking, or in front of the refrigerator. If you are hungry and standing at the refrigerator, pull up a chair! Really! No, just kidding—but really, don’t stand at the refrigerator and eat! Instead, simply take something out, put it on a small plate, and then sit down at the table to eat your food slowly and mindfully. Enjoy each bite, and chew your food thoroughly. Savor your food and enjoy it. Make it an experience that is fun, enjoyable, and relaxing.
5. Chew your food completely without washing it down with liquids.
In other words, do not drink liquids with your meals. When we are eating our meals, the most important thing is to digest our food completely, absorb the nutrients, and get the waste out of our body as efficiently as possible.
When we drink liquids with our food, we are watering down our digestive juices in our stomach, and the food is not as effectively digested. We also may not chew our food as thoroughly if we wash it down with a liquid. So try to avoid liquids with your meals. Chew your food as completely as possible, until it is almost liquid by the time you swallow it.
6. Eat three good meals a day with little or no snacking.
Eating a healthy breakfast and lunch is an important key to health. Don’t nibble here and there. Snacking can add up quickly without your even noticing how much you actually eat. Small snacks can also make your body dependent upon constant nourishment.
Why would your body consume unwanted extra weight (fat), if it is never hungry? You need to give your body a reason to burn off that weight!
Get your food out, prepare your meal, and put it on a small plate. Sit down and take time to chew your food well. Savor your meals, relax, and enjoy.
7. Drink half your body weight (in pounds) in ounces of water
This means if you are 100 pounds, you would drink 50 ounces of water every day. Quality water is important. Water is a unique element. According to my research, water should have electrolytes and be free of chlorine and fluoride. Electrolyte is a fancy medical term for the word salt. The salt that is unrefined and mineral rich contains an abundance of electrolytes (for example:Bolivian Rose Salt or Himalayan Salt). This not only increases the health properties of water, but also allows for better absorption into our bodies. Water is important to life.
More than 66% of our body is water. Everyone needs to stay hydrated every single day by drinking high-quality water. This may be one of the most important things we can do for the health of our body.
The best time to have water is the first thing in the morning when we wake up. This starts the hydration process immediately. Whatever we put into our body first will be absorbed like a sponge, so this is the ideal time to have a large glass of water. It is widely known that many diseases are caused by cellular dehydration. Therefore, it is imperative to stay hydrated in order to avoid disease.
Even in the winter, when we may not feel like we need to drink as much water, we need to stay just as hydrated as we do in the summer.
8. Cut wheat and corn out of your diet.
Wheat and corn should be greatly reduced or completely eliminated from your diet. Wheat has the unusual characteristic of being able to raise blood sugar rapidly. Additionally, due to today’s genetic modification of wheat, it now contains up to 80% more gluten than it did 100 years ago.
Gluten is the glue-like substance that is part of various grains. When we eat wheat or other grains that contain gluten (and are refined, highly processed, or have had the fiber removed), it is quite literally like eating glue. If you do choose to eat it, eat organic and whole grain varieties.
Corn is not only high in sugar, but also prone to molds and funguses that can be toxic to us and compromise our immune systems. Most corn today is grown as a genetically modified food, which has a Bt toxin built into it. Studies show this toxin can eat holes in the stomach and intestinal tract, which causes leaky gut, gluten intolerance, and many other health problems. This Bt toxin is in many GMO (genetically modified) foods, such as soy. (3)
In conclusion, if you commit to this lifestyle (regular exercise, some weight lifting, and wholesome foods) and diet (completely vegetarian or vegan, gluten-free and mostly living, raw food), you can lose anywhere between 5 and 15 pounds per week. It depends on you!
Be sure to read ingredient labels, because corn, soy, and wheat are used in almost all processed foods in one form or another. Become a savvy ingredient label reader!
Find what works best for you by listening to your heart and your own body. You are the best guide and judge of your body and your health. (My award-winning, nutrition information and cookbooks are great guides for anyone who would like to be healthier.) For many of us in transition, be it with new food choices or with life in general, it takes baby steps. Becoming a healthier person is a journey. Simply start the journey, and see where it takes you!
1 & 2. Benefits of Plant-based diets, Cleveland Clinic, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/transcripts/1602_benefits-of-plant-based-diets
3. Smith, Jeffrey M. (September, 2013). “Can Genetically- Engineered Foods Explain the Exploding Gluten Sensitivity?” Institute for Responsible Technology. http://responsibletechnology.org/media/images/content/Exploding-Gluten-Sensitivity_.pdf
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The information from Nancy Addison and Organic Healthy Lifestyle LLC is not offered for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of any disease or disorder nor have any statements herein been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). We strongly encourage you to discuss topics of concern with your health care provider.
Medical Disclaimer: Information provided in this email, article, book, podcast, website, email, etc. is for informational purposes only. The information is a result of years of practice and experience by Nancy Addison CHC, AADP. However, this information is NOT intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional, or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging.