Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Losing Weight without Losing your Breath


Losing weight is never easy. Once you have accepted this fact with grace, you are on your way to success. Combined diet and exercise are key to successful weight loss. However, there are few simple changes you can incorporate in your everyday life to help you along the way. Try them!

1. Cook your own food

Cooking your own food will often result in a healthier meal instead of going out to eat. Besides, you must be on your feet to cook, at least 30-40 minutes at any given time to prepare the meal and clean up. The benefits are two-fold.

2. Wear heels

Three times a week, I wear the highest heels I own. My calves and thighs thank me at the end of the day.

3. Do things by hand and don’t ask for help

“The cook never washes up after him/herself.” In my opinion, you are missing out on burning quite a few calories more. Wash your own dishes, vacuum, clean the table. Those extra minutes on your feet are extra energy (calories) you may not need.

4. Sleep like a Belizean ;)

When you sleep less than four hours of sleep over time, your metabolism slows. Anywhere between 7 and 9 hours will help to keep your metabolism peaked. Make those 7-9 hours QUALITY sleep. A recent study showed that the quality of one’s sleep directly affects what types of foods we choose the day to follow.

5. Wear a pedometer

You don’t need an expensive one. The cheapest you can find is a great investment (about $30). Make short term goals for yourself weekly. Every week, aim for more steps until you reach the 10000 step mark. When you’ve achieved that goal, maintain it!

6. Move like you’re late!

Whether it is walking to your car, going for a walk, walking to the grocery store, walk with purpose!

7. Break your Fast!

Breakfast IS the most important meal of the day. Throughout the night, you are in FASTING mode. Glycogen stores from your liver are used to sustain life until you wake up. Having breakfast sends a signal to your brain indicating that the fast is broken. At this point, you start burning fat calories doing regular day to day activities. Two of my favorite breakfasts (I eat one or the other every morning) are: 2 egg white with 1 slice of low sodium turkey and a cup of light vanilla soy milk OR 1/3 cup dried rolled oats cooked with 2/3 cups fat free milk, 1/3 cup water. I add ¼ cup frozen unsweetened berries and 1 tbsp wheat germ for flavor and added B vitamins and folate.

8. Hour of Power

Spend the last five minutes of every hour (set your phone alarm) up and moving around. At the end of the day you will have at least 40 minutes of physical activity you didn’t have to work extra hard to obtain. Try it!

9. Stand Straight

Good posture not only makes you look taller and leaner, but it helps strengthen your abdominal muscles too.

10. Chew gum

The act of chewing itself burns calories. Added bonus: it keeps you from eating just because you may be bored.
11. Drink while you cook

Have you noticed that sometimes you are full by the time you are finished cooking dinner. Well, that’s often because you mindlessly graze while you cook, taste-testing this and that, here and there. Research shows that eating while you cook adds more calories than actually eating. If you drink (100% juice, water, crystal light, or sip a glass of wine) you tend to avoid “just because” eating.

12. Beware of sugar

Sugar triggers your body to release insulin, which can lead to the excess being stored as fat. Sugar also increases cravings for more sugar later in the day and night.

13. Drink more H2O

The more water you drink, the more hydrated you become; the more hydrated you become, the higher your metabolism will be. It’s as simple as that.

14. Take the long way

At work, at the grocery store, at the mall, wherever you are, take the long way. Park far, walk to the grocery store instead of driving, at work, take the long way to the restroom, take the stairs.

15. Go on dates

Studies show that women tend to order foods with fewer calories when they are on a date compared with when they eat with other women.

16. Snack well, snack often

High protein snacks are your best bet. If you do choose carbs as a snack, try adding a protein to it. Snacking keeps your metabolism up. Being prepared with snacks is also key. It saves you a trip to the vending machine. My favorite snacks: fibre-one bars, nuts (any kind), home-made trail mix, banana and peanut butter, crackers and cheese, ½ PB&J sandwich.

17. Cut your lunch break by 10 minutes

After you’ve eaten, save an extra 10 minutes of your time and head for a 10 minute walk.

18. Eat! Choose wisely

The more times you eat in a day, the faster your metabolism will be. Instead of calling them breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, call them snacks. What works best for me is snacking 6 times a day instead of meal breaks.

19. Eat while you drink

Alcohol paves the way for overeating. Snack before or during going out for drinks.

20. Sit up instead of laying down

While watching tv, reading a book, or online, sit up! You will burn double the calories just by sitting up.

21. Mindless eating can be dangerous

While watching tv, reading, surfing the net, or driving, avoid snacks. These are breeding grounds for mindless grazing and excess calorie consumption.

22. Eat your fibre

Most people eat just the flesh of a baked potato or an apple and discard the peel not realizing that the bulk of phytochemicals, antioxidants, and fiber come from the peel alone. Most people get only about half the recommended intake of fibre everyday. Fiber not only fills you up quicker but it helps to keep you full longer.

23. Turn up the heat

Some research shows that spicy foods can temporarily increase your metabolism.

24. Destress and relax

When your stress levels increase, cortisol is released. Cortisol is a natural steroidal hormone released from the adrenal gland. While a rise in cortisol in the bloodstream can be somewhat beneficial, prolonged stress allows for prolonged high levels of cortisol in the bloodstream. This has negative effects on the body including but limited to: increase in blood pressure, reduced immunity, and increased abdominal fat deposits.

25. Eat fruit later in the day

I have found that having fruit or fruit juice in the morning hours increase my cravings for sugar later in the day.