How many times have we promised ourselves we’d make better health decisions at the start of the year? And how many times have we failed? We often make unrealistic expectations of ourselves that eventually set us up for failure later on. Most of us also want instant and quick weight loss strategies, often found in fad diets or weight loss medications. However, if we do not change our old habits and commit to sustainable healthy options, our resolutions will soon die out before the month is over. Yes, the tried and tested way to lose weight and be healthy is to eat less and exercise more. It’s easier said than done. So, here’s a small step-by-step process that a personal trainer shared with me, and so far I have lost 18 pounds over the last 6 months.
Drink at least 96 oz of water everyday. It’s a way of cleansing your body of toxins. No juice, no soda, not even diet or low calorie drinks. Just plain, pure water. If you have a BPA-free water container that is 24 oz you’ll need 4 of that each day.
Seems easy right? I failed my first day.
Eat a small meal every 2-3 hours, small meaning 300 calories or less so that you have 5 or 6 meals distributed throughout the day. I had a bad habit of skipping breakfast and then binge eating at night. I found out later on that’s the eating schedule of sumo wrestlers.
Once you’ve mastered the 300-calorie meal throughout the day, focus on the carb and protein content of each meal. Read the label. They should have:
Protein: 10 grams or more each meal
Carbohydrates: Less than 30 grams each meal
Have at least 8 hours of sleep each night. So many studies have been done on sleep-deprived mice…they turn out to be fat mice in the end. Of course we’re not mice, but it helps the body recover if we have enough sleep. The last meal of the day should be 2 hours before bedtime so your body is not storing that extra energy into fat.
Avoid trans fat found in processed hydrogenated oils.
Limit saturated fat found in cheese, milk, butter, beef and choose fat free skim milk or 1% cottage cheese Eat more mono-unsaturated fat (MUFA) found in omega 3, fish oil, egg yolk, walnuts, flax seed
Again, read the label. Avoid ingredients that contain “enriched,” “bleached,” or “unbleached” flour and choose whole grains. Unfortunately, I have to replace my white rice with brown rice or other grains
Add 2 servings of fruit at 2 separate meals each day. This is where I’m going to have a difficult time since I don’t like fruits that much.
Limit high glycemic index fruits: mangoes, pineapples, oranges, bananas (pretty much the only ones I eat) Increase low glycemic index fruits: grapefruit, peaches, berries
Add 2 servings of vegetables or 1 cup at 2 separate meals…this part is easy.
Of course, if you’re an over-achiever, you can do all these things at once. My advice is to stick to that habit before moving on to the next one. By the end of 8 weeks, you’ve mastered 8 different habits that will change your life for the better.
(People with medical conditions such as Diabetes, Hypertension, Kidney disease, Heart Failure and other chronic conditions would need to consult with their medical provider before starting any diet).
If you can follow these steps, they could lead to a new year and a new you!