After the situations I mentioned in my previous post, I was really motivated to loose the extra fat that had accumulated over the past year! I did a lot of research on health and fitness through various fitness sites, and found that 'Clean' eating, lifting heavy, and cardio was a proven and healthy plan. I spent about a year loosing the 33 lbs, in a slow and healthy way. After loosing the weight, people that hadn't seen me in a while asked me "What did you do?!" It's really a simple strategy, eating healthy and exercising, and yet it is easier said than done! It takes discipline and consistency. There isn't a magic pill or fad diet that will work. It takes consistency and hard work, but it definitely isn't complicated. Exercise is important, but diet is 80% of the equation! I spent several weeks working out very hard without focusing on my diet, and I didn't loose any weight! As soon as I cleaned up my diet, the weight started coming off. You can work out for hours a day, but if you are putting garbage into your body, you won't get the results you're looking for.
Let me explain what the 'clean' eating diet is, as many people haven't heard of that term before.
Clean eating basics:
- First of all, clean eating isn't a diet, but rather a lifestyle. You can't look at it as something you'll do for a month or two, and then go back to your old ways. Adopting the clean eating lifestyle will ensure lasting results!
-Cut out unhealthy fats, and incorporate good ones (essential fatty acids). Good fats are found in fish, olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, nuts and seeds.
- Eat 5-6 small meals a day, and eat every 2-3 hours.
Eating clean actually involves consuming smaller meals
throughout the day rather than three bigger meals. This means you don’t
go hungry throughout the day and your metabolism stays strong. Skipping
meals signals your brain to slow down your metabolism and hold
on to these calories. By skipping meals, you actually ensure
weight grain rather than weight loss.
-Each meal should include a lean protein (baked, grilled or broiled fish, Chicken breast, ground sirloin, etc), complex carbohydrate (brown rice, Oats, wheat or grain bread, sweet potato) and simple carb (fruits or vegetables)
-Avoid over-processed, refined foods - especially white flour and sugar.
If it comes in a box, chances are, it's processed and has very little nutritional value. Also, don't use 'splenda' and other fake sugars! People think diet soda is a healthy option, but it can hurt their results and their body. It is a chemical that is hard on your body, and increases sugar cravings. Use natural sweeteners such as stevia, honey, maple syrup, etc. (in moderation) Example: Instead of buying 'diet' yogurt, with fake sugar, or regular yogurt with a ton of sugar, buy plain, unsweetened yogurt, and sweeten lightly with honey or stevia.
- Avoid calorie dense foods that have no nutritional value like french fries, chips, and pastries.
-Stick to proper portion sizes - Eat until hunger stops, not until you feel full.
- Drink lots of water! Throw out the sodas and sugary juice drinks! Regular soda contains an average of 4 Tbsp of sugar and is sure to derail any healthy lifestyle. Drinking your calories is an easy way to put on extra weight. I used to drink tons of grape juice, thinking it was a healthy drink. It is LOADED with sugar and it is easy to drink a lot of it. Don't drink your calories. Stick to water...
You cannot get
healthy without eating healthy!
Creating a clean eating lifestyle has allowed me to loose the excess weight I had gained, and then some. I am weigh less now than I did as a teenager. It is an easy lifestyle to maintain, and both Dan and I feel so much better living this way! Having eaten this for a few years now, I've come to learn how to cook healthy, clean meals as well as what to buy (and not buy) at the store. Also, being part of an organic produce club and bulk health food club have saved us a lot of money. I get the majority of our food from these places. Check to see if you can be a part of these food clubs, or ones like them, in your area to help you save $$! (azurestandard.com and jjdst.com/produce)
I'll cover the fitness portion in a later post, as this is already getting long!