A healthy lifestyle – not as hard as you think!

how-to-live-a-healthy-lifestyle

Making a few simple lifestyle changes can have dramatic positive results on how you look and feel. Follow these healthy lifestyle tips and see how you feel…

Eating more than you think:

This is the biggest cause of stubborn weight loss for obvious reasons. You may think you are eating well but just sit down and spend a little while truly analysing what is in your food and how many calories you are eating. Keep a food log for a week, be honest with yourself. Foods like low fat mince are actually incredibly high in calories, yet marketed as ‘healthy’. Don’t be put off by supermarkets ‘healthy eating and living’ claims. While these foods are better than most it doesn’t mean you can eat more of them! Low fat products often still contain substantial amounts of sugar and other fattening ingredients. Keep them to a minimum! Also if your are the type to go to an all you can eat buffet and gorge yourself until you are literally wedged between the chair and table, then stop it! You may have been good all week but this will hinder progress severely.

Eating too little:

As strange as this may seem it can make weight loss more difficult, particularly after the early stages. Here are the reasons. Do you skip breakfast, have a light nibble or nothing in most cases for lunch, then go home and have a big meal? If so you have just let your body know there is a famine going on and it had better start saving those calories from the big meal while it has the chance. It’s just trying to survive and genetically doesn’t know food is on hand for most people at all times. If you pig out at the weekend and do this in the week you will have problems. It will make it even harder if you are working hard at the gym too. Your body will then well and truly be in survival mode- loads of energy expenditure required and too little fuel to do it- better store some calories up on your hips for later! Sumo wrestlers eat only once a day and look at them. Assuming that’s not the look you want for yourself eat small, regular meals every few hours.

Too much sugar:

Honey at breakfast? Sugar in your coffee? Simple sugars spike your insulin levels sky high, which will favour the enlargement of fat cells. Obviously most people don’t want this so they should avoid it at all cost. Remember the low fat products? They are usually packed full with sugar. Avoid sugar if you want to lose weight!

Too few vegetables:

While not necessary as such, keeping full with vegetables is invaluable in you quest for weight loss. Not only do they fill you up, your body loves them and will quite happily shed the pounds while it’s getting a regular supply. They are packed full of fibre, vitamins and minerals; your body will absorb them this way far better than a vitamin pill as well. At the very least try to eat plenty of veg of different colours with some oily fish or lean meat, every day, evening is usually best for most people.

Not active enough:

Doing the cross trainer at level 1 for half an hour is not really a workout unless you are one of those unfortunate 50 stone people you see on TV who have to be airlifted out of their bed to hospital. You really need to be breaking a sweat out at the gym. Most people don’t and get a better workout walking from the car park to the changing room. Being in the gym does not mean you are working out! Also do you drive everywhere? Take the lift instead of stairs? It’s all too easy but our bodies haven’t evolved to take things easy, your genes think life is hard constantly active and avoiding danger. You may not want the danger part but keep active always moving, don’t just sit down and vegetate at work or home. The fat will stick like glue if you do.

Make changes where you have too, just be honest with yourself. Wishful thinking does not aid fat loss, so maybe it’s time to get real.

What to leave out of your shopping basket and clear out of your cupboards:

Many people who exercise hard fail to lose the weight they want to simply because of such things as ‘hidden’ bad foods. To keep you on the right track I have outlined 7 of these.

  • Fruit juice and fizzy drinks

Fruit juice and fizzy drinks contain simple carbs or sugars. Some contain as much as 12 teaspoons per can. Even diet fizzy drinks can damage your teeth and gums due to the phosphoric acid they contain. Sugar will spike your insulin levels, causing your fat cells to expand. Avoid these where ever possible.

  • Alcohol

You knew this one would be on the list. Red wine may be good in moderation, but who drinks in moderation? Alcohol contains 7 calories/gramme- fat contains 9 calories/gramme, carbs and protein only contain 4 each. Hence why the beer belly exists. These are empty calories too, meaning they are just used to store fat and little else. So avoid the six-pack to get a six-pack.

  • Breakfast cereal

Yes these claim to be low in fat and good for you, but in fact most are packed with sugar. They are also very highly processed, the carbohydrates will be very high on the glycemic index, meaning they will cause an insulin spike- storing fat and then leaving you hungry.

  • Bread

White bread in particular is a refined carbohydrate, meaning they will cause fat gain faster than anything else. If you eat these, including bagels and bread rolls, daily you will have trouble losing weight and you may even start gaining some back. I have seen this happen numerous times with clients- the odd one or two are ok but stay away for the most part!

  • Processed pre – prepared ready meals and convenience food

Basically avoid anything that is not freshly made or that comes in a box or packet! These pre packed foods are full of preservatives and drained of all goodness. Check the back of the packet and if you cant describe the ingredients then you shouldn’t be putting it in your body. Try to prepare all your own meals and snacks and plan your shopping around the meals you want to make.

  • High-fat and sugary dairy products

Full fat milk contains saturated fat- you want to avoid this for both your cardiovascular health and if you want to lose weight. This will include cheese and some yogurts. Many low fat yogurts also contain table sugar- again these will play havoc with your insulin levels and cause fat storage and retention.

  • Low fat ‘healthy eating’ products

While many of these items are low in fat they normally contain often substantial quantities of sugar and we know what that does to you. Don’t get me wrong, not all these products are bad for dieting, but please read the labels before you by them and avoid the ones with added sucrose, fructose, dextrose and malto-dextrin for best results.

  • Drink plenty of fluid every day, a min of four glasses of water and six if possible. Green tea, herbal and fruit teas are unlimited. Limit tea and coffee to total of 3 – 4 cups per day, and don’t count this towards your fluid intake. You have a daily allowance of 300ml (½ pint) skimmed milk per day, either with cereal or in drinks, or drunk on its own.
  • Unlimited green salad items, leafy green vegetables, fresh or dried herbs and spices, vinegar, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice etc.
  • Where vegetables are listed, have large portions.

For more information on how to lose weight effectively as well as eating healthily, please give me a call on 07595 517285 or click here.