How to Get Slim and Trim
Keeping It Healthy
The thought of dieting and exercise might be daunting, but it’s key to healthy living. The older we get, the higher the hill we have to climb to achieve or maintain a slim and trim figure. First and foremost, the mind must be exercised. Looking forward to starting a new program, getting slim and trim in this case, instead of considering the process an act of punishment, is how we need to switch our way of thinking. Society conditions us to believe that being thin is a sign of beauty, not so much a sign of health. No wonder so many of us suffer from poor self-esteem and a false sense of self-image.
I am here to set the record straight. To become slim and trim, the healthy way and no matter what our body type, we have to accept the process of change. We have to understand that it is going to take effort on our part to achieve this goal. Most importantly, we MUST set a goal. Goals allow us to track results, and if we don’t track results, it’s impossible to monitor change. Setting goals and keeping track will without a doubt set us up for success!
When replacing high-fat meals with healthy alternatives, be creative by designing your own recipes. Modify your favorite dishes to incorporate healthy food choices and cut back on portion sizes. Cutting back on the portions we consume will have a huge impact on how much weight we lose. Remember that the size of your fist indicates the size you should eat of each component on a plate (3-6oz lean protein, ½ cup whole grains and ½ cup vegetables).
It’s important to set specific times for meals and snacks and to stay consistent with the times you set. The ideal timeline to eat is early in the morning, mid-morning, noon, mid-afternoon, and in the evening. Don’t let busy schedules deter you from taking proper care of your diet. Your health is more important than the sales report your boss has requested. Don’t skip meals to later find yourself overindulging your ravenous appetite.
A great tip to keep in mind if you’re really serious about getting slim and trim is don’t eat three hours before you go to sleep and one hour before you workout. It’s better to let our bodies pull from the stored fat during a resting or aerobic phase to replenish our muscles, instead of pulling from food that has been consumed just prior to these activities. It’s nice to know we can shed pounds while we sleep, huh?
Drink lots of water. Hunger-pains are usually a sign of dehydration, which most people solve by eating. Next time you feel this way try drinking a full 8oz glass of water instead. Drinking a glass of water before each meal will produce the sensation of being full, reducing the amount of food we’re likely to consume.
The body goes through a process when breaking down food. Choose to eat foods that are still whole and intact because it takes the body longer to digest. It works harder and allows appropriate time to pull nutrients needed and delays sugar and starch absorption.
Don’t eat meat as the main course on every meal. Use more vegetables and grains. Fruits, nuts, yogurt, string cheese and humus with veggies are just a few delicious snack choices. Stay away from using creamy dressings on salads. Instead squeeze fresh lemon or lime. Vinegar and oil are other healthy choices.
Fiona Haynes (2004), a writer for About.com on Low Fat Cooking, advises to read labels and or ask your physician for information on healthy choices. She explains the importance of understanding what’s in the food we buy and to stay away from Trans fats. Understanding the difference between partially or fully hydrogenated oils is essential to our health. Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated can be used interchangeably. If the product claims fully hydrogenated oil is used, then it will be trans-fat free (even though it increases the amount of saturated fat), but partially hydrogenated oil will contain Trans fatty acids, or Trans fats. Saturated fats used to get the bad rap, but trans fats do twice the damage. Both are known to raise total cholesterol levels, but trans fats also deplete good cholestrol (HDL), which works to protect against heart disease.
Avoid drinks with large amounts of sodium, such as sodas, or sugary beverages. If you want something other than plain water, try sparkling water or squeeze a lemon, lime, or orange in your H2O for added flavor. More importantly, avoid alcoholic beverages. Maltodextrins (a complex sugar) are found in beer, which increases blood sugar and insulin levels, encouraging fat storage. While white wine is better, red wine is best. Red wine has resveratrol contained in the grape skins, which is proven to have anti-cancer properties and works to prevent heart disease. Have no more than two glasses, though. Anything beyond that becomes detrimental to your health.
Release the mind of any doubt, fear and guilt when exercising. Remain relaxed and pleased with how much you can do. As odd as it may sound, enjoy the stretch and pain felt in the muscles. It’s beneficial for the body to produce chemical changes that are necessary in the altering of the physique.
The glandular system is the chemical regulator of our body. It secretes hormones that affect certain areas of our anatomy. Exercise affects these hormonal releases, which results in specific chemical changes in our body. During exercise our core temperature rises and becomes more efficient, stimulating our nervous system. During the release of certain hormones, areas of our brain can produce feelings of pleasure, as well as help release tension in the muscles.
Bones can become weak if they are not properly stressed. Without exercise, bones will lose calcium. Exercise also improves digestion by aiding the natural peristaltic process (regularity). Best of all, it improves not only the physique but enhances grace, balance, and posture.
Go at your own pace, but keep your goals in mind and keep track of your progress. If you choose strength training, which I highly recommend, build weight and intensity gradually to avoid injury. Begin your regimen by working out two-three days a week, and after six months try adding one more day. This will reduce the onslaught of burnout too soon.
Do thirty minutes of cardio and thirty minutes of weight training. If shedding pounds is the goal, do cardio first. If it’s a toned body, do weight training before cardio. Discuss your goals with a personal trainer, and try to incorporate one day of fun, maybe a sport or outdoor activity. If anything, remember to give the body at least one or two days rest. Your body will thank you for it.
Keep a positive outlook, stay focused on a goal and, more importantly, do not give up. Temptation will be there. Work to fight against it. If is succumbs, don’t worry. Splurges are allowed, every once in a while. Get back to eating healthy and exercise as quickly as possible and be happy with what's already been accomplished – the know-how to become slim and trim.