- Diet & Weight Loss
The Healthy Lifestyle Diet
Why Healthy Is Better Than "Right Now"
I have been through the experience of trying to lose weight so many times that I can't even remember the number. I have tried so many diets, some worked, some didn't, and I have written so many weigh loss articles as a freelancer that I am practically an expert.
All the diets I followed took me to the same conclusion: nobody can lose weight overnight, and nobody should try to do that.
All the doctors, including the well known Dr. Oz, say the same thing, that our bodies aren't made to shade off in a really small amount of time all those pounds we gathered in the course of years. You didn't just woke up 20 pounds fatter, so you can't wake up 20 pounds thinner. This is why we need a healthy approach, one that will offer great results, in a safe amount of time, that you will be able to maintain for as long as you are following a healthy lifestyle.
The perfect time to start dieting is in the winter. You don't have the pressure of doing it fast (like you would during summer), you can wear clothes that hide what you are trying to lose, you have more than enough time to start creating a new, healthier lifestyle, and all the time to lose weight in a smart way.
Use winter in your advantage. You can do it slow and right.
What NOT To Eat
There is actually a problem here for a lot of people. As hard to believe as this might sound, there are a lot of people who don't know what they shouldn't eat. The idea is that everything unhealthy is off limits, but what exactly is that?
Any type of meat, vegetable, fruit, or sweet product that is fried directly in any type of fat (oil, shortening, butter ... ) or who is covered first in a batter and than fried.
Any type of fast food. I know that many think that if they have a salad they're fine but the truth is that they add sauce to that salad, and that sauce is a mix of chemicals, fats, salt, sugar and God knows what else that will make you fat, even if it is on a salad.
Any type of sweets, from candies, cookies and cakes to any kind of baked goods, no matter if they are fried or baked in an oven or just boiled, they all add pounds and fat to your body. Check the label before buying any sweets from the store or bakery.
You shouldn't eat too much salt, which you will definitely find in fast foods, pizzerias, canned foods, ready meals, precooked meals, sausages, cold cuts.
Limit your fat intake. Nobody is telling you to only choose non fat dairy, but dairies with a lower amount of fat are preferable. Choose yogurts with 1 or 2% fat, sour cream with 10-12% fat, cream with no more than 15% (even if chefs say the other ones richer in fat are better, I can tell you that it is all about training, after a while you won't like the other one) and cheese of no more than 40% fat, from which you need to have small amounts because that is almost half and half.
Stay away from any store bought beverage. Carbonated or not, fresh fruit juice or not, it really doesn't make any difference. The carbonated ones are filled with sugar, if they are ) calories it means they have no sugar but they have chemical substitutes for sugar and a lot more fats to make them tastier. The fresh fruits juices are added chemicals in order to prolong their shelf life, tea assortments are filled with chemicals and sugar just the same as coffee assortments.
The bottom line is that you should only buy water when you are out and you are thirsty, and drink only fresh fruit juices that you make at home, without adding anything to them than the squeezed fruit.
You should also quit consuming chips, snacks, flavored popcorn (unless made at home), any kind of chocolate bars, chocolate wafers, pastries (sweet or salty). Anything from the mentioned products and not limited to them, meaning that if you buy something sweet from a store chances are you might be getting large quantities of sugar or fat, so choose wisely.
What To Eat
You don't need to go all vegan or to eat only boiled food but you do need to start preparing your food in a healthier way, that means that you won't fry it in large amounts of fat anymore.
You can eat any combination of salads, all drizzled with a HOME MADE (I can't stress this enough ... it has to be made by your hands at home) sauce from no more than 1 spoon of oil (olive, sunflower or any kind that you like), salt, pepper and vinegar or lemon juice at taste (meaning that you will add a little than taste it and see if it needs any more of the condiments). I recommend you better use fresh squeezed lemon juice rather than vinegar which is more aggressive for the stomach.
You can add tuna to your salads, or grilled chicken, hard boiled eggs, salmon, cheese, and what else you might like or think it could work and is not in the forbidden category.
You can eat lean meat, or meat with a small amount of fat, which can be steamed, roasted in the oven, cooked on a grill or fried in no more than 1 spoon of oil. The same way you can cook fish, which is lighter and better for you, especially if you choose a fatty omega 3 one like salmon or trout (just to name a few), but remember to not use more than 1 spoon of oil for 2 pieces of fish of 200 grams each.
It is normal to crave for hamburgers or pizzas, but you can make them at home instead of ordering in or take it yourself from the restaurant. This way you can control what type of meat goes in, how much salt, what condiments, cheese and how to prepare it. Cook the burger in a non-sticking pan or a grill, and use only one type of meat on your pizza and one type of cheese. Add vegetables in the mixture and you have a healthy meal that will make you feel like you are cheating.
You can still have omelet as long as you don't have more than 2 eggs daily and cooked in no more than a teaspoon of oil. If you have a pan that allows you to cook with no oil at all is even better, and you can choose that when cooking other foods as well, like meat, fish, vegetables, and so on.
Make home baked goods, and either add up to half the amount of sugar the recipe ask (meaning that if the recipe asks for 300 grams of sugar you should use 150 grams - but the best would be 100 grams). Replace sugar with honey in recipes that don't need thermal preparation of any kind, that's because honey becomes toxic when is heated, and replace it with natural sweeteners when you need to cook the product. Stevia extract is a great sugar replacement and is 300 more sweet than sugar, so inform yourself before adding it to your baked goods.
Make yourself lemonade or tea, plane or with mint or ginger, and add honey to sweeten it instead of sugar, just as above. If you are tired of the same water every day, just add some lemon juice to it, or mint, ginger, orange juice, or whatever you might like.
Fruits are a great source of natural sugars and they can be a great substitute for sugar and sweets. The best ones are the ones who aren't ripped all the way, the ones that still have a little sourness, because those have less sugar in them so they are more safe to eat. If you choose dried foods you should know they are rich in sugar and you shouldn't have more than 5-6 pieces per day, and not have anything else sweet that day.
You can also eat legumes, added to your salads, prepared in stews with a salad next to them, mashed, pureed or steamed. Choose some nuts to complete a healthy diet, just make sure they are raw and unsalted and you don't have too many per day, usually the amount that fits in one hand is the daily recommended.
If you are not sure about something just don't eat that food because chances are it is not good for you. Usually your mind tells you when something isn't right, because it makes you feel guilty for wanting that.
Do I Get A Binge Day?
Yes, you do. Just as any nutritionist will advice, you need a time out from something that is putting pressure on your mind and just indulge yourself. The idea is not to eat in one enough enough to last you the next 6 days because this way all your efforts will go down the drain and you have more chances to quit the new lifestyle you are making for yourself and fall back on your old habits.
Have a fast food hamburger, buy a small pizza, have some ice cream or a slice of cake. You need to watch your portions. Eating 3 fast food menus in a day and a large cup of ice cream will make you feel sick and very guilty, which will make you drop the new lifestyle and get back to your old ones. Satisfy your cravings, but do it wisely.
In time you will not feel the need to eat unhealthy foods anymore, not only that you won't crave them anymore, but they might actually make you sick just thinking of them.
Are Exercises Necessary?
Well, they kind of are, because you want to be healthy and have more energy, and exercises will give you just that as long as they are done in a controlled manner. You don't need to spend hours at the gym, you don't even have to go there if you don't like it. Doing chores around the house, going out for a long walk in the park (30 minutes to an hour or more if you want to), jogging, running, doing sit-ups and squats at home, they all help. The main idea is to keep yourself active not tire yourself down.
If you do like the gym, or there are some programs that excite you than by all means do them. An hour of Zumba, Kangoo Jumps, Pilates, Yoga or what else you might like will do wonders for your body.
You Can Make It
I know that it sounds really hard to begin this process and sticking with it but I can promise you that just the first days will be harder, after that, the more time it passes, the easier it gets and the better you will start to feel.
The moment when you reach your weight goal is absolutely priceless. The feeling you get and how strong and beautiful you will feel you won't even believe it. So it does worth to fight for it, because the end result will enrich your life and the way you see yourself.
You can get there, I am sure. All you have to do is believe in yourself, and believe that all your cravings and mood swings from not eating sugar will pass, because they do, and you will absolutely love yourself in the end and feel very proud.