Willpower can help us achieve our goals. Like a New Year's Resolution! However, it's a limited resource. We drain our willpower whenever we use our rational thinking to make choices that counter our emotions. For example, it's pretty easy to pass on a cookie at 9 am; come 5 pm, it might be much more difficult as our willpower is tapped out.
A GREAT way to start sneaking a nutritious eating plan into your life is to increase the healthy foods you eat rather than "diet" (or worry about what you can't eat). The diet mentality doesn't work; when we deprive ourselves, chances are we'll eventually eat what we want ~ and more of it. So add some really healthy foods to your menu!
Here's a list of the Top 10 Best Foods to Lose Weight (edited from an eHow article from 2.9.15).
1. Skinless Chicken and Turkey. These are powerhouse foods for lean protein. Protein helps you feel full, and also helps maintain and increase lean muscle mass - the key to a strong metabolism.
2. Berries. Berries generally contain at least 75% water. This helps you feel fuller longer. Berries are also loaded with fiber, which helps support weight loss.
3. Low-Fat Dairy. Low fat dairy such as yogurt, milk and cheese help balance blood sugars and improve your mood. This helps you to avoid overeating or reaching for comfort foods to feel better.
4. Seafood. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are "good" fats. Certain seafood such as salmon, anchovies, oysters and rainbow trout are great sources for omega-3's!
5. Salads. Provided your salad is lower in calories and not drenched with a high-fat dressing, it can provide you with a great dose of fiber and high-quality carbohydrates.
6. Green Vegetables. Broccoli, cabbage and spinach all contain soluble fiber, which keeps you full and helps suppress your appetite. Other greens such as brussels sprouts, kale, artichokes and asparagus have a high water content and are low-calorie.
7. Whole Grains. Whole grain foods are full of vitamins, minerals and fiber. High-quality carbohydrates help promote weight loss, and the insoluble fiber lets you eat more food without adding extra calories.
8. Beans. Beans contain soluble fiber which helps control your appetite. Lima, kidney, black, navy and pinto beans are considered to be great beans for weight loss.
9. Nuts. Nuts are generally calorie-dense so eat them in moderation. The healthy fats found in most nuts help to stabilize blood sugars and help you feel full. Healthy nuts include almonds, pecans, walnuts, pistachios and pine nuts.
10. Oatmeal. Oatmeal breaks down slowly in the stomach, which helps you to avoid a spike in insulin levels. It's filling, contains a lot of fiber, and promotes a healthy metabolism. Your best choice is the unprocessed oatmeal; try to avoid the instant oatmeals that are high in sugar.
By adding healthy foods to your eating plan, the less healthy choices start to get edged out. For example, you're less likely to grab that afternoon candy bar if you had a fiber- and protein-rich lunch! Who knows, you might even start craving broccoli...
I started "dieting" at age 10. I've always worked out. I've read every magazine that said "How to Walk off 10 Pounds!" After having my second child and qualifying for (and running) the Boston Marathon (THAT should have done it, eh?) I STILL didn't feel comfortable in my skin. It was a constant struggle, a monkey on my back that was with me every morning I woke up. There were skinny days, fat days, good days, bad days, but I was never able to figure out what the hell I needed to do to feel fit and healthy. THAT's when I hired a personal trainer. I'm not rich, I had to cut back on other expenses and eventually asked for training sessions for my birthday, Christmas, Mother's Day. I was finally learning what works and what doesn't. I was motivated and inspired to eat healthy, exercise correctly, and take care of myself on a whole new level. A couple of years later, I quit the corporate world and became a personal trainer. I worked along side my trainer, and passed on the knowledge ~ one client at a time. That was over 10 years ago.
I am so irritated with the "How to Walk of 10 Pounds!" articles. The thousands of diet books. The miracle pills. The weight~loss industry is a multi~billion dollar machine. And yet America is becoming increasingly obese. In my own personal experience, I have found that the majority of the weight loss information out there is, for lack of a better term, bull shit. Sorry to be blunt. But I've earned the right to say that after 20 plus years of reading, buying, trying, dieting and failing.
There are methods of exercise and ways of nourishing our bodies to stay healthy and fit. It's not complicated. It varies by each individual. There is no secret pill or magic elixir. I didn't lack will power. I lacked knowledge, and, at the end of the Boston Marathon, all motivation and hope. Give me my housecoat, I quit! was how I was feeling. Then I hired a personal trainer. And became one. And now I share my knowledge and passion with others. I can't think of anything I'd rather do as a career. Thank you Shawn! (That's the guy who very bluntly told me what I'd been doing wrong for 20 years..and then showed me how to live a healthy, strong life). Live well!
Here are the 5 most common mistakes dieters do to undermine weight loss goals (source: ACE Fitness website research article):
1. Skipping meals. The calories you try to save by skipping meals can slow down your metabolism, and also set you up to binge later on. Research shows that people who skip breakfast are more likely to be overweight.
2. Drinking your calories. Liquid calories such as alcohol, sports drinks, soda, etc. don't fill you up and the calories can really add up.
3. Too much sodium. This I found really interesting: too much sodium increases hunger, cravings and thirst. It also makes your fat cells denser! And, of course, excess sodium leads to water retention and bloating...
4. Skimping on vegetables. Get this ~ 80% of Americans don't consume the daily recommended amount of 2.5~3.5 cups of vegetables! Guess I'm surprised at that percent! Vegetables are full of fiber (which keeps you full), are generally lower in calories (watch out for added butter and oils) and full of nutrients.
5. Not keeping track of the snacking. I recommend to my clients to track their food intake on Myfitnesspal. Those goldfish (the crackers), the handful of M &.Ms, etc. have calories too! It's so easy to underestimate the calories you've consumed. The little snacks can add up to several hundred calories a day, undermining your goal to take off a few or several pounds. (Moms, this includes finishing what your kids leave on their plates, even if you like the crust on the PB and J and they don't)!
Losing weight requires being at a calorie deficit, meaning you burn more calories than you consume. Once the motivation to lose some extra pounds is there, get into the habit of tracking your calories to help ensure your success! Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free assessment ~ I'd love to answer questions and help you toward your fitness goals! whatever they may be!
I'm now offering small group training ~ groups of 3 to 4 people. The sessions will be challenging, competitive, and fun! If you have a group of friends or if you'd like to join a small group, contact me! Sessions are sold in packages of 10 for $250. Ideally each small group would meet twice a week so that we can hit all those major muscle groups!
A recent article on Time magazine's website cited "7 Things Happy People Choose to Do Every Single Day". Interesting to think about, eh? And these are choices, and as you choose to make them a part of your daily routine I bet your mood will improve! (If you're in a constant state of bliss daily already, no need to continue...😐)! The info in this blog is a short version of an article originally published at Inc.com.
Here they are; how many do you do daily?
1. They choose to exercise. Yep, number one! Exercise releases endorphins ~ the neurotransmitters in your brain that are in play when you're feeling genuinely good!
2. They choose to spend time outside. Just 20 minutes a day is sufficient to improve your mood.
3. They choose to focus on their families. They find a little time each day to do things to improve family relationships. So go call your Dad! Or Mom. Or hug your kid! Lots of options depending on your family circumstances!
4. They choose to make time for friends. I'm bad about this. I get caught up in work and think about my friends, but I'm gonna call one today and see if they can get together!
5. They choose to find meaning in their work. Now, for me, my work as a personal trainer is really meaningful. But what about cooking? Cleaning? I actually think about the 2 boys and husband I'm cooking for (nice, loving thoughts) as I do chores and it really helps! My younger son knows things taste better when I've added "love" as one of the ingredients...
6.they choose to contribute to their communities. Doesn't have to be difficult or time consuming. Pick up some trash on the side of the street. Open a door for someone. Or get involved in a community project, donate to Good Will, get creative! Get the kids involved and they'll feel happy too!
7. They choose to get enough sleep. Lack of sleep will ruin your mood. You'll be more irritable, can have poor judgement, a low libido (um, there's a sideways reference to happiness!). So turn off the TV and the computer, let your concerns go and get a good night's sleep.
Some of these may be easier than others depending on your circumstances, but do what you can to be as happy as you can! When I grow up, I want to be HAPPY. This was a main topic at my son's 8th grade graduation ceremony. So choose what makes you happy, and these ideas are a great start! I think I'm going to call my mom now...😊...then hug my kids...and eat some cookies (just a few...)
Small group training is in the air! Soon after the 4th of July weekend, I'll be offering small group training (2~4 people). We'll feed off each other's energy and this allows me to make Personal Training more accessible ~ the individuals share the cost of the session, and you'll all get a great workout! To be eligible to start Small Group Training, we need to meet for an assessment. Schedule yours soon if you think you might be interested ~ if you decide it's for you, you'll be ready to go! Call or text or e~mail; p: 919-619-5932; e: email@example.com!
The Mayo Clinic website always has great, well-researched articles. Here's a snapshot of a recent article touting seven benefits of regular physical activity (at least 30 minutes a day, more if you have specific goals such as weight loss or toning...)
1. Control your weight. Regular exercise can help you avoid weight gain, or help maintain weight loss.
2. Combat health risks and disease. Being active boosts HDL (good cholesterol) and decreases unhealthy triglycerides. Physical activity can decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, metabolic syndrome, Type 2 Diabetes, depression, certain types of cancer, arthritis and falls.
3. Improve your mood! Physical activity stimulates certain brain chemicals that can leave you feeling happier and more relaxed.
4. More energy! You can increase your muscle strength and endurance with physical exercise, making your daily activities less tiring. Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your body's tissues, and can increase the efficiency of your cardiovascular system.
5. Sleep better. With regular physical activity, you can fall asleep more quickly and sleep more deeply. Just don't exercise too close to bedtime. The benefits of improved sleep I'll save for another blog!
6. Improve your sex life! Feeling better, looking better can lead to more confidence and self~esteem (not to mention you have more energy!) Physical exercise can also lead to increased arousal in women, and decreased risk of erectile dysfunction in men. Sounds like a win/win situation!
Becky Vanderwoude is an ACE-certified Personal Trainer and Health Coach in Chapel Hill, NC.