It’s never too late to start changing your habits, and by establishing a healthy lifestyle now, you’ll continue to reap the rewards in the future. Today’s FTtT I will share my discoveries behind nutrition so you can make your own informed choices about your diet and exercise program.
Lighten Up Workshop:
My road to discovery of a healthy lifestyle began at a Lighten Up Workshop. The program covers making healthy food choices, being physically active, setting realistic goals, and dealing with stress. The program focuses on the Calorie Consumption side of dieting and how to use The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating within your diet. The guidelines encourage the consumption of a variety of foods from each of the five food groups every day in proportions that are consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Australians.
The five foods groups are:
- Bread, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles
- Vegetables, legumes
- Milk, yoghurt, cheese
- Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, legumes.
I have trialed the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating for 10 weeks while being apart of the Lighten up. Below is an example of my daily meal plan, and how I fit the food groups into my lifestyle:
- Breakfast – Crushed Weetbix with Yogurt and Fruit: 2 x Weetbix, 12gram Honey, 150g Low Fat Vanilla Yogurt, 1 Banana.
- Lunch – Salad Wrap: Mountain Bread, Ham, Tomato, Lettuces, Carrot, Alfalfa, Cucumber, Slice of Low fat Cheese
- Dinner – Couscous with Meat and Vegetables: Couscous with Mixed Frozen Vegetables and Chicken
- Snacks – Coffee, tea, Orange
The first week or so of any diet adjustment is to ignore sugar and sweet cravings, I loose about 500 grams each week when I eat healthy, while continuing to exercise at least 30-60 minutes a day.
The Calorie King website is essential for keeping your food diary, it counts all the calories for you. Calorie King also have a available 13 week weight loss program designed to teach you life-long skills needed for weight management. The basic’s behind the program teaches participants to record their daily food intake (1200 calories for women, 1600 calories for men), engage in at least 30 minutes exercise each day, and drink 6 glasses of water a day, and record a weekly weigh-in.
Calorie King’s lessons will teach you everything from how to lose weight, to how to find time to exercise and how to get some balance in your life, through 5 categories:
- Behaviour and psychology
- Nutrition and health
- Food guide
- Exercise and fitness
At the end of the 13 week weight loss program you’ll have developed the basic core skills required to take charge of your weight.
This tip from Michelle Bridges, earlier in the year I participated in her 12 Week Body Transformation Program. Mish’s 12WBT provides daily workouts, meal plans, challenges and expert advise over 12 weeks. I really enjoyed the program even just for the recipes! Back to the weekly weigh-in: During the program each Wednesday we were asked to strip off, pee, and weigh ourselves first thing Wednesday Morning. It has become a Wednesday tradition to jump on the scales and jot my results down into an excel spreadsheet. I also take note of body measurements for: Bust, Waist, Hips, Thighs, Biceps, Calves:
Electronic kitchen scales are ideal for those of us watching our weight, scales are perfect for accurately measuring your portion sizes. In addition, these digital scales are also terrific as a general purpose kitchen scales for cooking, weighing mail for postage, arts and crafts and more. I purchased an scales off eBay for under $10 delivered.
If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you’ve probably heard a lot about water and weight loss. Can drinking more water really help you lose weight? The short answer is yes. Water’s involved in every type of cellular process in your body, and when you’re dehydrated, they all run less efficiently — and that includes your metabolism. Think of it like your car: if you have enough oil and gas, it will run more efficiently. It’s the same with your body, being even 1% dehydrated can cause a significant drop in metabolism. I keep a 1 liter water-bottle on my desk at work, and I’ve also set notifications on my iPhone for 11.30am and 3:00pm to alert me to finish the contents of the water-bottle and refill. This way I am always drinking at least 2 liters of water each day (about 8 cups).
But, are you Hungry or Thirsty? It’s also very difficult for the body to tell the difference between hunger and thirst. So if you’re walking around feeling a gnawing sense of hunger, you might just be dehydrated. Try drinking a glass of water instead of grabbing a snack. Research has also shown that drinking a glass of water right before a meal helps you to feel more full and eat less, many people do find that if they have water before a meal, it’s easier to eat more carefully and consume fewer calories. One study, for example, found that people who drank water before meals ate an average of 75 fewer calories at each meal. That doesn’t sound like a lot now — but multiply 75 calories by 365 days a year. Even if you only drink water before dinner every day, you’d consume 27,000 fewer calories over the course of the year.
Getting enough water doesn’t just help you regulate how much you eat — it helps you digest it properly, as well. Water allows your kidneys to function properly and filter everything they need to, and allows us to eliminate effectively and not be constipated. People who don’t get enough fluids in their diet tend to get constipation.
How can you build more water consumption into your day? Try these tips:
- Carry a sports bottle with you and fill it up periodically.
- Keep a glass of water on your desk at work.
- Keep another glass next to your bed. Many of us wake up dehydrated first thing in the morning.
- Switch one glass of soda or cup of coffee for a glass of water.
- Drink small amounts of water throughout the day. Six glasses all at once isn’t good for you!
Yes I went there, ‘Alcohol’:
Yes, you can drink alcohol and lose weight—as long as you’re smart about it. When looking at the weight-loss impact of having a drink, there are two things you need to consider: calories and alcohol content.
Calories – For most people the calories in the mixers of their favorite Cocktail pose a far greater barrier to weight loss than the actual alcohol. A daiquiri or margarita can contain upwards of 35 grams of sugar (that’s 7 teaspoons of sugar). Plus, they’re more than double the amount of calories in the shot of rum or tequila included in the drink. What’s worse, the calories from mixers are the worst kinds of calories, simple and refined sugars. When they’re combined with the metabolic effects of alcohol, it gets even worse.
Alcohol Content – One myth about alcohol is that it will make you fat. But the truth is, it’s the combination of alcohol and sugars found in mixers (or the bad food choices often consumed with alcohol) that causes problems. Alcohol does contain calories, but it’s safe to assume that no one gains a lot of weight by throwing back shots of straight vodka.
- When you drink, know your serving sizes. A glass of wine is not a full glass.
- Minimize the calories from mixers. Use the naturally calorie-free club soda instead of other high-calorie carbonated drinks.
- If you are aggressively pursuing a weight-loss, cut the alcohol drinks completely…. it won’t kill you.
Part Two – Conclusion:
Now that you have seen what a balanced diet should be, some of the aspects of life that health and diet affects, and some of the diet plans used, I hope that it has helped you to understand why health and diet are so important in everyone’s lives. I will be covering healthy lifestyle choices in Part three of FTtT.