Better Mind, Better Body: Go!

Submitted by Annapurna, Part 3 of 3

Knowing yourself, your body, and the physiology behind food is a process. It’s a lifestyle choice that can take you as deep as you want.  Look into raw foods or vegetarianism or discover a new love of fish or ayurveda.   But get that physiological foundation.  Once you have a strong foundation, you’re on your way.

SIMPLE STEPS

1. Remove all the junk. For once, forget about money and throw out junk and processed foods. Better yet, compost it so it won’t be a total waste.  Since you know your foods, you know that simple, refined processed foods is pure starch and sugar with no energy or vitamin benefits.  It’s harder to drive late at night for an ice-cream run than to just walk to the fridge to get it.

2.  Simple routine:  breakfast, light snack, lunch, light snack, dinner and light snack or dessert if you must otherwise herbal teas are always good substitutes for late night cravings. It has been proven in numerous studies, emphasized by nutritionists and dietitians that the one thing overweight people have in common is skipping meals.  This throws your GI out of whack, lowering energy and kicking the body into famine mode. So next time you eat, the body takes care of itself and stores fat just in case you decide to starve again.

3. Simple grocery list.  Few tips.  One, shop after you’ve eaten.  Grocery shopping on a hungry stomach makes you reach for immediate gratification.

Go with some recipes written down so you know what to buy — this will make window shopping harder.

Never buy a meal with more than 400 carbs and 9 grams of sugar. MEAL not item of grocery.  A bag of cookies does not a meal make and I assure you, organic or otherwise, it will have more than 9 grams of sugar regardless.

And whatever you’re following — South Beach is the one I recommend — follow it!  Most likely, you’ll be buying lots of veggies, whole grains (including whole grain bread), lentils and legumes, and fish if you eat meat.

For a complete list of foods, look here and here — as always, look in several sources.

And don’t forget the snacks: low fat mozzarella string cheese, almonds, and other snacks on those lists to stop cravings.

4.  Listen to your mother: Eat Breakfast! Models and actresses like Cameron Diaz have even been known to eat almost-dinners, like tofu stir-fry, for breakfast! When kicking ass and training 5 hours a day, it’s easy to see why.  Numerous studies show that overweight people tend to skip breakfast.  The most fuel you’ll need is to jumpstart the day — the least fuel is right before you head for bed.

5.  Drink Up! Water that is…  The human brain is made up of 95% water, blood is 82% and lungs 90%. A mere 2% drop in our body’s water supply can trigger signs of dehydration: fatigue, headaches, fuzzy short-term memory, even slight visual and cognitive impairment.  Cells and organs depend on water to function properly. Immunity is boosted and in regards to weight, it keeps you filled up.  Sometimes feelings of dehydration are mistaken for hunger so not only are you not getting the water you need but gaining weight.

However, most studies show that most tap water in the United States is not fit for consumption. Buy a $30 Brita pitcher (or less in some places and with the right coupons) or a water filtration system if your budget allows to get the maximum benefits of the H2O.

6.  Exercise at least 3 times a week for 30 minutes each.  Unless you’re training for a marathon, it’s not how long that matters nor is it just cardio.  I once heard it said that with cardio, if you’re shaped like a pear, you’ll just be a smaller pear.  Combine your cardio with resistance training and stretching — flexibility will be all you have left in your old age — for maximum results.

7. Medical check-up.  There are medical reasons for weight gain, such as a thyroid problem. Work with your genetics.  If you fight genes, you will lose…but you can work with them.

8.  Cheat once a week.  Chow down on whatever you want for that Saturday dinner with friends or family brunch.

9. It’s all OK.  If you mess up, don’t beat yourself down.  Just get back on that wagon asap, looking forward to the weekend brunch!  It’s not a diet, it’s your body; it’s life, take it day by day.

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