Losing weight is an ideal goal and making the necessary effort at shedding the extra kilogrammes acquired from wrong lifestyle choices is difficult if not daunting. At times it may seem that your efforts amount to more fat gain than loss! But not to despair. There are certain rather simple tweaks, everyday changes that you can make to your busy schedule that will have you seeing the weight loss results that you desire
Drink Plenty of Water
Yes, good old, plain tasting water! Water should be your best friend, your-go to hydration source. It’s cheap, abundant and healthy. Since you are trying to lose weight, your water consumption should be at least 4 litres/ day(adults). Water helps burn more calorie, speeds your metabolism, helps you eat less (especially when taken cold before meals) flushes away toxins, frees fat to be used as an energy source (now that’s good news). Plain water sounds boring to you? Then get imaginative and try out my spa water recipes! Surely one out of these recipes must appeal to your taste buds
THE TIP …Set up water drinking ALARMS to coincide with an hour before meal times
And two hours after meals. Make your water mobile
Cut off the sugar
Sugar: glucose, high fructose corn syrup, carbs are all the same – they help you gain flab! Sugar occurs naturally in foods, juices, fruits. Consuming too much of sugar is so easy. From packaged drinks, flour products, canned foods, fried and baked goods (these concentrate the sugar even more), artificial sweeteners (these mimic sugar, creating the same horrible effects!)
Elevated sugar consumption increases your risk of life threatening diseases, speeds up weight gain, sets up an addictive cycle, aids wrinkle formation – the list is endless
THE TIP …Read labels and check for sugar, set up a healthier menu in print and display at a convenient location and do stick to it! If possible, take food to work. Find a food vendor/ an eatery with healthy options and tell them your requirements. They ‘ll oblige you I’m sure
Away with the cravings
Cravings, a word I choose to hate, but a real issue for millions round the globe. I know the feeling…I pledge: to close my eyes to the children’s pancakes, I refuse to partake of the birthday cake at my colleague’s birthday. Lofty resolutions! Yet my will power crumbles like a pack of cards and I down several morsels of some sweet stuff and hang my head in shame!
But hey, there’s something we can do about this. Realise that sugar (no matter the smart name it’s given) is addictive, you are not alone in this cravings dilemma and yes, it’s possible to overcome your sweet tooth
THE TIP … Plan your meals, drink more water
separate true hunger from thirst. Set your meal times. Careful with snacking
reign in on your emotions (emotional eating)
Involve your loved ones in this fight. They can sound the alarm when you begin to indulge!
Welcome priobotics and prebiotics
Welcome to the world of strange science. Your gut (stomach) are populated by millions of microbes collectively known as microbiome that help breakdown your food. Like my friend Pat will say, your microbiome is your guts brain! These little guys, known as gut flora are necessary for the complete digestion of the food we eat. Scientists have it that they dictate to your brain what you should eat. Creepy! This means that obese persons have a different set of microbes from lean people. But the good news is that with diet we can change the population of our gut flora. Probiotics regulate our immune and nervous systems, assist with digestion, produce certain vitamins and enzymes to name just a few of their vital function. Prebiotics provide food for probiotics. Fermented foods like OGIRI, AKAMU(OGI), GARRI, KIMCHI SAUERKRAUT PALMWINE, UNRIPE BANANA are excellent prebiotics
THE TIP … Incorporate high quality probiotics into your meal plan
Eat foods rich in prebiotics (don’t get drunk on palm wine please!)
Take antibiotics only when necessary
Love them veggies
Vegetables are great for weight loss. They supply fibre, water, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals essential to our wellbeing. But vegetables can be bland especially when cooked. But hey want to make your veggies part of your things to remember? Then check out our earlier posts on how to eat more vegetables on this blog. Also try out our vegetable salads, stir fries and smoothies. Loads of recipes freely available.
THE TIP…try vegetable smoothies, fold ins and salads
Make your meals at least 70% vegetables(visually)
Try vegetable snacks
Strange remedy right? You know that lone voice only you hear. Your thought patterns can make or mar your weight loss fight. Oh I know you have the will power but watch out for your inner man telling you stuff like – is this the life? Nobody wants to help me, I hate coming home, my spouse is not helping at all, you are fat and you ain’t getting nowhere! Your thoughts shape your reaction and the reaction of people around you! If you permit negatives the bitterness digs in, the nasty cycle starts. As negative thoughts fill your mind, your hormones get into overdrive releasing adrenaline, cortisol and these in turn dampen ghrelin and you never seem to stop eating. Herein lies the pathway to emotional eating. STOP. The only end in sight is a conscious effort on your part to reverse your INNER MONOLOGUE to the positive
THE TIP…Make a list of your negative thoughts in secure place or device
Practice meditation even if only for 5 minutes. Speak positively to yourself daily. Get active
Start a hobby, sing songs and/ or play music. Make new friends/
Make a habit of prayer, Be thankful to the Creator and your neighbour
Celebrate yourself and your small victories. Write it down
Consult a mental health professional if problem persists
Weight gain or loss is a simple math. You know, that elementary plus or minus. So your energy output should exceed your energy intake for the flab to start melting. Thus calorie counting arithmetic gets underway! But if you practice a simple trick that I choose to call vision 80/20 then all sorts of counts, including that of calories will be eliminated. At each meal make fresh vegetables 80%(visually) while your main dish stays at 20 percent. You can even practice 70/30. This way you’ll get enough of the fibre, antioxidants and nutrients to fuel your body right.
THE TIP…Set up vegetable friendly menu- those meals that can easily be eaten with raw veggies
Have your raw days-no cooked meals (packaged/ frozen foods and snacks are out)
Use smaller plates and bowls
Eat slowly-savour your food, chew thoroughly
Ditch distractions aka devices of all types. Eat with others
Check your salt
Salt has become a world acclaimed villain, despised by all yet necessary for life. The problem is not that salt is bad but the kind and amount of salt we consume. Refined salt has little to offer in terms of nutrients. Again processed foods are hidden sources of salt. So even if you watch out for salt while preparing meals, how about the salt in pizzas, chips, biscuits, soft drinks, processed meat, fast food meals and snacks to name a few!
THE TIP…Use sea salt or pink Himalayan for cooking. If you suffer from water retention, after eating salt, check your potassium level. Eliminate hidden sources of salt. Eat more of foods high in potassium
Review cooking methods
I know you’ll be like cooking methods too? Yes, they make or mar your weight loss journey! Swap oil frying for broiling, sautéing, steaming or grilling. Stir fry, boiling and baking also come recommended. Marinating fish or meats ensure better flavour eliminating the need to fry them. Switch from aluminium pots and pans to steel or copper utensils. Ditch your microwave. Science has it that microwaved food is denatured, leading to loss of nutrients and poor immunity.
THE TIP…invest in a turbo oven or a steamer. Plan your food prep to enable adequate defrosting. Experiment with different cooking methods
Increase good fats
The idea here is to crowd out the bad fat period! Luckily there are so many ways you can do this. Swap your unhealthy fried menu items for braised or broiled version. Check labels while at the supermarkets. Increase intake of good fats from fruits and nuts. Where possible drink the healthy oils, a tablespoonful at a time. You can increase your quantity as you get used to the practice
THE TIP… healthy oils and fats are readily available, check stores and online. Avoid high temperature frying. Incorporate avocados and nuts into your daily diet. Choose extra virgin oils. Add your oils when the food is done
Eat carbohydrates at dinner
Now this sounds counterintuitive, carb dinners have been shown to encourage restful Zzz’s at night. But not all carbs have been born equal. Carbs like yams, potatoes, rice are great dinner choices. You can pair them with vegetable salads and stir fires or eat as is.
THE TIP…Review your menu and remove protein food sources set for dinner
Store your starchy carbs in cool places. Avoid the temptation to fry carbohydrate food items. Watch the caloric content of the sauces you eat at dinner. Practice the 80/20 veggie/carb combo at dinner
Make your first meal protein and fibre
A high protein+ fibre breakfast is great for weight loss as your body burns more calories to metabolize the protein, helping you to feel fuller for longer, curbing cravings and overeating
Protein as your first meal of the day is important as it provides the body with much needed amino acids necessary for cell renewal and replacement. Now your first meal could be breakfast or brunch (like mine).
THE TIP…As much as possible, your protein choices should include foods like avocados, fish, oats, acha, beans, fresh milk yoghurt, smoothies. Try adding psyllium husk fibre to oats, acha, smoothies, yoghurt or even bean dishes. Protein breakfast Recipes abound on the web
Get moving or like we say in pidgin English- shake body! Making out time for daily exercise is necessary if the weight loss goal is to be achieved. There are so many little ways to keep active.
THE TIP…Walk, use a rebounder, treadmill, do a stepping cardio right in your home, lift weights (start light please) play a ball game with the kids, use the stairs, park far away from your building, ignore the office assistants and get the help you need yourself, try isometric exercises, get a gym membership if you like. Bottom line: do something to get moving and sweating!
I know that this sounds like reaching for the golden fleece especially for mothers of young children, care givers and those with large families. But I believe it can be done. Yes, Chu needs help with assignments, the laundry needs to be done and worse you brought some work home to free some time for your daughter’s bible study group parents meeting at the church! But I still say it RELAX. Take time for yourself, even if its 30 minutes in the 24 hours of the day. Close your eyes, shut out your devices, the world and life’s cares. These minutes will help calm your tensed muscles, reduce cortisol, making you feel better equipped to take on the challenges of life
THE TIP…Eliminate tasking duties in the evening. Sleep early so you’ll wake early to do your chores uninterrupted. Find your place of peace at home and devote time to using that place. If not possible, your church environment may be great for your me time. Create varieties of what you do during your me time. Resist the temptation to sort out personal chores at this time. Pamper yourself You deserve it!