Staying in Shape

It is said over and over again, being in shape, is achieved by living a healthy lifestyle, not by going on a crash diet; starving yourself, or taking on an extreme exercise program that ends up breaking your spirit before you see any results.
 photo credit - brooke lark
Here are a few lessons I have found to be exceptionally effective when adapted as a lifestyle!!
Cut down on unnecessary sugar.
Think about sugar in your coffee, fruit juice, and sodas.
Drink loads of water.
Plan this. Buy pretty water bottles to keep on your desk at work, in the kitchen, in the living room, and at your bedside. Don’t drink tap water, drink purified water, it tastes great so you’ll have a better chance of sticking to it.
Eat your last meal about 3.5 hours before bedtime.
Once again, this involves planning. If you resume the couch potato position or go to bed shortly after big mealtimes, your body won’t use the energy you have just eaten! Rather keep busy around the house after mealtimes.
Eat slowly.
It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to receive the message that you have had enough to eat. I’ve noticed that if I pace myself between bites, I end up eating smaller portions all together. Give yourself time to realize you have had enough. Try to only go for the next bite after you have swallowed the current one!
Protein, protein, protein
It reduces the levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin in our brains and stimulates the production of appetite-reducing hormones GLP-1, peptide YY and cholecystokinin. Your body also uses about 30% of the calories in protein to digest it. It is a win-win. This is referred to as the thermic effect of food. (TEF). Protein also assists in fat burning and it builds muscle.
Cut out refined starches and processed foods.
Besides the fact that processed carbs are extremely inflammatory, it is most easily metabolized to sugar and causes high spikes in your blood sugar. It is very bad for your health and fattens you up in no time at all.
For packaged food, the rule of the thumb is that if you can’t understand what it says on the nutritional information, then pass on it completely!
PLAN lots of small meals throughout the day.
If you eat often, your metabolism will become more active. The key is to keep your metabolism healthy. If you are not regular, your body keeps taking ‘nutrients’ from whatever your body should have discarded!! Eeewh!!
Include high fibre items in your diet.
Rather eat whole grain bread than white bread. Don’t eat brown bread as it is refined to an extent. Whole grain still has all of the nutrients it was issued within the first place and helps to keep you regular!
Exercise 3 days a week
It doesn’t have to be hardcore cardio punishment. Pilates does the trick for me 🙂
If these are not working then it might serve you to rule out other sneaky reasons for weight gain. You can begin by having your thyroid checked, making sure your hormones are in check and ensuring that you are not on some kind of medication with a side effect of weight gain.

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