Hello friends, it’s the 1st day of December! 31 days before 2014 is upon us. 31 full days to make the rest of our heart’s desires for this year come to pass. May all our dreams come true!
Still on weight loss, there are still some questions I get asked a lot that I will discuss tomorrow. For today, we will focus on 3 things: diet, exercise and stress.
Diet is very critical in terms of what you, how you eat it and how much of it is eaten. A diet full of junk food (meat pies, doughnuts) is unhealthy on a lot of fronts. It contains empty calories which give you calories you don’t need and make you demand even more calories in a short while. They also cause your blood sugar to yo-yo (jumping up) jumping up and down in a way that doesn’t help blood sugar control. A diet that is also full of white carbs like white bread, polished rice etc is also not ideal for the same reason. So what should we eat? A balanced diet…a diet that contains all food groups in sufficient amounts for the body to use them efficiently.
I have had cause to describe the ideal plate of food several times: Half the plate should be filled with vegetables, a quarter with complex carbohydrates like beans, local rice (like Ofada/Abakaliki/brown/wild rice), sweet potatoes, oatmeal etc and the last quarter with protein (fish, chicken etc). Remember that carbs are necessary to provide the energy needed for our daily activities. So, O do not ‘demonise’ (:D) them….however, not all carbs are created equal. Complex carbs are superior because they supply energy and fibre and some also supply minerals and vitamins.
Then remember portion control. Reduce the plate size you usually use, if you need to lose weight. This automatically reduces the quantity of food you can eat.
Remember also to make a conscious effort to chew your food properly and take your tome. Don’t wolf it down…or inhale it :D. Chew intentionally so as to give your brain sufficient time to process the signal from your brain which says that you are full. Have you observed that when you rush your food, you move from being very hungry to being completely stuffed! There’s no in-between, where you realize that you’re full before you get to the stuffed part. That’s because your brain didn’t have enough time to process that info before you became ‘over-full’.
Note that, even if a food is considered healthy, it doesn’t mean you should eat as much of it as you want. For instance, beams is healthy on so many levels but it also high in calories and so you still need to stick to the portion described. Moderation in everything!!
Exercise is critical because it makes your heart strong, improves your body’s ability to break down food, resist diseases and generally provides a feel-good attitude. It also helps you lose weight. Mathematically, exercise helps to burn what you have eaten such that, if you do enough and watch your portions, at the end of the day, there will be a food balance between what you have burnt and what you have taken in. If you have not been engaged in any exercise for a long time, please see your doctor before you start any vigorous regimen. A minimum of 150 minutes of exercise per week is essential for good health. Try to get this exercise anyway you can: walking, dancing, skipping, arm wrestling, pillow fights etc. All the activities count and help you keep you fit, trim and healthy. If you use the gym, that’s great. You can get the instructor to put you on a regimen that involves aerobics, strength training (training with weights) and then focus on troublesome spots like your tummy etc. (in that order) or suggest useful regimens that are helpful.
Finally, I will talk about stress because quite a number of us are stressed our and as we approach the end of the year with all the activities involved, we get even more stressed out. Stress causes the release of a hormone called Cortisol which, amongst other things, causes fat to be deposited around our tummy. The bad thing about tummy fat, is that it is not on the outside. It is actually on the inside, around the organs. So, no amount of sit-ups can touch this fat…it can help tighten abdominal muscles (especially for those who just put to bed) but it won’t get to the fat around organs (visceral fat). This fat is associated with some disease conditions like Diabetes Mellitus etc. So, reduce your stress consciously by figuring out how to better cope with your sources of stress or even eliminating the stresses that you have control over. It’s your life after all.
Have a truly beautiful day, y’all 😀
Here’s to a healthier you!