11 Feb

The holidays are over and a new year is here and if you are like many, one of your New Year’s resolutions this year is to either get fit and/or lose weight!   But in order to make sure you are not part of the 80% of people who fail at this resolution, there are some important points you should know that will ensure you stay on track and be the best you can possibly be for 2011!!!

Bite It…Write It!

You’ve heard it before but the BEST way to make sure you stay true to your goals is to hold yourself accountable.  Keeping a food journal is a sure way to help you make better food choices.  You can simply write the information down on sheets of paper, track it in your notes on your blackberry, or if you want something a little more sophisticated, there are a number of websites and applications that allow you to keep track online.  www.fatsecret.com and www.myfitnesspal.com are just two websites/applications that allow you to keep track of your food intake as well as exercise.  If you are trying to lose weight, these trackers will calculate your caloric intake and tell you what your RDI (recommended daily intake) should be, based on your goals and your activity levels.  The best part is that you can download these for free on your iPhone, iPad, Android or Blackberry!!!

Eat More…Weigh Less!!

Are you feeling tired?  Sluggish?  Don’t have any energy?  Are you wondering why you feel so terrible and having trouble losing weight??  Did you ever stop and think about what you are feeding your body?  Think of food as fuel for your body just like gasoline is fuel for a vehicle.  If you don’t provide the proper fuel for your vehicle it doesn’t run properly.  If you don’t give it any fuel, it doesn’t run AT ALL!  Same rings true for what you feed your body.  You get out of it what you put in.  Some people think that if they stop eating then they will lose weight.  These people couldn’t be further from the truth.  When you stop feeding your body it goes into what we call “starvation mode”.  Your body thinks you aren’t going to feed it any more so when you finally do put something in to your body, it automatically stores it as fat.  This is a protective mechanism that your body creates in order to ensure it has enough fuel to function.  This bad practice of eating or not eating also slows down your metabolism.  Since your body thinks it won’t be getting any more fuel, it slows down the rate of metabolizing food in your body.  Both of these protective measures that your body creates will inevitably cause you to gain weight. 

The trick is to eat more but be careful of WHAT you eat.  In order to maintain blood sugar levels and avoid those drops in energy levels, you should be fuelling your body ever 2-3 hours at least 5-6 times a day.  Eliminate the 3 main meal mentality and start thinking about having 5-6 small meals every day!!  I know, I know, you’re thinking this is nuts and impossible but trust me…it’s true and it WORKS!!!  If you eat 5-6 small portions a day, you are not only increasing your metabolism but you are avoiding that feeling of being really hungry…and we all know what poor food choices we make when we’re starving and need to fill our stomachs right away.  Don’t forget that the MOST important meal of the day is Breakfast.  There is a reason it carries this name – it means to break the “fast”.  Your body has been sleeping for the last 6-8 hours (the required amount for a healthy body) and so you have been in “fasting” mode.  Eating a healthy breakfast within the first hour of waking is your way of breaking that fast.  Make the right choices and you’re well on your way to a great day!

Since you are going to be eating more now, it’s important to know what kinds of food you should be eating.  Here are some ideas for healthy snacks to keep you full during the day:

  • Almonds:  Keep a stash in your desk drawer, in your glove compartment of your vehicle and some in your pantry at home.  Almonds are full of protein and contain GOOD fat (YES…there is such a thing).  A handful a day is sufficient.  If you are trying to lose weight you need to be conscious of portions.
  • Natural Nut Butters:  Almond, hazelnut or peanut butters are all good sources of protein and good fat.  They can be spread on whole grain breads, pitas or flat breads or an even healthier idea is to pair it up with fruit!  My favourite morning snack is an organic red delicious apple with a tablespoon of natural almond butter…YUMMY!
  • Hummus:  This can be used as a replacement for mayonnaise.  It consists of pureed chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic and tahini (sesame seed paste).  Nothing fattening about this dip!  Try this idea:  next time you make yourself an egg salad sandwich, mix 2 hardboiled egg whites with a tablespoon of hummus, add a pinch of sea salt (if you wish) and put it between 2 pieces of toasted whole grain bread or in a whole wheat pita.  Another quick and healthy fix.
  • Fruit & Veggies:  Our parents always told us as we were growing up to make sure we ate our greens and they were right!  Are you getting your 5-10 servings of fruit and vegetables a day??  Probably not.  Now that you’re eating 5-6 times a day, this should be easy.  And what better way to keep track than to mark it in your food journal so you know whether or not you’re reaching your daily requirements.  Important tidbit…fruit slows down your digestive system so essentially should be eaten before a meal.  If you can…try to eat most of your fruits in the morning as opposed to later in the day when you don’t have as much time to digest.
  • Water:  You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again.  You should be drinking AT LEAST 8 glasses of water a day.  Your body needs it!  And if you’re working out, your water intake should be even more.  Sometimes your body confuses hunger with thirst.  Next time you think you’re feeling hungry, drink a glass of water first.  You may be surprised to find that you no longer feel hungry.  Want another tip?  Before you put anything in your stomach, drink 2 glasses of water every morning.  It helps flush out your system and prepare your body for the day’s fuel. 

Get Active…NOW!!!

We all lead busy lives.  We work at Planet Energy so we know what it means to work hard.  Why not put some of that energy towards you and your well-being?  You can’t be productive in your professional life if you don’t feel good physically so start taking care of you.  It’s the only body you’re going to get so make the best of it!  If you are serious about beginning a workout program and are a beginner, you need to commit to at least 30 minutes of physical activity at least 3 days a week.  It can be something as simple as taking a walk or joining a class at your local health centre.  If that is too much of a commitment right now, don’t despair…here are some easy tips you can use to start today:

  • Park at the end of a parking lot and walk further to work, shopping mall, etc.
  • Replace your desk chair with a stability ball – you will be giving your body an overall workout just by sitting.
  • Take a walk every once in a while during the day while at work.  Try making a point of getting off your chair every 1-2 hours, even if it means taking a walk to the water cooler to grab another glass of water!
  • Stretch at your desk.  Take 5 minutes in the morning and another 5 minutes in the afternoon and do some light stretches while sitting at your desk.
  • Take the stairs!!  Whether you work on the 2nd, 3rd or 8th FLOOR…avoid the elevators and take the stairs every morning!! 

Remember that if you want to see a difference you need to start making changes!  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  Once you can wrap your head around this concept, everything else becomes easier.  If you want to see a change in your lifestyle YOU need to change!  It’s as simple as that.  Whatever that change may be, no matter how big or small, commit to it and don’t give up.  Set yourself a goal and live each day trying to either achieve it or maintain it. 

I hope some of these tips help you on your journey to get there!

Until next time…

Lisa Assaf
Certified Personal Trainer &
Nutrition and Wellness Specialist


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