Good morning! By now I have taken my first 7.83 km power stroll and I’m swimming in a blissful cup of caffeine before I set up to shoot the first round of ‘3 Moves in 3 Minutes’ (which I should be able to post for you later this afternoon). ‘3 Moves in 3 Minutes’ is an introductory series on basic form and technique of the most common toning exercises we will be using over the next 12 weeks. Each move is geared towards strengthening your core, breaking down cellulite and slimming down those bulging areas none of us are fond of. But more about that later…
Now that you’re here I’m going to lay down a few guidelines and make a few suggestions. I’m not asking for your first born child! I am asking that you take responsibility for your diet, dietary needs and put your health first and foremost above and beyond the simple goal of losing weight.
Understand that any change you make to your diet and/or exercise routine is going to have an affect on your outcome provided you are consistent and persistent. It really is that simple. This goes both ways either to the good or the bad, it’s really up to you.
One day of dietary lapse is not going to kill your entire program but it may make it difficult for you mentally and emotionally. A mistake is a mistake and we learn by it, but to make the same mistake over and over again is a choice. So consider the risks and be conscious of the choices you’re making to save yourself the heartache and disappointment later on. Weight loss is a very emotional process; we are redefining not only our outward appearance but our metabolism by establishing healthier habits both inside and out. Trust me when I say we take it personally when we don’t hit our objectives on time. You will be happier in the long run if you stay vigilant now and resist the temptation to “splurge” or “binge”.
Weight loss (and gain) is a numbers game, pure and simple. For this reason it’s important that you become aware of what those numbers mean and how they affect you. Food journaling, especially during the beginning stages of a weight loss program, is a simple and affective way to keep track, not only of what you ARE eating but also what you aren’t! Too often we think we need to cut calories from our diets to speed up the process of weight loss but without an established baseline of intake it’s quite possible you’re causing more harm than good. Are you eating enough to justify the amount of calories you’re trying to cut out?
Rule of Thumb:
Don’t eat any less than 10 x (your body weight) in calories.
For example a woman who weighs 150 lbs should not consume any less than 10 x 150 = 1500 calories per day.
Adequate calorie consumption is essential to your body processes and internal functions. It takes calories, quite a lot of them, to be able to simply breathe, blink and remain sedentary. You can not maintain a proper balance of health if you are not eating enough to maintain it.
Not all calories are created equally! I repeat…not all calories are created equally!
The kind of calories you should be avoiding are those that contain no nutritional value (empty calories) and those that come from overly processed and refined sources, the greater majority of which are additive sugars; refined/enriched wheats, pastas, rices and grains.
Become familiar with their names!
Agave, Beet Sugar, Black Strap Molasses, Brown Rice Sugar/Rice Syrup/Rice Malt, Brown/Golden Sugar; Buttered Sugar/Butter Cream, Cane Juice/Cane Juice Crystals/Cane Sugar, Caramel, Carob Syrup, Castor Sugar/Superfine Sugar, Coconut Sugar, Corn Sweetener, Corn Syrup/Corn Syrup Solids, Crystalline Fructose, Date Sugar, Demerara Sugar, Dextran, Diastatic Malt Powder, Diastase, Ethyl Maltol, Evaporated Cane Juice, Fructose, Fruit Juice Concentrate, Galactose, Glucose, Golden Syrup/Refiners Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Honey, Invert Sugar, Lactose, Malt Syrup, Maltodextrin, Maltose/Malt Sugar, Maple Syrup, Molasses Syrup, Muscovado Sugar, Organic Raw Sugar, Oat Syrup/Avena Sativa, Panela/Raspadura, Panocha/Penuche, Confectioners Sugar/Icing Sugar, Rice Bran Syrup, Sorghum, Sorghum Syrup, Sucrose, Sugar, Syrup, Treacle, Tapioca Syrup, Turbinado Sugar/Turbinado Syrup, Yellow Sugar
Bottom line, sugar is sugar! It’s almost impossible to avoid out of a box, bag or can! Start reading labels before you put those items in your grocery cart, you maybe shocked if not horrified to see what additive sugars they contain as well as how much. Knowing is half the battle however and forewarned is forearmed. It’s suggested by a variety of sites and sources to limit additive sugar intake to no more than 100 calories per day…the equivalent of 6 teaspoons of regular table sugar. Whereas this may not always be possible to achieve it’s important to be aware so you are able to make an informed choice on the type of sugar you are consuming. Obviously more natural sources are better; I myself use Honey or Agave when it comes to baking but it’s really a matter of preference.
Wait a minute…back it up…why are refined/enriched wheats, pastas, rices and grains lumped in with additive sugar and empty calories?
I am so very glad you asked that question!
Refined and enriched wheats, pastas, rices and grains have been processed to such an extent that they no longer contain any true or viable nutritional value. The term “enriched wheat flour” is a misnomer as it means that most of the natural vitamins and minerals have been removed for the purpose of creating a different texture during the baking process. This is done by removing the bran and germ of the actual wheat. Once this occurs your body no longer absorbs or processes the wheat in the same manner as a whole wheat. Similarly for white rices and other processed grains; the vital and nutrient dense parts have been altered or removed and are no longer beneficial to the body as a food source. In short they become calorie rich carbohydrates that your body can not process efficiently and stores within the bodies fat cells. This is counterproductive not just to weight loss but to overall good health! Instead try whole grains/ancient/sprouted grain breads and pastas as well as organic and wild (unprocessed) rices.
One last recommendation of note, avoid the use of artificial sweeteners such as NutriSweet, Sugar Twin, Equal, Splenda or products containing Aspartame. Where as they are all low to no calories they are all chemically derived and from unnatural sources. Research and studies have proven time and again that artificial sweeteners create metabolic confusion by spiking the body’s glycemic index (sugar levels) which in turn affects insulin production; they encourage appetite as opposed to suppressing it; they are addictive and have been linked to lab studies in the development of cancers and tumours in rats; they are also linked to obesity, migraines, alzhiemers and a host of other neurological and toxic disorders that are currently on an upswing in population studies. My suggestion is to use Stevia (plant extract) or Xylitol (sugar alcohol), Honey, Agave or simply to go without additional sweeteners in your tea or coffee.
A quick recap:
- I don’t want your first born child.
- Health trumps weight loss.
- Any change you initiate to your diet and exercise is going to have an affect if you are persistent and consistent.
- Weight loss/gain is a numbers game.
- Don’t eat any less than 10 x (your body weight) in calories.
- Start a food journal to establish a baseline for what you’re eating. Ensure you are eating enough to allow yourself to lose weight safely.
- Not all calories are created equal.
- Try to limit additive sugars to 100 calories/6 tsp per day.
- Start reading labels to understand what you are eating.
- Avoid refined/enriched white breads, pastas, rices and grains.
- Avoid consumption of artificial sweeteners
Coming up next, a closer look at carbs.