1. Eat foods with LESS than FIVE ingredients! Eat whole foods, processed foods are evil!
This is an easy strategy to incorporate more whole foods into your diet. What the heck is a whole food? Whole foods are foods that come directly from nature and have not been processed. They are usually plant-based such as fruits, nuts, vegetables, and whole grains. However, you can add organic meat, preferably fish, chicken, and turkey to the whole food list. Now that you know what a whole food is, let me brief you on processed foods. Processed foods are evil! They want to suck the life out of you, make you tired, addicted to them, and make you FAT! Here are some examples; soda, candy, cookies, chips, white bread, white rice, pretzels, ice cream, fast food, fried food, and basically everything that is not a fruit, vegetable, whole grain, or lean meat. This rule will change your mental clarity, energy levels, quality of life, body shape, and basically every aspect of your life. Don’t be scared, once your body gets used to it, it will crave whole foods!
2. COUNT CALORIES! Get to know what you are stuffing your face with!
This is one of the most mind-blowing, helpful ways to shrink your waistline. You don’t need to count calories for the rest of your life, just until you learn how many calories are in the foods you eat. An awesome and FREE app or online site called MyFitnessPal will make calorie counting a cinch. This site also tells you how many calories you should consume according to your weight loss/weight gain goals.
3. Divide your plate into THREE parts!
The main portion of your meals should be vegetables with a lean meat and whole grain as sides. Your plate should be composed of 50% fruits and vegetables, 25% lean protein (ex. fish, chicken, turkey, and tofu), and 25% whole grains or other complex carbohydrates (ex. brown rice, whole wheat pasta, oatmeal, and baked potato). Of course, very un-American but you are about to make a change right?! Again, remember to count your calories!
4. STOP PIGGING OUT! Are you a social-eater?
Discipline your mind to manage your waistline! We tend to let ourselves over-indulge at parties, family get-togethers, and on weekends because we mentally allow ourselves to relax with our diet. This is a common culprit for weight gain and will sabotage any butt-kicking exercise you do during the week. Basically, every month has a holiday, party, or family get-together and every weekend usually has at least one night out. If you are overeating at each of these events, your gut will begin to eat the rest of your body! An easy way to maintain control at events is to bring something tasty that is healthy and munch on that all night! I know where your mind is going and yes, there are many things that are tasty AND healthy.
5. Don’t get HUNGRY! Why do we crave sugary, salty foods?
Your body is an amazing machine that transforms the carbohydrates you eat into blood sugar (glucose), which our body uses for energy. Our pancreas then secretes a hormone called insulin to transport the blood sugar into our cells so they can use it as energy. When we eat processed foods and foods that are high in sugar we cause an insulin surge to get all that blood sugar (energy) into our cells. This insulin surge takes the blood sugar out of our blood too quickly, which causes our blood sugar level to drop too low. You then feel hungry and tired, which causes you to crave sugary or salty carbs to quickly increase your blood sugar levels! Which will then crash again soon, causing you to do the same thing again, and again. Vicious isn’t it? Instead of allowing yourself to get hungry and fall into this cycle, eat smaller portions throughout the day high or eat three bigger meals and then have small healthy snacks between each meal. Healthy snacks would be nuts, fruit, or veggies. Fiber and complex carbohydrates are also important in maintaining blood sugar levels.
6. Do Cardio and Strength Training! Yes ladies, lift weights!
When making your workout plan, you should do at least three days of cardio training and two days of strength training a week. (ACE, Personal Trainer Manual) Cardio training is typically continuous movement of the legs for at least 30 minutes, such as walking, jogging, elliptical training, swimming, or most sports. Strength training is primarily training with free weights, weight machines, or using one’s own body weight. When strength training, you can work all of your major muscle groups at one time, or you can work opposite groups on different days. For instance, you may want to do upper body one day, and lower body the next day.
7. NO EXCUSES! Stick to a workout plan and food plan for Pete’s sake!
Do NOT wait until you “feel” like working out or decide what you “feel” like for dinner when you get home from work. Both huge mistakes because guess what, YOU WON’T “feel” like working out and you WILL PIG OUT! With that said, your workout plan should consists of AT LEAST 3 days, preferably 6 days, a week of exercise for 45 minutes. Does that seem impossible for you? What if I told you that if you did something for 45 minutes a day, you would live 5 years longer, have a better quality of life, have less anxiety, have a better sex life, be more confident, have more energy, be more efficient at your job, have better mental clarity, and have more to give to your family, what would you say? That’s right, make time.
As far as a food plan, plan out your meals for each week on Sunday so you will be able to resist rummaging through the cupboards and grabbing some processed, sugary, salty garbage to poison your body with. Try doing your cooking on Sunday for the week and putting it in the fridge or freezer for the week! I make a big pot of oatmeal on Sunday night and put it into 5 coffee mugs, cover them with aluminum foil, and place them in the fridge. Each morning I grab one out of the fridge, pour a little milk in the mug, warm it up, and eat it on the way to work. EASY & HEALTHY!
8. Make Personal Measurable Goals. It takes 5 minutes but will change your life!
Make up measurable goals with a timeline and have a friend or trainer hold you accountable for reaching them. Examples of goals are, “Be able to run for 20 minutes in 2 months”, ” Build up to 45 minutes 5 days a week by May 1st”. I write my goals on an index card and post them on my bathroom mirror so I can read them every morning while I brush my teeth. Keep sight of your goals and have other people keep you accountable in helping you reach them.
9. Have a gym buddy or strong support network. Don’t be a loner!
A support network is important to your success if you are not a natural gym rat. Going to the gym or checking in with a buddy will hold you more accountable and is an excellent way to enhance relationships with friends or partners. If you do not have a buddy, tell your friends, partner, or family to hold you accountable for sticking to a plan. You also can sign up for an online personal training program or hire a personal trainer to keep you on track.
10. DON’T be a BABY! Push yourself!
Your workouts should incorporate moderately intense cardiovascular training and strength training. Moderately intense means, that you should break a sweat, breath heavier than normal, and not be able to carry on a conversation. However, make sure you are still breathing! A good rule of thumb is that you are able to say two sentences without having to stop to take a breath. If you want to be technical, you can take your maximum heart (Your maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age) rate and times it by.6 and.8. Your exercising heart rate should be in that rage if you are healthy. (ACE, Personal Trainer Manual).
By Amanda Alden, Ignited Fitness
I am Amanda Alden and am the owner of Ignited Fitness, which is a new and exciting fitness training program that quickly gets you in shape! I use a holistic approach the incorporates knowledge, motivation, support, nutrition, goal-setting, cardio, and strength training. I give you the knowledge and skills you need to make health and fitness a integral part of your life. The services I offer include boot camp training, one-on-one training, online training, family training, and corporate training. Check out my website at http://www.ignitedfitness.com. Look for my boot camp schedule under my boot camp page! I also have workout videos, such as “Big Booty Meltdown” and “Flabby Arms Workout” on my website or on my YouTube page under amandaaldenfit. You can also find me on Facebook!