How to Be Lean for Life !!!
(the following article was written by nutritionist Sarah Rowe and posted here with her permission)
Your body wants to be lean. Excess weight burdens your body and causes hormonal problems. Your body would much rather be healthy, energetic, and vibrant. Unfortunately, if you try to get there too fast, it will shock your system and your body will fight you in your efforts.
Dieting tells your body food is scarce and that it needs to squeeze every calorie out of the food you eat. Because it does not know when the next meal is coming, it enters into a defensive mode and begins slowing your metabolism. This is turn catalyzes all sorts of changes in your body for the purpose of conserving energy.
Do you see how all these changes make it nearly impossible for you to feel good and lose weight? On the opposite side of the spectrum, when you eat enough food (or a little extra), the following changes happen:
Those positive effects will be exacerbated when you eat enough of the right foods instead of simply eating enough, though both ways will get results. The difference is, when you eat enough (or more) of whatever you want, weight gain is often involved. When you eat enough of the right foods, there is no weight gain (unless you're underweight).
How to Eat
This is probably the most difficult part for most people. I'm the cleanest eater I know, yet it took me several months to fully transition my diet.
I'm not going to tell you to eat low carb, low fat, or low calorie. Instead, I'm going to tell you to eat high nutrients.
What does high nutrients mean? Well, exactly what it sounds like. It means changing the way you eat to nourish your body and supply it with the materials it needs to function well. Here's the basic premise of what to eat:
As you can see, there are lot of options there, and all of those foods are delicious. Now let's look athow to eat:
1. Slowly & Mindfully
2. When Hungry
3. In the Right Amounts
4. At the Right Times
5. When Cravings Hit
If you eat this way you will lose weight. But only if you eat enough, eat slowly, and don't deprive yourself.
Craving something sweet? Eat a piece of ripe fruit, some dark chocolate, or some honey. I only included homemade desserts up there because I ate them while I was transitioning to a clean, unprocessed diet, and I still do on occasion. But please don't overdo it. If you live off of homemade brownies and cupcakes, you will most likely not lose any weight, and you'll be doing your body a disservice because those foods will take the place of healthier ones. I'd recommend this Flourless Brownies Recipe because the ingredients of all relatively unprocessed, and it's a great transition food from traditional store bought desserts to a healthy lifestyle (and like I said, I still make them sometimes too).
If you crave something fatty, go for some raw cheese. Something salty, make your own french fries (it's easy, quick, and delicious) Baked French Fries I Recipe.
I just realized this answer is really long, so I'll make the rest quick.
Sit as little as possible. Even just a few straight hours of sitting can induce insulin resistance, and also shuts of fat-burning enzymes, causes back problems, and reduces your life span (literally). Plus, sitting simply burns less calories than standing or walking.
Invest in a standing desk or create your own. I just bought a couple of individual shelves and stacked them on top of the desk I already had.
Even better, get a treadmill desk. If you absolutely must sit, then you can still get bike pedals to go under your chair DeskCycle Under Desk Exercise Bike.
Take walks, in nature and sunlight if possible. This will help your mental and physical state. It's really an amazing stress reliever.
Sleep is of paramount importance to your health. Just one bad night of sleep can disrupt hormones to increase hunger and reduce energy.
To help prevent insomnia, get outside in the sun during the day so that your brain gets the "daytime" signal. After sunset, avoid looking at any blue light (phones, iPads, TVs, computers). If you must be on an electronic after sunset, wear blue blocking glasses Amazon.com: Blue Blocking Driving Horn Rimmed Sunglasses Amber Tinted Lens (Black): Clothing and/or download f.lux for your computer (note that downloading on your phone requires jail-breaking).
Also, relax in the evening and develop a bedtime routine to let your body know it's time to sleep. Consider supplementing with magnesium if you still have trouble falling or staying asleep. Once you adopt this new lifestyle, weight loss will be slower than your typical crash/fad diet, and it will always vary per person. If you're underweight, you will likely gain weight. This is healthy and will enhance your quality of life. If you are overweight, you will likely lose weight faster than a lean person who just wants to get leaner.
Whether you follow this plan or not, a healthy level of weight loss is about 1 pound per week. More than that and you start losing quality of life and your metabolic health deteriorates.
Good luck, and remember, this is supposed to be sustainable. Love your food, your life, and yourself, and weight loss or not, you will be happy and live well.