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Everyone has or is fighting a battle with weight. It may be struggling to loose weight or struggling to gain weight. I personally have fought with my body for several years to lose weight. I have tried every “fad diet”, “cleanse” and have even resorted to slim fast foods. Over the years I have developed what as worked for me. Everyone’s bodies are different…different shapes, sizes, heights and metabolisms. It’s a process of trial and error constantly. I have developed a few tips during my trial and errors. You obviously do not have to follow all these tips everyday, but do what works best for you and your body.
When humans first evolved, hunger and starvation were a continuous threat to survival… and because of this our bodies have learned to store fat during high calorie times to prepare for low calorie intake times. Just as bears do during hibernation! The issue today is that humans no longer need to fight mammals and travel across deserts to get our food. We have food all around us. We have easy access to food everyday and yet we are still putting are bodies into starvation mode when we skip breakfast to get to school on time or try the new fad depriving diet. Every time we skip a meal, we are encouraging our bodies to store fat. This is the number one tip I can give… EAT. To slim down and build muscle our bodies need nutrient rich foods that are filling and healthy. Do not waste time counting calories… Counting calories can lead to deprivation or even starvation. Listen to your body. If your body is hungry.. feed it! Eat healthy snacks in between meals everyday. I try to eat every 2-3 hours. Once you start working with your body’s natural metabolic clock you will be amazed at how easy it is to shed those pounds.
So here are a few tricks and tips that I follow every day. Obviously when I was first starting out I did not follow them all and when I did it was not consistent. But the when I started doing them everyday I could not believe the change… and you will too!
- Eat protein with every snack. This is my most important rule. I follow this one everyday no matter what. Eating muscle not only triggers muscle growth but also leaves you feeling fuller longer. Protein causes synthesis of muscle, which also burns calories! The most import lifestyle rule in my books is eating protein for breakfast. This allows for a kick-start of muscle building, calorie burning and a metabolism boost. Some delicious protein breakfasts would include egg white omelets, protein smoothies, chia seed pudding, almond oatmeal etc. Dairy products are also a protein source but I do not eat dairy products. Try and eat between 0.54 and 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight (So for example that is 76 – 140 grams of protein daily for a 140-pound woman).
- Fuel your body before and after exercise. Eating before a workout speeds muscle growth and gives you amazing energy for your workout. Eating after a workout allows your body nourishment to repair faster. The longer you wait after a workout to eat the more your body will break down its own muscle to refuel. I try and eat protein and carb snack or meal before and after exercising (within 30 minutes). My go to pre snack is a rice cake with almond butter and honey. My go to post snack is a protein shake or smoothie. YUM.
- Fill up on fruits and veggies. I know, such a boring tip that we hear all the time. But we hear it all the time because it really works, and has amazing benefits. Nature’s foods has the highest amount of nutrients (and vitamins) in the fewest calories (SCORE). I could go through every benefit of fruits and vegetables but I don’t want to completely bore you. Just know that they are crucial in slimming down. Try and eat at least one serving veggies or fruits in every meal. I try to eat my fruit in the morning to give my body time to burn off the natural sugars before bed. I put mixed berries in everything I eat in the morning. I keep a frozen bag (Costco size of course) in my freezer and pull it out every morning. I also have a frozen bag of broccoli that I use when I run out of fresh veggies and cant get to a grocery store. I eat at least one cup of vegetables with lunch and dinner. My go to lunch is ½ cup of brown rice with 1 cup of veggies and a lean protein like half a can of tuna or ½ cup tofu. Dinner varies every time so I can not really give you a rough idea.
- Prep your meals. I have always found it hard to eat right when I have a busy day a head of me. And the last thing I have time for in the morning is packing a lunch. I always went hungry throughout my day or end up buying something unhealthy. I prep every night after dinner. It is so easy to make a little extra dinner then put the left overs in the fridge for dinner the next day. I love my brown rice for lunch. Every sunday I make a big batch and keep it in the fridge for the week.
- Stay away from sugar. Obvious tip I know. The average Canadian drinks about 450 calories a day. That is a lot of calories if you think about it. My average calorie intake varies between 1200 and 1500… (I think, like I said earlier I don’t count calories anymore!). I drink only water and eat only natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup. I don’t believe in artificial low calorie sweeteners that I once lived on. They are so processed and in the end cause serious health affects. It took me a long time to be happy without sugar in my life. Cutting sugars was hard but now I don’t crave them at all. I crave natural sugars like honey, maple syrup, almond butter and tea. I could not believe the change in my cravings after about a month of a sugar free lifestyle.
- Reduce Stress. This is a tough one. I found that It took me a few months of eating health and exercising to eliminate stress from my life (not entirely of course). Turns out, stress is a serious problem these days among woman. Stress can lead to overeating, skipping meals, not sleeping well etc. Heavier individuals reported higher levels of stress then normal-weight individuals (in a survey by American Psychological Association). When under stress, our bodies produce cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that raises blood sugar levels and moves blood away from digestive system to muscles, lowers sex hormones and breaks down protein storage for energy. I understand that it is impossible to eliminate stress from my lifestyle complete, especially being a university student, but little changes can produce positive changes in your life. I turned to running. Running made me happy and lessened my stress levels. It was portal for escape. Some other stress reducers include yoga, hiking, meditation, music, art etc.