Thinking about getting in physical shape?
Do you often feel fatigued and lack motivation? Are you gaining weight and feel guilty at times for not taking control of your health? Are you willing to make small shifts to your eating habits and try healthier meals? If so, then please read on as this post is for you.
I will share some recommendations and a list of healthy choices for your meal plans, and if you combine them with the exercises I shared in past posts (refer to them here), you will experience a transformational change in a matter of weeks.
Over the years, I tried a variety of diets to test and learn what works. I had my share of habits and poor meal choices, and at times I admit, I still gravitate to savoury, crunchy snacks. I recently found an alternative to this that I will share in a simple recipe at the end of this post.
The key for me has been to remove as much refined sugar from my diet as possible. It is even better if you can stick to whole natural foods most of the time. Many of us live busy lives, and I understand it can be tough to prepare nutritious meals throughout the day. Taking small steps each day is the way to begin reinforcing a new habit. One way to convince yourself is to test eating only the following lean and low-carb foods for one week to see how it makes you feel. It is a week-long diet high in lean protein and low-carb-vegetables, which are high in fibre. You can essentially refer to this as a detox, and you’ll find it will accelerate your fat burn goals.
- Chicken Breast
- Turkey Breast
- White fish and shellfish
- Eggs (Maximum 2/day or unlimited egg whites
- Vegan Protein shakes
- Brussel Sprouts
- Salads: Arugula, Tomatoes, Onion, Peppers
We can add many more to the list, but this is an excellent start to get the idea. You also want to add some healthy fats to the mix, such as extra virgin olive oils and chia or flaxseed.
I mentioned refined sugar as the #1 thing to avoid during this period. In addition, you should avoid consuming fruit, alcohol, white flour and dairy products. It will be challenging to go a week consuming only these types of whole foods, but I promise you that you will feel great and notice a decrease in inflammation.
If you are already exercising regularly, make sure to continue taking your protein supplements and add a serving of BCAA (Branched-chain amino acid) before your workout.
A vital supplement to consider is magnesium. We do not get enough of it naturally. It also plays an essential role in the brain and body, namely through creating energy, regulating the nervous system and muscle movements. I bring it to your attention here because of our workout routines. We need to boost our intake of magnesium for our muscles to recover faster during resting periods. It helps support the removal of lactic acid that builds up during our exercise routine and causes fatigue. Once you begin taking the supplement, you will notice an actual reduction in muscle soreness compared to what you’re used to the morning following a workout. Test and take 200 mg of magnesium to see how you feel the next morning. I recommend liquid versus capsule form for improved absorption. If you decide on taking the liquid option, remember to keep it refrigerated.
Magnesium also helps reduce stress levels. If you find yourself feeling chronically stressed due to your environment, try getting some in your diet, and you’ll begin to feel better. Other mindful exercise practices significantly reduce stress, and you can find a recommendation in my previous post.
Here are some foods where you get natural magnesium intake:
- Dark green vegetables
- Whole grains
- Soy products
Healthy choices to live well
The food we consume has effects on our quality of life and overall health. Healthy food choices will improve brain function and physical performance. There are so many diet fads out there that it can become confusing to those beginning their journey to improve health. Start by understanding your current mix of macronutrients (Carbs, Protein, Fats). The key is finding the right balance of macronutrients combined with calorie intake and energy exerted through physical movement. My suggestion is to keep it simple, and I will provide more content on this topic in future. Remember that healthy food choices significantly decrease your chances of developing severe and fatal illnesses such as heart disease and cancer in the long run.
Kale chips recipe
I mentioned a recipe for substituting cravings for crunchy, savoury snacks such as potato chips or popcorn. I know for me, it can be challenging to do without, especially when I’m in entertainment mode watching movies or sports. Here is a recipe for Kale chips that I encourage you to try out.
Bake time: 25 minutes
- 1 bunch of kale
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1/2 tablespoon of onion powder
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Place the kale leaves in a bowl, dress with oil, lemon juice, cilantro
- garlic powder, salt and pepper
- Bake for 25 minutes or until crisp, occasionally flip during baking. Remove and allow it to cool. Enjoy
I understand that making habit changes is not easy at first. It takes commitment and a big reason (your WHY) to start the journey. If you can apply daily consistency, it will become automatic for you in the long run, even if it’s just tiny steps at first.
They say it takes a minimum of 66 days of consistent action to form the foundation for a habit, so why not start now? Aim to consume whole natural foods at least 70% of the time, and you’ll be well on your way towards living healthier. Reach out for questions or support at firstname.lastname@example.org. I invite you to comment and share your experience on tackling weight loss below.