Are you getting ready for the new year? Start planning now!
The New Year is approaching quickly and many of you are thinking about your New Year's resolution to start losing weight, get in shape and change your life. With the New Year just around the corner, that can mean only one thing--it's Challenge time!
Chippewa Valley Challenge starts January 6 and now is the best time for you to plan your eating and figure out how you're going to start exercising. If you wait until after the first of the year you may already be too late.
As many of you know, we don't recommend dieting. Dieting sucks. No one can live constantly dieting all the time. What we recommend is eating lean and clean and changing your lifestyle. So what does that mean? It means eating more lean meats, eating more vegetables, eating things that are in their nature form and have a shorter expiration date. We also recommend cutting out refined sugar; that means limiting the amount of sweet treats and desserts you're going to eat. Once you cut those sugars and simple carbs, your body will stop craving them.
We are not saying torture yourself and never have anything sweet, but why not have a piece of fruit or some sugar free Jell-O instead? These are some great low fat, low calorie alternatives for dessert. We do believe that desserts in moderation are okay. You can still have a piece of cake or a cupcake every now and again, just not 5 or 6 of them in one sitting. Now is the time to do your research and figure out what kind of sweet treat you can give yourself that's not going to cause you to fall off the wagon and possibly crave even more sweets. Notice where our minds are, always on dessert first. :)
What to eat?
So when we talk about eating lean and clean we're talking about eating the proper foods. We recommend going to a local grocery store and buying fresh skinless chicken breast, lean ground turkey and white fish such as tilapia, cod and haddock. But make sure that it is not breaded or deep fried! And if you want beef, go ahead and get beef, but make sure that is a lean cut or lean ground beef. Get yourself some frozen or fresh vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, spinach (yes spinach...either chopped frozen or fresh) asparagus and of course, sweet potatoes.
Breakfast is still the most important meal of the day!
One very important part of changing your lifestyle and losing weight is actually eating more. For most of us who have gained weight, our metabolism has slowed down too much. The trick to speeding up your metabolism is to eat healthy, wholesome food more often. What better way to do that then to start off your day with a good, healthy and nutritious protein-laden breakfast. Here is an example of what I eat for breakfast--egg whites and Ezekiel bread. And if you don't know what is the Ezekiel bread is, start doing your research. Eqg whites can be purchased at any grocery store and they come in a carton or you can simply separate your eggs on your own.
Another good breakfast idea is to make yourself a healthy shake. I recommend purchasing some whey protein (chocolate, vanilla, or whatever flavor you like) and then add some skim milk or almond milk and put in some egg whites. Blend these ingredients together with a cup of ice and you have yourself a thick, delicious and protein-rich shake. Remember, we said that in order to boost your metabolism, you need to eat more often. So about 3 hours after breakfast, you're going to need to eat again. Aim for 5-6 meals per day. So how are you going to keep up with eating all of these meals? The first thing you need to do is learn how to make meals ahead of time so you can take meals with you to work or to have a meal in your refrigerator ready to go.
Here are some examples of a meal:
Eat this type of meal twice to 3 times a day and make the other "meals" more snack-like. Try foods like an apple, a banana, rice cakes with some natural peanut or almond butter, Greek yogurt or a protein shake. I know it sounds like a lot of food, but you need to fuel your body and by eating more often you're firing up your metabolism.
So now that you are eating more often and consuming a lot more protein what do you think you need to do? EXERCISE! This is where we feel your lifestyle change needs to begin. You need to stop thinking about exercising, get up and actually start moving! We highly recommend starting your research now and figuring out where you're going to be doing for exercise. We don't care if you join a health club or do something at home. The important thing is that you make a plan. With that being said, we do feel that having a gym membership and actually investing in yourself, making a monetary commitment, will help force you into getting up and working out. The beginning of the year is upon us and we all want to lose a few of the pounds right away, so let's do it smart. We recommend starting your day with cardio within 30 minutes of waking up before you have had anything to eat. By doing 30-45 minutes of cardio in the morning, you start your day off by burning calories and fire up your metabolism. If you get into the habit of exercising right away in the morning, your body and mind will grow accustom to that early morning jump start and eventually crave it. I know for me, my internal alarm clock goes off every morning and I go to the gym spending at least 30-40 minutes exercising on the treadmill or Elliptical. One other thing we recommend is incorporating strength training into your routine. There are many benefits from strength training, but as far as shear weight/fat loss, strength training helps you to continue to burn calories throughout your day. You will also start replacing fat with muscle.
Remember there's more to weight loss than just losing a few pounds. Lowering your body fat and losing inches are huge factors in seeing the results of weight loss. These are just a few hints and ideas we recommend in helping you "Focus on a Healthier You!"