Healthy Byte: Lose Weight AND Be Happy

NOTE: These exact list of things, like anything else won’t work for everyone. However, I think the general approach has a broad enough applicability to warrant consideration. If we can only implement on 1 thing to eliminate entirely that would bring us one step closer to being healthy in body, mind, & spirit, then this was worth the post.

Losing 70 pounds is tough. Keeping it off for more than a decade is even tougher. Trust me, I tried everything. Once I lost the weight, I thought I’d feel relieved and proud all the time, but what I didn’t expect were the feelings of panic and fear.

I was constantly afraid that I’d end up back where I started and keeping the weight off became an obsession. When I overindulged or wasn’t able to work out, my first thought was that I was going to gain the weight back. It was exhausting and nerve-racking.

But somehow I’ve managed to keep it off and eventually found a way to do it that’s effective, effortless and doesn’t mean living in fear. Here’s what I’ve learned about what it takes.

1. Workouts that I dread.

I used to assign value to workouts purely on the number of calories that they burn so I stuck to brutal, high-intensity workouts that sorta made me miserable and ultimately got me injured and left me feeling burned out. Then, it occurred to me that I’m more than just muscle and fat. So I started only doing workouts that felt good in my body and contributed to the overall well-being of my body, mind and spirit. Now, I actually look forward to my workouts, which means I’ve got no problem getting them in regularly.

2. Eliminating entire categories of food.

Legit food sensitivities and allergies aside, cutting out a whole classification of food is not sustainable, making it a one-way ticket to Frustration City. Our bodies were designed to take in quality fats, protein and carbs (in moderation of course) and each plays a vital role in proper bodily function. Now, over time, I’ve learned that there are certain foods that don’t make me feel the greatest — for example, gummy candies cause my skin to break out, cereal makes me gassy and fried foods make me sluggish — but will an order of fries, a few celebratory cocktails or a birthday cupcake (or two) derail my inner peace and send me into a downward spiral of self-loathing and guilt? Absolutely not. I don’t give food that much power over me anymore.

3. Thinking in terms of calories.

Calories get far too much attention considering that they only tell a small part of the story. So many other things have a direct effect on your body weight and overall health and well-being — for example, hydration, sleep and stress levels all affect how well your body’s internal processes work, including digestion and metabolism. When we focus on calories, we learn that low-calorie means better … but it doesn’t. Many of the most nutritious foods on the planet are calorie dense and many very low-calorie foods have little or no nutritional value. Remember that food is fuel, so quality and nutrition definitely matter.

4. Punishing myself for “slipping up.”

Workouts aren’t punishment and deprivation is cruel. Think of it this way: if your child or pet screwed up, is it okay to run them into the ground or withhold a meal from them? No. So why, oh why, it is okay for us to do it to ourselves?

5. Ignoring the need for recovery.

I used to wear my perpetual muscle soreness like a badge of honor and told myself that I had to work out every day in order to “earn” my calories for that day. Honestly, I wish I could get back all that time I wasted — it didn’t make me stronger, leaner or happier. Our bodies can self-heal, but only if we give them the time to do so. Pushing yourself to the limit every day may seem bad-ass, but it’s robbing your body of the chance to rebuild, adapt and grow stronger.

6. Choosing my workouts based on what I want to look like.

My current workout routine reflects how I want my body to function so that I can do all the things that make my life fun and enjoyable — like teaching yoga, running ultra marathons, playing with my 3-year-old niece and carrying all my groceries in one shot. Here’s the thing: I’ve been a size 18 and I’ve been a size 0 — and everything in between — and it didn’t change how I felt about myself. Losing 70 pounds didn’t make me any less self-conscious about my body. You know what did make a difference? Learning what my body is capable of and developing my strengths. The shape and size of my body don’t define me or affect my overall quality of life.

Originally Posted HERE

HB Sig

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Healthy Byte: Three Steps to Eating Healthier for Life

A happy couple eating in Stockholm, Sweden.Maridav/Shutterstock

Every January, people making resolutions to lose weight are peppered with loads of free dieting advice. Most of it is absolutely terrible, or plain lies. Even worse, many weight loss hucksters over complicate the very simple truths we know about eating for health.

That’s why I love this chart from the Swedish National Food Agency. Its succinct (and still impressively science-based) advice is summed up in this nice graphic:

Sweden’s dietary guidelines summed up in “one minute.”

While American guideline makers are reluctant to urge the public to eat less of anything (lest they offend powerful industry lobby groups), the Swedes are clear about what people really need to cut back on: red and processed meat, salt, and sugar.

Likewise, while fad diet peddlers often suggest people eat a certain “superfood,” avoid some overly specific substance like gluten, or follow a fat-busting workout routine to stay fit, the Swedes keep it real: Just eat more plants and exercise. Instead of suggesting people do the impossible and banish fat from their diets, these Scandinavians are advised to seek out “fabulous fats” in vegetable oils and nuts. (Again, these findings jibe with what researchers have found.)

 “In truth,” the experts at the Swedish food agency write, “most people know perfectly well what they should eat. It’s no secret that vegetables are good for you and sugar isn’t.”
So here’s an idea: Save your money, and tune out the fads you’ll be inundated with this year. Ignore the unreasonable diet plans that time has shown will fail, and forget the punishing workouts. Instead, eat like a Swede.
Originally Posted HERE

HB Sig

Healthy Byte: Lose Weight for Life

There’s no fad diet or miracle pill that will change your body overnight, but losing weight is within your reach — it just might take a little longer than you’d like. Consider this: when you lose weight at a slow and healthy pace, you’ll be more likely to keep it off for good. If you’re done with the days of yo-yo dieting, these 10 tips are the emotional stepping stones to a healthier lifestyle.

  1. Start small: Chances are, if in the past, you’ve tried to change everything all at once, few of your intentions have stuck for good. The answer to staying committed for the long haul is to start small. Make one positive shift every week, instead of overwhelming yourself with a bunch of changes at once.
  2. Find out what fuels you: Whatever your true motivation is, tap into it, and use it. Is it about fitting into a ton of clothes tucked away in the back of your closet? Is it about being lighter and more active, so you can run around outside with your kids? Getting serious about your long-term goals will keep you committed to your lifestyle change.
  3. Don’t focus on deprivation: According to celebrity trainer Heidi Powell, anytime you deprive yourself of food, or of anything, “all you want is what you can’t have!” Take your mind-set away from sacrifice and start celebrating the fact that you’re cultivating a healthier, happier, more energized life.
  4. Learn to love consistency: When you have a regular mealtime schedule and fridge full of fresh produce and healthy staples, making choices that support your goals won’t feel like a constant battle. Remember, this isn’t a quick fix — this is a lifestyle change. After a few weeks, these things will feel like second nature.
  5. Find healthy foods you love: It’s true! Healthy food that supports weight loss can also be delicious! If you’ve been on a solid sugar- and salt-laden diet for years, it will take a little getting used to. But sooner than you think, those cravings start to dissipate, and clean, natural foods sound much more palatable.
  6. Seek out exercise you enjoy: Heading to the gym shouldn’t feel like pulling teeth. Keep on trying new group fitness classes, cardio machines, and different styles of exercise. When you find that one activity that flies by and feels like fun, you’ll know you’ve met your match.
  7. Plan ahead for indulgences whenever possible: Occasionally enjoying a sweet treat or special meal out are essential parts of sustainable weight-loss plan. When you know you’re going to want a burger at your BBQ or an ice cream cone when you’re at the beach next weekend, keep your diet extra clean leading up to your special indulgence. It will make the whole experience that much sweeter.
  8. Have compassion for yourself: Sometimes, we’re triggered by foods around us, we haven’t planned ahead, and slipups happen. Instead of being hard on yourself after eating a food that’s “off-limits,” forgive yourself, and move on. When you treat yourself with kindness, you’ll be able to bounce back and stay on track. Let’s skip the downward spiral of a whole day (or week) filled with junk food, shall we?
  9. Keep setting new goals: As you’re evolving and progressing on your weight-loss journey, your goals have got to keep up! There’s so much to celebrate beyond that number on the scale, and setting specific and personal minigoals like training for a race (or slipping into that pair of old jeans) will help you stay connected.
  10. Picture the new you: If you’ve struggled with your weight for a long time, it can be hard to visualize a new, healthier life. You might not be able to find the words right now, but creating a tangible reminder, like a healthy vision board covered in inspirational images, will help you start to recognize what your dreams look like.

Originally Posted HERE

HB Sig