Let's start with the bad news. There is NO magic pill, supplement, or diet plan to loose weight easily. Fat will NOT magically melt off our bodies. There is no ONE BEST exercise. I am sorry to break this news to you.
The good news is that we can all be at a healthy weight, get our blood pressure and cholesterol levels to a healthy number, and make our muscles and hearts stronger. A little bad news again...it takes some effort, thought, and planning. I have had many friends ask what plan I follow, and how I have lost weight on my journey. When I tell them I have been eating clean and exercising (including cardio, strength training, and flexibility), some of them really don't want to put forth that effort. Well, if you don't put any effort into it, you really can't expect to see any results. Trust me on this one. I am a lifetime member of Weight Watchers, lifetime member of Fitness World...a now long defunct fitness gym in Memphis, calorie counter, yada yada yada. Yes, I have tried it all. But it takes a lifestyle change to last.
Today's topic is Sugar...I mean poison. It is as addicting as cocaine. Hello, my name is Sheila, and I was addicted to sugar. Though it does taste so good, sugar is very inflammatory to our bodies. Anything that causes inflammation causes disease. Heart disease, cancer, kidney failure, diabetes, arthritis are all related to and worsened by inflammation. Inflammation at the cellular level also causes our bodies to put on fat. Let me explain this. When we ingest sugar, our bodies break it down and it gets into the bloodstream. Sugar molecules are large molecules, and are like small shards of glass floating around in the blood vessels. These large molecules cannot get through the small vessels of the kidneys, retinas, and heart and brain...causing kidney failure, blindness, and blocked arteries that can lead to heart attacks or strokes. Our bodies respond to the sugar by pumping out insulin. Insulin helps the glucose to get into the cells where it can be utilized by the body, and out of the bloodstream. This brings our glucose levels back closer to normal, but these insulin surges cause the release of cortisol by the adrenal glands. In the presence of cortisol, our bodies effort to lose fat is on lock-down. It can't happen. Not to mention, the excess cortisol causes insomnia,increased heart rate or palpitations, irritability, fatigue, increase in blood pressure, muscle tension, among other uncomfortable synptoms.
This is why it is recommended to eat every 4 hours to keep blood sugar levels at a more even keel, and to increase metabolism. Each meal or mini-meal should include a small amount of healthy fat, protein, and carbohydrate...just not in the form of sugar. Whole, natural foods are the way God intended for us to get our sugars. Think fruits and veggies, and whole grains. An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
Warning: watch any food that claims to be low fat---they usually have to add lots of sugar to make it palatable. Read labels!!!!!
"What do you eat?", you ask.
A typical day's diet for me might be:
breakfast : a protein shake as I have shown on a previous post
snack: a few dates and small handful of almonds
lunch: large salad full of veggies, with a boiled egg, diced chicken,a few walnuts, and olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing
snack: yogurt with some granola , or an apple and some natural peanut butter, or some cottage cheese and sliced peaches or pears
dinner: lean meat like chicken, baked sweet potato, and some cooked spinach
I go to bed pretty early, so I don't usually need another snack late-night, but if you are up late, your body needs fuel.
This may sound boring, but it is really easy. There are ways to "clean up" just about any recipe you have. Read some clean-eating magazines and cook-books for new recipes. Search the internet for clean eating blogs. Some of them have some great recipes. Here are a few of my favorites sites:
Start slowly, start simply...just start somewhere. Make a few better choices. I promise once the sugar is out of your system, you will no longer crave it. And you will feel SOOOO much better and have more energy.