Every fall for as long as I could remember started out pretty much the same. My summer was filled with food and drinks and I was ready to do away with all of the junk I consumed to get healthy once and for all. Fall seemed to be the perfect time to start that process. Since there weren’t as many social outings, I could put down the alcohol and pick up the elliptical training once again. I also had many months before the next summer to slim down.
September always started out well. Sometimes the weekends were filled with the many comfort foods that colder weather often brings, but indulging just two days per week was better than every day of the week. Even with an occasional screw up, I still had many months of sweater season to get my weight under control. Then, as it does every year, October hits. A mini Snickers here and there won’t absolutely kill all of my efforts, right? I am still getting in my cardio daily. How much harm could there be?
Let’s face it, in October candy is everywhere. And caramel apples with tiny nuts. And creamy potato soup with french bread. October eventually turns into all of the mini candy I can eat for an entire month in addition to my favorite fall comfort foods. Plus the first two weeks of November are pretty much down the drain with leftover Halloween candy. The weather gets even colder, causing me to reach for hot, carb-filled favorites like chili and mac and cheese. Hey, what happens at the end of November? Oh right, Thanksgiving. A dieter’s worst enemy. Which leads us right into Christmas, New Year’s and all of the chocolate I can eat up until Valentine’s day. Sweet, viscous sugar.
Needless to say, instead of shaping up like I hoped in the final stretch of every year, I just had to buy another pants size larger for the winter months while vowing to change my ways before summer came back again. Every single fall for every single year as far back as I can remember. Last year was finally the year I decided to change that pattern and actually stick with it. I already lost around twenty pounds the previous spring after finding the book Kick Your Fat in the Nuts. During the summer I did not put any pressure on myself to lose more weight, so I did not pay as close attention and I stopped taking my digestive supplements just to see what would happen. The good news is I did not gain any weight, but I did not lose any either, which still meant I was quite a distance from my original goal. In the back of my mind I dreaded the upcoming fall and was afraid of slipping back into the same old pattern I repeated for the previous twenty or so years.
What really shocked me is over the holiday season is I did not gain a single pound. Not only that, but I actually lost ten pounds between Halloween and Christmas. I believe in Christmas miracles as much as the next gal, but a miracle this was not. It took effort on my part. After taking the steps to correct my digestion, journal my food and exercise, and saving the holiday foods just for their intended days, I feel I achieved the impossible! Even better, after the holidays I accelerated my efforts until I reached my final goal of losing seventy pounds.
Fixing the way you digest your food through nutrition and natural supplements is one of the most important steps you can take. Measuring your body chemistry to identify which imbalances you may be dealing with is equally important. Without taking these two very important steps, you are likely to keep losing and regaining the same weight you have been for many years no matter what diet advice you follow. That is if you can even lose any weight in the first place. I have no doubt I have lost hundreds of pounds over my dieting career and gained back those hundreds of pounds in thirty to forty pound increments several times over. It was not until I corrected the way my body digested fats and proteins that I finally knew I would not regain the weight I worked so hard to lose. I have finally retired as a professional dieter and reinvented myself as a happy, healthy woman full of life and energy who knows she will never stop to read about another fad diet for as long as she lives. (Unless I want to tell you how bad the advice is, of course)
That being said, it is very hard to give anyone diet advice without knowing what they are up against. Just about every article you read that tells you how to drop the weight once and for all is completely full of crap because the author does not know you personally. Without knowing how your digestion is working or what imbalances you are dealing with, weight loss advice is just like disciplining your two-year old child. You yell no all day long and eventually he might listen to one of your demands, but you never know which one he will listen to or how long he will behave.
I can give you some of the tips I followed last holiday season to help me drop ten pounds while everyone else around me gained ten. My body listened to all of my demands once I put in the work of fixing my digestion and eating nutrient dense foods.
1. Food Journal
WeThis is a tip you have probably heard time and again, but that is because it works. The act of writing down everything you eat will not in and of itself take off the pounds, but it will make you aware of what you are putting into your mouth. Take a small notepad with you everywhere you go and write down what you eat right after you eat it. It is easy to forget small bites here and there if you wait to write something down until later. Sometimes a small bite here or there can really make a difference.
You don’t need to become a food scientist while keeping a food journal. If you are too specific, you may not want to put in the work of writing your foods down. Simply jot down the time you ate, approximate portions of what you ate and how you felt after the meal. (Still hungry? Bloated? Satisfied?) You can also add your workouts if keeping track of that information is important to you. Take the time to review your journal to find out which foods are making you feel good and which are not quite working towards your goal of better health.
2. Eat Real Food
I am sure this is yet another rule you have heard over and over again, but have you listened to it? Eating real food that was once a part of nature is very important for good health. Human bodies were not made to break down the toxic chemicals that many people consider food. Your body has a natural mechanism to know when to stop eating real foods and that same mechanism does not work with processed junk. Once you get on the junk roller coaster for the day it is very difficult to ever feel full, so you keep eating and eating and never quite feel satisfied. This is the reason you cannot eat just one potato chip. This does not even take into account that you are not taking in the valuable nutrients you need for health and vitality. If a food was manufactured by a food scientist or has a label, do your best to seek out a better option.
3. Eat Eggs Every Morning
Eggs have really gotten a bad rap in the media, but that message is so 1985. The saturated fat in eggs do not play a part in raising your bad cholesterol levels; the carbohydrates like cereal and bagels that you replaced your eggs with are the real culprit. Eggs are actually one of the most nutrient dense foods you can consume. Not only that, but when you consume eggs in the morning they will help you feel full longer and will help you eat less throughout the remainder of the day.
If you are not a fan of eggs or do not want to eat them every morning, at least ditch the breakfast carbs. If you have insulin sensitivity issues, and in our over-carbohydrated society most Americans do, your insulin is the most sensitive in the morning. Do your best to avoid huge insulin spikes in the early part of the day. Try a protein shake with veggies mixed in or even have lunch for breakfast by heating up some of last night’s leftovers. Skipping the heavy carbs in the mornings will help you have more energy all day long while making it easier for you to naturally slim down.
4. Eat Less than 25 Grams of Carbs at Most Meals
While we are on the insulin topic, out of control insulin levels are the reason a lot of people gain weight and become diseased. Every time you eat a carbohydrate heavy meal or snack not only are you taken out of the fat burning zone for a significant amount of time after that meal, but you are actually storing more fat. Human bodies do not need all of the glucose they receive from a plate of spaghetti to function, so the excess carbohydrates taken in are stored as fat. If you keep eating carb heavy meal after carb heavy meal your body will never enter a fat burning zone and you will never take off the weight you want to lose.
When you keep most meals to 25 grams of carbohydrates or less, you are giving your body a chance to quickly burn the glucose you ate and then resume burning the fat you already have stored on your thighs. Also, when you lower the levels of carbohydrates in your meals and snacks, you just aren’t as hungry as you were when you were pounding the sugar down your throat. It is also important to eat carbohydrates that are lower on the glycemic index scale to avoid large insulin spikes, such as berries or sweet potatoes. Keep in mind, if you have not taken the steps to correct the way your body digests proteins and fats it may be difficult for you to lower the carbohydrates in your meals and snacks. Until you take this step you may need to eat more carbohydrates just to function as a normal human being. This will delay your fat loss progress.
5. Quit the Liquid Sugars
Most people understand that eating a candy bar full of sugar is not healthy for anyone, yet a lot of these same people will gulp down a glass of orange juice and think they are doing a wonderful thing for their health. I have news for you: the candy bar is actually much healthier than that glass of orange juice. When you take any kind of sugar and make it into a liquid form you are getting a huge rush of sugar that spikes your insulin. At least when you eat a candy bar your body has to break it down and process it, causing a less severe insulin spike. Not to mention most candy bars have protein and fat; juice is mostly sugar.
Drinking a lot of juice, smoothies filled with fruit, soda and yes, even alcohol, is a great way to drink yourself into Type II Diabetes, not to mention it is the fastest way to pack on the pounds since the excess carbohydrates will only make you hungrier for more carbohydrates. I know it is a bummer giving up alcohol, but if your health is important to you, it is worth giving it a shot. Pregnant women give up alcohol for at least nine months; surely you can test giving it up for a month or two to see how greatly your health improves.
6. Stop Counting Calories
If you are busy counting your calories to drop weight then you are most likely not eating real food. I have already explained the evils of this in tip #2. When you eat real food your body self regulates and you have no need to monitor how many calories you are consuming. Not only that, but when you start to cut your calories too low your body will go into starvation mode and hold on to every calorie you consume to store as fat. You will feel jittery, weak and just all around awful. Believe me, I did this for many, many years. Sure cutting my calories did take some weight off in the short-term, but I always gained back more weight in the long-term. If you are eating the nutrient dense foods you need for good health (as well as digesting them properly), the calories take care of themselves. You will feel satisfied and full of energy instead of hungry and run down.
At the same time, do not think this is a free pass to eat at an all day health food buffet. Food is still fuel for your body, and if you take in too much fuel your body will store it as fat for later use. If you are taking in too much healthy fuel, your body will never let go of stored fat. It is your job to eat until you feel satisfied, not stuffed. Eating real food will help you identify this more easily than a bunch of processed junk.
7. Relax a Little
Maintaining an active lifestyle is important for overall health. If you do not want to be couch bound when you are older, stay active now. However, spending hours in the gym is not the key to losing weight. You lose your pounds in the kitchen and your ounces in the gym, so which do you think is the more important aspect of health on which to focus? Grueling workouts at the gym are running you into the ground and most likely causing you to eat more food over the course of the day. I’m sure you have heard calories in verses calories out over and over and over again. It is not true. Since I switched over to burning fat for fuel instead of glucose, I have eaten more calories than I ever have in my life. I am down more than seventy pounds and maintain my weight with ease. Did I mention I have never felt better? Probably. And I plan to keep mentioning it because there is no better feeling than that of great health.
If you are looking for a great fat burning workout, look no further than a simple walk. The key to making the most out of your walk is all in the timing. If you walk first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, your body has already burned through all of its glucose during the night and is set up to burn your stored fat.If you have extra energy in the morning and want to put it into your workout, try running for one minute and walking for the next three. Repeat this cycle for up to 45 minutes. Be sure not to eat anything until at least an hour after you completed your walk, as your body is still busy burning up stored fat. Eat breakfast within an hour and a half to avoid your body using muscle as fuel.
8. Eat More Fat to Lose More Fat
Healthy fats, such as saturated and monounsaturated fats, are necessary for every function of your body. If you quit eating them because some nutrition guru said so, quite simply your body may quit functioning. I am not saying you are going to die from not eating fats, but you are not going to function at your most optimal level. If you quit bringing in the fats your body requires then it will hold onto the fat you already have stored because it does not know the next time it will get the fat it needs. Not only will you have so much energy and better focus, but fat is delicious! Who among us does not like guacamole, full fat sour cream, and real butter? These are the foods that keep you satisfied and help you burn fat.
If you have been cutting out the fat for a while, please keep in mind it may take time for your body to adjust to consuming more fat. If you start breaking out or feeling nauseous after ramping up your fat intake, chances are you need to consume it at a slower pace to give your body a chance to produce more bile to move the fat through your system. Taking the supplement Beet Flow is a short cut to get your bile moving, making it easier to consume fats on a regular basis. Also, be sure to steer clear of trans-fats and cut out polyunsaturated fats wherever you can. These are the fats that are destroying your health.
To learn more about how your body can better digest the foods you eat, especially the healthy fats you desperately need, click here for an almost free four week digestion course.
9. Eat Your Vegetables
Come on, we all know we need to eat our greens. (and reds, and oranges; yellows and whites too) If you do not eat vegetables on a regular basis chances are there are not a whole lot of vegetables you actually enjoy. Try them again, only this time cook them in butter! I promise zucchini and broccoli taste so much better with sweet cream butter and salt smothered all over them. Find other ways of sneaking them into your diet as well. Cut up onions and peppers for your morning eggs; add some spinach to your protein shake; stir zucchini into your pasta sauce (just hold the noodles; or better yet, use zucchini as the noodles). Add a portion of vegetables to each meal and snack throughout your day to get the much-needed nutrients found in them all day long.
10. Don’t Forget the Chocolate
But wait, didn’t I warn earlier against consuming sugar? Well, I don’t mean the junk you find at the grocery store checkout line. When you consume a high quality dark chocolate, you are actually consuming very little sugar and instead getting a good dose of antioxidants and saturated fat. Saving this chocolate as your evening dessert may even help you sleep since the saturated fat helps your body get into your natural rest and relaxation mode. Plus, having this extra treat may help you crave less of the junk that is piling on the pounds.
When choosing a dark chocolate, aim for 70 percent dark cocoa or higher. Also non-gmo or organic with any of your food choices will save your body from having to deal with excess toxins, which can free it up for other functions like burning stored fat. Win, win!
There you have it. Those are many of the ways I not only avoided gaining excess weight last holiday season, but how I actually lost ten pounds during the most sugary time of the year. I am sure some of the tips you heard before, some are brand new and with some you probably have been given the exact opposite advice time and again. To that I ask, how has that regurgitated advice worked for you thus far? If you are where you want to be health-wise you probably would not be seeking out yet another list of dieting tips.
This holiday season keep this list handy and give my tips a try. I have a feeling you will have your healthiest holiday season yet and will be well on your way to looking and feeling your best in 2016. It is a great time to get a jump on any New Year’s resolutions that are swirling around your head.
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