Monday, December 6, 2010
Losing the Thanksgiving Weight You Just Gained (Part 2)
In the last post I told you how NOT to gain the holiday weight in the first place. This time, we'll talk about how to lose it, since we all know you're going to gain it, no matter whose blog you're reading.
Here are 5 rules to obey, starting December 26th. January 2nd? Okay... how about some time in January.
1. Take out the fluffy stuff from your diet, or at least decrease your intake of it. Extra refined carbs (grains, added sugars, bread, cereal, pasta, hamburger buns, sugary drinks, etc.) are not doing you any good here. Vegetables and fruit are also carbohydrates, but they're complex carbs, and I've never seen anyone gain weight because they were eating too many vegetables. I'm just talking about the refined carbs. If it's not a vegetable or a fruit or it doesn't say "whole grain _____ flour" on the packaging, it's most likely refined.
2. Eat at regular intervals. Try to go no longer than 4 hours at a time (except when you're asleep) without eating. That looks like this:
8am - Breakfast
12pm - Lunch
3-4pm - Snack
6-8pm - Dinner
(Notice there's no dessert here. Go ahead and have it once in a while, but take note of how you feel afterward, how you sleep, and your mood when you wake up.)
The reason for the frequent eating is that it regulates your blood sugar, which has most likely been damaged throughout your life if you are a normal American. When your blood sugar crashes and you bonk, your body starts storing fat. When your blood sugar spikes from binging on sugar, your body starts storing fat. See the trend? Don't bonk, don't binge - eat regularly.
3. Eat protein, fat, and complex carbs every single time you eat a meal or snack. It heals your bonking blood sugar and gives you sustainable energy. It lets your body know you're not starving so that it doesn't hold onto every pound of fat you begrudgingly own.
Protein is meat, fish, beans, raw cheese (if you insist on having cheese), seeds and nuts.
Good fats are coconut oil, unheated olive oil, nuts, seeds, most meat, avocados and whole, raw milk (again, if you insist on having milk).
Complex carbs are veggies, fruits, whole grains and legumes (not that I'm a huge fan of the two latter...)
Yes, some foods belong in more than one category. If you pick one or two things from every category and put them in your mouth in combination every time you eat, you will achieve rule number 3. And by the way, I'm always, always a fan of organic, grass-fed and pasture-raised foods whenever possible.
4. Stop drinking sugar. Stop. Drinking. Sugar. Drink water instead. Do I actually need to say why? Even if you think you're doing yourself a favor by drinking diet drinks, artificial sweeteners are linked with obesity, cravings, oh, and MS and other atrocities.
Also, alcohol acts much like sugar in your body, and one 5 oz glass of red wine contains about 130 calories. You'd have to walk for 35 minutes to burn just that off. Ha! I think that means you'd have to walk for about 6 days to burn off the entire turkey dinner.
Speaking of which...
5. Move your body. I refuse to say anything along the lines of, "... must do cardio for at least 30 minutes 3 times per week..." or "...should lift heavy things for one hour at least 5 times per week..." because it's ridiculous. Most people will not stick with a gym membership unless they actually enjoy doing reps on a pull-down machine OR unless they are masochistic. So I'm not going to tell someone to go do something that I know won't last. But you have to do SOMETHING. Move your body because it feels good to go outside and take a walk in the fresh air. Give yourself a break from your life to play a game of indoor soccer every week. Go see Sam Iannetta at Functional Fitness because you want a highly entertaining genius to be your personal trainer. Find a hobby that you like that just so happens to involve moving your body. Yes, that might mean looking like a total gumby in the racquetball court your first few times, but who cares? I sucked at rock climbing for the first 10 years that I did it, but I kept going because it felt good and it made me strong. Just DO something regularly and you'll be better off than if you didn't.
I didn't say anything about calories here because that can get confusing. If you want to know how much you should be eating, there are a ton of free online calorie counters/weight loss tools with apps for your iPhone. Or you can hire a friendly nutrition professional to help you with that task. Although I don't agree with everything these websites advocate, the ones I like the most are:
Good luck on your battle with the bulge. I wish you clarity of mind, self restraint and a significant other with a key to your refrigerator door.
Until next time...