Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Little Something

Here's something I wrote for my bootcamp members earlier today and decided to share with you, too:

If you really want to jumpstart weight loss, following the foods sheet I gave you is absolutely critical (as is planning ahead and logging what you eat). Here's another option to kickstart the weight loss, but requires planning so you don't dive for the potato chips at first chance: challenge yourself to ONLY eat fish/meat, vegetables, and fruit with limited amounts of dairy and wheat. If your eating isn't very good to begin with, I suggest working your way up the continuum first, otherwise, you might find that you have a reaction very similar to a drug addiction when you start eating this way. Why? Because many of us actually ARE addicted! We're addicted to processed carbs, salt, caffeine, and/or all of the above. Going cold turkey works for many, as once the first three days are over, the cravings disappear and the energy levels soar. However, for some of us (myself included), cold turkey means that we last two days (or even only one) before the first junk that comes our way finds itself in the mouth. So, work towards it, but don't see it as an end-all-be-all!

Nutrition in order of priority:
1) Logging what you are eating
If you don't log what you eat, you'll never know how much you actually ARE eating. Most people underestimate their calories by 100-700 calories PER DAY. So write it down. It's especially important if you have a day where you felt your nutrition was less than stellar. Also, be honest. When you lie on the paper, you're only lying to your conscious brain. That's no good for you, and can only make you depressed. If you log what you eat, you are accountable. That's usually enough for a lot of people to stop and think about what they're actually putting in their mouth.

2) Planning what you will eat
If you plan ahead and write it down, you can go on autopilot. We all know how easy autopilot is, since we follow autopilot most of our days! Don't let analysis by paralysis happen. Just plan out what you would normally eat, then find two or more areas where you can "tweak" the nutrition up a notch. You already eat every day, so obviously there is a plan or routine you follow.

3) Eating more vegetables
Eating fruit is easy. While most of us don't eat enough of it, it's really the vegetables that are the major players in the game (and also the most ignored). Work toward getting more than 5 servings of vegetables per day. And yes, you really can eat more than one or two servings of vegetables in one meal, it's okay! I cannot reiterate the importance of these foods enough. Hungry? Reach for carrots, lettuce, spinach, celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, and more- they'll satisfy the appetite, add fiber and water to your diet, and give you a dose of nutrition that your body is actually looking for (your body isn't just looking for calories- it's looking for vitamins and minerals, too!).

4) Drink your water
Go ahead, drink it now. I'll wait. The more water you drink in a day, the better you will feel, I promise. Try not to gulp it all down at once- small portions is better. If you have a habit of drinking 20 oz once every two hours, your body doesn't use it as well as it does if you drink 4-6 oz every half hour. However, the important thing is to just get it in. Hydration equals higher energy, better workouts, more utilization of nutrients (food digests easier and better), and appetite depression (not as hungry! Yay!) Get a bare MINIMUM of 64 ounces (2 liters, or 8- 8 oz. glasses) per day, and shoot for an ideal 80-100 ounces.

5) Eat the fruit
Just because I put vegetables higher on the priority list does NOT mean I want you to ignore the powerful fruit. This stuff is nutrient-dense, full of fiber, good sugars (energy! and sweetness!), very portable (grab and go), and tastes wonderful. I want you to focus on vegetables because they tend to have more bulk for less calories, but fruit is the next best thing.

6) Eat protein
The bare MINIMUM of protein you should be eating a day is 65 grams (a 3 oz chicken breast is 21 grams). This minimum is set up for people who are sedentary, and you are not. Protein contains amino acids, which happen to be the building blocks of our muscles. You want muscle? Eat protein and lift weights (or do exercises similar to the ones we do in bootcamp). It's also a wonderful appetite suppressant, meaning if you eat protein, you'll eat fewer calories than you would if you ate carbohydrates. This is part of the reason why low-carb diets work. However, I advocate that you have your carbs in the form of veggies and fruit, so I don't advocate a low-carb diet. How much protein should you be eating? For women, I recommend approximately 90-125 grams per day. For men, I recommend 125-150 grams per day.

So, not only am I telling my clients this, but I'm following it myself (or at least working toward it). I'm definitely not perfect. I have yet to do #2. However, a couple hours after writing my first post yesterday, there was a mind shift that has left me much happier: I WANT to do this. I have accountability. I am pleased to be offering this opportunity to myself, and to others. So, today's choices weren't too difficult. I slogged through the snow, leaving my warm post at the coffee shop, to do my workout. I didn't choose the salad bar for lunch because I was cold, but I chose a food option with plenty of veggies and healthy nuts (cashew chicken with carrots, celery, water chestnuts) and steamed rice-and only ate half the rice portion. I did fall for the hot chocolate at the coffee shop, but since I don't drink coffee, that doesn't leave me much to purchase. I don't want to feel like a complete noob for using the Wi-Fi without supporting the business. Supper was great- we went to the pizza place, but both hubby and I got the taco salad rather than any pizza. I avoided the Doritos placed in said salad as much as possible. I believe I left an entire bag in that bowl! Today was an intentional high-calorie day, and I'm feeling pretty good!

Today's workout (I forgot the actual one in my car, so here's what came out on the spot):
30 seconds each exercise, 5 seconds transition between, 1 min rest between each circuit, 3x through total
DB Squats (20 lbs total, 10 lb ea)
Mountain Climbers
Split Squats Side 1
Split Squats Side 2
Jump Rope

Hardcore workout, honestly, and very ab-focused. I was still asking for breath 15 minutes later. Otherwise, I got lots of energy from it!

Actual food for the day:
Breakfast: 1 cup Life Cereal, 1/2 cup milk
Lunch: Cashew Chicken, rice, eggroll, fortune cookie
Snack: Hot Chocolate
Dinner: Taco Salad
Water: 2 liters

Still working on getting the veggie intake up, but it's about twice the amount I had yesterday, which is good.

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