"...what a person accomplishes in life is directly correlated with the people around them." - John Berardi

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Weekly Challenge: Habits for Fat Loss

How was the food & symptom tracking this week? Did you learn anything about yourself? I really hope you did. I'm always shocked at how quickly my body responds to gluten and sugar when I haven't been eating it for a while. I quickly had headaches, breakout on my hairline and my stomach bloated like a balloon with random grumbling. Lameness, right? It really is incredible to observe. Experiencing these immediate symptoms again gives me even more motivation to keep them out of my diet as much as possible in order to Optimize Me. :)

I was sadly disappointed in the headaches and stomach pain I experienced this week from even introducing a little bit of my favorite 85% dark chocolate, which has very minimal sugar. Bummer. Pretty sure it's the caffeine. I guess it will become even less frequent in my life because it's just really not worth it when you've been feeling so great!

So, I'm ready for a new challenge, how about you?

There is quite a bit of flexibility in this week's challenge, so you can decide what will benefit you the most! The challenge this week, is to focus on incorporating 1 habit for fat loss. Try to pick one or arrange it so that you can do something with the fat loss habit every day. Here's some ideas you can choose from or make up your own!

1. Ask this at eat meal or snack - Why am I eating this? Hopefully the answer most often, is to nourish your body. There will be times when the honest answer is, "because I'm tired or grumpy". Maybe it "just sounded good" or you're "bored." Whatever the reason, it may be enough to decide not to eat it and maybe you'll still go along with it. The point is to practice becoming more aware of the "why" we eat.

2. Minimize or eliminate sugar - Belly fat LOVES sugar... need I say more on the need to reduce it? Liquid sugar, like soda & juice definitely can contribute to fat accumulation very quickly. Many people may try to convince you that drinking something like orange juice is "healthy" for you but it's essentially straight sugar and your body doesn't know the difference. Also remember, that simple carbohydrates like bread, pasta, potatoes, corn etc. essentially turn into sugar as soon as they enter your body. They are the perfect recipe for body fat...

3. Smarter Exercise - There are so many ways to do burst/interval exercises and they are fantastic because you get so much bang for your buck! They can take as little as a few minutes and really work out your entire body. Try to think harder, not necessarily longer. Consider trying out a few of these this week.

4. Increase Water Intake - If you're not drinking roughly half your weight in ounces of water each day, you may not be getting enough. If you're a nursing mother or exercising quite a bit, you'll need even more water each day. Sometimes we also overeat because we think we're hungry but are actually dehydrated.

5. Food Timing - You could try a couple of different things with this one. I'm going to be making sure I stop eating 3-4 hours before going to sleep. Another idea would be to eat every 4-6 hours during the day. Our bodies need a break from food sometimes and so deliberate food timing can allow our bodies to access body fat more often for energy.

6. Sleep - I've mentioned it before, but if you're not getting 7-9 hours of sleep at night, you're likely experiencing higher levels of cortisol, which can contribute to fat around the waistline. Cortisol is a hormone that is very influential on your other hormones. We need all hormones firing at the right times to maximize health and be able to experience fat loss when needed. If you need ideas on how to improve your sleep, check out some ideas here.

7. Stress Management - Believe it or not, but we actually accumulate more body fat around our waistline (remember cortisol from #6?) when we're not managing stress well & often become chronically stressed day in and day out. If you pick this fat loss habit, find ways to manage your stress better each day this week. Maybe that's taking a walk, reading a book, meditating, or getting a pedicure. You likely know what helps you feel the least stressed. Tap into those things and even explore finding new ones that work too!

8. 1 for every 5 - Eat one serving of fruit for every 5 servings of vegetables. This is a great general rule of thumb to get an idea on how many more vegetables should be in our diet versus fruit. Fruit is great but it shouldn't be taking the place of veggies!

9. Pack a lunch - Whether you're at work, or having a picnic, you're likely to be much better nourished and able to reach your fat loss goals, if you know exactly what's in your food. Eating out is expensive and definitely lacking in nutrition! Consider packing your lunch every day this week!

What other ideas do you have for fat loss habits?