Sunday, June 01, 2014

How to lose weight without too much exercise

Everyone wants to lose weight, be fit and slim easily. So how do you do it?

I used to be fat. I suffered from reflux and poor indigestion.

I solved most of my problems overtime - 5+ years by doing simple things.

1. Eat Healthy Food. This means - eating fresh fruit and vegetables. And drink at least 2 litres of water

2. Cut out Junk Food. Slowly eliminate fried food from your diet - this includes KFC, McD, etc..

3. Think (and care) about what you are eating. 90% of the time we are just shoveling whatever is on our plate. If we thought carefully over what we eat - then we will be able to refrain from eating bad food - including white rice and bread.

4. Exercise at least an hour a day. By that I mean do some form of physical activity. Run, if you can't run, Walk. Avoid Sedentary hobbies like computer games. Our human body was designed for physical activities. If we don't use it, our bodies will deteriorate.

5. Eat smaller servings. Don't over-eat. Try eating smaller amounts - then waiting 20 minutes before going for a 2nd helping. It takes awhile for our stomachs to register that we are actually full.

8. Do it gradually. If you can't run 10km a week, run 5km or just 1km.

Think positive thoughts. Getting depressed only causes you to think negative thoughts and that can't be good for you. Its always good to keep a positive outlook on life. At the same time, you need to develop self-awareness. Be conscious over what you are doing. Ask yourself - why are you eating that chocolate, fried food etc..? And did you really have to eat that 20 chicken nuggets, bigmac, and large fries in just that one sitting?

Change bad habits. A lot of people resort to food as a quick pick-me-up if they get depressed. This probably stems from childhood when if you cried as a baby your parents/carers would give you a sweet or some food to pacify you. That sort of feedback is now effectively hardwired to your brain. Changing bad habits takes sometime. So whenever you get stressed or upset - you turn to food to calm yourself down. Rewiring your brain takes time. Changing thought patterns and behavior is very hard but it is possible. Just as a quick suggestion - if you get upset - go for a walk, get some fresh air, the endorphins produced by exercise will help to calm yourself down. 

Dieting programs do not offer the best solution. You can't go on a carbo free diet, or worse one of those water or fruit juice only diets. They are only band aid solution - and your metabolism actually slows down to take into account the food deficit.  The result is that the minute you stop, the fat comes straight back on and becomes more resistant to losing weight. A mindless adherence to a diet without any thinking is probably going to fail.

When you go on a diet. You are removing a key food from your usual meal.  Now there is a reason why you want to eat those food. Its simple. You like it. 

And when you stop eating it, you body craves for it. I think your brain sends endorphins into your blood stream whenever you eat that food.

What you need to do is to first be aware of your body's response to food and also aware of what the food is doing to you.

I used to over-eat a lot and I'd get indigestion. I also used to drink 10 cups of freshly brewed coffee (+sugar) a day. I'd consume a whole boxful of biscuits while reading my favorite book. I'd get heart burn, reflux and I'd even wake up at night because of heart palpitations. 1 + 1 = 2. You don't need to be a genius to realize what was killing me. Eating junk food, drinking copious amounts of coffee etc.. and over eating was ruining my health.

So do yourself a favor. Say to yourself - "YOU are important." Your health is important. Look after yourself because you only have one body. Its not like a car where you can change it when it wears out.

If you can. Take a notebook journal and write down all the stuff you eat. 

Now try and evaluate what you eat. Or in the words of Samuel L. Jackson - "Can you feel where the money went?" or can you justify it?

The sad fact is most of the time, we just shovel all kinds of crap into our mouths without thinking. We open a jumbo packet of chips and before we know it, we ate the whole darn bag in one sitting. (I did it just then). We try and fool ourselves by buying baked crisps but if you end up eating the whole bag whilst watching Top Gear, that can't be good.

The fatty food that we eat is almost accidental. People will often eat whatever that is served before them - they don't think. They just gobble.

Bad stuff that people swallow down without thinking are - 
1. French Fries
2. fried wedges that they serve at bars, together with the sour cream
3. Fried Chicken 
4. Fried Fish (and chips)
5. Pizza
6. White Bread - all white bread has practically no nutrient content whatsoever 
7. Most commercial cereals - Nurtigrain, fruitloops etc..
8. Meat Pies
9. Ice Cream
10. Junk Food - packets of chips

11. And horror of horrors - white rice and white bread.

Now, I'm not telling you to absolutely not eat it. Because the minute you say to yourself "don't touch" - you'll end up touching it. First you have to realize, I mean really deep down KNOW that the food is unhealthy for you. What we call food - chips, fries, soft drinks, white bread is simply junk food.

But forcing yourself to lay off those junk food overnight may simply backfire on you.

One simple step to help you reduce your dependency on food is :

1. Take time when you eat your food to thinking about what you are eating. Don't just shovel the food down your throat like a pig.

2. Learn to taste your food.

3. Make the fat you eat "work" for you. Meaning, whenever you eat that McDonald's Hamburger or that big bag of chips, you taste it, and you feel it. You're not just swallowing it down like flushing water down the sewer.

Taste it. Know it. Feel it.

OK, then evaluate. Was it worth it? And can you live without it?

Let me give you an example. I love eating McDonald Quarter Pounder and their French fried chips and drinking that Coke. Love it.

But I did realize that its not healthy eating it. Its filled with lard, preservatives and too much salt. But what to do? 

So instead I started eating smaller servings. First I resisted the temptation to upgrade my orders from medium to large.

Eventually I had the small size. Same Quarter Pounder but I had small chips and a small coke. Now, I rarely go to Mackers and when I do - I just order a Quarter Pounder and a cup of coffee instead. Or if I crave the chips - I order the chips and coke but no hamburger. But I still savor the moment, the food and my body after awhile can feel the fat and the unhealthy content in that burger. 

And what do you know? After a few years - I seldom go to McDonalds anymore. Rarely.

A gradual approach to healthy living is often the method that works the best. Be stubborn. Keep at it.

Your stomach is like an elastic band. You can stretch it and stretch it. It will accommodate all the food you want to eat and get bigger and bigger. Any drastic reduction usually doesn't work because its too severe. Your whole body - brain and stomach - will conspire against you.

Another important component is exercise. You have to try and fit in an exercise routine into your day. Is one hour too hard for you? Well, try 30 minutes then of brisk walking. Or maybe try a block of 10 minutes. Just keep it regular, frequent and you'll be amazed how that 5 becomes 10, 10 mins can become 15, and later evolve to an hour. Just keep it consistent.

People often make the mistake of going to the gym, working out too hard and then not going back again for a month. Try and learn to pace yourself. Make it a fun activity- go with a friend, do a group class.

There are three core components to physical well-being:

1. Strength
2. Flexibility
3. Endurance

One important exercise that everyone should do - and is often neglected - is stretching. Research in it. Get a Pilates DVD or watch it on Youtube - do a few routines, slowly. I say again, do it slowly.

It is very very important for your body to remain flexible. There is no point in being able to bench press 200kg if you can't bend and touch your toes. As we grow older our muscles and tendons shorten and as they get shorten they get tighter, stiffer, harder until eventually they break down. 

Look at yourself daily in the mirror. Have a few photos of athletes or people with good bodies next to the mirror. Somehow that process will help you gravitate to those goals.

Whatever you do, don't skip meals. Make sure you eat regularly at set times everyday. If you don't, your body will assume you are in a war/famine situation and your metabolism will suffer.

Snacking is good so long as you are eating healthy stuff like fruits, unsalted nuts.

Bottom line - try and think carefully over what you eat. And always drink water. Coca-cola and all sugared drinks +alcohol is all not good for you. Drink i occasionally but treat them almost like poison. If you avoid that and drink 2litres of water a day - you are going to make a world of difference to your life.

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