Jun. 30

Basic rules I live by

Category > Fitness

I recently had a friend ask me what my most basic rules are to leading a healthy lifestyle. The question caught me at a loss for words because I had to really think about it. Not because I couldn’t think of anything, but rather that these things have become so ingrained in my life that I don’t even consciously act on them…it’s just natural now.

One of the most common mistakes I see in people who are trying to lose weight is thinking that they need to cut back and skimp on meals. Surely if you were consuming an overabundant amount of calories per day, sure, you need to trim that down as part of your lifestyle change. However, strangely enough I meet SO many people who put their bodies into starvation mode more than they know it. This results in our bodies storing fat in “lean times” thinking it needs to preserve it because it doesn’t know when it is going to get food next…clearly working in reverse to how we want it to.

I digress, back to the subject at hand and stemming from that last paragraph is my first golden rule:

1. I ALWAYS eat breakfast.

When you wake up in the morning, your body is deprived and not been fed for at least 8 hours. Insulin is low and protein stores are empty – your body is desperate for nutrition. Based on my own personal experience, I tend to eat way more, later in the day if I skimp on breakfast. So, the rule I created for myself is that I consume a bulk of my calories at that time and I will never run out of the house racing to work without ensuring that I’ve eaten. After a while it becomes natural. Rule to live by: You’d never leave your house undressed – likewise, I’d never leave my house without eating.

2. I eat protein with EVERY meal/snack.

Your body is either always breaking down or building up protein. Eating protein triggers muscle growth and a burst of synthesis. If I remember correctly, when eating 30g of protein, the period of synthesis lasts about 3-4 hours. If you only have protein for 1 snack or meal, then your body is breaking down muscle the rest of the day (side note, if you’re one of those who associate protein with “big bulky Schwarzenegger muscles”…please, step out of the 1980’s and open your minds). Rule to live by, eat between 0.54 – 1 g of protein per pound of body weight (or if your target is to lose weight, calculate this based on your goal body weight) to preserve your calorie-burning muscle mass.

3. NO Soda and avoid sweeteners at all cost.

I’ve never been a soda drinker. I was never given it as a child, so it was probably easier for me to be unimpressed with it when I did finally try it. As such, I never realized how addicting it can be for some until I was chatting with a girlfriend looking to change her life around. There are so many empty calories in soda, not to mention caffeine in most of them. On CBS news once, I saw that 1 soda a day was FIFTY lbs of sugar a year – think about that. Also, don’t be fooled by “sugar-free” gimmicks. Researchers are finding that most sweeteners may have the same effect on your liver as alcohol. This rule could yield about 5 more posts on its own, but I’ll keep it short and sweet and link to those when I get to them. Rule to live by: Avoid soda drinks/sweeteners and replace it with water – it will quench your thirst much better as well. (NB: If you’re a big pop drinker, don’t try to quit cold turkey. I haven’t seen that work for anyone I’ve known. Taper it down and set goals for yourself. Replace each soda with a glass of water or make an herbal tea to substitute the need to sip on something).

 4. I ALWAYS eat before and after working out.

By feeding your body with carbs (before) and carbs+protein (after), you are fueling your body properly to give your muscles enough energy to build strength more effectively. More importantly, during a workout you are producing cortisol (stress hormone), having protein after a workout you reduce the effects of that fat storing hormone. It also reduces inflammation and expedites recovery. Rule to live by: I always have some oatmeal before a workout and a protein shake within 30 min after a workout.

5. Live GREEN.

Embrace everything green. From first thing in the morning (VegeGreens), all day and all night, I incorporate veggies and salads. Leafy greens are filled with Folate. Folate deficiency is linked to most of the major diseases of our time. It acts as a great filler and snack if you’re craving something. Any time I am craving a cheat, I let myself have it….AFTER I have a large salad. 99% of the time, I am too full to be craving anything dirty. Some of my faves are Kale, lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, sprouts etc. Rule to live by: Incorporate something green into each and every meal/snack.

What are some of your golden rules? I’m sure I’ve missed some, but wanted to get to my top 5 first. Maybe I’ll do a “part 2” in the near future!

xxxo

22 comments
dorisdays88
dorisdays88

I love this. You really summed it up perfectly. I just can't believe that it took me this long to get to the same rules.

Tammi
Tammi

Hi Maja! Just wanted to tell you what an inspiration you are! :) I used to be active, but after some personal tragedy, I got into a rut and stopped working out completely. As a result, I gained a considerable amount of weight. Only recently, I tried eating healthier and being more physical....but at 5'4 and 140lbs, I'm not where I want to be. My goal is to get back down to 115lbs (when I was feeling my best). When I read about your vegetable garden, I thought it was a great idea and started to grow a small one too. I'm also going to start taking Bar Method classes in 2 weeks - excited and a little scared since I'm out of shape!

 

Just wanted to thank you for taking the time to blog - you motivate me (and I'm sure many others too)! :D

elandeen
elandeen

Great post!  I can't wait for a "part 2!"

jessmath12
jessmath12

If I eat oatmeal before a workout, how long should I wait before I start working out?

cblac
cblac

Great post! What do you normally eat for breakfast??

susanna1998
susanna1998

this information is sooo amazing ,thank you thank you ...you're my inparasion i'm trying so hard to get in shape and healthy i'm 35 5.3 weigh about 138 lbs,what do you think is healty weight for my height?thank you again

Gayle
Gayle

Very interesting post. I do know how important meals are. I do have breakfast everyday, but mostly on days off I let myself be hungry before eating. Just because I do now know what to eat... On days I work I eat cereal bars in the car, together with some coffee. I am not perfect, but I'm def not super unhealthy. I do eat fresh foods everyday, no processed stuff. Except maybe for cereals and pasta, but I mean I do not eat frozen or canned meals. If I eat only a bowl of cereal in the morning, I will add a smoothie with fresh fruit and add some whey protein. I do not drink soda often...maybe twice a month. But I do drink La Croix cans. They are without sugar or even fake sugars, are these OK you think? And I drink lots of organic tea during the day. One "detox" from Yogi, made of berries and one green tea a day.

beatrixlombrix
beatrixlombrix

I like your rules... the only similar in my life: * Eat your calories, do not drink them.

I don't drink soda (at a restaurant I might have a sip of hubby's but that's it).  I love orange and apple juice but stay away from them at the grocery store too (I make watermelon water :P, and from a Mexican plant called JAMAICA)

mtrapold
mtrapold

Looks like they do not sell Vegegreens in the U.S. :(  Do you recommend a comparable brand???? Thanks!

Ana
Ana

Can you recommend a protein shake?

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