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!



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