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.
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!
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
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
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.
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)
Looks like they do not sell Vegegreens in the U.S. :( Do you recommend a comparable brand???? Thanks!
WOW - your note really means a lot! Thank you for taking the time to send this.
I CAN NOT stress enough how much you shouldn't be scared or intimidated or shy away from getting in the best shape of your life! The time to start is right now and the sooner you start, the sooner you will reach your goal - Each and every single day that passes is 1 more day closer! Now is the perfect time as well so that you'll be all set for summer.
I was in a similar situation when I was in University. I went through a personal loss within my immediate family and I am a stress eater!! The first step is identifying it, but then taking control. The time is right now - take that back - don't let anyone intimidate you EVER! Just keep your eye focused and on target.
Hope you're having a great day
@jessmath12 Had you asked me a year ago, I would have said right before you go. But what I've noticed for myself, was that my stomach would be digesting while working out and made me feel so sluggish and gross. Now, I'm best when I have my oatmeal about 1 hour before getting to the gym. I also bring a banana along with me just in case
On weekdays (since I leave my house for work pretty early - around 6:20 am) I have my VegeGreens, followed by a 1/2 scoop of Protein Powder mixed with water. Shortly after I have a bowl (1/3 scoop dry) of Oatmeal made with water and a dash of milk once it's done.
When I have more time, like on weekends, I usually substitute the protein drink for a couple of eggs or egg whites. I'll try a different complex carb, like a grainy breakfast cereal such as Red River or make some quinoa etc. When I'm in for a treat - I make egg whites with turkey bacon + tomato with Rye bread toast.
Rule of thumb, always have some protein before the carb so that it doesn't spike your blood sugar.
@susanna1998 Glad to hear Susana! For your height, I would target anywhere between 110 - 130...but it can definitely vary to being a bit higher if you have a lot of muscle mass. Don't worry about the # too too much, that will come naturally once you get yourself into the groove of consistent eating and diet. Operative word is CONSISTENT. Don't think anything will come overnight, but stick with it :)
Hi Gayle, from the sounds of it we're very similar - double thumbs up xo
As for the La Croix cans, I've never had them, but from reading up about them they look great! It's all natural and definitely adding some of the flavouring to water can make it feel more refreshing. Anything to help drink more water is awesome. One of the things I use is something called "True Lemon" and it's dehydrated lemon packets that you can stir into water. It has no sugar or artificial sweeteners, just pure lemon. http://www.truelemon.com/
OH and you can also find Greens+ capsules if you don't like the drink. It was hard for me to take down at first, but now I LOVE and crave it. I started off with half servings for the first 2 weeks and increased to a full serving after that until my body got used to it (I think it has to do with introducing all the new/healthy enzymes).
A whey isolate is the best, but it's a bit more expensive so I usually go with a whey concentrate. Definitely look to ensure that there are no artificial sweeteners. I just checked and the brand I most commonly buy is called: BioX Power Whey Complex - Natural Vanilla. I recently tried a different variety which tasted like vanilla ice cream, but can't remember the name right now. Next time I am in the supplements shop, I will fwd the name along :)
@hautepnk @susanna1998 I found your blog after your Motivation Monday post on Veronika's blushing, and I loved your blog right away! You are such an inspiration for leading a healthy life! I really like your focus on being consistent and having patience for weight loss and fitness goals; this is definitely where I struggle most and it was really helpful hearing this from someone who lives such a healthy lifestyle (and a former sugar addict!).
@JEJ Thanks for letting us know you can buy it there! YAYYYY