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If you have struggled with weight loss for years like I have, you have come to the realization that it is very easy to slip when it comes down to sticking with a diet. The reason for this is simple; diets rarely work in the long term because they require you to place such stiff restrictions on yourself. The best way to go about losing weight is to create a healthy lifestyle and slowly adapt to it. Creating a healthy lifestyle is all about sustainability. If you always feel restricted by the lifestyle you create, chances are that you will try (subconsciously or consciously) to get out of it. As soon as you shift the goalpost from becoming slimmer (dieting) to living healthier, your mind gradually adjusts. When you do not live with restrictions but instead make a goal of making better choices, you will begin to see change. Introduction Weight loss should never be your goal. Instead of treating obesity as a sickness and trying to beat it, handle it like a symptom and treat the underlying condition that has caused it. In a lot of people, being overweight or obese may be caused by a lack of knowledge, emotional eating, stress eating, sleep deprivation, location, resources etc. Diets are supposed to cure the symptom but will not cure the underlying cause. If you lose weight dieting, you are 90% likely to gain it back. So, treat the reason for your weight gain, make healthier choices, exercise, use health lean supplements and watch the pounds disappear. Top Questions to keep in mind while Meal Planning Meal planning is a very simple way of keeping your food in check. If you plan every meal for the week ahead of time, you are more likely to buy healthy food and eat healthy food. When you plan your meals you should always define your goals first. A few questions you can ask yourself before you start drawing up the plan are;
  • What healthy foods do I like to eat?
  • What healthy foods do my family members like to eat?
  • Are there unhealthy foods that I/we cannot do without?
  • Is there a way to make these unhealthy options healthier and incorporate them into our meals?
  • What are my daily calorie requirements and how to convert them to portion sizes
  • What are my family’s daily caloric requirements?
  • Are there foods we absolutely will never enjoy
  • What are our options for snacks?
  • How much food should each person actually be eating (portion sizes)
  • What are our favourite drinks?
  • When do we eat the most unhealthy food?
  • How much food would we need in a week?
  • How often can I shop in a week for food?
  • How much time can I devote to making meals daily/weekly?
  • What is my budget?
  • What is my goal? (Weight loss, healthier eating, removal of allergens, etc.)
Some healthy food options to choose from include Whole grains- oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, corn, wheat, etc; Nuts and seeds- peanuts, pistachios, pecans, almonds, sunflower seeds, etc; Lean meats- lamb, mutton; Fish; Poultry- turkey, chicken, etc; Healthy oils- extra virgin olive oil, canola oil, etc. As it is not healthy or advisable to skip meals, your meal plan should have a minimum of 3 meals per day for each day of the week. In addition to these 3 meals, you should also have two snacks as well. What makes a good meal plan? A meal plan must be doable and sustainable. If you know you will have no time to cook regularly, you can prepare meals in bulk and freeze on the weekend or alternatively pay a catering service to do so for you. Do not draw up a meal plan that looks like the menu of a Michelin star restaurant except you have hours and hours to cook. Keeping it simple is your best bet. Healthy living is very basic and does not have to be elaborate. Do not draw up a meal plan that you cannot afford. In the interest of your health, try to incorporate as many whole grains, lean meats, fish, poultry, nuts, seeds and heart healthy oils into your diet. In the same vein, you should try to shop for locally produced food as much as possible to minimize the exposure to chemicals and preservative. When in doubt, fresh food is usually healthier than canned and processed options. A good meal plan will offer some variety. You are more likely to slip up if you get bored. Choose your meals wisely and experiment some if you like. Not only is cooking better for your pocket in the short term, it will also preserve your health and save you doctors bills in the long term. Foods you should avoid like the plague In your quest for healthy living, there are a number of foods you should avoid as they offer you no nutritional value whatsoever and can derail you from getting healthier. Foods made with white flour, soda, refined sugar, artificial sweeteners, fatty foods, white carbohydrates, etc. These foods offer you very little nutritional value and can cause you to add weight quickly. Furthermore, if you have any food intolerances or allergies, stay away from those foods as well. Conclusion In conclusion, sustainable healthy living should always be your goal. In addition to eating as healthily as possible, you should exercise four times a week for a minimum of thirty minutes and use fitness boosting supplements to boost your efforts and maintain your health.
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