November 2015

Small, Realistic & Healthy Habits

Habits Are Hard To Break

Losing weight or getting into a better shape can be extremely challenging to the most of us. Why? Because sticking to a diet or weight loss program often equals a complete lifestyle change. You start to change everything only to later find yourself lapsing back. It’s simply to difficult to make such a change overnight.

We are animals of habits and habits are hard to change because, well, they’re habits. Changing all your habits will soon start feeling oppressive. The minute you have missed that one evening run or turned your cheat meal into a cheat day, you will feel like you are failing. Frustrated you fall back into your old habits, because it just doesn’t make sense.

Get Real & Start Small

Well, how about you don’t immediately go all in. Try to consider a few changes to your lifestyle that will make a difference. Ask yourself on a scale of 1 to 10, how confident are you that you can do that every day for the next two weeks? If you are at least 90% confident then go for it. If not, then maybe you make it yourself a little easier until you just can’t say no.

For instance think about your breakfast. Do you think you could make yourself any of those breakfasts every single day over the next two weeks? No? Think smaller. How about a healthy meal replacement milkshake? Not quite as good as fresh food, but probably a step up over what you currently eat. Still can’t see yourself eating that? How about adding two tablespoons of ground flax seeds to your breakfast? Or some omega 3 fish oil?

By simplifying and owning realistic habits that suit fit into your life you will quickly start to feel more confident that you can take on bigger challenges.

 

Here are a five more habits that you can try to install…

  1. Drink More Water. No, you don’t need to drink 8 glasses of water a day. But how about you try one glass before every meal. Drinking water before your meals has been proven to make you feel more full and eat thus less.
  2. Sleep More. Are you sleeping less than 8 hours a day? Try to sleep an hour more. This will give your body more time to rest and recover.
  3. Eating alone a lot? How about you eat together more often. Have lunch with your colleagues, have dinner with your loved ones. You will find yourself eating better food and more slowly. Check out this article on the Atlantic on why eating together is so important not just to your physical health.
  4. Walk/Bike more. If you live in the city or suburbs you probably either drive a lot or constantly take the public transport. Often we could bike/walk small distances like when running errands or eating lunch during your break. Set yourself a target of what distances you could walk instead of taking your call. You’ll be surprised when you discover what places you can actually reach on foot. Following this can easily save you that 5k run during the week to stay in shape.
  5. Skip Sodas & Juice. Sodas and juices often tend to be full of sugar and empty calories. You can easily replace those beverages with water and lose a ton of weight over time. If you consume a can of coke every day it could easily turn out to save you a few pounds every year. If you consume alcohol, you may also consider replacing your beer, cocktails and longdrinks with healthier choices such as wine and straight spirits (or maybe forego them altogether!).

Whatever you do, start with small achievable habits. You may slip. Nobody is perfect. Just think hard about why you slipped and get back on board. Good luck!

What do you think? Have you tried to install some healthy habits in your lifestyle recently? Share them in the comment section! 🙂

This Is Why Your Bathroom Scale Sucks!

The idea of constantly weighing yourself and obsessing about how much you weigh is something that has been deeply ingrained into our mindsets. You probably have at least once dedicated a large chunk of your life to your bathroom scale. Everything was about that number. Some glorious day in the morning you’d hop on your scale and it would tell you that you have lost a pound over your previous day. Joyful you would then go into your day! Yet, then the next day you’d clock into your daily morning ritual again. This time, however, you’d have gained a whopping five pounds. ‘How the heck could I have gained five pounds yesterday??’, you would ask yourself frustrated.

Well, let me tell you a little secret: your weight scale SUCKS. Well, you probably already knew that much, but allow me to at least explain you why!

It all comes down to water retention and digestion. Worked out the day before? Feeling sore? Well, your muscles retain up to 5 lbs of water when repairing themselves. Had a little bit more water because it was a hot day yesterday? Well those extra two glasses of water easily translate to 1 lbs of extra weight. That large dinner yesterday — it’s probably still being digested and guess what it will add to your weight. Had a few glasses of wine with that dinner? Well that makes retain extra water as well!

Let me break the news to you, worrying about your daily weight will jeopardize your efforts. In fact it takes over 3,500 calories to gain a pound of fat. So if you wanted to gain 5 pounds you’d need to consume over 17,500 calories, or nearly 32 Big Macs, in a single day.

Though you may think that at least by continuously weighing yourself day in and day out, you’ll be able to identify a trend in weight loss or gain. You are right — but also a little wrong.

A lot of my weight loss came in during the first few weeks of cutting calories. Likely due to water loss. Yet, my physique had barely changed. Then a few weeks in, suddenly much of my largest changes in my physique occurred. But then those had not been barely reflected in my measured weight at all. My weight was bouncing around like a yo-yo leaving me second guessing whether I made any progress whatsoever. That is because I had added on quite a bit of muscle which turns out to be heavier than my body’s fat mass.

FatvsMuscle-xs

Focusing on a certain weight loss number can be a painful experience if you are doing weighted exercise. Sure, if you are going for great amount of fat loss a scale is still a great tool to measure your progress. But as soon you are trying to tone forget about your scale.

... not the body on the left side.

… not the body on the left side.

In fact, the lady on this illustration weighs 9 pounds more on the right side of this picture. Who would have thought?

So what’s a better way to measure your progress? A fat caliper, measure tape, DEXA scan, Shape Scan, and even a bio-impedance measurement will give you a better picture.

No matter what your scale says… if you are losing inches and getting leaner (if that’s your goal), then you are making progress. So don’t stress yourself over a silly number on your scale when what really matters is whether you are starting to look better.

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