About Exercise and Weight-Loss

Do you think that exercise is the key component in weight-loss?

I spent most of my life feeling sure the answer to that question was YES. I don’t think that anymore. I will tell you why I changed my thinking on this.

Firstly, as a certified personal trainer, I want to be clear here: I feel exercise is beneficial to our human bodies for many, many reasons. For a primary goal of weight-loss though? Uh…nope, not so much. I have heard some say that 90% of losing weight is related to the food we eat and only 10% the exercise. The lowest I have ever heard is 75%/25%…which is still a high % vote for getting your eating and calorie intake under control as a first priority.

Scientific research has shown that people who have a higher rate of loss in the first two weeks of their new lifestyle plan are more likely to stick with it.

So – how can we have the best start? I’d say focus on the food.

When I took my personal trainer training, my pro-trainer told me something very important: For a primary goal of weight-loss: work out as hard as you can, for as long as you can UNTIL you need more fuel (food) to sustain you. People often over award themselves with food after their intense exercise, adding more calories than were burned during their workout. Hmmm.. so what then? How do we get started loosing the extra weight if it’s not by intense exercise like cardio spin, rhumba and resistance training?

Let’s remind ourselves that time is finite. So is money. So is energy. We need to decide how to spend those limited resources. If weigh-loss is your primary goal, I would recommend that you start the process by spending:

a) your money on good quality, highly nutritious food,

b) your time on preparing that food, along with self-monitoring your consumption, and

c) your energy on addressing your life’s priorities while factoring in a solid 8 hour sleep.

Once all three of these things are factored into your life as habits….then add exercise. Simple walking is the best start. Add activities slowly…and make sure you remember what my pro-trainer said above.

So, to follow the three steps above, spend your precious money on buying highly nutritious foods instead of a gym membership. Right now, I am reading Joel Fuhrman’s: Super Immunity book and he will help you learn which foods supply the best nutrients to our bodies.

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About Buying Organic and Weight-Loss

I have a list of these foods on my fridge. Because I eat so many fruit and vegetables now – I want to be sure to avoid wicked chemicals if at all possible. I also want to keep my food bill reasonable. Here is a list of suggested foods to buy organic and those with less chance of being contaminated:

OK to buy non-organic:
Tomato
Sweet Potato
Broccoli
Eggplant
Cabbage
Peas
Asparagus
Corn
Avocado
Onion
Watermelon
Papaya
Kiwi
Mango
Pineapple

Recommended to buy organic whenever possible:
Celery
Bell Pepper
Kale
Lettuce
Carrot
Peach
Apple
Nectarine
Strawberries
Cherries
Grapes
Pear

About Fibre-Fiber and Weight-Loss

Fibre (Canadian) or Fiber (American) has been a critical component to my own weigh loss and weigh maintenance. I learned about it slowly and built my high fibre lifestyle up one step at at time.

This is what I learned:

A diet with the proper amount of fibre leads to intestinal and digestive health and this lowers body weight, decreases the risk of colon and other cancers and boosts mood and general

About Packaged & Processed Foods and Weight-Loss

I have observed that people who have successfully lost weight and kept it off are those who decrease their consumption of processed and packaged foods. Not all of them are bad – and in a pinch they may be important…but as a regular habit, uh…let’s talk about it.

Many of us are so used to eating these, I think it is good to remind ourselves why we need to avoid them. When a factory (President’s Choice, Weston’s, Kraft, Campbell’s, etc.) makes us food which is ready to eat out of the box, bag or package, very often they have been packed with preservatives, sugar, salt, fat, colouring, chemicals, nitrates etc. which leads to us fuelling our bodies with low quality fuel. This has an affect on our mood, feeling of fullness, calories burned, cell health and overall health and well being.

We can all give our bodies the best chance at losing weight and then maintaining a healthy body weight by preparing our food ourselves whenever possible. I try to buy food and eat food that is in the same form as it was in nature. Nuts, seeds, fresh cuts of meat (as opposed to cold cuts, sausages and hotdogs), chick peas, lentils, etc. This means primarily shopping along the outside walls of the grocery store instead of the isles.

A 0% fat cheese slice wrapped in plastic, for instance, may have low calories but it is a very low quality food, will process quickly through your body making you hungry again quickly and will not have contributed quality proteins, vitamins and nutrients to your body. Another cheese (light feta, Allegro 4%, goat cheese, Western 5 % dry cottage cheese) would have been a healthier choice. Your body will be confident that you are fuelling it with high quality foods and will shed the extra pounds.

The same can be said for most crackers, cookies, and cereal or granola bars. They are healthy eating no-no’s. Start with one thing you will make instead of buy (ie/ homemade healthy granola or homemade healthy hummus). Google the recipe or learn how on YouTube. Preparing your own food is an act of self-love, which in my experience, seems to precede maintaining a healthy body weight for life.

Here is my ‘healthy’ list of packaged foods:

1. Canned Beans (rinse before using)

2. Steel Cut Oats (a filling breakfast food)

3. Frozen Vegetables (to add to everything)

4. Frozen Berries (to use in my Yonanas maker)

5. 30g Protein Bars (I cut each bar in thirds. It’s my emergency food to avoid feeling hungry. I carry the pieces in my purse and store some in my car.)

6. Soups (a staple – usually buy low sodium, only clear or red soups – not white)

7. Fibre 1 Original Cereal (high fibre, tastes good, low sugar – I use as trail mix)

8. Brown Rice

9. Tinned tuna, crab, salmon, and shrimp

10. Greek Yogurt – Plain (I use with defrosted berries or as a sour cream replacement)

So, when you see an article on processed and packaged foods – read it like your life depends on it – as there are so many reasons to avoid them whenever possible. Knowledge is everything.

Have a great unprocessed day!

 

About Vegetables and Weight-Loss

IMG_0104Here is a picture of my kitchen counter after grocery shopping and before I put the vegetables and fruit away. It is colourful and pretty, but most importantly, when I eat these foods, my body feels happy and healthy. It thanks me by shedding the extra weight because it knows I am treating it well. Sound nuts??? OK, maybe a little – but it’s not far off.

Our bodies need all the colours of food. Each one adds different benefits to our cells. If I was going to rank the most important, I would say leafy green vegetables like these:
-Kale
-Romaine lettuce, red and green leaf lettuce
-Spinach

Having a small leafy green salad with chopped bright coloured vegetables such as red peppers and purple onions is an easy way to make sure those power-punched foods are working for your best health. I try to have one at each meal (even breakfast, sometimes).

Vegetables are healthy carbohydrates. They supply fibre, water, vitamins, minerals and nutrients to our bodies. They fill us up and take energy to process through our system. They keep us feeling full and will help protect us from many illnesses and diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and some cancers. All this… and a thinner, healthier body!

What a deal!

Make sure half your plate contains vegetables and enjoy. (The biggest surprise will be when you realize you actually crave them, and it will happen!)

Helpful Hint: Use ‘green bags’ to store your produce in your fridge. They are available in many places: Giant Tiger, Dollar Stores, Walmart and kitchen specialty stores. Green bags allow the gases which would otherwise cause your food to rot, to escape and they keep your produce fresh for much longer. The end result is that you can buy a larger variety of vegetables which will last longer.

My Weight Loss Story

Over the last 25 years, I have gained and lost about 50 pounds three different times. The first time was after my first pregnancy in 1988 (I call this my happy gain). The second time was in 1995 during the year my young husband was dying of cancer (my sad gain). And the third was during a second marriage filled with various kinds of troubles (my traumatic gain).

I was a yo-yo’er and my emotions dictated my body weight reality. I also had a perfect storm of personal characteristics which led to the constant up and downs: perfectionism, ruthless self-judgement, a victim mentality, and feelings of unworthiness.

The good news is that in 2006 I chose to end the cycle. I lost my last 50 and have changed for good. How do I know this? I changed the way I think among other things.

I learned many things about food, fuel, health, behaviour, attitudes and habits. Little by little I learned a great deal about me and about the world around me and chose to move towards health and happiness and away from fighting a constant war with my weight.

Over the next few weeks, I will blog about some of the truths I have uncovered in my journey to live in all the dimensions of health. It has lead to a stable body weight and all sorts of other riches – many of which I hadn’t even imagined.

Some topics will include:

– About Sleep and Weight Loss