Sunday, October 07, 2012
I know a lot about nutrition in general and what works for my body in particular. While I am open to new ideas and definitely coach-able, I am also the authority on my own life. So here is my attempt to put together some of the principles I know in one integrated program. I've been following this for about a week now and I can feel the difference already.
1. SLEEP. This is often my biggest challenge. Yet I believe what I've read on Spark and elsewhere about adequate sleep being vital in any weight loss effort. I've always been a night-owl. And I treasure my alone time after the kids are asleep to watch my favorite shows or just read or play on the computer. Too often it is 1 or even 2 am before I get to bed. And my alarm goes off at 6 (I do end up getting a little bit more after the kids go off to school most days when I've been up really late, but it is not the same as getting it all at once.) My goal here is to steadily increase my average sleep duration until I am consistently getting over 7 hours each night. I have a very cool app on my iphone (Sleep Time) that actually detects the phase of sleep you are in and wakes you when you are in a light stage of sleep and can most easily awaken. It has cool graphs and calculates sleep efficiency and running averages for bed time and sleep duration.
2. REST. Not quite the same as sleep. By rest I mean taking time to be quiet, away from the electronic gadgets and put my feet up. Literally. I had an issue earlier this year when a medication was causing my legs to swell. Besides getting my doctor to switch my medication, I got myself an anti-gravity lounge chair. I set it up in the living room at night and I can put it away when the kids are up playing. I gave myself a prescription of at least 10 minutes a day in it. I can feel the relaxation instantly just from the change of posture.
3. GLUTEN-FREE. Now we're getting into the food specifics. I have always suspected I am gluten-sensitive, and took myself off it in late November last year. My joints feel better when I am off wheat. Even more so after I discovered some tricky foods that I had thought were gluten-free but weren't and eliminated those too. I also cut out oats and most corn. Over the years I have found I have no portion control with those foods. If I eat even a tiny bit, I will eat and overeat them (like eating the whole recipe of homemade granola one time). Keeping them out of my diet keeps me off that roller-coaster. Besides, I did low-carb for so many years in various forms, I find it is easy for me to eat this way.
4. Get ENOUGH PROTEIN, HEALTHY FATS, and NON-STARCHY VEGETABLES. One of the most successful experiences I had losing weight was when I tracked my food each day day by focusing on getting ENOUGH CALORIES, FIBER, and PROTEIN. To that now I would add healthy fats - A MUFA at every meal (something I stole from Prevention's Flat Belly Diet.) I like some of their other principles too-- eating mainly cooked veggies in order to reduce stomach volume and bloating, and counting dark chocolate as a MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acid). However, ...
5. EAT SWEETS ONLY AT BREAKFAST. This idea I got from the Oprah magazine. It makes sense that if you're going to indulge, breakfast is the best time to do it, since you have all day to reap the benefits of the metabolic boost from the extra calories. Plus, you feel satisfied already and are therefore "innoculated" against temptation later. And there is a big difference between telling myself "No you can't have ice cream" and "If you really want ice cream, you can have it for breakfast tomorrow." My inner child is just like a real child, with a pretty short attention span. I just need to distract for the time being, not engage resistance by banning for all time.
I am playing around with an idea I just heard recently that makes some sense to me. A friend of mine who has just lost 37 pounds and looks fabulous has been working with a health coach. One of the things her coach told her is not to eat sweets at all while in the trying to lose weight. Only eat veggies and protein. The logic behind the no sweets is that in our evolutionary past, the only time we would naturally taste sweetness is in the summer when the berries ripen and it was time to put on weight before the long cold winter set in. She says that even the taste of something sweet, even artificial no-calorie sweeteners, triggers hormonal changes that signal our bodies to put on fat. Like I said, I am playing with it. I haven't completely given up my Truvia, but I have been emphasizing protein and veggies more
My breakfast is usually either a pafait (6 oz plain Greek Yogurt, 1/2 C frozen blueberries, an ounce of walnuts and a tsp of cinnamon) or a smoothie - similar ingredients, but I would skip the nuts and add ground flaxseed, a tsp of fish oil or olive oil and a scoop of whey protein. I also often substitute kefir instead of the yogurt. I usually add a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa and as much spinach or kale as I can comfortably fit in the food processor. Yummy and it lasts till lunch.
There's more to say about this program I have designed for myself, but I am running out of steam tonight. Time to focus on my priority #1 and get some sleep.