Monday, February 7, 2011

Week 2: Learn and Move On

Today starts week two of the transition diet! How did you do? Did you survive the week or was it more difficult than you thought it would be?

For me, it was a hard week. I was sick for two days. I was depressed from a bad score on a calculus test. I was tired from studying and not sleeping much, which made me crave sugar all the more. And as much as I told myself, "this won't make you feel better!" it didn't seem to make much of a difference in the moment.

So, for this next week, I'd like to challenge you to something in addition to the original directions of the diet. Every day, write about what you ate. How did that chicken salad make you feel? How did that frappuccino with whipped cream make you feel? How did those grapes make you feel? Try to focus on how your body truly felt after eating those things and, when you're eating a grape sucker, then real grapes later when you make up for it, notice how much truer and wonderful the taste of the real thing really is. The key in this journaling process is to not tear yourself down. So you ate an extra helping at dinner and it made you feel sick? Learn from it and MOVE ON! Don't think that just because you ruined your "diet" at dinner that you ruined the whole day. Try to remember that eating healthy, like most things in life, is about constantly making adjustments and readjustments. It's okay to make mess up every now and then, but again, just learn from it and move on.

Another thing to consider is this idea: did you know that even a ten minute walk after every meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner) can make wonderful progress in your diet? This is for four main reasons (that I've come up with. Let me know if you think of any others!)

  • First, those ten minutes will add up. By the end of the day, you've likely walked at least a mile and a half (even if you're walking unbearably slow) or even up to 2 or 2.25 miles. That's probably more than a lot of us normally walk or even exercise on a regular basis! 
  • Second, walking after a meal helps our bodies process and digest the food quicker, speeding the metabolism, and getting rid of unwanted or unneeded calories. 
  • Third, walking and taking time to enjoy nature outside, the people that take the walk with us, or even just the alone time helps us de-stress and detox. Stress induces a cortisol hormone reaction which causes most of us to eat more (and generally eat more of the foods we SHOULDN'T be eating!) By walking, we are not only burning off calories and speeding our metabolism, but we are also helping ensure that we won't be likely to eat something worse later! 
  • Finally, I also greatly believe that these short walks also help us know that we're taking care of ourselves - and I generally don't want to eat a big bowl of ice cream in front of the tube when I feel like I've been taking care of myself and am feeling very healthy.

So, now that we've got these two challenges and tips for the next two weeks, let me remind you what the next week's diet instructions are. And please feel free to invite your friends to join you! Accountability with friends is the first step to a healthier lifestyle! And they can join in on this week easily since the "cut junk food" rule is still in its early stages.

Good luck and enjoy your healthy living!

Week 2

Small Meal
Each week's rules are cumulative, so the "no junk" rule from Week 1 will apply until the end, as will each subsequent week's rule. Remember that this is a learning and conditioning process. It's like you're in school and the subject is your own body.

Eat small, eat often. Eat four to six small meals a day, and don't eat anything for about 3 hours before you go to sleep. Following these rules will keep your blood sugar levels more static and your energy level will stay consistent. Try to keep each snack or meal balanced. Keep a 30 percent protein, 40 percent carbohydrate, and 30 percent fat scale in mind, though you don't need to worry too much about it. Just realize that you need a bit from each macronutrient group. Eat based on what you'll be doing for the next few hours (if you're working out, eat a little more; sitting at a desk, eat a little less). The 3-hours-before-bed rule is important, especially for fats and carbohydrates. By allowing time for all the carbs you eat to get into your bloodstream, your body will sleep in fat-burning mode, rather than in calorie-storing mode. This is important because undigested carbs in your stomach at night are stored as adipose tissue (fat).

Cheat Days: 2

Weekly focus: Carbs are not the enemy. Your body needs them, just like it needs proteins and fats. The trick is to choose the right carbs. As a society, we eat too much refined sugar. Complex carbs, like whole-grain breads, whole-grain rice, sweet potatoes, and legumes are outstanding foods. Even fruits, which have simple carbohydrates wrapped in fiber, are very good for you and hard to overconsume. While you don't want a diet based on nothing but carbs, making the right carb choices will maximize your body's potential. Try to avoid white rice and flours. Read labels, and try to avoid ones that use the word "enriched," because this means these products have been stripped of their natural nutrients, overprocessed, and then fortified with a few random nutrients.

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