In my book, “the shredded life”, I describe the simple equation that dictates whether we gain, lose or maintain our weights: calories in vs calories out. How much we eat vs how much we burn.
It is thus logical to attempt to get a grasp on what we consume: the calorie in part of the equation.
If you aren’t familiar with calories and macros, I recommended purchasing my book or finding some information through Google.
The reason to read labels is that they enable us to make informed decisions. By looking at a label we can choose the lower calorie version of cereals we like. We may decide to go with a low sugar and higher protein variety.
Reading labels also reveal artificial ingredients we may want to avoid like colourings, preservatives and other chemicals. The labels will also highlight allergens that we may need to avoid ( think lactose or nuts).
Reading labels allows us to use the principle of substitution. It allows us to make better and better nutritional choices at a slow but sustainable rate. Small changes can have a huge impact on the quality of food we eat, on our health and finally on our weight.
It is always useful to start a discussion with a common understanding so let us begin by defining our concept. A quick google search provides us with the following definition. Nutrition is the process of obtaining or providing the food necessary for health and growth". The science of nutrition concerns itself with what we eat and how that assists the body with regards to health and growth.
The type and quantity of foods we consume will steer us towards health or disease. Food can either strengthen our immune systems and work like nature's medicine or weaken our immunity to the point of acting like a poison.
I want you to forget the notion of a diet as a weight loss activity. A diet is scientifically defined as the individual's nutrition profile. Simply put, your diet is the sum of what you eat. This more scientific understanding of diet moves the concept from a temporary activity to a lifestyle. Temporary changes lead to temporary results. A lifestyle can be maintained indefinitely and so it's health effects are lasting. A good diet will help you to stay healthy (in a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being). A bad diet will move you further and further away from that state of wellness.
I will in following post try to explain what makes a good diet.
Fear is one of the most powerful emotions out there. It is intense and requires a primal response: Fight or Flight. We have a binary choice: Back away or confront the challenge heads on.
Back in the days fear was a lot more valuable. Indeed many of the challenges meant death in case of failure (you better run away from that bear). In today's society failure usually only mean a broken ego and a loss of resources. Failing is recoverable. We should therefore approach our relationship with fear in a different way. We know the costs of failure so we now have to balance them with the rewards of success. Is the fear of failure worth giving up on your dreams without even trying?
My advice is to use fear as a motivational tool, let it light a fire that will make you work in overdrive and give it your all. If despite your efforts you fail, you will have a certain calm. You will be at peace knowing you gave it all you could.
When we think in absolutes, we humans tend to become paralyzed. The challenges seem insurmountable and we struggle to find the energy and Will to get on with our goals.
Becoming the best version of yourself is a worthy goal. It is also limitless in scope. It is daunting to contemplate all you will need to do to become that person.
My advice is to work on one aspect at a time. A collection of small victories will reinforce your motivation towards the ultimate goal.
1. Watch TV less
2. Read one book a month
3. Try something new every week
4. Cook more meals
5. Exercise more
6. Meet interesting new people
You get my drift. By themselves these would be small victories but together the build the stairway to your destination: The best you!
To many, this is an unexpected question as cardio (the sweaty type) has always been associated with weight loss. You may also recall the simple rule: to lose weight one must eat less and move more.
The reason cardio is controversial for weight loss is because of the phenomenon called over compensation. Some people over eat after they engage in cardio either because they overestimate the calories they burned through exercise, or they fall victim to an increase in hunger.
The solution is thus two-fold.
The journey of a thousand steps starts with the first.
You have a plan and you think about everything that will be required to get the project through. It seems like so much work, so many resources and so much time will be needed. Instead of driving you to action, this analysis leads to inaction. This inaction makes the problem seem insurmountable and thus more daunting. The cycle is vicious!
The solution is simple: Take action. Instead of thinking of the massive goal, think of small steps that will eventually lead to you achieving said goal.
For example, if you want to lose 40 kg, getting everyday and focusing on that enormous task will lead to a feeling of constant failure as you will never achieve said goal on any day. A much better approach is to focus on daily goals that will get you closer and closer to your target.
For example: Today I will eat a healthy breakfast and walk 5000 miles. That's all you need to do. You just need to take that step. Once you are there, the next step will be logical and not seem so high or hard.
Whatever your goal is, take action now no matter how small
It is estimated that 90% of the population would have tried a diet. How is it then that our nation's collective waist seems to get larger and larger?
As non intuitive as it appears the answer is that people try to lose weight by dieting! There are two main issues with dieting:
Now for the good news: with lifestyle changes you can lose weight and maintain that weight loss.
We all know it intuitively: Eat less, move more!
Think about lifestyle changes. Implement small changes, one or two at a time and build on it. Take it slow, remember you put that weight over a long time. It will take some time to shed it off if you want to do it properly.
Here are some tips:
We will be soon enforcing our late arrival policy and preventing customers from joining a class 10 minutes after it has started. We are not just being mean! The following will give you an idea of what you lose when you come late to a class.
Come early :)
Flowing Body Pilates.
I chose this name to show my commitment to flow ( the uninterrupted quality of movement). This quality of movement is outward proof of a body which is efficient at moving. Efficiency comes from precision: The ability to engage the correct muscles and to maintain alignment.
Getting from position A to position B is of minimal importance to Pilates. How you get from one to the other is what matters most. Speed is usually the enemy of precision and control and a way to mask a lack of both. By using momentum, muscles are not allowed to develop strength.
Remember what you are trying to achieve: Mastery of your body which will results in efficient movement and optimal posture. Slow it down and engage with the movement. Introspect, observe and connect with your own body. Feel your muscles, be aware of your alignment and focus on your breathing.
I have decided to move away from the formal articles and write my thoughts and ideas with a lighter pen . This does not mean my thoughts will be random; they are a product of my years of experience working as a fitness professional.
All of us have wellness goals but only a few of us achieve them. The how is actually easy! Do you want cleaner lungs: Stop smoking! Do you want to lose weight: Eat less and move more!
The how is simple in theory. The question is thus: Why is it so hard to follow through to our goals? I believe the answer holds in our "WHY". Your why is your purpose; it is the force driving you to achieve whatever goal you have in front of you. It is your fuel! Not having a strong enough why is like trying to drive cross country with half a tank of gas. You will be drained and you will come up short.
Next time you decide on a goal, I encourage you to consider it deeply and find your strongest why. Find that source of passion and energy that will sustain you and push you forward ever closer to your goals.