It occurred to me this morning, as I looked back at the week that just passed, that I have a lot of valuable information that others could benefit from. I had the opportunity to meet up with a couple of friends, and the conversation turned to health, diet, exercise. I love having these discussions because the information I’ve been fortunate enough to learn could benefit anyone, regardless of their size or physical condition. It also occurred to me that I haven’t really shared much in the way of specifics, other than the type of exercise I do in some of my daily sweats.
While this blog is named My Year of Sweat, and clearly focused on my primary goal of putting in my healthy dose of daily exercise, I really should be doing a better job of sharing the other aspects of my journey, which include the food and lifestyle tips I’ve picked up and try to put into practice.
I’ve often commented here on the blog that my week at the Biggest Loser Resort, Fitness Ridge in Malibu was a game changer for me. Not only did the experience fuel this BHAG (big, hairy, audacious goal) of 365 days of sweat in 2013, but it also provided me with the tools to make better, healthier choices via sustainable practices so that this “adventure” becomes a true lifestyle, as opposed to a fad, short-lived experiment or quick fix.
So here’s my commitment to trying to incorporate more of the diet (by diet I mean food, not the act of “going on a diet”) and lifestyle choices, in addition to the exercise I usually write about.
Let’s start with the basics, the core fundamentals, so to speak.
At Biggest Loser Resort we learned about 7 key elements to successful weight loss and health improvement:
Drink 100 oz of water per day. We also learned that you should be chugging that water between meals, but only drinking small amounts with the actual meal. This was an interesting factoid, and one I had never heard of before. It’s also important that you drink your first glass as soon as you wake up.
Exercise for 20-60 minutes 4-5 times each week. The best workout is a combination of cardio + resistance. By combining cardio and resistance you are building muscle and burning fat. The more muscle mass you build, the more your body becomes a fat-burning machine! As far as frequency goes, it’s clear I’m doing 7 days/work during this year of sweat, but I love Bob Harper’s strategy of: “3 Days on, 1 day off. Every single week.” Just go 3 days straight, rest one day, go three days straight, rest one day. And so on, and so forth.
Eat breakfast or a snack within the first 45-60 minutes of waking up. Confession: I suck at this one. But I’m getting better. I try to at least grab something – anything within that first hour. This is the next mini-goal I’m focusing on. So critical to fuel your body after so many hours of no food.
Eat every 4-6 hours, ideally 3 meals and 1 snack per day with dinner being the smallest meal. Okay – so, yes on the eating every 4-6 hours and having 3 meals minimum per day. I’m all good with that part of the rule. But dinner as the smallest meal?…That’s a toughie. Working on it, but I think this one will continue to be a big challenge. North Americans tend to have their biggest/heaviest meal at dinner time, and I’m no exception.
Never eat a starchy carbohydrate (eg fruit) by itself. Always pair it with a FAT or PROTEIN. This was seriously one of my biggest takeaways from my week at BLR. Who would have thought that just eating an apple by itself is a bad thing? Always pair that piece of fruit with a tablespoon of peanut butter, a handful of raw almonds, or any number of other protein or fats. Easy to do!
Try to get 7-8 hours of solid sleep each night. This one is self-explanatory. Your body needs good, restorative sleep to help you get through your day!
Make YOU a priority. We are all busy. We all have a million responsibilities. We can all rhyme off a litany of reasons (excuses) why we can’t make time for ourselves. At the end of the day, you need to get to a place where you truly believe you’re worth it. Invest in you.
I don’t want to make this post too crazy long, so I’ll defer more of the food tips until my next update. So happy to share all of this with you guys.
It’s a fine line, you know, sharing versus coming off preachy. It’s not my intent to appear as though I have all the answers or that I’m in a place to judge those of you who are making different choices. That’s why I’ve been a bit more reserved in sharing this info with friends and family. I’ve been waiting for them to ask, versus for me to just offer. In retrospect though, perhaps it is hard for some people to be “hand-raisers” and ask for the help. We all know that was my problem for a very long time [and in many respects, still is]. Asking for help isn’t easy.
So, hey, this is yet another amazing gift that this blog has given me. It’s the perfect outlet to share information, to tell stories, to motivate, to inspire, to confess to failures and to celebrate successes. And most especially, to pay it forward.
One final thought/request as I wrap this post. If you are a reader of the blog and like (or dislike), or question anything that I’ve written about. Or if you’d like to see me touch on a topic I haven’t covered yet, please take the time to comment. If you want your comment to be kept private, you can ask it anonymously. 🙂
Have a great week friends. Eat well. Move more. Have fun!