Introduction by Sara MercuryA Chapter by Sara Mercury
Secrets to Healthy Living
The key to losing weight and keeping it off is to stick to a strict diet plan for the rest of your life, rarely deviating from it. If you ever deviate, keep track of the extra calories you took in and prepare your workouts to burn them off within one week after eating them. Within two weeks, your body shape will change, and NOT for the better if you don't use up those extra calories.
It is a fact that if you take in only 250 extra calories each day without burning them off, by the end of ONE YEAR, you will have picked up 25 pounds and will wonder where it came from! So calorie counting is not only wise … it is a MUST.
Popular diet plans do the calorie counting for you and are drilling our minds with the tediousness of counting calories with such statements as 'Why bother!' One thing you can never be when you're serious about keeping thin is lazy. Don't let anyone do your dirty work for you! If you do, you will relinquish your control of your weight loss efforts to someone else! Why would you dare want to give control to someone else over your own life? So, forget those diet plans " they're all out to make money on you and could care less if you succeed or fail in your efforts to lose weight. As a matter of fact, they want you come back and order their product again and again. Why be a slave to someone else that way? Take control of your own life and do it your own way and in a way that works best for you.
Nothing worth having or achieving is ever going to be easy. If it was, we all would have nothing at all to wish for or to achieve because we'd have already done it. Anything worth having is worth the effort it takes to achieve or to get it.
Being thin and healthy should be at the top of everyone's list of priorities. Being fit and trim is a total lifestyle change, so be prepared to give up your present eating habits and accept it without regret. Your reward will be a lean body that will not only stun everyone else around you, but it will help prevent and even cure certain health conditions, thereby adding years to your current lifespan.
I tell you all this from personal experience. In 2009, I was 220 pounds (15.7 stone), and subsequently went in hospital with severe swelling of the legs, thighs and abdomen. I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and was on the verge of heart failure! I was told that if I didn't do something to lose the weight and bring my blood pressure under control, I was looking at serious heart problems and would not live to see my son finish school!
This was the necessary wake-up call that caused me to change my lifestyle completely. Whilst I always have eaten healthily because of how I was raised, I never managed my calories or energy intake. And aside from the few times in my life when I felt like working out, I never really adopted a regular workout plan and stuck with it for more than a year. That's why the weight kept getting out of control.
When you make an exercise plan, you have to stick with it or the weight will come back on, despite what you do. You also must keep your calorie intake to a minimum and only eat what your body requires to operate, once you have reached your ideal body weight. To do this, you must calculate your BMR, or your Basic Metabolic Rate. (I went on a few fitness sites on the internet and found the formula and worked it all out for myself.) After you find your BMR, you can figure out the calories you are allowed to eat to maintain your current weight, or eat less calories than your body needs in order to lose weight.
For me, my BMR is calculated to be 1,579. This means that I am allowed to eat up to 1,579 calories (on average) per day in order to maintain my current weight of 120 pounds (or 8.5 stone). If I should eat more than 1,579 calories in a day, I record the number above 1,579 and adjust my workouts for the next few days to burn them off and even things out.
If I'm not losing, I'm gaining, and that is a fact. Everything I do is to burn extra calories I might eat in a week's time. You can't live on a strict 1200 calorie diet every single day, especially when you work out as much as I do every week. But there are days when I eat only 1200 calories to make up for the extra 300 I took in the day before.
Remember, most physiologists will tell you to lose weight slowly over time. It was suggested to me that for the first few months I was losing weight, to lose only two pounds per week; then when I was within 10 pounds of my ideal, reduce the amount of weight loss down to a pound or less. You cannot lose weight too fast or you are taking the chance of having a heart attack. Your body must have the proper nutrition and fluids in order to function properly. Not enough calories and your body will not have the energy to exercise and burn those extra 400 calories you ate at your last dinner party last week.
I recommend eating several small meals throughout the day. This ensures that you're never ravenously hungry. Being ravenously hungry can set you up for binging on carbs … those foods that turn to sugar in the body as a quick fix, such as doughnuts, muffins, cakes, biscuits, potato crisps, chips, breads, and so on.
Small meals that are high in protein are very healthy for replenishing the body with the nutrients needed to maintain a more active lifestyle. Post workout recovery meals should contain a high protein source and a small amount of a carbohydrate, as well as fluids to give the body back what it has lost through exercise and sweat.
Snacking between meals is not foolish; it is necessary to keep from eating too much at your next meal. A snack should not contain more than 100 calories. Choose a fruit, vegetable, a whole grain snack, or yoghurt, and stay away from foods that contain empty calories like sweets and desserts. Some healthy snack suggestions that contain 100 calories or less are as follows:
Two brown rice cakes (plain) - about 50 calories each
One Skinny Cow low-fat ice-cream bar - 100 calories (one of the only healthy desserts!)
8 oz. almond milk (unsweetened) - 35 to 40 calories
One small apple " about 60 calories
1 small banana " about 100 calories
1 large grapefruit " about 60 calories
6 carrot sticks " about 35 calories
Read every label on each purchase of food you make. The average body needs at least 50 grams of protein each day (more if you are older or more active). Read the calcium content, as well as all other nutrient content and compare the daily values on each. If you can't possibly get what you need from food without eating too many calories each day, it would be wise to invest on a good multi-vitamin supplement.
In my own case, I take a selenium supplement (to prevent thyroid sluggishness), a multi-vitamin that facilitates energy metabolism (B-vitamins and chromium), calcium citrate (to replace calcium loss during weight training and running), glucosamine (for joint health), and hawthorn berry extract (for blood vessel and overall cardiovascular support).
Try to make your meals 300 calories or less. Aim at having about four small meals per day, with about three snacks throughout the day. Choose foods low in calories so that you have more bulk in your diet. Too many calories and yet not enough bulk will still leave you hungry with your tummy empty a lot sooner than if you ate in bulk. However, try not to fill yourself up too much, as this can cause the post-eating sluggishness that is never good for keeping your body energised and active.
Bearing all this in mind, I have compiled a few recipes that I use personally in support of my new lifestyle of eating healthily. All of them have been tested in my own kitchen and even served to guests at my frequent dinner parties. Some are desserts that have been modified to reduce calories and/or cholesterol; others are stews and some quick bread recipes you can use in your diet to help you feel full (if living on a strict protein diet just doesn't cut it for you).
© 2011 Sara Mercury
Added on January 3, 2011
Last Updated on August 3, 2011
From the Kitchen of Sara Mercury
Lake City, FL
AboutHello, Darlings! I am a published author, and a legal assistant, as well as the mother of a 15-year-old son. In addition to writing novels, I enjoy singing and playing piano, writing poetry and son.. more..
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