Thursday, August 25, 2011

7 Tips On How To Indulge With Food And Still Stay In Shape



People often comment, "You're so fit, you must eat very little." The truth? I eat A LOT more than you can even imagine...lol. Life is for enjoying, so indulging in food is part of living, but being smart about how you indulge is the key to enjoying lots of food while staying in shape. So this video was created to show you that I’m only human and I do indulge, indeed.

If you come with me anywhere, you’ll always find me where the food is. Anyone who’s ever gone out with me can attest to this. I simply LOVE food (who doesn’t?), and so I had to quickly learn how I could indulge and still stay in shape. Is it possible to travel, dine out, attend events, indulge and still stay in shape? Absolutely!

Here’s my top 7 general rule of thumb when it comes to enjoying lots of food and staying healthy and fit:

First and foremost, life works better when you can find and maintain a kind of balance that works for you. So for me, when it comes to food and fitness, I like to say: It’s what you do most of the time that matters, not so much what you do some of the time. With that said, this is what I practice…

1.) Eat clean most of the time
I try to eat clean at least 4-5 days in the week so I can cheat 2-3 days of the week and eat whatever I want without guilt. Saying this, however…

2.) Workout every other day
…I also workout “hard” 3-4 times a week, no more than 30 minutes per workout. By “hard” I mean I don’t like wasting time. I like to keep it short and intense to maximize my time and burn some major calories. I like to exercise in a way that greatly speeds up my metabolism and keeps my fat-burning mode on a high all day.

Because I allow myself many “cheat” days, I really make sure to clean up my act on the “clean” days.

3.) Choose wisely
Eating clean for me means no fried stuff, cooked oils, creamy or buttery stuff, ooey gooey cheesy stuff, processed foods, and foods overly high in sugar or sodium. No artificial flavors or sweeteners, “specialty” coffee or alcohol. Food preparation method should be steamed, boiled, baked, broiled or roasted.

4.) Eat balanced meals
Eating clean also means eating balanced, well-portioned meals throughout the day so you don’t experience hunger or overeating, and you provide your body with all the nutrients it needs. Our body needs the 3 essential macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

For my meals, I try to keep my complex starchy carbs around half cup, my protein from lean meats around 4oz, and if I’m eating protein from fish (salmon, tuna, tilapia, etc.), I like to eat a little more for the good fats. And I also make sure every meal includes lots of vegetables (the more colorful, the better, especially greens).

Every body is different, so it’s good to listen to your own body, try things out or talk to a professional to learn what will work best for you.

5.) Mimic nature
Another really important factor to eating well is to have your meals mimic nature. Roughly 75% of the Earth’s surface is covered in water. Roughly 75% of our body is made up of water. So your meals should consist of 75% water content: colorful vegetables (especially greens like spinach, broccoli, asparagus), some fruits, soups, alkalizing water such as warm Matcha green tea or water with fresh squeezed lemon.

Whether it’s your cheat day or clean day, you should drink a minimum of 2-3 litres of water, especially alkalized water, as mentioned above. Drink before, during, and after each meal, and drink often throughout the day. Drinking lots of water can really help food move through your system more efficiently and aid with proper digestion, cleansing and detoxifying.

6.) Eat slow and enjoy
Whether it be a cheat day or clean day, eat slowly and enjoy every bite. It takes 20 minutes for your mind to realize you're full. So if you eat fast and overeat all in a matter of 10 minutes, you’ll feel like crap once it all hits you pass that 20-minute mark. Not to mention, your body will have a tough time trying to break down all that food. It really screws up your metabolism and your energy level.

So eat mindfully, really slow down and taste the food, feel the texture and observe the flavor in your mouth. Enjoy and savor every bite. Mindful eating leads to awareness of your body. Learn to listen to your body; it is always telling you what it needs. 

7.) Breathe deeply
Breathe deeply as often as possible, especially after you eat. Your body needs energy to function at its peak. This means it needs plenty of oxygen. The kind of breathing you do on auto-pilot is only just enough for your body to live, but not enough to thrive. 

So if you want all the systems of your body to function optimally (in this case, your digestive system), you need to consciously practice deep diaphragmatic breathing.

Do it often throughout the day, or spend 5 minutes, 3 times a day, to practice. An example of this would be to breathe in slowly for 5 counts, hold for a few counts, and slowly exhale for 10 counts. Learn to slow your breathing down, keep it long and strong in a relax manner, fill up your lungs completely, expanding your tummy, and then breathe out from your gut.

Conclusion
What I’ve shared here are not things I do just some of the time; they are things I do ALL the time. So with this practice in motion, I truly enjoy my cheat days (or cheat moments)!

Also, please keep in mind that this is a very general guideline and it doesn't really apply if you're a bodybuilder, fitness competitor, or any type of athlete who needs to eat and exercise a certain way to better perform your sport or activity.

It also doesn't apply if you have other serious medical conditions and are somewhat unhealthy or overweight. If any of the latter were the case, you need to deal with those issues first with a program specifically designed for you. Once you've reached your goals, then you can play around with indulging.

Now, as for the rest of you who aren't faced with the above challenges, please don't feel guilty for indulging. Don't constantly fear your weight and deprive yourself of foods you enjoy. Use my tips here as a guide to explore. 

Take the time to test things out for yourself. See what works for you and what doesn't. Enjoy the process of discovering how truly fascinating your body is!


On a side note:
I launched Wellness With Penny.com on my birthday last year (August 24) to share the gift of wellness with you. And so this year, to celebrate my birthday and the site’s one-year anniversary, I created this video for you, just for fun. Hope you enjoyed it!  xo

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