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I've set a goal for myself to lose 20 pounds over the next three to four months. I'm taking my time because I want to make a lifestyle change that will help me keep the weight off.
Some of my friends are surprised that I want to lose weight. On camera, I look heavier than I am in person, but that's only a small reason for the weight loss goal. I mainly want to lose weight because as I get older, it'll become more challenging to lose weight and this will negatively impact my health.
Plus, memes and videos of seventy-year-old women doing bodybuilding and cross-fit have inspired the hell out of me. I have to get my fitness game going.
Wellness is the New Black
We live in a time period where health is being moved to the top of everyone's list. In my small town, we have several gyms and fitness centers and they aren't lacking clients.
But fitness is only part of the puzzle. As I grow older, I've found that diet has become an even more important part of my overall wellness plan. It's proven that a proper diet can result in a longer lifespan, reduce the risk of many different illnesses and create a well-balanced lifestyle. With the development of new studies and information on the importance of a nutritional diet, more and more people are taking the steps to become healthier.
Making a conscious effort to eat healthy every day can be a challenge if you do not know where to start. Even supposedly healthy foods often contain secret harmful and unhealthy ingredients. I've begun tracking my diet through MyFitnessPal app, which not only helps me keep an eye on my caloric intake for the day, it breaks everything down into macros (fat, protein, carbs).
To start, I want to make a point of adding something healthy to my diet on a daily basis. Below are a few examples along with how I can add them to my diet effortlessly.
Berries are filled with fiber, which aids in healthy digestion. They also contain antioxidants that have been linked to retaining memory as you age. Since all berries are good for you, you can switch up your plate with blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, or whatever you are craving that particular day.
It's easy to get my hands on any berry because they're now sold year-round, however, there are people who believe that we should limit our diet to foods naturally available – so berries would be on the menu in the summer, not the winter.
I add berries almost every day to my diet through Greek yogurt and my protein shakes. To avoid waste, I buy a bag of frozen mixed berries from Costco and add them to my NutriBullet when making my evening protein shake (I only eat a real dinner once or twice a week).
Spinach is a great source of iron and antioxidants. It also includes an immense amount of other nutrients such as vitamins A, C, E and K. Eating dark leafy greens has been associated with weight loss and reducing the risk of diabetes and certain cancers.
I love spinach. I love it in salads and I loved cooked spinach. Canned spinach taste like monkey butt and I don't get how they managed to screw it up so badly.
In Seattle, there is a lunch buffet that we affectionately call The Troff and they have a spinach lasagna style dish (just spinach and cheese, no pasta) that I love.
Broccoli is considered a top superfood. This veggie is so nutrient-dense that even just a half cup of cooked broccoli fulfills 80% of your daily dose of vitamin A and C. It also contains vitamin K, which is essential for bone and blood health.
I can eat it steamed or I can eat it raw. For me, and the folks around me, I've found that the best way to eat broccoli is to add it to my protein shake along with the spinach I mentioned above. Looking back at past cold seasons, I'm convinced that if I had added more natural green foods to my diet, I would have built a stronger immune system. So, I'm going to put this to the test this year.
There is some stigma around if eggs are good for you, but there is no denying that they do have an array of nutritional benefits. Eating egg whites is a great way to consume protein while keeping the calorie count down. The yolk holds more of the essentials, such as choline, lutein, and vitamins B12 and A. Research has shown that eating eggs helps with age-related macular degeneration as well.
Eggs are easily one of my favorite foods. Boiled, scrambled, or fried – I love them. After a fun trip down to California last spring, I developed a fondness for avocado toast. It's easy to make (three ingredients, a couple more if you want to get fancy), healthy, and delicious.
Oats are loaded with nutrients and fibers that benefit overall health. This superfood contains fiber and beta-glucans, which help fight high cholesterol and blood pressure and reduces the risk of diabetes in certain cancers.
Oats are comfort food for me. I don't eat them as often as I used to, but if I have the right ingredients on hand (oats, Greek yogurt, and berries), then I'm in heaven.
The only problem for me is that I'm reducing the amount of carbs in my diet, so I won't be eating oats every day, but I will treat myself to them from time to time.
Chia seeds are one of the top nutrient-dense foods. These seeds contain fiber, magnesium, manganese, calcium, and much more. Chia seeds are easy to incorporate into a diet. Some are adding the seeds to their yogurt or on top of a salad to reap the benefits these seeds have to offer. Personally, I prefer a beverage that has chia seeds in it or adding it to my protein shake (after I've soaked them for a few hours).
Part of a healthy diet is making sure you feed your soul once in a while too. Dark chocolate is a great option for when you have a sweet tooth because it is packed with magnesium and antioxidants. Just a small amount of dark chocolate can satisfy you and prevent you from reaching for unhealthy alternatives.
I'm not a fan of dark chocolate, however, friends have told me that I'll eventually develop a taste for it. Mmmmmm, maybe.
Choosing the Right “Diet” for Me
The “you are what you eat” statement holds some truth to it. Eating nutrient-dense foods is an essential part of being an overall healthy person. The first step for me was to begin making a conscious effort to put my health first and be mindful of the kinds of foods I put in my body. Whether you want to become a healthier person or want to switch up your diet with more options, implementing foods like mentioned above is a great first step.
The second step is to choose which “diet” you want to follow. Years ago, I began cutting meat out of my diet. I'm not a devoted vegetarian, but I don't eat a lot of meat. A year ago, I began intermittent fasting by limiting myself to an eight-hour block of time when I could eat. Today, I've decided to continue limiting the meat I consume to seafood (I'm going to miss Popeye's spicy fried chicken) and make a commitment to track my meals daily on the MyFitnessPal app. I like this plan instead of following a popular diet because it's eye-opening when you realize how many calories you can pack away and still feel hungry because your diet is so unhealthy.
I'll update this post in four months or so to let you know how I did. By the way, I weigh 154 lbs and I'd like to weigh 134-135 lbs.