My Health & Fitness Tips
You guys asked for it, so here it is! Today I’m sharing my best health & fitness tips that helped me to shed those last 10 pounds. ‘How I stay fit’ is probably the question I’m asked most, as someone who used to be constantly surrounded by food while working as a chef, and now as a person who simply loves to cook and indulge in delicious foods. The truth is, in the past couple of years, I’ve lost 10 to 15 pounds without any crazy dieting or exercise regimens… and I believe the change is directly correlated to finding happiness and peace within myself. To be honest, I hesitated on making this video because I know this is a very personal and often sensitive journey for all of us… so please know I am aware and respectful of that. We all were born with different bodies, metabolisms, and other conditions that may make the journey easier or more difficult. My only intention in this video is to share the information and habits that have worked for me in the hopes that they will positively impact someone else out there. And I know in my heart that no matter where we are on this road, opening the doors to self-love is both a wonderful and necessary place to begin.
I’ll start off by saying this isn’t about a diet or “do this specific thing” and you’re going to see these results. In many ways it’s the simplest solution but it’s not always the easiest to get there. If I had to some up what my “secret” is, it’s self-love. Truly. When you love yourself, it’s so much easier to make the right choices without even trying. And often, when we’ve gained weight, it’s because we’re practicing self-sabotaging habits out of self-hatred or a void we’re trying to fill. As we all know, food doesn’t fill that void. But love does. I talked a ton about self-love in last week’s video so you can check that out here if you missed it. But particular to this weight management topic I highly recommend the book Women Food and God. This book really helped me to understand my relationship with food and my body in a new and loving way.
One of the ways I was the least loving to myself was through exercise. I used to practically use it as a punishment! I felt a direct connection between how much I suffered or sweat and how good of a workout it is. I do still love a hot yoga class and a good sweat, but I’ve recently discovered exercise in a whole new way. One thing I didn’t realize was that I was keeping my body in a state of inflammation. I often felt puffy or swollen and couldn’t lose weight no matter what – in fact, I often gained weight the harder I worked out. When I was working out too hard, I was also was way more likely to overeat. The trick is to find a way of moving your body that you enjoy. This is going to look different for everyone but I’ve learned my body likes things like yoga and pilates. It doesn’t mean I don’t still challenge myself, but for the most part I’ll do a 20-minute yoga or pilates class (I love Boho Beautiful’s classes on YouTube – and they’re free!). I also enjoy running outside when the weather permits. However I personally hate running on the treadmill so I don’t force myself to do that. Life is too short!
In terms of my diet, I like to first and foremost focus on eating for nutrients – I find that if this is my main goal, then I naturally and effortlessly get less of the junk. Each day I try and eat as many veggies and plants as I can. If I’m eating to nourish my body in a healthy way, then I naturally have less room for the rest of the junk. I find it more positive to focus on the good rather than the deprivation. I don’t eat raw or anything like that, but I do always aim to eat ingredients in their most natural, healthful form. That means eating whole, unprocessed foods whenever possible. I always check the ingredients listed to make sure I can pronounce what I’m eating. As an example, I enjoy drinking grass-fed, full-fat organic milk in my coffee. This is so much better for me than some low-calorie, fat-free creamer that’s loaded with chemicals. I’ve also read a ton about nutrition to learn things like full-fat milk is actually healthier than skim milk, even for weight loss, because when the natural fats are removed from the milk, it causes your blood sugar levels to spike – and when you deprive yourself of fats, you often crave more sugar and will end up eating it elsewhere.
I’ve learned to let go of the guilt and to allow myself to enjoy the treats I love so much. I believe that feeling guilty and bad about ourselves may contribute more to weight gain than anything. There is so much more to be enjoyed from eating a piece of quality dark chocolate, or a piece of that delicious birthday cake, or whatever it is, than only allowing yourself some sort of weird fat-free diet food. I now find that after I indulge, the craving subsides. And whereas I used to have a hard time controlling how much I indulged with, now I find that I only want or need a little.
Like many of us, I used to race through my meals while watching TV, working, or being on my phone. Because I wasn’t really paying attention, it was hard to know when I was full. Since I started meditating and looking for ways to practice mindfulness throughout the day, I’ve loved applying that mentality to my meals. I’m now able to eat slowly and really FEEL in my body when I’m full. This wasn’t easy to do, because since I was a child, I was trained to finish everything on my plate. It has definitely taken some patience and getting used to. It’s a very subtle feeling that I can only notice if I’m paying close attention – it comes way before feeling overly stuffed, but if I slow down enough I can feel that tiny moment when I’m no longer hungry. I also find that by eating slowly and mindfully, I’m able to enjoy my food more overall and by taking in those sensory details, like flavors and textures, I am more satisfied.
Especially after having a particularly heavy meal, I’ll practice intermittent fasting. This means fasting for typically 16 hours (or more). For me, after eating a really big meal, I’ll skip breakfast and sometimes eat lunch a bit later. I found myself doing this naturally as I’d be less hungry after overeating. Then I kept seeing the term in the health and wellness world and realized that it’s a real thing that’s actually good for you! It’s not about starving yourself, but rather giving your digestive system a break. There’s tons of research out there if you want to give it a google but a few of the benefits are that it boosts metabolism, decreases inflammation, increases energy and brain function, lowers cholesterol and on and on.
Once I started meditating daily, one of the biggest positive effects I experienced was that I found myself drinking less. I just didn’t have the desire anymore. I still totally enjoy having a great cocktail or glass of wine (or a couple!) but in a healthful and conscious way. I see now that I was often using alcohol as a means of escaping, and mindfulness has helped to naturally alleviate that. I find that my sleep improves a ton when I drink less, which makes it easier to eat healthfully because it’s when I’m tired (and especially hungover) that I crave all the carbs and fatty foods. And obviously by drinking less, you’re consuming less calories but for me it’s more about the aftermath. Drinking excessively honestly just makes me feel like crap. I love that it’s becoming a trend to drink less, as bars and restaurants are now serving mocktails, I even just read about a non-alcoholic bar in the city! I also love that there are so many healthy non-alcoholic drinks to treat yourself to. I’ll often have Kombucha in a wine glass when I’m catching up with a girlfriend, for instance.