I’m a 27-year-old woman and I’ve been overweight most of my life. However, I survived my teenage years and it never bothered me much and, along the way, I got used to the fact that I would continue to be overweight for the rest of my life. At least that was easier than taking up tedious and exhausting weight loss.
However, I had a physical examination several months ago and I found out a worrying fact – I had high triglyceride levels in my blood, which had not been the case before. That moment I knew I had to lose weight and change my life for the better, and do it as soon as possible.
If you search the net, you’ll find dozens of “amazing weight loss programs” and “magical products”. Perhaps I am wrong, but somehow none of those seemed right for me. I didn’t need amazing abs, I wasn’t preparing for the bikini season, and I was not supposed to fit in a certain dress – I needed to lose weight for my health. And quickly it struck me that it was my habits I needed to change.
As I was in bad shape, I decided to start with regular walks at a park. It is an ideal, low-impact and low-intensity weight loss activity that leads to better health. After a couple of weeks, I started swimming three times a week since this way you can burn 400 to 700 calories an hour. Swimming is maybe not an ideal activity if you want high-definition muscles, but it simply burns fat and you get in shape pretty quickly.
The next thing on the list was his majesty – stress. Many will say it is the disease of the 21st century. That I don’t know, but I do know it is a significant factor in gaining weight. How does it happen? Well, the brain detects a threat and then releases chemicals such as adrenaline and cortisol that put your body into a state of alertness. This is particularly bad when the stress is prolonged since your brain tells you that you need more sugar and fat. Therefore, you eat mindlessly and crave junk food.
Science shows us that endorphins ward off anxiety and depression. However, this is just one way of reducing stress. What did the trick for me was yoga, but a relaxing bath with essential oils, reading books, gardening and other things you love will certainly make you happier and drive away stressful thoughts. It is up to you.
While on the subject of yoga, breathing exercises are one more way to achieve stress relief. They will also help you to sleep better. Good, sound sleep will regulate your metabolism and make you well rested. It is important to maintain a regular sleep schedule since a decreased metabolic rate leads to increased hunger and intake of sugars.
Speaking of sugar – it is the first and the most important thing that you must cut down on. I wasn’t particularly fond of candy and chocolate anyway, but sugar can be found in other foods as well. Sadly, I had to say goodbye to soft drinks and fast food, particularly those salty and greasy snacks, but all for the higher cause!
Basically, all foods with refined carbohydrates are bad if you want to lose weight. So, I started buying brown rice, bread and pastas from whole grains. They give lots of energy, since our body needs carbs, but they do it in a healthy way and with fewer calories.
So, being someone who used to gorge junk food, eating fruit and vegetables didn’t really come naturally – there was a period when I had to learn how to eat and combine the ingredients, even try some for the first time. Believe me, a whole new world slowly opened for me, and these meals can be so delicious! What adds to their appeal is the fact you are treading the healthy path. Here is an example of how you can prepare a quick, but healthy and fresh meal. You can always find a recipe for the Greek salad if you have no idea what to cook.
Of course, we all have a different metabolism. Some will easily digest raw food with lots of fibers, while those with a sluggish metabolism may have a problem, according to Dr Natalie Kringoudis, Doctor of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncturist. Thus, before you embrace raw food, make sure you can tolerate it.
So, you see, we are all different. If you can’t do heavy exercises, can’t sleep for 8 hours or you really hate meditation and broccoli, don’t do it. These things helped me lose weight, but you should have in mind some principles and rules or weight loss and adjust them to your personal needs.
Changing your lifestyle completely and losing weight is a real challenge, since you need to continue with these healthy habits until the rest of your life. Trust me, it gets easier. I managed to lose 30 lbs in just four months. After that – everything seems like a walk in the park. When you experience such huge change, you become a different person: empowered, optimistic and full of self-esteem. Living healthy in the years to come is something that I want and something that keeps me going!