My husband always struggled with weight in his life. I saw him working out like crazy. If he was busy with his work and could not make time for a week, he gained lots of weight that week. On the contrary, I never had a struggle with weight. Because my mom always maintained a very healthy food habit at home. Even as a child I did not eat chocolate or cookies much. It was very natural for me. So, I had to plan carefully for my husband. Because he grew up differently. I did not want to push anything on him overnight for two reasons. That may ruin the relationship. And also you cannot expect a human to change himself or herself drastically and keep that change in life forever. But at the same time, I wanted to help him with his struggle. The good news is, He does not struggle with his weight anymore. My plan worked very well for him. So I thought I should share those simple ideas with everyone.
Genuinely, working hard does not work in the long run for weight loss. How long can you keep working hard? We want to live our life. If you start working hard today, you will probably keep doing it for a week, two weeks, or a month. Then you will feel like taking a break or go back to a normal life where life was not too hard. Once you will stop working hard, you will start gaining weight back again. What was the point of working hard for last week or a few weeks or a month?
How to lose weight then?
Losing weight should come through your normal lifestyle that does not feel like hard work to you. Do not make any drastic changes to your lifestyle. This is a big no. I have seen so many of my friends, changing their eating habits, exercising all of a sudden. So much enthusiasm and so much excitement! One of my friends lost 30 lbs in a month! She was so excited. She started grocery shopping, cooking healthy food, etc. But after about another month I found her gaining back her weight and now she is even bigger than she had been before. I am sure you saw this around you as well. Because this is so common. We cannot change ourselves overnight. If you are feeling too enthusiastic, you may try but if it does not work, take a moment. Then follow the procedure I am about to explain now.
Focus on a Healthy Lifestyle Rather than any Shape or Size
Everyone has a certain body type and shape. Love yourself for what you are. Accept your body type. And then think about being a better and healthier version of yourself. If you start with being embarrassed or hating yourself, you will end up torturing yourself. You probably will achieve some temporary success but the possibility is very high that you will go back soon as I mentioned earlier.
The first step towards a healthy lifestyle should never be starting a heavy exercise routine. Probably some walking is good.
Weight loss and maintaining good health comes with good food habit first. It is 70% to 80% of the food and the rest is exercise. You do not need to work too hard for building good food habits either. Just allow yourself enough time. Here I am explaining step by step process of building a better and sustainable food habit. I am making a routine by allowing one week to a few weeks for each step. But it is your body. Listen to your body and allow enough time your body needs to absorb and get used to it.
Please let your body feel some difference in each step. That will keep you motivated.
Start with a glass of lemon water in the morning. It has so many benefits. The most important benefit is, it hydrates your body in the morning. You do not need to put a whole lemon. Just put a piece of lemon or half a lime. You may think lemon water in an empty stomach will cause acidity. But lemon water balances the acid level in the morning. If you put a piece of lemon in a glass of water, it makes a weak acid and the stomach acid in an empty stomach is a strong acid. So, lemon water dilutes the strength of the acid in your stomach. At the same time, it detoxifies and gives a boost to the digestive system after a long break at night. Your body absorbs nutrients from the breakfast a lot better.
I see a false idea that lemon water melts fat. So, I can eat whatever I want. If you do that, weight loss will never work. Keep the rest of your diet as it was.
Second, Third and Fourth Week
Do not stop drinking a glass of lemon or lime water in the morning. Just include a glass of vegetable juice in your diet as well. I heard some people argue that fiber is an important part of vegetables. Why should we through that out and drink the juice only? There are a few different reasons for it.
- When you drink a glass of juice, it gives your body a boost of vitamins and minerals without working hard for it.
- Your body receives some good digestive enzymes and hydration as well.
- If you eat raw vegetables, you cannot eat as many vegetables as you can consume as juice. The body has to work too hard to extract vitamins and minerals from it. Plus many people do not like to eat raw vegetables.
A glass of juice every day or a couple of glasses of juice in a week, whatever you afford, will give your body the vitamins and mineral boost. Besides, it slowly makes the body more receptive to vegetables. If you can, have the juice in the morning or the last thing at night. It will keep your body satisfied and you will not keep craving snacks all day. If you drink juice once a month, you won’t see much difference. You have to maintain it in a reasonable routine. After a month or so, you will start liking vegetables and fruits more. Please do not make any changes to any other food unless you start craving healthier food.
Please note that if you have a habit of eating salads or cooked vegetables in your meals, do not change that. Keep every other meal as it is.
Replace one of your snacks with your favorite fruits and make that snack only on fruits. Fruits are best when you eat it by itself, not mix it up with any other kind of food. If you like fruits, it should not be hard at all for you. If you do not like fruits at all, it will be easier for you after juicing for 2/3 weeks. If you do not like it even after three weeks of juicing, allow yourself more time. Include fruits in your juice as well. That may help. Some people just do not like fruits in general. They prefer vegetables more. So, listen to your body and taste. Remember do not stop lemon/lime water and juice.
Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Week
Keep doing the previous three steps. Besides, make your breakfast healthy, if it is not already. Do not just eat a cupcake and coffee. Eat some substantial breakfast. Include some good protein, fiber, vitamins, and mineral-rich food. I can share my breakfast. I mix half a cup of oats, a tablespoon of chia seeds, one spoon of flax seeds and raisins(if available in the house). I soak it in soy milk overnight, add some honey and a few tablespoons of cashew yogurt. This is my everyday breakfast. Sometimes I make an omelet with lots of vegetables. A satisfying and filling breakfast will keep you satisfied during the day and you won’t have too many cravings. Nowadays some people argue that it’s good to avoid breakfast and practice intermittent fasting. I also support the idea of intermittent fasting and practice as well. But I eat a light dinner and finish my dinner early. That gives about 12 to 1 hours of break between my dinner and breakfast the next morning. At the end of the eighth week, replace all your snacks with fruits and a mix of different types of fruits. Fruits improve your metabolism significantly.
Rest of the Life
I am sure, at this point, lemon water, juicing, and snacking on fruits do not feel hard to you. Now, start eating vegetables every day, if you do not already. It is your choice where to add it, breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Good to have vegetables during the day. Eat whatever way, you prefer. Like, I do not like salads. I only eat cooked vegetables. Choose the type of vegetables you like and try new vegetables here and there. These are the steps, you should maintain for life as part of your daily life. If you adopt all these steps with sufficient time in between, you should be able to keep maintaining all the steps without feeling like hard work.
It is not possible to give a portion size for everybody in this article. Because it should be decided depending on the height, body type, and, activity level of a person. The best way is if you can learn to listen to your body. I can tell you the few rules I follow and it works for me perfectly.
- Do not eat if you are not hungry
- Stop eating when you feel satisfied, do not overstuff yourself.
These are two simple rules. Sometimes people tend to think, healthy food can be consumed in any amount. But that’s not true. If you are not hungry or started feeling full, stop eating even if the food is healthy. The portion is important.
I cannot emphasize it enough. Water is so important. I can say drink at least two liters of water every day. Please follow that as much as you can. Also, when you feel hungry for a snack in between meals, drink a glass of water first and see if that helps. Some times when you feel hungry, it’s not hunger, it’s thirst or you are dehydrated.
Your body may give you the same indication or feeling of hunger when you are thirsty
The same rules apply to exercise as well. Do not start working hard. Do not even do your limit. Do less than what you can do. Save some enthusiasm and interest for later. That way you will be able to keep it up. If you are not totally into exercise, start with 20 minutes walk or 15 minutes yoga every day or every other day. Increase the amount after two weeks. Ultimately, if you can reach 45 minutes’ walk at least 6days a week, you should be good. But if you can improve further that’s great. Choose the type of exercise you enjoy. I enjoy walking, running, and yoga. When I started, I could not run for even a quarter of a mile. Now I run or walk 3 to 5 miles 5/6 days a week. I started seven years ago.
These are some simple steps that should help in becoming healthy. Nowadays, there are so many different diets out there. If you want to follow any of them, just think, if you will be able to keep it up. I know I can never follow a keto diet because I cannot avoid carb. So I know it will never work for me.
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