There is no shortage of advice and how-to’s on how to lose weight. Many of these ideas and diets do work, especially in the short-term. However, once you stop the diet then the weight comes right back!
There are some simple strategies that you can implement in your lifestyle that will make it easier to lose the excess pounds and maintain a healthy body weight.
One — Keep it simple. Complicated diet plans, customized to your specific genes and insulin levels and more are not necessary. Often just a simple, healthy diet full of whole foods is enough.
The easier your nutrition plan is to implement and follow, then the more likely you are to maintain it for a lifetime of healthy eating.
Two — Eat more fruits and vegetables. Vegetables and fruits are excellent sources of vitamins, minerals and numerous phytonutrients. They are also a source of filling fibre and water.
There are many easy and delicious recipes for whole fruits and vegetables which provide nutrition to heal and sustain our bodies.
Eat lots of colours of fruits and vegetables as often as possible as these colours signify a high level of phytonutrients.
A 2018 study ((http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/diet-precision-1.4543617), which compared weight loss results between two dieting groups, published by the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that it didn’t matter what diet the participants followed. The people who lose weight had the following things in common.
People who consumed the fewest processed foods, sugary drinks, unhealthy fats and ate the most vegetables lost the most weight.
Three — Move your body every day! While losing weight is 90% due to changes in your diet and nutrition, exercise helps to strengthen and tone the body.
Exercise will raise your resting metabolic rate, helping your body burn more calories at rest and has a positive effect on health: lowering depression and anxiety, lowering blood pressure, and reducing the risk of certain cancers such as breast and colon cancer.
Walking daily is an easy and pleasant way to keep your body moving. Make it as brisk as you can handle for increasing periods of time. And have fun — walk in nature, with a friend, a pet or with music.
If you don’t use it, you will lose it. Keeping fit physically will be a huge blessing when you get older. Keeping strength and flexibility in your muscles will reduce age-related problems.
Four— Eat slowly and mindfully. Many of us eat while we are watching TV or reading, my personal favourite. The problem with this approach is that we are just not paying attention.
We often stuff ourselves quickly and then feel bloated and sick. It takes about 20 minutes to feel that “full” feeling. Try eating slower and eating less.
Slow down! Put your fork down between bites. Only eat; don’t watch TV or read a book.
Conversation can also be distracting, but eating with friends and family is fun and healthy, just make sure to pay attention to what and how much you are eating. The fork trick will help!
Fifth — Drink more water. Water is vital to our health. We are chronically dehydrated as a society and this has its own health problems but also affects our weight.
People who drink more water tend to lose more weight as more water helps you to burn calories and can lower hunger. Often we are just thirsty when we feel hunger.
Have a big drink of water before you eat!
Six — Cut out or dramatically reduce sugar intake. Sugar makes you fat. Simple as that, it is excess calories with no nutritional value and it is stored as fat in the body and increases inflammation.
Try not to replace the sugar in your diet with artificial sweeteners! They aren’t any better, some are synthesized from harmful chemicals and they have been shown not to help with weight loss.
Also, start training your taste buds to dislike really sweet tastes. Sugar is addictive and getting off sugar can take some time. But once you do it is worth it and you will eventually find that the cravings for sugar are finally gone!
By cutting out sugars for just a three-month period last year, I was able to lose weight and improve my health.
My article on sugar goes into more detail here. This is a habit that would be great to follow for your entire life. I promise once you break the sugar habit that it will get easier!
Seven — Reduce processed foods.
An easy policy is to try to eat food that was food 100 years ago. Michael Pollan’s simple diet advice from his book In Defense of Food: An eater’s manifesto is:
Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly Plants.
This is such wonderfully simple advice. Processed food can be full of harmful chemicals or at least mostly devoid of nutrition, providing simply empty calories. Often it is high in sugar and bad fats.
Eight — Eat healthy fat and stop eating bad fats. The problem of obesity and overweight isn’t the fat we eat; fat is critical in our diet.
We need dietary fats for life, health, body functioning and, when eating, taste and satiety (fullness). It is time to start accepting that dietary fat is essential for health.
So many of us though, are eating the wrong kinds of fats. And this is contributing to our poor health. There are good and bad fats and it is important to really know and understand the difference.
Good fats are generally unsaturated, monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats. Some examples of food sources of healthy fats are cold-water fish, flax seeds, avocados, olive, nuts, seeds and soybeans.
Coconut oil, although mostly a saturated fat, is considered healthy because it contains MUFA’s (Medium chain fatty acids) which has many health benefits, including possibly aiding in weight loss.
Bad fats are usually the saturated fat and trans-fats. Found in fast food, processed foods and fried foods.
Choosing wisely what type of fat you eat will make a huge difference in your health.
Nine — Only eat until 80% full. “Hara hachi bu” — the Japanese manta — which Okinawans (a Blue Zone community) follow, means to stop eating your meal when you feel about 80% full.
We don’t need to feel stuffed.
People who live long and healthy lives generally don’t eat until they are totally full. (See my article on blue zones here.) And they eat smaller meals in the evening.
Take away — Try implementing the 80% rule in your life.
Ten — Avoid extreme diets. They are hard on your body and most people gain back all the weight they lost. Try to find a healthy, nutritious lifestyle that you can maintain, with pleasure, for life.
Losing weight and keeping it off can be a challenge. These are simple (not always easy!) tricks to help get you started on healthy habits.
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” Theodore Roosevelt
Teddy’s got that right! It’s something we all do. We want to see how we stack up in our communities. Are we doing things right? Do we fit in?
We all want to be the best at something or at least competent and “normal”. And how do we find out if we are? Why, we look around and see how others are doing, how they look, how much they have or what and how are they doing it.
In all aspects of your life, comparison can lower any sense of pride and enjoyment. It really does rob you of your happiness and contentment.
Why does the simple act of comparing yourself to others make you feel so bad?
1. Often we compare our worst to someone else’s best — we aren’t comparing the same thing.
2. We often see only what that other person is putting out there — and yet we know all of our dark and scary sides. This is a totally unfair comparison. We are the hardest judge of ourselves because we know all our negative aspects.
3. You will never be at the top. Someone somewhere is better than you.
Because we have access to so much information today, we can see so many talented people achieving truly great things.
Needing to be the best or at the top is pointless. And this knowledge, if we dwell on that, can make us feel like giving up and not trying to be our own best self. Leading to a quiet despair.
4. We are too hard on ourselves. We compare our flaws that we have looked at under a microscope or a magnifying mirror, to someone’s air-brushed, salon primped best. Not a fair comparison.
5. Comparison can take you out of your enjoyment of the moment. For example, I love yoga and am fairly flexible, but I have a bad habit of comparing myself to others in my yoga classes.
This takes me out of the enjoyment of the moment, can possibly also make me feel bad or inferior, or conversely, superior.
None of this helps my yogic journey. Yoga is about oneness with body and breath, not about who is the most stretchy. It is not a competition. As the saying goes, it is a yoga practice, not a yoga perfect. My look around to see where others are at deprives me of personal satisfaction and inner peace.
Time to stop this useless and harmful practice!
1. Practice gratitude daily. This habit, more than any other, will shift the focus from what you don’t have or can’t do to what you do have and can do. So dig out that gratitude journal!
2. Remind yourself that the people you are comparing yourself to have areas of their life that aren’t perfect.
For example, if you compare your looks to a certain celebrity, but forget the fact that they have been divorced three times and have an addiction problem, you miss the fact that your happy relationships and clean living are far more important than that perfect nose (which they probably paid for!).
Again, you are comparing their best to your worst. Unfair to anyone.
3. Focus on your own future. Clean up your life. If you are truly unhappy with an area of your life, start changing it. Start small and be consistent. You will find satisfaction in this.
4. Only compare yourself to your own self. Realizing that no-one is perfect and that some things in life DON’T improve with age, (hello fine lines — but maybe that is an improvement), work on competing with yourself only.
Can you do a plank for 10 more seconds than you did 2 weeks ago? Awesome, that’s improvement! And you should be proud.
Comparing yourself to the world record holder of planking,( 8 hours! omg) takes away from your achievement and robs you of the satisfaction of your own progress.
5. Learn more about yourself. Journal, try new things, spend time alone and find out what you really want.
Social media, the ultimate in comparison sapping joy activity, can trick us into thinking our life needs to be a certain way. That we need to be a certain way, act a certain way, talk a certain way and certainly look a certain way. But is that what we REALLY want?
Taking the time to really explore our true wants and desires can help us reduce comparisons to others. We are all different, thus our wants and desires, and yes our lives, should be different.
6. Stop judging others. The more we judge, the more we feel judged by others.
You can bet that someone who feels people are very judgemental is exactly that, judgemental. Judging others makes us feel worse and truly says more about us than the poor people we are passing judgements upon.
We truly don’t know what is going on, really going on with someone. The more we tend to judge, the more we will be comparing ourselves to others and lessening our joy.
Working on stopping our comparing mind and opening up our hearts and mind to more gratitude will increase our capacity for joy and contentment.
Time to appreciate what we have!
Can we really be ourselves?
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind. — Bernard M. Baruch
I love this quote. Isn’t it awesome?
We spend too much time worrying about what other people think. As I get older I am learning more and more that being yourself is the way to go. Most people are too busy thinking about themselves anyway to be worrying about you.
Why is being authentic so important? If we aren’t authentic to what we truly think, feel and want then we are just wearing a mask, hiding and pretending. This will lead to us feeling unworthy and unloved. And don’t we all want to feel worthy and loved?
Fear of what other’s will think of us is also holding us back. We can’t really shine as individuals and we are prevented from fully, or even at all, expressing ourselves and making a difference in the lives of others.
This quote from the lovely and wise Marianne Williamson says it all.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
If you really read that quote and reread it every day, it starts to dawn on you that we have a responsibility to the world to shine and be our glorious selves. And we are all glorious!
Shining our light is the having the courage to be yourself and letting your gifts and talents out into the world.
By having the courage to step up and be ourselves, we can help others do the same. And if people judge us, that’s on them. Judging saying more about the judges than the judged.
Authenticity is the only way you can be happy. Being yourself is the only way to feel love.
You cannot feel love by pretending to be something, or someone, you are not.
Because even if someone loves us then, we will always think, “they wouldn’t really love me if they really knew me.” Hiding the real you will prevent your inner self from feeling valued, seen and understood. Basic human needs.
I am speaking my mind more. I have opinions and they are of value. You don’t have to agree with me, nor I with you. I am speaking out more and also listening more. Listening is key.
By paying attention to what matters to me. Being mindful and living in the moment helps teach me what makes me feel good, happy and on purpose. Then I can do actions that help take me closer to these things.
I apologize when I screw up. And boy do I do that often! Being willing to say, “Hey, I’m sorry. That’s was wrong.” enables me to show my mistakes to the world, forgive myself and helps others forgive me.
I read books like “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown to help expand my understanding of vulnerability and to see the link between my being open and vulnerable to my ability to feel loved.
Practicing self-acceptance. Loving myself makes it easier to open up to others. Paying attention to that negative voice that sometimes pops up in my head and stopping it as soon as I notice really helps me to change that broken tape.
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” e.e. Cummings
Embracing the courage to be myself is a lifelong practice, but so worth it! Living an authentic life will give you the fulfillment we are all looking for.
“Authenticity means erasing the gap between what you firmly believe inside and what you reveal to the outside world.” Adam Grant
I write articles on healthy living, finding fulfillment and happiness, medications and medical topics, yoga and living an adventurous life. Living your best life!
It’s more than just living a long time…
Blue zones are areas of the world where longevity is much higher than the average. The blue zones that have been identified are in: Sardinia; Ikaria in Greece; the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica; Japan’s Okinawa division; and the Seventh Day Adventist community in Loma Linda California.
What these places have in common is an unusually high number of people who live to be over 100. Not just alive — but thriving, healthy and happy!
Why would you want to live to be over 100 if you are living in pain and suffering?
There are some Powerful and Fundamental Ideas we can learn and incorporate into our own lives to help us to live longer — and not just longer, but healthier, happier and more fulfilling.
First: They manage stress wisely!
All of these diverse groups have ways to decrease stress in their lives. Some of them pray, some meditate, some have daily naps, others have a daily happy hour! Stress less, play and recover more!
Take away — Find someway that you can help your stress — naps, meditation, yoga, deep breathing, journaling, talking with friends daily…
Second: They move more naturally!
People in blue zones move in a way that is natural to their life. They walk everywhere, they don’t use modern conveniences that take away movement. They move around all day.
Take away — Walk more! Walk to the store, bike, hike and try to move more throughout the day. You don’t need to work out so hard and intensely if you just naturally move more!
Third: They eat lots of plants!
Most of their diet is plant-based, especially beans, lentils, etc. There is lots of diversity in the diets, but very little meat is eaten. Most of these blue zone people eat meat not at all or less than 5 times a month.
Take away — Eat more plants! Try incorporating more meatless days into your diet. And eat a large variety of plant-based foods.
Fourth: They spend lots of time with family and friends!
People in these zones tend to live in close contact, daily, with family — lots of extended family, grandparents, grandchildren, etc — and friends. They live close together and work daily together.
Take away — This can be harder in our distant culture and is a major reason loneliness is rampant in our society. We can try to stay in contact with phone calls, Skype, Facetime, etc. Also, do as much visiting as you can. Really nurture your relationships. Take the time.
Fifth: They follow the 80% Rule!
“Har hachi bu” — the Japanese manta — which Okinawans follow, means to stop eating your meal when you feel about 80% full. Blue zone people don’t eat until they are full, they stop before that and eat smaller meals in the evening.
Take away — Try implementing the 80% rule in your life. We often stuff ourselves quickly and then feel bloated and sick. It takes about 20 minutes to feel that “full” feeling. We can try eating slower and eating less. Maybe try having your biggest meal be lunch, instead of a late dinner.
Sixth: They have a life purpose!
Many people in the blue zones know why they wake up in the morning. They feel a deep meaning for their lives.
Take away — Find a purpose that will help you get out of bed in the morning. Studies show this greatly increases fulfillment in life and does increase longevity.
Finding your purpose takes introspection and soul-searching, but it doesn’t have to be saving the world; it can be a simple and as profound as showing love every day to your family. Helping your friends or maybe your start helping the human rights movement— starting in your own community. Something that moves you.
Seventh: They drink wine daily!
Yum! Moderate consumption of wine daily helps with their health. And they don’t drink alone, they have a glass with their family and friends. Laughing and sharing.
Take away — Red wine has resveratrol which has been shown to help health in various ways. Have a small glass daily, preferably enjoying it with family and friends!
But don’t overindulge, that is unhealthy and can lead to addiction, depression, liver disease and other negative health consequences. Limit yourself to one glass daily.
Eighth: They belong to some type of faith community!
Most of these long-lived peoples were part of some type of faith-based community.
Take away — If you belong to a particular faith, then take pleasure in knowing that this will help your longevity.
If you aren’t a member, non-religious, atheistic, or agnostic or whatever your beliefs, you can try finding some type of spiritual feelings in your life that bring you comfort.
For some people it can be the peace and tranquillity found in nature, simply nurturing others and striving to be thoughtful and helping the world to be a better place. Feeling love for the moment you are in. This gives comfort and can help build inner peace.
Ninth: They belong to the right “tribe”!
These blue zone people who live to a healthy ripe old age, have social circles that encourage each other to live healthily. They all support each other’s healthy behaviours.
Take away — We have all heard that the five people you hang around the most are who you become like. Behaviours that harm you, such as smoking, overdrinking, eating junk food and being depressed and angry, are contagious.
However, if the people you hang out with the most are healthy, eat well, are happy and optimistic, chances are much higher that you will too. Your inner circle can help you to stay accountable to healthy behaviours.
So — big take away — take a long look at your close associates and make changes if you have to. Yes, that is hard to do. But this is a huge step to living a long and healthy life.
Choose your friends wisely. Make sure they are influencing you positively.
Tenth: Stop smoking
Most people who live to be over 100 and stay healthy, strong and happy doing it, avoid smoking. Smoking is a huge predictor of early death. Of course, there are those outliers that defy the odds and still live long, but they are the exception.
Take away — Avoid smoking and second-hand smoke. Stop smoking if you do. It’s hard yes, and you’ll probably fail more than once. Just try again. And again. It’s worth it.
All of these points and takeaways are no guarantee that you will live longer than your grandparents did, or remain healthy until very old age. But they will help.
AND, they can really help you to enjoy the journey. The blue zones have much to teach us!
I write articles on healthy living, finding fulfillment and happiness, medications and medical topics, yoga and living an adventurous life. Living your best life!
Find your own Happiness.
Happiness will not be found in that new outfit, in the bottom of the ice cream bucket, nor in that really cute guy (Promise!).
Happiness can only come from within you. You must know yourself. Take time to journal, meditate and read inspirational books. This will help.
Not following your values and beliefs will break your heart.
There is a high degree of peace and confidence that comes from following what you believe in. Compromising those values will always lead to suffering.
Your partner in life should be your best friend.
Why would you want this to be different? You will be spending the rest of your life with this person. It should be fun.
You must, 100%, trust that life partner.
Again, why would you want this to be different? Trust is knowing in your heart that this person has your best interests at heart. Yes, they will make mistakes, but you can always rely on them to care about you.
Let others in.
People will hurt you and deceive you, yes. Forgive them and let them go if you need to. However, do not let that hold you back from giving fully to the next person. Holding back is a huge barrier to intimacy.
Always stick up for the underdog, the abused and the downtrodden.
We are here to make this world a better place. By helping someone who needs a hand you are creating more peace in the world.
Be kind, always.
Kindness heals. Anger and hate makes the world darker. There is never an instance where kindness can’t be used. Even if you are disciplining someone, disagreeing with someone or, alas, breaking up with someone.
Do work that you enjoy.
And old proverb states, “If you work at a job you love, you will never work a day in your life.”
This may be a bit of a stretch as there are aspects of every job that are tedious or mundane. However, if the purpose of your “work” is something you are passionate about, then you can put that passion and love into your career daily, making it easier and more enjoyable!
Don’t be afraid to change something if it isn’t working out.
Things change. The career is no longer what you want. Your relationship has gone off the rails. whatever. Make good decisions yes, but you are allowed to change your mind.
Yes, you can change careers — at any age.
Just because you have invested years and a tonne of education into your career, you can change it. Even later in life. You have only one life to live.
Say Thank You Everyday.
Gratitude can do more to create your happiness than anything else out there. Try it.
Embrace Live and Live it.
Much Thanks Healthy Living Tribe!
What kind of choices are you making in your life? Are you heading in the direction you want? Or do you feel as if you are living someone else’s dream or stagnating?
It’s often really hard to figure out what you should be doing in life. Many people never ask themselves this question, and they can end up leading a life they really didn’t love.
Taking the time to ask yourself this question is important. Are you doing what you love? Do you believe in it? Does it bring satisfaction?
Or are you simply taking the path of least resistance or following the money? That can lead to a life that feels like an act of self-betrayal. Here’s a question that I like to ask myself from time to time. Am I betraying my true self? Am I living the life I want?
People betray themselves in many ways.
Perhaps you stay in a marriage that is harmful or deeply unfulfilling. Or you go to a church because you were raised in it and that’s what is expected of you. You took the degree in school that was also expected of you.
Or you totally rebelled and said, ” &*@% School!” and in an act of defiance avoided school, something that could have brought you great fulfillment. Often it is what we don’t do that hurts us the most.
Perhaps you choose a career that has prestige or pays really well, but sort of feels like it Read More
Simply this, we should use pharmaceuticals more safely, and with wisdom. It is necessary to educate yourself and ask questions. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet about medications, either good or bad. Ask your pharmacist, get second opinions and above all, listen to your body.
Being a Registered Pharmacist, with APA (Additional Prescribing Authority),I can answer medication questions you may have. And will post blog articles from time to time about medication safety and information.
I believe we can use natural substances, vitamins and minerals and other phytonutrients to optimise our health, but that also needs to be with caution and safety. Just because something is touted as “natural” doesn’t make it safe or effective.