I've made health/fitness a bigger focus since the beginning of the year, here are some of my new learnings. None of this is rocket science by the way, just perhaps some new ways of interpreting things...1) Sleep
- Getting a good night's rest is a key element of weight loss. This is something I'd read in a number of places, but it never really made sense to me. How is laying on your backside helping you to lose weight? Do you burn calories while you're sleeping? Then over the past few weeks, in tracking my own well being and weight loss I discovered a corrolation. On days when I'd not gotten say 6-8 hours sleep the night before, I generally felt sluggish, had low energy levels (ok, sure, that's obvious). But perhaps what wasn't so obvious is that, when you're awake during the day, and can't say NAP to get energy, how else do you get it? EATING! So when we talk about needing sleep in order to lose weight, you can really say that SLEEPING provides you with Energy WITHOUT any calories... It would be interesting, actually to try to draw a mathematical formula, basically tie in a # of equivalent calories from a subjective 'energy level' perspective that you GAIN in getting a good nights sleep, thus avoiding consuming some potentially BAD calories at lunch or as an afternoon snack in order to compensate.2) Weighing in / Tracking -
When I'm tracking what I'm eating and getting on the scale EVERY DAY, I'm more likely to stay on track. This keeps the metrics in your mind, and helps you to make good decisions about what you eat. It's really like any goal or project, you want to have all of the appropriate information available in order to make a good decision. So when choosing what to eat - it's important to know what your weight is, what your goal weight is, how many calories you're entitled to in a day, how many you've already consumed, how many are in the food you're considering eating. Some people may find tracking what they eat to be too tedious and time consuming, but my argument is, IF your health/fitness are a priority for you, then spending 20 minutes a day tending to this (by tracking your food via some online tool (like www.Sparkpeople.com
- the Daily Plate, or others), is time you're INVESTING in your health and fitness, not WASTING.3) Good Protein Sources
- I'm still struggling a bit on finding a good balance between healthy eating and getting sufficient protein. As a vegetarian, it can be challenging to structure your meals to provide the required amount of protein. The formula of how much you should be getting is roughly 1gm of Protein per Kilogram of body weight. I weight 178 lbs = 80 kg = 80gms of Protein a day. In order to keep within my calorie range ~ 1500-1700/day, it's tough to get 80gms in IF I'm not really selective about what I eat.
I need, on average to consume 5.3gms of Protein per 100 calories.
I can't just eat carbs and veggies!
Example - People talk about Peanut Butter for instance being a good source of protein, well let's then look at a Peanut Butter Sandwich:
Whole Wheat Bread (2 slices) - 250 calories, 8gms of ProteinPeanut Butter (2 tbsp) - 190 calories, 8gms of Protein
Total - 440 calories, 16gms of Protein = 3.6gms/protein per 100 calories
So I really need to be looking a Tofu, Soy Milk, Cottage Cheese and other options that providing HIGHER protein/calorie ratios...4) Push-ups
- Near the begging of the year I started thinking, gee, doing pushups is a dead-easy thing, so special equipment, can be done anywhere... And I've set myself a goal of being able to do 100/day. Starting out, I'd struggle to get in a set of 20. But even within a week, I was able to bump that up to 25, I'm now able to do a set of 30 pushups! My plan is to do 2 sets a day, and work my way up to doing sets of 50, so 2 x 50 = 100 pushups...5) A Healthy Breakfast w/ Egg Beaters -
I really enjoy having egg & cheese on a bagel for breakfast, I see it as a really enjoyable treat, HOWEVER, having a whole egg w/ cheddar cheese on a whole bagel is a lot of calories. So what I'm now doing is just having half a bagel, or once slice of whole grain bread, or two slices of Weight Watchers bread, and using the Egg Beaters substitute - which is basically eliminating the fatty yolk party of the egg, and using partially skim-milk cheese - this way I still enjoy a savory treat, but it amounts to about HALF of the calories, still retaining most of the protein. I'm not saying I'd have this every day, but it's certainly more nourishing than just an banana or apple.
That's all... I'm planning to shave off another 5 pounds or so this month, and finally push into that "Health Weight" category of the BMI chart! Whoohoo!
Then Beer/BBQ/TFC Season starts and who knows what'll happen! hehehe...