Each year (at least for the past 4 years since I started my landscaping business) I notice the pounds and inches creep up on me throughout my offseason. The main reason is the difference in my lifestyle between the two seasons.
In the spring, summer, and fall (from April to October here in Canada) I spend a minimum of 6 hours a day working in gardens. Not that gardening is an extreme form of exercise, but the stretching, bending, squatting and walking does add up. During the winter months, my main work is freelance writing for which I sit at a desk for those 6 hours. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out which lifestyle is healthier.
The fact that the Christmas holiday season falls during these winter months does not help. Like most people… I tend to eat more food (especially the sweet, sugar laden goodies) and drink more alcohol during this festive season. So, when the middle of January rolls around, I start worrying about the added pounds I have accumulated.
For many years we have been told to choose fat reduced or fat-free products because fat makes us fat. That theory has changed. The newer philosophy says that sugar is the culprit increasing the number of overweight people. This is because sugar and other simple carbohydrates are metabolized and stored as fat in your body.
Hormones play a large role in weight management too. Cortisol is a stress hormone critical to weight management because elevated levels result in the storage of fat within the body. Fasting causes decreased blood sugar levels, which in turn causes hormone (including cortisol) inbalance. Cortisol also causes cravings which result in eating things that are bad for us.
Adiponectin is a protein hormone that is secreted in the adipose tissue (fat cells) of your body. It helps control blood sugar levels and breaks down fat, so is often referred to as the fat burning hormone.
What you put into your body is just as important as what you do with your body. Exercise alone is not enough. The goal is to eat a healthy balance of protein and complex carbohydrates to keep your blood sugar and hormone levels on an even keel.
Try these simple lifestyle changes to trim down waistlines and pounds
Get the whole family involved in a lifestyle change. Chances are if parents are overweight, their children will be too.
Avoid processed foods because they are loaded with unhealthy sugars and fats to make them sweet, salty, crispy etc. The sugars, fats, and preservatives in processed foods are not always obvious. Learn to recognize them to avoid them.
Get some exercise. You do not have to join a gym or buy expensive exercise equipment. I love yoga stretches and planks, both of which I try to do every day of the year.
Drink more water Add a few lemon or lime and cucumber slices to it for flavor if you find it boring on its own. Keep a pitcher in the refrigerator for easy, and refreshing refills.
Drink green tea. It increases adiponectin (fat burning hormone) levels. If you do not like the taste of it plain, use it as a base liquid in your smoothies.
Avoid artificial sweeteners They are chemicals that cause more harm than good.
Avoid these common (advertised as healthy, but bad for you) food items:
- orange juice (and other juices, even if labeled 100% with no sugar added) is processed (concentrated) to remove all the good fiber, leaving mostly sugar. A glass of concentrated orange juice has just as much sugar as a glass of soft drink!
- margarine is a trans fat, you are better off with butter which is a saturated but healthier fat
- soy milk is processed to remove phytonutrients and minerals, leaving mostly sugar
- corn (and corn products) is predominantly genetically modified (GMO)to fatten livestock
- wheat bread is genetically modified too, switch to whole grain instead
Incorporate these simple tips into your family’s lifestyle to lose weight, trim inches and get healthier!