First steps into a healthy diet

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So, you’ve had your time off to think things over. Remember that this is about YOU and nobody else. You decided to change, and you will do it – together with me and all the others who are in the same boat! Don’t worry, it’s more fun than it sounds.

Your homework for today was to set some goals and be sure of what you want to achieve. Whether it is weight loss, or trimming, or a few centimeters on your waist line – it’s all good. Today we will focus more on those of you who want to lose weight, since I am certain that this is the main goal of most of you. Our primary focus is to create a life-style out of this, and what will be hard work for you in the beginning, will become a hobby in the end. Are you really ready?

You’re probably puzzled… so was I….It’s hard to figure out what is the first thing you need to grab and throw away from your fridge.

I’m gonna take this step by step, since this is the only RIGHT way to do it. It is going to take some time, so don’t get too impatient about things. Your body needs to get used to the new foods, exercises and daily routine! We all want to turn into princesses in one hour, but hey – all that food and laziness you’ve put into your body didn’t store up in one day, right? So don’t expect to get rid of it in one day either.

Now let’s begin. The first thing you need to do if you want to lose some of the doughnuts and chips that stored up on your thighs is to calculate your daily calorie needs. You have to figure out how many calories you need per day in order to maintain weight, and lose weight accordingly.

You’re probably wondering: “Why do I need to know how many calories I need to maintain weight? I WANNA LOSE IT!” – Yes I know you do. But this isn’t easy at all, so you need to start small. By calculating how many calories you need a day in order to maintain weight, you will figure out at least how much you can eat in order to not to pack in some more fat.

So first you need to calculate your BMR (Base Metabolic Rate). It shows how many calories your body will spend per day if you will involve in NO physical activity during the day. It basically shows how many calories a day your body needs in order to run its main living processes. Here is a great link to calculate it: http://www.myfitnesspal.com/tools/bmr-calculator  (chose the scale you wish)

Allright, are you done? Now the next step is to figure out your activity level. This will determine how many calories you spend per day according to the physical activities you perform during the day. That number will be the actual number of calories you spend per day! Here is the scale:

Little activity (little or no exercise at all (biking to school for instance), office job) = 1.2

Slight activity ( sports 1 to 3 days a week) = 1.375

Moderate activity ( sports 3 to 5 days a week) = 1.55

Very active ( intense workouts 6 to 7 days a week) = 1.725

Super active (sports every day, job that involves hard training) = 1.9

Now in order to figure out what your final daily calorie needs are according to the physical activity level, multiply your BMR with the level of activity you have.

For instance my BMR is 1430 calories a day and I train 3 to 5 times a week, so 1430 x 1.55 = 2216 (my daily calorie need) – see how many more calories I spend just cause of exercise? If I wouldn’t exercise at all, I would have to eat around 1500 cals a day to lose weight..that’s quite challenging even for me, so keep in mind the importance of exercising!

Now that you know how many calories a day you need to maintain your weight, nearly anything below that would result in a weight loss. I started as 66 kg (145.4 Ibs) weight and exercising about 5 times a week. My height is 176 cm (5 feet 9). My daily calorie needs at that point were 2350 cals a day. I decided to take off the 350 cals and I ate about 2000 a day. It made me lose about 2kg (4.4 Ibs) during the first month. This is pretty doable, but ONLY in case you’re used to exercising. If you haven’t done any exercise in ages I do not recommend rushing into too much workout. Keep your focus on the FOOD FIRST!

And again, remember: start small. Re-think your daily routine, your daily activity level, and deduct the calories wisely – not too many from the beginning. As a start I would suggest taking 300-400 calories off your daily needs. In this way, your body wouldn’t get into the starvation mode – and it will be a sustainable weight loss! Do this for a week until we move on to the next stage!

The first thing I strongly recommend to do is start a FOOD JOURNAL – write down everything you eat. It is of vital importance for your diet. I’ve had this happen a million times and most of the people have it too – you simply forget what you ate during the day. It seems to you that you’ve eaten not much or enough to maintain weight, but you forget about your afternoon candy (approx. 50 cals), about your morning muesli bar (approx 120 cals), or your after lunch banana (approx. 135 cals) – these things matter – they add up. If you are serious about this, start up a journal!

If this is clear, let’s move on to the foods you need to exclude of your daily intake STARTING FROM TODAY! I strongly recommend throwing them away or feeding them to the birds- you cannot allow any temptation in your house. These main foods are:

– all sorts of snacks (chips, cookies, salty crackers, salty sticks)

– muesli bars (I made this a separate bullet point and many of you are wondering why. Unfortunately, world’s biggest food companies are trying to convince us that muesli bars are super healthy and give us energy. Oh how lovely – but it’s wrong! I won’t go into too much detail about it now, but this isn’t true. Muesli bars are LOADED with fats and sugars that aren’t good for you – forget about them)

– chocolate bars/ any type of candy (especially the gummy stuff – your liver will especially thank you for that)

– zero calorie drinks and sugar substitutes (the most unhealthy thing you can ever imagine. It is stuffed with chemicals that your body can’t process and therefore stores into fat , so don’t be fooled by it)

– fat free stuff (anything which is absolutely fat free is not good for you. starting from yogurt and ending with cheese – it is not good for you. You’re not gaining weight because of fat, but because of carbohydrates (calories)

– alcohol (oh you gotta be careful with it! Alcohol slows down your metabolism dramatically, so tick it off the list for a while)

– fast food (forget about burgers, french fries, Big Macs and anything that involves Mc’Donalds, Burger King, etc – there is NOTHING there for you! Actually, forget about their existence. There are millions of fast and healthy food alternatives…fast food is just rat poison)

– sweet buns and any type of white bread (buns, rolls, baquettes) – use the brown full-grain bread instead (I will explain why later). Brown bread with seeds  is way better digested by your body than the processed sweet buns.

For now this is it. Of course it’s not everything, and I promise to go into detail with every type of food that I’ve mentioned above and many more. Just process this info for now and have an apple as a snack instead of chips.

YOU’RE ON THE RIGHT TRACK – BELIEVE ME! Keep goin’!

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