You have to eat- to lose weight! Tips from my own experience

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Quote of the day: “You should treat exercise as your job! It requires commitment, regulartiy and devotion. Only then you will succeed!”

First of all, apologies for not posting for a while, I am graduating from university this year and it’s been quite busy for me.

Despite the fact that I’ve been busy, I kept working out and experimenting with my body. Due to the study load during these weeks I have been eating quite irregularly, with a lot of sugar cravings and feelings of hunger in between. I also ditched my regular sleeping routine which has also impacted my body. These, of course, resulted in a slight weight gain (about 1 kg – 2.4 Ibs) in about 10 days.

Nothing can set me back and obviously I am going to drop this sugar weight, however, during this experience I have observed a very interesting pattern that I would like to share with you. I decided to name it “you have to eat – to lose weight” and there is no hidden message behind it, it’s just as obvious as it sounds.

From my own observations, I’ve concluded that irregular eating and skipping meals will definitely lead you to weight gain. During this study week I’ve had, I tended to skip my meals and tried to hang on to fruit and sugar snacks instead. I ate a light breakfast, lunch and dinner, and snacked about 5 times a day.

I must say, after an entire day of this kind of nutrition I felt exhausted, tired and most importantly – I was starving. I had to take extra sugary snacks to be able to perform during my workout.

When I realized that my nutrition was rubbish and it only harmed my body, I started finding time to eat full, balanced meals instead of snacking and getting through the day with convenience foods.

I started having a full breakfast: egg, two toasts with a slice of cheese and bacon and a piece of fruit.

Lunch was something like: chicken salad with a slice of brown bread and fruit

Dinner was: some kind of fish with rice/beans or salad.

The results once again proved that eating healthy, full and balanced foods is 10 times more beneficial for your weight loss than trying to starve yourself and hang on to various snacks. I have returned to this healthy way of eating 5 days ago, and with no effort and no changes in my workouts I’ve again lost around 1 kilogram (2.4 Ibs).

I felt more energy during the day, I didn’t have to snack more than 2 times in between meals and I felt energetic enough to exercise in the evening. Moreover, the quality of my skin improved considerably. The sugary diet gave me a lot of pimples and dry skin.

Through this I wanted to show you once again the importance of eating 3 times a day and eating the healthy food: fish, meat, diary, fruits and vegetables. Snacks such as nuts, peanut butter and bananas will help you ditch your sugary cravings in a fast and efficient way.

Everyone have a great day and please share your opinion about this!

Gaining weight but yet training hard! Why is it so?

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keep-calm-and-train-hard-38This is a short note for everyone who has experienced this! I have heard it from many of my fellow fitness fans that during the first 3 to 4 weeks after the introduction of their exercise regimen and dieting, they actually experienced weight gain rather than weight loss. This article is going to explain why does this happen and whether it is a significant weight gain.

In fact, this might be very true and it is likely to happen especially if working out is completely new to your body. To start off, I want to calm you down and assure you that there is nothing wrong with your exercise routine and your body is capable of losing weight.

Weight gain during your primary steps into exercising, is in fact a natural process – it is your body’s adaptation to the new regimen. Since your system is not used to exercise, your muscles are storing water because they are being subjected to unusual levels of activity. So, to be more precise, your post-exercise weight gain is nothing but “water weight” which is going to be drained out of your body naturally. This is a first reaction, a wake up call – your body is adapting and there is nothing but good in that!

This is definitely not a good reason to quit exercising and to lose your motivation – remember: KEEP CALM AND TRAIN HARD! it will come ūüėČ

The ultimate RUNNERS GUIDE! Things you need to know about running!

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ImageSo it’s finally the time for me to reveal my biggest running secrets and guide you through this type of workout. Regardless to whether you are a beginner in this or a pro, you are probably going through the same steps that everyone does.

Running is a complex process that involves the participation of your entire body, for which it is an efficient trick for weight loss and overall health improvement. Running is one of the most common cardio training and I am going to go both through the benefits of it and the hurdles that you might experience on your way.

Good news first, so let’s start with the benefits:

– running improves the functioning of your heart and vascular system

– running enhances the activity of your immune system

– running is an efficient weight loss tool (one of the most efficient I’ve tried)

– running involves the participation of your leg, butt, stomach and arms muscles (so if you’re aiming at shaping and trimming those places, running is a good place to start)

– running is a good warm up for weight exercises (a good cardio training before your workout will improve your efficiency workout and will give you strength)

I am pretty sure that the list of running benefits can be extended further, however there are some difficulties you will experience if you chose to pursue this type of workout.¬†As I’ve already mentioned, running involves the participation of your entire body, and pain may occur in various spots. Here is what you have to remember: experiencing pain is not a bad thing, and on the contrary – it shows that you’ve been doing a good job during your workout. You don’t need to worry or refuse the idea of working out just because you’re going through some painful moments – NO PAIN, NO GAIN! So, the most common pains you will experience during your workouts or after are listed below:

JOINT PAINS

Knee pain & foot pain (or any other pain in your joints). This type of pain occurs in case you’re a beginner or when you increase the speed or the duration of your workouts. In the first case, your knees and feet are not used to the running pressure that you suddenly start applying, which therefore causes pain. In the second case, pain occurs because your knees and feet are not used to run longer or faster. Pain in general is your body’s response to something new – something it is not used to. Through pain, your body adapts to the new pressures and there is no way to avoid it.

How to handle:¬†There is no need to worry about this. However, you have to remember that if you experience considerable pain in your knees, feet or any other joints – you have to take a one day break with your workout. If you’re a beginner in this, I would advice even two days off in case the pain persists. You have to be especially careful with your knees and joints since once you hurt them badly – you might not be able to run again. Be careful!

BREATHING PAINS

–¬†Chest pain & troubles breathing.¬†The essence of running or any other cardio workout is that it involves breathing. When you experience pain in your chest, it is most likely caused by your ¬†lungs expanding due to accelerated breathing during running. This especially happens to¬†beginners¬†¬†whose lungs are not used to cardio¬†training. The same applies to experiencing troubles breathing: suffocating feelings or lack of air is due to your body not being used to the running pace.

How to handle: The presence of this pain means that you’re on a good track. Your lungs are expanding and your body is adapting. If you’re experiencing suffocating feelings during your workout, slow your running pace down. It is not necessary to stop completely, since then you’re losing a considerable amount of energy and it will be hard to get back on track – especially for a beginner. Slowing your pace down to jogging or fast walking until you’ve recollected your breath will be enough.

–¬†Headache.¬†Headache may occur due to 2 major reasons: because you’ve lost a considerable amount of energy during your workout (which your body is not used to), or due to accelerated breathing during your workout. Fast and inconstant breathing fills up your blood with oxygen which might cause headache.

How to handle:¬† It is a natural pain that comes in the same package with working out, so I don’t recommend taking aspirin or paracetamol against something that will cure on its own. ¬†You’ve worked hard – take a deep breath and take a good sleep after your workout. I promise that you will feel better afterwards, and gradually – your pain will fade. Your body will adapt.

Pain below your stomach & feelings of sickness. These are the most common pains you are very likely to experience once you hop on the treadmill or go for a run outside. Running involves a reinforced release of endorphin and other hormones in your body. On a  normal basis, your body releases these hormones in small, deliberated amounts. When you start exercising, hormones are released in higher amounts and in a short period of time Рthat causes the pain below your stomach. The same applies to feelings of sickness in your stomach. It is partially due to hormone release and increased level of physical activity to which your body is not used to.

How to handle:¬†Normally, if you’re feeling sick during your workout – it usually happens in the beginning. Slow your pace down and take a deep breath – the pain should let go after a few minutes. You may have the urge to throw up during your workout – and that’s because you’ve pushed a little too hard or just because you’re really not adapted to exercising. The pain will let go after a few workouts and it is a natural way of¬†releasing¬†your body of laziness and couch potato habits.

If you’re reading this and experiencing a half of what I’ve mentioned – you’re on a good track and I’m proud of you! Learn to stay strong and keep on going since this is the only way to get those beautifully trimmed legs, tight butt and flat stomach! NO PAIN NO GAIN my friends!

Another efficient way of losing weight – LESS exercise, MORE diet!

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Hello my friends!¬†Today is another day to talk about diets and I am going to open another secret of weight loss to you. The point is, I’m not going to tell you WHAT to eat, but HOW to eat during the day in order to make your weight loss more efficient.

For me, it was the easiest way to lose weight, even though it required some patience and some resistance at the beginning. There’s another good news I have to inform you about: It doesn’t really matter what you eat during the day, as long as its in a really small amount.

The main principle of this type of diet is:

– eat tiny portions of food about 4 to 5 times a day

– you can have whatever you prefer as long as it’s within the 250 calorie limit (besides breakfast)

– you have to eat a healthy breakfast (not more than 400 calories)

– you cannot eat after 7 pm –¬†full-stop!

This diet is based on the belief that people gain weight NOT due to the fact that they eat fatty, greasy or sweet foods, but due to the fact that they over-eat these. So suppose you have a tiny piece of chocolate during the day and you can’t stand the temptation of enjoying a cup of chocolate pudding for lunch – well, that’s ok.

As long as your entire meal does not exceed 250 calories, you can actually eat whatever you prefer.¬†Important note:¬†If you decide to pursue this method of losing weight, beware that your weight loss progress is going to have a great success in case you refuse to eat fatty, greasy and sugary foods despite the fact that you’re allowed to.

My personal experience:

I found this method to be amazingly efficient, especially when I stopped having bits of sweets or greasy food during the day. Another aspect that I found interesting was that I didn’t have to engage in active exercising in order to achieve results. This method works both for fitness fans and just for those who are aiming at losing some weight without too much physical effort.

The most important aspect:

As I’ve mentioned above, the toughest thing about this diet is not eating after 7 pm – I will explain why this is so important. In order to lose weight, you have to create an energy shortage in your body. By eating small portions during the day, you are more likely to eat less than your body requires – thus creating an energy shortage. 7 pm is the borderline of your daily food intake and if you manage to keep your stomach empty until you go to bed, your body is going to be free of food for at least 12 hours (the evening + the sleeping night) – this is your weight loss culmination! Now, because you’re asleep, you are free of sensing the hunger during the night, and you are very, believe me, very likely to be hungry for breakfast – which is the way things are supposed to be!

TIPS

Now let me give you some tips on how to survive the time between 7 pm and going to bed and let me assure you that it is just a matter of habit. It is not unhealthy and on the contrary Рit is beneficial for your body since your stomach can rest during the night thus making you hungry in the morning. It cannot be unhealthy also due to the fact that this diet implies 4 to 5 food intakes during the day plus breakfast Рthis is enough energy for you, and this is far from starving. So instead of searching for excuses, take a look at some things you can do to adapt to the new regimen:

– make a vegetable smoothie (blend carrots, apple, cabbage with plain yogurt) and drink a few sips of it whenever you feel like your food cravings have amplified

– drink green tea with a tea-spoon of sugar

– eat a piece of veggie

– go for a workout or for a walk. Surprisingly, physical activity can assist you with your food cravings quite efficiently. That’s because your stomach is not working when you’re physically active, and therefore you don’t feel the hunger. When you return from a good workout, all you need is a glass of tea and a piece of fruit or vegetable – this will be enough. Besides, you can¬†ease¬†your struggle by going to sleep earlier. This will provide you with a good rest, efficient weight loss and a healthy craving for breakfast in the morning .

Last but not least, remember: 

One thing I want to make clear before I lure you into adapting this type of dieting: I don’t want you to stuff yourself with apples and carrots with yogurt the entire day. It has to be healthy for your body, thus you have to consume meat, fish and bread products. It’s all about the portion size and not the nature of your food. Adapt a portion size of a 5 year old child but do make sure to eat other healthy products besides just fruits and veggies. As an example, if you normally eat chicken breast with salad and a dessert for lunch, try to eat the chicken and salad first, and the dessert 2 hours later. And I would strongly advice having a few nuts or a fruit salad for a dessert instead of a greasy chocolate muffin – you chose.

I hope this has been informative and I wish you luck in all your beginnings! CHEERS!

5 delicious 400 calorie DINNER options!

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I know that dinner time is the time that most of us pile-up weight since we tend to eat more than our body requires. Therefore my goal is to provide you with easy, delicious recipes for satisfying your appetite without too much harm for your diet.

So let’s begin.

1st Option: Caesar salad with interesting accompaniments 

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You will need: chicken breast, hard-boiled egg, natural Swiss cheese, salad, tomatoes, onion, cucumber, almonds and preferably walnut oil (or olive oil)

How to prepare: Slice and season the chicken breast with spice and walnut (or olive) oil and bake it in the oven for about 20 min in 170 degrees Celsius.

Slice the cucumbers, tomatoes and onions and place them on the salad on the plate. Chop the almonds and the cheese in small pieces. Place the chicken and the sliced egg on top of the vegetables and season with almonds, cheese and walnut oil. Enjoy the delicate flavors!

2nd Option: Seafood salad

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You will need: Shrimps, octopus, salad, lemon, bell-pepper, crab sticks, onion and olives.

How to prepare: You can either chose to buy a sea-food cocktail in which shrimps, octopus and crab sticks are already seasoned and prepared. If you decide to buy them raw, here is how to cook them: Hit up a frying pan with olive oil. Chop the crab sticks and the octopus and season them with cayenne pepper, a bit of lemon juice, salt and pepper. Fry them on the pan together with chopped onions and bell-peppers. Arrange on the plate with fresh salad leafs and olives. For more delicious flavors you can add dry or fresh coriander, dill and fresh lemon juice. Play with your senses!

3rd Option: Club sandwich

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You will need: chicken breast, salad, hard-boiled egg, cucumber, onion, tomato, plain yogurt, 2 slices of whole-wheat bread.

How to prepare: Slice, season and bake the chicken breast in the oven at 170 degrees Celsius (approx 20 min). Slice the tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and the egg. Spread the plain yogurt in a very thin layer over the bread. Place the salad on both slices of the bread first, then the vegetables, chicken and egg. Place the sandwich for 4 minutes in the oven at 170 degrees. Enjoy!

4th Option: Chicken soup with a healthy Bruschetta

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You will need: 1 slice of whole-wheat bread, chicken breast, bell-pepper, carrot, onion, celery, 1 bay leaf, parsley, natural Swiss cheese, 1 cube of bouillon.

How to prepare: The Soup: Slice the chicken breast and add it to 1 liter of water, together with 2 spoons of salt and bay leaf. Bring it to boil and collect the froth. Add the onion, carrot and the bullion cube. Simmer for 2 hours, after which add the parsley, chopped bell-pepper and chopped celery. Allow to simmer for another 30 min and season with pepper, herbs and salt. The Bruschetta: Spread 1 tea-spoon of olive oil over the bread. Put half a slice of Swiss cheese on top of it together with a few cubes of bell-pepper and onion. Place it in the over for 7 minutes at 170 degrees. TA-DA , enjoy!

5th Option: Whole-wheat Pasta with easy garnish

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You will need: 3/4 of a cup of whole-wheat pasta, cherry tomatoes, olive oil, basillicum, pesto and 2 slices of mozzarella cheese, 1 cube of bouillon.

How to prepare: Boil 1 liter of water with bouillon cube in it. After the water has boiled, add the pasta to it and boil according to the time it states on the package. In the meanwhile, hit up a frying pan with a few drops of olive oil on it. When the pen is hot, throw your sliced cherry tomatoes in it. After 3 minutes, add the pasta to it together with a tea-spoon of pesto, chopped mozzarella, and basillicum leaves. Properly mix and stir the dish on the frying pan for another 4 minutes. Your delicious dinner is ready!

First steps into exercising and fitness! How to

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This post will explain how you can efficiently manage your exercise routine and see results only by giving 30 min of your daily time. In fact, many people believe that exercising is a difficult, time-taking process that requires special nutrition and a lot of effort in order to achieve results. In fact, this is only the case if you’re aiming at becoming a professional body-builder. If your goal is to build some muscles, get better shapes and lose some weight, 30 minutes a day would be a good start.

I started working out for 30 minutes 5 to 6 times a week, and I have observed clear results already after the first month. My stomach was more shaped, my weight went down and I felt like I could exercise longer. Obviously, as you progress with your workouts, 30 min will become too few to move forwards, but for the first month 30 min workout is sufficient.

So here is what you can do in those 30 min:

– warm up for 5 min by running on the same spot and stretching into different directions

– run for 20 min (or treadmill in case of gym)

– 2 sets x 8 squats; 2 sets x 8 push-ups, 2 sets x 8 lounge

This is fairly easy. If you’re not used to exercising at all, this would be a perfect start. This workout comprises cardio and body-weight exercises that will cost you some energy as well.

If you are not able to run for 20 min and this is really your first time exercising, I suggest fast walking or jogging (slow-running) instead of running.

GENERAL TIPS FOR BEGINNERS

– If you’re a beginner and exercising is difficult for you, don’t wait until your next workout. Try getting off your bus a few stations before your house andWALK home. Do the same when you’re on your way to school/work

– NO exercise is useful if it’s not supported by a healthy diet. Keep track of what you eat and don’t hope that you can¬†out-exercise¬†your fries and burgers.

– Whenever you exercise, keep focus on your¬†breath.¬†Proper breathing is the key to success in every workout. If you feel like you’re suffocating or out of breath, take a minute to recollect or slow your pace down.

– Don’t drink water during your exercise. You might feel thirsty, but it’s not as dramatic as you think. Drinking during your workout slows you down and takes your energy away. If you’re exercising for less than 60 minutes I suggest waiting until your workout is over, and then drink.

– If your weight stops dropping, you have to increase the time of your workout or go stricter on your diet. Doing both will obviously have more effect – you decide.

– You can also split your workout into two parts. Do a warm-up run in the morning for 20 minutes, and then do your workout for 30 minutes in the evening. This will undoubtedly benefit your weight loss and your progress. Your strength will recover during the day, so it will not be as hard as you imagine to exercise twice a day.

– Last but not least – CONCENTRATE ON YOURSELF! DON’T QUIT! I am absolutely aware of that desperate feeling when you’re exhausted and the last thing you want to do is workout. Believe me, if you find the strength to push yourself and go for that workout, you will feel a great sense of achievement and pleasure afterwards. Besides taking your stress away and giving you energy, workouts positively affect your self-confidence. Push yourself harder, go that extra mile – and you will feel proud of yourself!

Get rid of that LAST bit of fat – My 20 Day Challenge!

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ImageThe Prehistory –¬†How¬†I came to this

I‚Äôve been on a¬†holiday¬†for the past 2 weeks where I loosened my control over the food I ate and my daily regimen. Yesterday, 2 weeks later, I hopped on the scale to encounter the terrifying news ‚Äď I‚Äôve gained 2.1 kg (around 5 Ibs). I must admit though, during this holiday there was junk food, there was alcohol and lack of sleep ‚Äď basically all the things I‚Äôve been so strongly encouraging you NOT to do! Well guess what ‚Äď they proved to be right!¬†For once again I realized that losing any bit of control over my adapted lifestyle will slap me in the face straight away.¬†

Something has snapped in me ‚Äď I am just as frustrated as determined! Determined to lose these 2.1 kg (5 Ibs) back and do some awesome preparation for the summer. It‚Äôs not even the scale ‚Äúshift‚ÄĚ that gives me that spirit, it‚Äôs just the lack of motivation and some goals lately.¬†

THE 20 DAY CHALLENGE ‚Äď Ultimate Trimming!

I am going to call this 20 day challenge ‚ÄúTHE ULTIMATE TRIMMING‚ÄĚ where I am going to pursue a 1500 daily calorie intake and a challenging exercise regimen (5 days a week).

I am going to compile my meal plan for every 5 days of my challenge after which I am going to weigh in and inform you on my progress. 20 days ‚Äď 4 weigh ins, 4 ‚Äď meal plans and 480 hours to make a change! ¬†Are you in the same boat with me? Are you tired of those last stubborn few pounds that won‚Äôt get off you? Join me ‚Äď and just get what you want!

I know I‚Äôve been posting against meal plans and diet programs ‚Äď but this is slightly different. You are free to exercise as much as you want and introduce changes to the food options that I will be ¬†offering you. However, don‚Äôt deviate too much. I‚Äôve been working on this meal plan during the last night, which was ‚Äď my last sleepless night for the coming 20 days at least!

Let’s get this going. I tried making the menu not very difficult in terms of food preparation and in terms of calorie intake.

Day 1 (1500 calories, 7 hours of sleep and 60 min of exercise)

Breakfast (8 am):¬†100 grams of oatmeal (boiled in skinny milk) and a cup of green tea (1/2 teaspoon of sugar) ‚Äď 450 calories

Snack (11 pm):¬†a cup of fresh fruit salad (kiwi, melon, green apple and orange) and a cup of green tea ‚Äď 170 calories

Lunch (2 pm): one Caesar salad (egg, chicken filet, salad leafs and natural cheese), 1 whole-wheat toast ‚Äď 500 calories

Dinner (5 pm):¬†chicken¬†bouillon¬†and a cup of chopped vegetables (tomato, cabbage, cucumber and¬†bell-pepper), 1 whole-wheat toast ‚Äď 220 calories

Workout (6.30 pm)¬†‚Äď 60 min of workout ¬†– about 900 calories loss

Evening snack (8 pm)¬†‚Äď 150 ml of plain yogurt and 2 carrots ‚Äď 110 calories.

Day 2 (1500 calories, 7 hours of sleep and 60 min of exercise)

Breakfast (8 am): 2 low-calorie pancakes (check recipe here: https://galinabella.wordpress.com/2013/04/20/low-calorie-pancakes-with-interesting-flavors/) and a cup of green tea (1/2 teaspoon of sugar) Р420 calories

Snack (11 pm):¬†a cup of fresh fruit salad (kiwi, melon, green apple and orange) and a cup of green tea ‚Äď 170 calories¬†

Lunch (2 pm): any type of fish with baked vegetables (bake your veggies together with the fish), 1 whole wheat toast and an apple – 500 calories

Dinner (5 pm): a club sandwich (whole-wheat toast, ham, natural cheese, cucumber, tomato, hard-boiled egg) Р300 calories

Workout (6.30 pm)¬†‚Äď 60 min of workout ¬†– about 900 calories loss

Evening snack (8 pm) – 200 ml of plain yogurt – 115 calories

Day 3 (1500 calories, 7 hours of sleep and 60 min of exercise)

Breakfast (8 am): a club sandwich (whole-wheat bread, ham, natural cheese, cucumber, tomato, hard-boiled egg), one toast with reduced sugar jam, one cup of green tea (1/2 spoon of sugar) – 440 calories

Snack (11 am): one orange and one apple, a cup of green tea – 180 calories

Lunch (2 pm):  1 cup of creamy soup (any of your preference), 1 whole-wheat toast, 1 TINY dessert (muffin, or any reduced sugar cake) Р500 calories

Dinner (5 pm): 250 ml of plain yogurt and vegetables (cucumber, tomato, bell pepper) Р200 calories

Workout (6.30 pm)¬†‚Äď 60 min of workout ¬†– about 900 calories loss

Evening snack (8 pm): 15 pieces of raw nuts (any except peanuts) and 1 carrot¬†–¬†130 calories

The 4th and the 5th day of my challenge will have the same meal plan as the 1st and the 2nd day of my plan. This is due to the fact that I don’t want to make it complicated both for myself and for you. I am also taking into consideration the financial matters, therefore it will be easier to repeat the meals once every 3 days instead of stuffing your fridge with various food items.¬†

And of course, variations are allowed. For more healthy snack suggestions please see my other article: https://galinabella.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/some-healthy-snacks-you-can-have-during-your-diet/ 

This will guide you through the healthy snacks you can have in case you don’t like the ones I’m offering you here.¬†

Starting today and looking forward to my first weigh in! GOOD-LUCK EVERYONE!