Posted in For You

11 Simple Ways to Passively Lose Weight

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This is not another diet article that tells you to cut out all foods that taste better than rice cakes, ice chips or the air in your mouth. Neither I am an amazing health fanatic who claims to eat kale at every meal and have a perfect calorie-intake.

As a young teenager, I cared squat about how I ate and so eventually I did put on the pounds. I remember often eating half a box of cinnamon wafers with a large glass of milk, or eating a rich mini swiss-roll way too late at night, or eating microwave meals every day after school (you know those ones with the mac ‘n’ cheese and brownies?).

So I looked at myself in the mirror, and I didn’t like what I saw. I saw a pale, pudgy teenager and it was pretty frustrating for me – because I loved food so much!

If you have been trying to lose weight, let me share with you a couple of the things I learned in my teen years to shed 20 pounds in small, easy lifestyle changes so that I could still enjoy all foods. I call it passive ways to lose weight, but it doesn’t mean that it requires zero effort at all. These are simple lifestyle changes you can make as an alternative to a depressing hard-core diet.

*Disclaimer: Please always first speak to your doctor or dietician before implementing any changes to your lifestyle and diet. 

  1. Eat What You Like Until 8pm

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Yes! Eat that donut! Well, you obviously shouldn’t eat donuts or the like every day, but whatever you choose to eat, make sure you stop eating latest by 8pm. Earlier is even better, say 7 or 6pm. Then eat your breakfast 12 hours later, so if you ate supper at 6pm, have breakfast at 6am.  This will give your weight-loss a boost for sure. You’ll sleep better, too. It was so exciting for me to see what the bathroom scale said the morning after I had had an early dinner. It really works!

  1. Drink Only Water

Yes, I get that some people cannot stand plain old boring water, but people, it’s what your engine needs. Develop the skill of gulping down a solid glass of water like those crazy water-drinking competitions and your body will thank you. If you forget about water, try downloading an app like WaterMinder that reminds you to drink every 1 or 2 hours to reach your water goal for the day.

Regarding diet soda, the fake sugars in them upsets your gastrointestinal bacteria and these little guys play a huge role in your weight loss and overall health. Plus, research has found that carbonated drinks actually make you feel hungrier. If you do want a nice drink, dilute some fruit juice or flavour your water with infusions of strawberries or mint.

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  1. Drink A Glass of Water Before Meals

This will help you to understand how hungry you actually are. Too often do we feel hungry but it is more our thirst that is the culprit. Our body sometimes cannot distinguish between the two demands, thirst or hunger.

  1. Please Do Not Skip Meals

People, eat your breakfast! Not at 10am, but ideally 12 hours after you had dinner the night before. If you aren’t hungry or feel nauseas to eat early, just eat something small and nutritious. Breakfast literally kick-starts your metabolism for the day.  If you are not hungry for lunch, have something small to keep your metabolism going. If there is any meal that you could skip, it’s dinner. Remember the old saying, “Breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen and supper like a pauper.”

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If you don’t have time to eat or you forget to eat, get into the habit of always having nutritious snacks that keep for a while in your office or bag. If you eat nothing, your body’s poor metabolism will decrease in order to try conserve its limited energy resource.

  1. No Second Helpings

Yes, no second helpings of the divine stuff you just ate. This is going to take a bit of discipline, but after a while it will become a habit. Plus, you will save money on groceries because you won’t be eating so much. So if you really are desperate for a second helping, just wait a little, drink a glass of water and you may find yourself realizing you’re not actually hungry anymore. Calories and money saved!

  1. Take Your Multivitamins

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I believe that supplements give us a little boost in our metabolisms because so many of the B-vitamins are responsible for digestion that our diets may lack. In addition, stress hormones need certain supplements to be broken down. If we have all of these nutrients, we may not feel so stressed anymore and won’t resort to food cravings. This brings me to my next point.

  1. Replace Your Emotional/Boredom Eating

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If you are feeling depressed or bored, rather ask yourself what else you could do that would help you feel better instead of stuffing your face. If you struggle with depression, get help. If you don’t deal with the core of your problems  correctly, those emotions will fester inside of you and you may resort to unhealthy ways to cope, one of which may be over-eating.

  1. Add Variety to Your Diet

Eating the same foods day after day, month after month, year after year could leave your body deficient in some nutrients (not to mention bored). Come on, live a little! Try recipes that use different vegetables or fruits that you don’t usually eat and you may discover some new favourite dishes. Your body needs a varied diet to acquire all of its nutrient demands.

  1. A Little Cardio Goes A Long Way

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What I loved as a teen and even now as an adult is riding my bike. When I was pudgy, I didn’t go on long rides, maybe they were only a couple of minutes going around the block. But the point is that it got my heart rate way up.  You may not like to cycle, but maybe you like to run, or skip rope or jump on the trampoline. There’s really nifty 5-minute workout apps that you can use too. What it does is it increases your basal metabolic rate as you get fit as well as decreases your cravings for unhealthy food. Just a few minutes of good, hard cardio a few times a week is enough to help start weight loss.

  1. Get Your Zz’s

Getting good sleep every night is crucial to weight loss. If you get a bad night’s rest, you will feel lethargic and you will want to eat junk to make you feel better. You will also lack the willpower to make healthy choices. Getting good sleep at night involves going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. Try not to have day naps, but if very necessary only a 15-minute power-nap.

  1. Remember Not All Calories Are Equal

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Lastly, there is a big different between the 100 calories you get in a brownie versus the 100 calories in a chicken salad. The very refined ingredients in the brownie get digested very quickly in comparison to the nutritious chicken salad. Opt for foods that are high in fibre and more nutrient-dense because these get digested slowly – keeping you fuller for longer.

 

It’s funny how so many people only start trying to live healthier lives when disaster strikes, like when they have serious health issues. Do you want to put yourself and your family through that? I know I don’t.

I truly believe that every one of us can glow with health and happiness if  we took better care of our health more. And it doesn’t have to be hard! We just have to start trying. Take the challenge to implement these small changes one day at a time. It may be a bit difficult at first, but try starting just one of them, and then add more when you feel ready.

So take care of yourself and invest in your future! You can do it! I will also try harder to do so.

Have any experiences about what worked for your weight-loss? Comment below!

 

Posted in For You

What To Do When You’re Sick (But Still Trying To Function)

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I have been sick for the past month with 3 entirely different ailments and illnesses. It’s been awful, because when you have an adult life full of responsibilities, it’s not like everything can just stop and wait for you to get better. Or you could just hibernate for a couple of days and everything will just take care of itself. Plus, when you have 3 little bodies who call you mommy (in varying whining tones) a gazillion times a day… well, life becomes very exhausting. It takes every ounce of self-control to then have to clean up potty-training accidents with a throbbing headache as a result of some serious sinus congestion. (But hey! At least I couldn’t smell anything, which was great!)

It has been humbling for me of course, because I have had to slow down, ask for help, live a little simpler (and messier too) just to cope.

Because I know if I do not – I will not get better!

We are limited by our physical bodies. Although we want to get a ton of things done, we just can’t. That physical limit needs to be respected, because when we start losing sleep, eating badly and not taking time to manage our stress, soon our body will take the reins and demand the recuperation it yearns for.

In other words: if you do not give what your body needs, it will take revenge on you.

But we all have lives that go on and on, and slowing down a little feels like we are falling behind a marathon running race. Then we feel even more stressed about our illness. And we don’t get any better. Where’s the logic in that?

Here’s some advice on dealing with illness when you have a lot else to deal with…*

*Disclaimer: I am not a qualified healthcare practitioner, so please do seek the advice of your doctor or nurse regarding your illness. These tips are only based upon my experience as a mother to help you in your recovery process.

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Forget The “Sweeties”

If you are suffering with congestion, do you really think it’s a good idea to drink a glass of milk? Or eat a candy bar? Bacteria loves dairy products, processed foods and refined foods. Whatever the illness is, opt for healing foods, which are fresh foods like vegetables, fruits, moderate amounts of complex carbohydrates, and non-processed proteins. Your body’s nutrient requirements increase when it is trying to fight off illnesses and repair cells. If you really cannot ignore the craving, have just a taste or half the amount you normally eat. If you don’t care about what you eat, well, you unfortunately won’t be getting better as soon as you could have. With the growing to-do list looming in my mind, boy, I know that I will do everything I can to get better as soon as possible!

 

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Take a Day’s Leave: Make it Count

I know that this sounds like the most boring, generic advice for illness. I’m sorry to say this, but yes, you need to take your day’s leave from work. For at least a day to fully rest. If the doctor has booked you off for a week, but there’s too much work weighing upon your mind, make the leave you are able to take, count! And that means that you should not be thinking about work when you do take your day’s leave. (Easier said than done, I know). If you don’t feel better after a good solid day’s rest, well you may need to take 2 days off. Or even more. Everyone is different in their recovery time, whatever illness it may be. But tell yourself that the earth is not going to explode if you are away from work or your house is a war-zone for a day or two. You are not a robot that can work continuously and perfectly. You are a human being with physical limitations and YOU HAVE TO REST!

My experience of this was when I had a cold but I was still determined to clean my house. I vacuumed and washed floors and was very proud of myself. My house sparkled! Although – my body was not impressed. The day after, I became extremely ill with a bad case of flu. For the following week I had to fight my illness even harder with medication and plenty of rest. Moral of the story? Just get the rest you need when your body first asks for it. You cannot ignore your body’s requests. I know that when my husband gets little sleep, sure as eggs, he wakes up feeling congested in the morning. It’s so weird, I know, but it gives an indication of how sleep affects immunity.

Exercise is also not a good idea at this time. Perhaps doing simple stretches, easy yoga poses and gentle walks are good for now. Your sick body is trying to repair itself so also trying to cope with an intense workout is asking too much. Getting out into the sunshine is a must when you are sick, as it will help you to feel not so groggy. Don’t stay in bed the whole day either, dependant upon the severity of your illness.

 

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Delegate & Get Help

With your job, whether it be business-based or being a parent, you really need to get extra help when you are ill. Start thinking realistically and realise that you will actually be able to recover sooner if you get help. Ask a trusted colleague or relative to help out a little (of course not to do your entire job) to get one or two urgent tasks done. Just for things to hang in there so everything doesn’t fall apart while you are on sick-leave.

And regarding your parental duties, hire a cleaner or call a baby-sitter. If you cannot afford a cleaner, just do the bare minimum of household chores by washing the dishes, making beds and taking out the garbage. Don’t do what I did and suddenly decide it’s a good time to scrub the floors. Because it is not. Get your kids involved (dependant upon their age) to tidy the house or you should arrange playdates for them so you can rest. Ask a relative for help in whatever way they are able to, such as baby-sitting or meal preparation. Or give Mr Delivery a call. Seriously, your main motto is going to be getting the bare minimum done in the easiest and simplest way.

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Get The Right Medication

This is pretty obvious, but it is worth mentioning that although Dr Google is helpful, be careful with self-diagnosis. Don’t try to think you that know exactly what your illness is and have the equivalent of a 5-year medicine degree just because you read up on Google for 30 minutes. Dr Google is helpful for sure, don’t get me wrong, because we have access to knowledge of what symptoms and signs to look out for and the ones you should worry about. But doctors generally have years’ experience over and above completing their studies of the human body and medicine. If your illness is quite bad and uncomfortable, be it an infection or a virus, you need to get to a doctor. I am a believer of alternatives like homeopathy and kinesiology too, but sometimes antibiotics are really very necessary should the illness be advanced and aggressive, in my experience. Once you have your medication, make sure you store them properly and take them as prescribed.

 

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SIMPLIFY

Like the two stones in the picture above, your priorities become very simplified when you are ill. The stone at the bottom may represent you and the stone on top your family. Because your family depends on you. If you are ill, your family will also suffer from your limitations. Although in the same way, your family needs to make compromises in order to help you balance your family life.

Your main motto is going to be getting the bare minimum done in the easiest and simplest way. Live minimally and simplify your life. Say no to the  fluff in your life and you will recover faster. Not sure about what you should or shouldn’t keep in your life? Ask yourself this question: Is the item that I need to do absolutely necessary and will it help me to get better? Simplicity will really help you to get back on track with life and on your feet after your illness.

Below is a free image to download for your convenience to post as a pretty Whatsapp profile picture while you are sick. Just so your contacts will know why you aren’t super fast at replying to messages and also so people know your current situation. I know that many of you may not want to broadcast your “sick status”, but it just may come in handy!

Look after yourself, have patience with the healing process that your body is working so hard at doing. You need some extra slack at this time. The body is an amazing thing; given the right foods and rest it can sort itself out fine. I wish you all who are ill at this time a speedy recovery!

Have any strange or wonderful sickness stories about how you coped (or didn’t) when you were sick? Or have any great tips about what worked for you? Feel free to comment below!