At the beginning of January, after carefully considering my lifestyle and nutrition, I made it my mission to lose a stone of excess weight. The 5 key areas which I was going to focus on were;
1. Calorie intake
2. Exercise 3-4 times a week
3. Stock up on super healthy alternatives and make healthy treats
4. Track daily movement with pedometer
5. Daily 5 minute quiet time / meditation
Although some weeks it was difficult to fit in both the meditation and exercise, I have stuck to the plan pretty well. I am quite pleased with myself as in 5 weeks I have lost 3.7kg which is over half a stone. I believe this is mainly down to cutting my calorie intake down by about 800 calories a day. Do not worry, I have not been starving myself! Clever substitutions and inclusion of highly nutritious foods with less actual calorie content, have enabled me to keep fuller for longer yet increase vital nutrients.
Lesson 1 on clever substitutions; out with carbs and in with protein for breakfast
A major change to my nutritional habits has been eating protein rich foods for breakfast in stead of carbohydrates. The reason why I implemented this was that although all my carbohydrates were brown, I was dependent on this food group far too much whilst my protein in-take was very low. Protein also releases energy for a longer period of time so I knew that this would also help with my mid-morning munchies. Now I hate eggs so please do not think I have turned into a body builder-meat head who consumes 5 eggs before showering! My lady friendly version of a high protein breakfast consists of Total 0% fat greek yoghurt with a chopped up banana, helping of homemade granola and a long drizzle of agave nectar. One word – delicious! The yoghurt has a huge amount of protein in without any fat. The granola is made from raw nuts, oats, seeds, sultanas, agave nectar and coconut oil which contains protein, low GI carbohydrates, essential fats, minerals and vitamins. The banana gives me a good healthy amount of potassium and vitamin C (which I soon realised I was lacking in from using the My Fitness Pal diet tracker app). The agave nectar adds a bit of healthy sweetness, binds it all together and makes it taste amazing!
I obviously do not want to eat the same thing every day, so particularly at the weekend I have substituted wholemeal bread for rye bread (absolutely lovely toasted), with a slap of either cashew nut/almond butter, (tastes just like peanut butter but even more tasty), or smoked salmon with cracked pepper on top. If you brew up a green tea bag or slice of lemon in hot water, I promise you it rivals a good old English fry up……. well almost! Not only does it taste amazing and keeps you feeling fuller for longer, but the goodness of these foods gives you more energy and vitality throughout the morning.
One thing I have also noticed apart from the weight lose, is the reduction in tiredness and that lethargic feeling you get when you have eaten a substantial amount of carbohydrates (white or brown). The other thing I have learned that by increasing your protein intake, it can be difficult to keep your fat content down, but if you make clever substitutions it is possible to keep the fat at bay and still increase your protein.
I suspect I am not the only woman whose diet revolves around vegetables, fruits and carbohydrates, so start tracking your food for a week and see whether you could benefit in altering your breakfast to include more protein rich foods.
Let me know your thoughts, ideas and how you have been losing the weight!