By Tess and Jess
Tess has been a certified Personal Trainer since 2009 and is now working at Snap Fitness in Ottawa. After studying martial arts for over 10 years, she has recently turned her attentions to entering fitness competitions with the International Drug Free Athletics.
Jess is a vegetarian, avid runner and aspiring yogi, enjoying life one bite at a time in Montréal.
It’s safe to say that 2012 rang in bright with promise and motivation: you pledged to eat healthy, exercise six days a week and drop those extra 10 pounds you’ve been hanging out with over the last few years.
Fast-forward to February and you’ve maybe used that new gym membership twice, gave some thought to the crudité platter before digging into the Doritos and have generally succumbed to the winter blahs.
While many of us have the very best intentions to see our resolutions through, more often than not we fall off the wagon (sometimes before the ball even drops!). It happens, but that doesn’t mean you can’t jump back on.
Let’s take a look at some great diet tips and a healthy recipe to help you get back on track and realize your goals!
Tips and advice
There is one golden rule to losing weight: expend more energy than you consume.
There are three variables you can manipulate to affect this formula: diet, cardiovascular training and strength training.
In this issue, we provide you with 12 weeks of progressive, diet-changing strategies. Tackle one new strategy each week, and by the end of March you will be healthier, more vital, and yes, even a couple of pounds lighter!
Week 1 – Keep a food journal
Get into the habit of writing down everything you eat; be accountable for every bite, sip and nibble. Include measurements where possible, and environmental factors such as the time of day, mood, location and conditions (for example, were you at an office party recently?). You will keep this journal for the next 12 weeks.
Week 2 – Drink (more) water
The average adult should be drinking 2-3 litres of water per day and if you’re active, increase that figure to 4-5 litres. This does not include colas, juice or coffee.
Week 3 – Analyze your food choices
Look back over your food journal: how many servings of fruits and vegetables are you getting per day? At what time of the day do you eat your healthiest meal? Your “naughtiest”? Do you eat poorly when you’re happy, sad or both?
Week 4 – Get familiar with calories
By becoming aware of the calories in foods, you will be better equipped to make educated choices at restaurants, parties, in the grocery store and while cooking. There are many online sources and books to help you, such as CalorieCount.About.com
Week 5 – Stop eating junk, sweets and take-out
Or at least cut back…drastically. Yes, it’s finally time to hand over the chips. It won’t be so bad, we promise!
Week 6 – Eat breakfast!
Do you skip breakfast? You’re not alone, but you are doing your body a disservice. The majority of your calories should come at breakfast when you need energy to carry you through the day. Start to slowly reverse your eating habits by eating progressively less at dinner, then more at breakfast.
Week 7 – Reduce alcohol
Alcohol is full of empty calories, is high in sugar and is a depressant. Keep consumption to 1-2 glasses per week.
Week 8 – Eat 2 more servings of fruits and vegetables per day
Ideally, you should be eating 7 servings of fruits and vegetables per day (1 serving vegetables = ½ cup). Start incorporating these into your meals and snacks (for example: berries in your oatmeal, carrots as a snack, tomato on your grilled cheese, veggies in your pasta).
Week 9 – Pack your lunch
By packing your own lunch, you ensure that you know exactly what is going into your lunch box and body each day. Saves calories, saves money.
Week 10 – Switch from white to whole wheat (everything)
This includes bread, rice, pasta and cereals. Whole wheat will provide your body with more fibre and nutrients, making you feel fuller and more energized. Make sure that the words “whole wheat” appear at the top of the ingredients list.
Week 11 – Reduce red meat
The saturated fats in red meat can contribute to higher cholesterol levels and heart disease. Not to mention: it’s higher in calories and fat than chicken, fish or eggs. Try to limit intake to 2-3 servings per week, opting for chicken or fish the rest of the time.
Week 12 – May we suggest organic?
Organic may be more expensive now, but the negative effects of conventional farming on your health will cost you thousands of dollars in the future. If you’d like to start buying organic, start with items such as dairy, meat, and fruits and vegetables with thin peels such as apples, pears, carrots, potatoes.
To help kick start your healthy journey, here is a recipe you can use to complement your efforts in eating healthy, and exercising hard! This simple and delicious dish makes the perfect weeknight meal. Packed with healthy proteins, veggies, carbohydrates and fats, it’s perfectly balanced to keep you satisfied without tipping the scales.
Serve it with a salad to add an extra dose of greens.
A great recipe
Brown Rice Power Bowl with Cashew Coconut Curry Sauce
Vegan, gluten free, soy-free
1 c. brown rice
2 c. low-sodium vegetable stock
1 tbsp canola oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp minced ginger
2 c. broccoli florets
2 c. carrots, sliced
1 c. white kidney beans (cooked and drained, or from a can)
Salt and pepper to taste
¾ c. cashews
1 c. water
1 x 160 mL can lite coconut milk
1 tbsp minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ tsp garam masala
¼ tsp sea salt
To make sauce
In a small bowl, combine water and cashews and let soak for 30 to 60 minutes (or overnight). Drain cashews, reserving ½ cup of the water. Combine cashews, water, coconut milk, ginger, garlic, garam masala and salt in your blender. Blend until smooth; taste and adjust seasoning to your preference.
For Rice Bowl
Combine rice and vegetable stock in a medium-sized sauce pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the liquid has been absorbed. Fluff rice with a fork and set aside.
Meanwhile, lightly steam carrots and broccoli for 3-5 minutes, until they are tender crisp, then set aside. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat, and add in your garlic and ginger. Sauté for 2-3 minutes until fragrant, then add carrots and broccoli. Stir fry for another few minutes, then add beans and cook until heated through.
Remove from heat and serve over brown rice. Top with cashew coconut curry sauce.
Check out FAJO’s upcoming issue for more diet tips, another amazing recipe and the second part of the weight-loss equation: cardio!
For more from Tess & Jess, visit their blog.