The battle at the weighing scale has been a constant burden for a lot of people while growing up especially for those who have succumb to an unhealthy lifestyle and continue to do so because of work schedules, peer pressure and societal standards propagated by popular media. The truth is, not many people will fit into the ideal “model body” that media portrays as healthy and sexy.
We all come in different shapes and sizes that we need to accept as our real body. We need to learn to love ourselves in our real bodies. Instead of focusing on how to get the 24-inch waistline; we should learn to focus on achieving optimal health so our body can serve us better and give us the energy and freedom of movement to do the things we need and want to do. For most of us, the journey to getting our ideal, healthy body starts with shedding some excess weight.
With media constantly bombarding us with images of what healthy and sexy should look like; many have come to accept these standards as ideal and struggle with themselves daily to try to fit with this ideal thru yo-yo diets and swallowing one of the many advertised weight-loss pills.
These methods are both unhealthy and expensive. But there are small tweaks in your daily life that you can start doing as your first steps to shed the extra pounds without paying a gym membership or buying a healthy meal plan subscription.
First thing you have to do to start your healthy routine is to detox; not a week-long juice cleanse but simply drinking a tonic that helps your body detoxify in the long run and helps your stomach to maximize the nutrition intake from the foods you eat.
It is important that you drink any of these in the morning, on an empty stomach because it helps activate your stomach and starts the detox process which also stimulates fat burning.
Here are some detox tonics to try in the morning.
Honey + ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar)
Mix 1 tablespoon of each into a cup of warm water and drink at least 20 minutes before your first meal. It is best to use organic honey and make sure that the ACV has the “mother” (the grainy sediment that settles at the bottom of the bottle) to ensure that you get maximum nutrition from both ingredients while enjoying its detoxifying effects. Both of these ingredients also have anti-bacterial effects and can help control blood sugar. Better to sip this with a straw.
Lemon Juice + Cayenne Pepper Powder
Mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice (half a lemon, squeezed) with a pinch of cayenne pepper powder (organic preferred) into warm water and drink at least 20 minutes before your first meal. The lemon helps in detoxifying and provides vitamin C while the cayenne pepper powder stimulates fat burning. You can feel the heat even as you sip this drink.
If you like drinking tea, then try turmeric or ginger tea in the morning. These both have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory effects which stimulates the body to burn fat. You can also try tea made from moringa powder which contains lots of nutrients and even has more calcium than milk.
Bullet Proof Coffee
For coffee and chocolate lovers there’s also bullet-proof coffee. The Bulletproof brand sells the main ingredients for this coffee but they can be quite expensive, so here’s an alternative recipe.
Into your coffee or choco powder, mix 2-4 tablespoons of VCO (Virgin Coconut Oil) then add your hot water. You can start by just adding 1 tablespoon the first time. You can also add a sweetener such as brown sugar, agave or honey and other nutritious extras such as cinnamon powder, cayenne pepper powder, turmeric powder and even maca powder. Stir to combine well and drink warm.
Ideally, this is the only thing you drink in the morning at 6AM and the next meal you have is your lunch. The science behind this is that the added fat (VCO) sustains your calorie needs in the morning, (assuming you are not exercising). The fat does not make you gain weight but fuels your brain instead. If you are exercising then you should still eat something to energize you like fruits or a smoothie.
This morning drink has earned praise for raising productivity in the morning ranging from enhancing concentration and focus and clearer thinking. In short, you don’t go into work feeling groggy. Instead, you feel energized and ready to complete your tasks. Try it out and see if it works for you.
Drink Your Greens
We all know that eating our fruits and vegetables are important to keep us healthy but sometimes we just don’t have the time or patience to cook them and some of us don’t have the stomach to eat them raw.
Here’s a quick and healthy fix for that–drink your greens! If you don’t have the time to prepare breakfast in the morning, then a smoothie is the perfect solution. All you need are some of your favorite fruits and some leafy greens, place in a blender with some water and blend away. You can also add in moringa powder, turmeric powder, cayenne powder, etc. to boost nutrients even more.
It is recommended that you rotate your fruits and greens to ensure that you eat a variety and get maximum nutrition. There are so many combinations that you can search online. Some important tips to remember are the following:
- Chew your drink – Even if its liquified don’t just chug it down or you might experience bloating. Your saliva activates the acids in your stomach for proper digestion so chew some of the bits to get your salivary glands working.
- Add in healthy fats – To amp up nutrition add in some healthy fats like VCO or sunflower oil (2 tablespoons should do) or half an avocado for a creamier texture. Or if you don’t want the “green” taste and want to add some sweetness, add in a tablespoon of peanut butter (preferably no sugar) or other nut butter (almont butter, hazel butter, etc.).
- Always have bananas – Not all your fruits will be sweet so to balance them out and to lessen the “green” taste of your leafy greens, always have bananas on hand as the fruit base for your smoothie. It also adds a creamier texture to your drink.
- Freeze your fruits – Frozen fruits mean you don’t need to add ice so you don’t dilute the taste and it also results in a creamier smoothie.
- Drink right away – The combination of fruits and vegetables and exposure to air results in faster oxidation (why apples and bananas turn brown after being peeled and sliced) which also causes loss of vitamins and minerals. So drink your smoothie right away as soon as you have made it.
A couple of ways to include your smoothie in your daily routine is to take it as a meal after your exercise. Since you are working for most of the day, it is recommended that you take your regular lunch and make a smoothie as a meal replacement for your dinner.
Eating healthier is just one part of the equation towards a healthier body. Exercise is another major factor. You don’t need to train for a triathlon just yet but you can join a running club or start running on your own each morning to jumpstart your exercise routine.
If you’re the type who’d rather stay at home to exercise, there are lots of exercise videos that you can search online to get started. What are some exercises that you can do at home? Here’s a list of some you can try out right away.
- Yoga – This is ideal for beginners who want to focus on stretching their muscles first before jumping into more intense workouts. This is also a relaxing way to exercise while gradually improving flexibility.
- Pilates – If you want the stretching part but also want to enhance strength, then this workout is for you. Like yoga, it involves a lot of stretching but also incorporates a lot of strengthening moves that also enhance flexibility. This is specially great at targeting your abdominal muscles. Learn more about it’s inventor here.
- Barre – This workout is more intense than yoga or pilates as it incorporates moves from both disciplines as well as from ballet. The barre is used as an equipment to support you as you go thru all the movements. But in its place you can choose a chair or the edge of a table.
- Tai-chi – A form of meditation as well as a form of exercise, this practice teaches you how to breathe properly as you do the smooth, kung-fu like movements. You might not end up looking like Bruce Lee but you can totally copy some of his sleek moves but in a slower version.
- Belly Dance – Want to learn soft, sexy moves while improving flexibility? Belly dancing is a great way to start becoming more aware of how you can move your body so you can perfect some sexy moves. It’s also a great core workout.
- Zumba – Just want to dance, dance and dance to the latest pop tunes? Then zumba away to any of the popular zumba instructors’ videos online. You can groove your way to health while learning the newest dance moves.
There are many more exercises that you can do in the comfort of your own home to help you on your journey to a healthier body. Aim to do this for at lest 20-45 minutes, 3-4 times a week. As you do these exercises, remember to focus on getting the correct form while doing the moves to avoid any injuries. It’s better to go slowly but surely.
As you work out unsupervised, don’t follow the “no pain, no gain” motto. You should be having a lot of fun, not feeling major pain. A cramp may cause pain but if you suddenly feel pain, stop and think what was the cause; is it just a cramp from long, unused muscles being stimulated or did you do a move incorrectly? If so, rest a bit and see if you can do it better but do it slowly. If the pain persists, stop and consult a doctor.
The only pain you should feel as you exercise is the slow, pleasurable burn in your muscles as you do the routines and the satisfying soreness in your muscles the next day after your exercise routine. Any more painful than that means you have a problem and you should get checked by a doctor.
When you are ready to move on to the next level in your exercise routine, then you can go join a club in your community or join a gym. After all, it is more fun to workout as a group and you get more motivation and guidance from your trainers.
Change is good and with exercise, you should change your routine often. You don’t have to stick to one exercise routine for the rest of your life. If you feel a plateau in using one type of exercise, change it up. Choose another form of exercise or choose a more intense workout to overcome your plateau and move forward to your health goal.
Also, as with any health and nutrition plan as well as exercise plan, it is best to consult your doctor and/or nutritionist to ensure that you are eating the right food in the right amounts and you are doing the right type of exercise for your body type and current physical condition.
Good luck on your journey to health and may these tips help in transforming you into your true ideal body.