We all pave the road for our own habitual highways every day. In each minute that makes up the hours that make up the days that make up the weeks that make up the year, we think thousands of thoughts which manifest into actions which define the moment. In every moment we have the opportunity to design a life that propels us forward to success without much strain and resistance. It’s all up to you.
As I keep mentioning, with all of the information pertaining to living the life that you desire at your fingertips, the ball is 100% in your court to pave the highway with healthy, holistic and beneficial habits, albeit small at first, to take maximum advantage. You can even break it down into a business sense – maximum return on your investment. The return that you receive on your investment is dependant upon on the variables of mindset, routine, recovery, thoughts, exercise, lifestyle, relationships, motivation and nutrition which you ultimately have a monopolistic control of. In order to live lean, clean and happy I have laid out the basics that I started with myself, that you can practice, grow and play with in order to experience results.
Read the Label
This is one of the most simple pathways to begin the holistic practice of taking control of what goes on your plate and essentially into your mouth. If you think the marketing catch phrases like natural, sugar free, gluten free, no added flavours and low fat are any grounds on which to make healthy food choices you are being extremely naive. A great rule of thumb to go by when deciphering the often terribly labelled products is to avoid anything that contains more than three ingredients that you can’t pronounce. Further to that, go as far as limiting the products you buy that even come in a package! So how do you decipher if it’s health or hype? My hot tips for young players, don’t be fooled by products that claim to be or contain any of these phrases:
- Natural – open to interpretation and can still contain preservatives, added sodium and high fructose corn syrup (**It’s not healthy just because its made from corn**).
- Wholegrain or multigrain – grains are no good full stop, they cause severe intestinal inflammation and contain indigestible proteins which lead to health issues. The claim of fibre content contributing digestive benefits is merely the course, indigestible grains damaging intestinal walls and being passed through the digestive system unprocessed as waste.
- Gluten Free – the vast majority of gluten free products are often more damaging than the ‘standard’ alternative being packed with seed oils, poor quality starches, highly processed rice and corn products like corn syrup and rice flour that are nothing but healthy hype.
- Fat Free or Low Fat – a quick check over the ingredients list will uncover what the fat content has been replaced with to preserve taste and shelf life. A long list of sugars, sweeteners or preservatives that have far more negative health implications than innocent fat.
Often it’s little 1%ers in between that get you the most results. Contrary to popular belief, the idea of having several small meals in order to ‘keep your metabolism firing’ holds little truth. Unless your energy expenditure is through the roof and you are training to an elite level, eating throughout the day and ignoring actual hunger levels will only contribute caloric surplus (eating more energy than you’re using) which will contribute to fat storage and inflammatory responses throughout the body. This is a major contributor to the development of chronic disease and mental illness. With snacking, it is all about deciphering whether you are experiencing real hunger or just boredom hunger or a form of emotional eating.
Having appropriate snacks ready for the occasion as well as being mindful of the quality of these snacks (referring back to my paragraph above) will make you progress fast with your goals to be clean and lean. Some examples of snacking options I include in the Train Holistic Meal Plan packages include:
- Handful of almonds
- Paleo Granola
- Berry varieties – blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries are low in fructose unlike bananas, apples, mangoes and dates
- Protein – small amounts of chicken breast, tinned or raw fish which are high in protein will provide ample snacking and also help to curb sugar cravings.
- Primal foods like roasted crickets (this is legit!)
- Homemade Paleo treats – making your own granola loaf, muffins,bliss balls or slices which contain ingredients you are happy with will be suitable so long as you are conscious of not over eating the treats.
Eat More Fat
It’s time to stop fearing fat. For so long we’ve been encouraged to demonise the presence of fat in our diets and told to choose everything reduced fat, fat free, skim, low fat, no fat, blah blah blah. Truth be told, weneed fat for energy production and cell construction. And if you’re looking to shed a few kilos, funnily enough they key might be to add a little more fat to your plate. Keep in mind though, fat ain’t fat. The type of fat you consume will make all the difference and determine whether you become part of the population needing to walk sideways through the door or the other part bouncing with energy and glowing skin. I’m not talking, hot dogs, pizza and Krispy Kremes here. So what type of fat gets the tick? Good ol’saturated fat. Just a side note to this lean living pathway, it is essential to be mindful that when increasing your fat intake you don’t complement this increase with a high carbohydrate intake like packing your bacon on four slices of white bread (or any bread for that matter). I’ll keep this nice and simple and give you a list of foods that you should not be missing out on for your daily dose of life giving fat:
- Avocados and avocado oil
- Coconut oil and coconut products
- Pasture fed/grass fed meats
- Eggs (free range)
- Organs like liver and heart
- High fat dairy products from pasture fed animals
This lean living pathway should require no explanation. If your reading this blog, I would hope I don’t have to spell out the meaning of exercise or being active. Walk, run, lift, bend, stretch, swim, ride, flip, push, pull and sprint your way to a lean body composition. If you are willing to find an excuse for the lack of exercise you incorporate into your life, then you must accept that you cannot claim rewards for something you have not worked for. One of the biggest changes I noticed in my body composition was increasing low level movement into my exercise regime 10 fold. If you’re looking to remove that stubborn fat in certain areas the trick may be to take note of your caloric intake and pair this with a high amount of low-level movement like walking, paddle boarding or swimming, which will effectively chew away at energy reserves (and stored fat) whilst providing you with active recovery benefits.
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