Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Maintaining Weight When You Can't Hit the Gym

There are so many excuses that will stop us from hitting the gym, but sometimes, those excuses are legit!  From time constraints to injuries, getting to the gym isn't always an option.

And to be honest, whenever I hear someone say "I'd rather eat whatever I want and bust my butt at the gym, than restrict myself of any food," I want to go all health documentary on them, but I usually resist. A person's diet (as in what they eat, not some overly restrictive food plan used to lose weight), is the most important factor in health and weight loss.  

Not to say exercise and cardiovascular health isn't important, it is, extremely, but diet trumps exercise. Sorry meatheads (I kid, I kid:). 

Okay, let's get back on track.  

I am a single mom living in NYC.  I have about zero minutes available to go to the gym, so I'm rely on a healthy diet to maintain my weight. *  I've been body-conscious since I was a in elementary school, which is when I started researching health, calories, and diet.  That puts me at about 22 years.

Here are my tips for maintaining your weight when you can't work out: 

1. Sugar - avoid, avoid, avoid.  Particularly refined sugar - this means candy, cookies, soda, and sauces (ketchup, bbq, Sriracha, etc.).  You should also stay away from syrup, honey, agave (but these are a little better). 

2. Refined carbs - come on, you knew this was coming.  Bread, pizza, rolls, donuts, pastries, etc. Stay far away, or at least treat them as a once a week treat. 

Side note: remember that "you are what you eat commercial with the woman walking around with the cinnamon roll bum?  Well add 1 + 2 above together and that's what you'll get.  

3. Fried food -  just don't.  Fried food can usually be replaced with an almost as delicious baked version.  Fries and sweet potato fries are delicious when baked (homemade!!). 

4. Veggies - yes, yes, all day, yes. Honestly, you cannot go wrong with veggies.  I'm talking plain, unsalted, un-dipped, fresh veggies.  Frozen are okay too, but fresh is always the best. Get creative with them... bake up a pan of mixed veggies, chop up a colorful veggies plate with a little homemade guacamole or hummus, make a delicious, overflowing salad of all your favorite veggies.  

5. Fruit - yes, but not all day.  Fruits are the perfect dessert after a healthy meal, an awesome addition to oatmeal and whole grains, and a great snack when you need a sweet.   Fruits are full of awesome vitamins, but they also contain a lot of sugar, and if you are trying to maintain weight while decreasing activity, just go easy on anything related to sugar. 

6. Whole grains - yep, but not just grains - they make a great accompaniment to veggies (rice with stir fries, oats with a little fruit and nuts...).  Just stick with rice, oats, quinoa.   

7. Legumes - you bet! (earmuffs you Paleo nuts out there).  Legumes are so great! They are a great source of protein and vitamins, and when cooked right, they are so tasty.  

8. Nuts and seeds - oh yeah! But definitely in moderation, as they can pack on the calories and fat like crazy.  I like nuts and seeds as add ons to food.  Nuts on oatmeal, seeds in salads. Don't just chow down on a big bowl of nuts (hehe).  

9. Good fats - sparingly!  We are talking olive oil, coconut oil, and even avocados.  Use them, just remember they add up even faster than nuts and seeds.  

10. Meat - welllllll, I'm not a huge fan of meat.  I take that back, I love meat.  Burgers, steaks, chicken wings... love em. However, I just choose not to eat much meat (or fish) for a variety of reasons (environmentally mostly, but also the options available, and the ethics of the meat industry).  When you do eat meat, chicken/ poultry is the best way to go. 

11. Fish - Most fish is good and good for you, if cooked in a healthy way (baked!), but make sure what you are eating is fresh not farm raised.  Fried fish falls under the fried category, not this one;)

12. Dairy - milk is unnecessary and the benefits are inflated. Non-dairy milk is really not that much better as it contains additives that really aren't necessary/ beneficial (homemade non-dairy milk is great!).  Cheese, how I love the, but you should really ditch it... it's calorie and fat dense.  Yogurt should be used as a condiment not a meal.  

13. Alcohol - sad to say, alcohol is just a lose lose.  There aren't even enough benefits in any alcohol (yes, I'm looking at you red wine) to make it ever a drink worth drinking. If you are going to drink, limiting yourself to no more than 4 ounces of red wine a day is the absolute maximum.  Man, I feel like the biggest hypocrit on this one, but I do realize how quickly my weight, completion, and health have changed when I've given up alcohol for long periods of time. 

14.  Arrrgghh! There is something(s) I'm missing but just cannot put my finger on it. Stay tuned for possible edits. 

My favorite meals: 

-Homemade oatmeal, topped with fresh fruit, nuts, and cinnamon
-Zucchini noodles with marinara or a healthy pesto
-Meat free taco salad - chop up some romaine, add homemade gauc, salsa, and some peppers, and you've got a delicious, easy meal
-Stir fries - chop up whatever veggies you have, and heat them up over a little coconut oil.  Throw them on some brown rice with a little hot sauce or soy sauce. Viola!
-Mixed veggies plate - slice up your most delicious raw veggies, add a small scoop of homemade hummus, and call it a meal

Enjoy and be happy:)

*Disclaimer, my eating habits revolve around my want to become the most healthy me I can be.  I want to thrive for as long as possible, not just look cute in a swimsuit... though I wouldn't hate that either.

Disclaimer 2 - Also, I'm not a doctor, so you should talk to one before making any major changes to your diet. 

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