Mindset over diet

I am a stress- and emotional eater. I eat fast, I eat a whole lot of bad stuff in as short time frame, I eat when I’m not even hungry, I grossly overeat when I really am hungry. When something that’s unhealthy in my mind touches my tongue, I go overboard and think ‘what the heck’. I anxiously try to eat healthy and try to keep count of everything I eat in a kind of obsessive way, to make sure I eat healthy all the time. My thoughts about food are really black and white. In my mind, I know it’s nonsense, but changing the way you feel about something is really hard. Last year I decided I needed to seriously change my thoughts and behavior, because just following a healthy lifestyle or a diet didn’t change that for me and I ended up relapsing and gaining weight again.

My current method is to stop and stand still. I try to do yoga regularly, I meditate, I have therapy and I think everything together is working for me. I’ve watched a TED-talk about addiction some days ago, which I also thought was really helpful. I thought it was a bit like mindfulness, the speaker talked about letting cravings or bad thoughts be there, accept that they’re there, but you don’t have to act on them. It works better than fighting the thoughts or cravings, because it’s like the ‘don’t think about a pink elephant game’. It only makes you think about it more! So here’s the video, I hope you guys get the same out of it I did:

 

 

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Kcal in/out & fat burn zone

I am so guilty of obsessing over my kcal burn at the gym compared to my calory intake, especially since I got my new Fitbit Charge HR. It’s funny how we perceive something to be so true and solid, while at the same time, it’s really fooling us. For example, how do you know your food contains exactly the amount of calories you’ve calculated? You actually don’t, its all an estimation, which is fine by me, but thought you might want to know before you stress out over a few of them 😉

So now something about the fat burn zone. It has been a myth for a long time, that in order to lose weight or lose fat, you need to do low intensity steady state (LISS) workouts to burn fat. The myth says your heartrate needs to be in a certain zone to maximise the amount of fat burned. There is a bit of truth behind it, but not in a way you might think. I’ll try to explain. Screenshot_2015-12-19-21-49-09-1

Your body contains a certain amount of glycogen, which is basically long chains of glucose. There’s some storage in the muscles and in the liver. It’s a fast and easy way of providing the body energy fast when it needs it. Like in emergency situations, where you have to run away fast in case of danger for example. The thing is, your body really wants to preserve this storage for these emergencies, but will use is when it’s necessary. Fat burning is slower though, it needs more processes to get to energy so it’s not efficient in emergencies. So, for example, you go for a long and sturdy walk (LISS), the body will burn some glycogen, but finds out you go slow and steady (no emergency), so it starts up the processes of burning fat. Slowly, the amount of fats used as energy will increase and the amount of glycogen used will decrease. It will never go to 0%, but because of the slow and steady pace, you’ll have a higher % of fatburn in comparison to the fast and shorter situations where you’ll get a higher % of glycogen burn.

So up to now, you’ll be like, ok, you said it’s a myth but this really sounds like LISS is the way to go for fat burn? I’ll try to get to the clue. It is ALL about energy in and energy out. If you burn more energy than you eat, you’ll lose weight and vice versa. It doesn’t really matter if you burn a higher fat %, because in the end, the body will restore the glycogen stores, using the fat stores if you don’t eat more than you burn! And guess what, the more intense the workout, the more kcal you burn, so in the end, you’ll also burn more fat with intense workouts. There’s been a lot of research about High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), which is short bursts of high intensity training followed by short periods of lower intensity training. It happens to be that you’ll burn a lot more kcal during these workouts, but also AFTER them, making them very efficient for losing weight!

So before I conclude I’ll have to add something else. There actually are other benefits of LISS, like getting more endurance. You’ll not hear me say that you shouldn’t do LISS. It’s just that I think it’s good to know what type of exercise benefits are out there and what will fit your goal! Personally, I’ve been heavy weightlifting (which is also a bit of a HIIT workout) since the start of my journey. For the first 10 months or so, I never did any cardio. Right now, I do 20 minutes of HIIT intervals on the elliptical after weightlifting. I also try to get 10.000 steps daily, which means I go for walks almost every day, which is my LISS workout. It keeps me active and energetic!

All or nothing

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything over here. My main medium is Instagram, I use this blog when I feel the need to write more than a couple of sentences. Today I feel like writing something about the ‘all or nothing’ principle a lot of us (former)fatties have stuck in our head. For me, this has been the reason why I have clothes in all sizes in my closet (ok, recently I gave the bigger ones to charity because I’m really done with that, yay!). I always felt like either I was on a strict diet and exercise regularly, OR I was eating ONLY bad stuff an no exercise at all (All or nothing!). Preferably this was divided by weeks/days/months, so THIS week, I’m doing good, or, THIS week is already ruined and I will start my strict program next Monday (always Mondays, why don’t we ever start a diet on a Tuesday??).  This resulted in a lot of weight fluctuations and not being able to maintain any type of weightloss. As you may (or may not) know, I’ve been on my ‘getting fit’ journey for over a year now and I must say, it really is something I struggled with, but I feel like I’ve got it now! I’ve realized (and also experienced), that weightloss takes time over several weeks/months/years and losing weight is all about the balance towards the healthier choices. That doesn’t mean you should choose healthy all the time. I sometimes skip the gym because I had a long day at work, and guess what? The week is not bad because of it! I also had a fantastic easter dinner last sunday and guess what, I’m still doing ok and losing weight. Losing this ‘all or nothing’ mentality has really made the difference for me. It doesn’t mean I have no problems with losing weight anymore, it just means I am psychologically better equipped for maintaining a healthy lifestyle for the rest of my life. I still have binge moments, especially when I’m tired or emotional. I guess this is something I’ll have to deal with for some time, I hope it will go away, but if it doesn’t, I’ll find a way to make it work. So, there’s one thing a lot of my IG buddies talk about when I post about it, and that’s Yoga! I will write something about it in my next post!

Three degrees of contagion (yes, being fit is contagious)

As you may or may not know, I recently started my residency in psychiatry. This week I’ll attend a lecture about the network theory. As a total nerd, I wanted to know more about it before I even go to the lecture, so I started some reading. The network theory is just a very abstract theory that can be applied to so many things, so I started to think about it in terms of my own losing weight/getting healthy and fit journey.

network, 3 degrees of contagion

You can apply the theory to your own social network. You put yourself in the middle as a dot, and everybody you are close to is also a dot, connected to you by a line. For all those people, they’ll also have their own people they are close to, represented by a dot, connected to them by a line. If you make a graph like this, up to the third layer, there will be a lot of dots and lines, this is your social network (you can make it bigger by dotting everybody you know vs everybody who’s close to you and go up to the sixth layer, but let’s keep it simple). Ok, so statistically, it has been researched that up to the third connection (this is the ‘three degrees of contagion), your behavior can influence the other people in your network. For example, if you’re very happy, your first connections have a 15% higher change of being happy themselves, the next connection 10% and the third connection 6% (all statistically significant and free from bias).

I find this theory very interesting, especially when I think of it in weightloss terms. A lot of us (former) fatties complain about the fact that our environment is not helping us in our journey (bad food around us, inactive people/work). This is very true and can also be scientifically explained by the network theory. BUT, we can also turn it around. What if I decide that I’m going to live a very healthy and active life and be fit. This will mean that my direct surroundings will also have a higher change of living such a life. I’ve seen it happening, my 2 brothers have also started weightwatchers and my youngest brother’s fiancé too. My sister goes to the gym more often and my mom too. My collegues have started bringing healthier things and want to go on my lunch walks with me. And in a more digital world, my IG friends get inspired by me and start mealprepping or other fit stuff. I find this very inspirational and really, it helps my own journey too! Both my brothers celebrated their birthdays recently and both served healthy snacks (yay). So in other words, you create your own environment! By changing yourself, you can help others to change too (without telling them to change), and they’ll help you to stay on track. This is how we create a fool proof world for ourselves. So spread the lifestyle people!

How to get that booty, strike a pose!

IMG_20150214_164425Yes, this is a picture of me, both are me and made on the same day. It might be a bit obvious, but it’s dead simple to make a before and after picture when it’s about that booty progress! Just adjust your posture, arch your back, point your toe and make 100 pictures and select the best.

 

The whole fitness industry is getting obsessed by the booty. I´ve seen a lot of ´fitness´ profiles on Instagram, promoting (selling) a program to get a booty. They have great booty pics of themselves and women fall for their programs like it’s the new 50 shades of grey. And don’t get me started about those ‘she squats’ pictures, they annoy me to the bone as you can see from their body that most have never seen a gym on the inside, at least not the weights room. Recently someone posted a gross picture of Kim Kardashian, showing clearly that she has booty implants and how messy it really looks. It still makes me shiver thinking about it. Getting a real nice booty can be simple and hard. Why? There are 3 reasons why it can be hard, I’ll sum them up for you:

  1. Genetics: You can be born with real nice round and full booty, just losing a bit of weight and a couple of months in the gym in the weights section can give you an amazing booty. If you’re born with a not so great booty, you can still get one, but it will definitely take longer and more work!
  2. Genetics part 2: how fast do you build muscle? If you’re a fast builder, it will take you less time than a slow builder.
  3. Starting point: If you’re obese, you won’t get that perky cute butt as fast as somebody who is only a few pounds overweight, simple as that!

So many people focus on squats. Well, there is more to life than only squatting. Here are my tips on getting a killer booty (no, not in 6 weeks, maybe not even 6 months, but it sure helps getting a nicer booty!).

  1. Lose weight by eating healthy and lifting weight. Most women need to lose a bit or a lot of weight before that booty becomes really visible. You can squat till you’re dead, but really, nutrition is more important than squatting! Check out this page of mine with posts about losing weight (nutrition and weightlifting).
  2. Train the whole body! Training one particular muscle group (the glutes) is almost impossible and also not really wise. Training multiple muscles will increase the natural release of growth hormones in your body, which will also make that booty grow faster. Aim for 3 total body workouts a week, check out this post about weightlifting if you don’t know where to start. Having a great back, shoulders, hamstrings, calves and quadriceps will make your booty even look better! Having great abs will also benefit your shape, check out this post about abs.
  3. Squatting is great, but there are other exercises more booty specific. I would advise to start with compound movements (squat, deadlift, split squats, lunges, leg press, step up, glute kickback) and end with more glute specific exercises (hip thrust, single straight leg deadlift, back extention, good mornings). If you focus on that glute squeeze and push the weights from your heels in most of these exercises, you’ll train the glutes a bit more. If you don’t know these exercises, look them up on bodybuilding.com. Don’t do all these in one setting, divide them over the week and add upper body exercises too!!
  4. Use it or lose it! If you’re sitting all day at work, make sure you create some space for walking. Take a walk before work and/or in your lunch break. Go to the bathroom furthest from your place, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Sitting all day is detrimental for a nice looking booty!

So now you know, there are no secrets in getting a nice booty. It’s just hard work and time that will get you there!

Raw vegan mealprep (week 7)

I’m not a raw vegan and I’m not going to be one. This is not a detox, I don’t believe in detoxes. I’m just a curious girl who wants to know how my body reacts to a week of this raw vegan food. There’s also another side to it, I’ve been having bad skin and I blame parts of my diet, so I want to see if it gets better in this week.

Raw veganism is a lifestyle without eating meat/fish, eggs and dairy (some say also no honey but that’s always a debate and I never eat honey anyway). Besides not eating animal products, all food is eaten raw. Most raw veganists will say food that reaches 48 degrees C or 118 degrees F isn’t raw anymore. The thought behind it is that enzymes stay active which is healthy and aids digestion (I’m not convinced about this, but I give it the benefit of the doubt. My views: enzymes are proteins and proteins are broken down and digested in the stomach). Some foods, like nuts and chickpeas can/should be soaked and some also sprouted before eating. A just published study has come to the conclusion that heating your food to high temperatures might cause the increase of Alzheimers disease and other ‘Western’ diseases. (Observational and Ecological Studies of Dietary Advanced Glycation End Products in National Diets and Alzheimer’s Disease Incidence and Prevalence, Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease). So eating more raw and less heated products might indeed be better.

The thing is that it’s difficult to be 100% raw, so most will eat 60-70% raw. My own prep for this week also isn’t 100% raw. I have a lot of roasted almonds in stock and those raw ones were really expensive and I had already spend some extra money on other raw foods so I thought what the heck, I’ll eat the roasted ones. I also added peanutbutter powder (which is made from roasted peanuts) to the crackers and cookies, because I wanted to add some protein. Lastly, I added a scoop of tahini to the hummus, which is made from roasted sesame seeds. My biggest concern with this week was that I wouldn’t get in all my needed protein. I’ve calculated some meals in myfitnesspal and saw that my daily protein intake will be about 50 to 60 grams, which is kind of ok for 1 week (normal nowadays is between 100-150 gr for me). I’ve decided to add raw vegan protein powder for after my workouts.

So what do raw veganists eat?

Well, the base is of course veggies. Lots of them! Second will be fruits, then legumes, nuts/seeds and grains. I’ve been looking for recipes, but most recipes out there are of pies, chocolate bars and other snacks. I found some great recipes on www.rawmazing.com though. I also found a great recipe for sprouted chickpea hummus and cashew ‘cheese’. My week might not be a typical ‘raw vegan’ week, as I have viewed so many blogs and accounts on internet, I saw most just eat veggies and fruit. I’m not willing to risk such a great calorific deficit, and such low protein levels, so that’s why I made the crackers, cookies, hummus and cashew cheese (all raw!).

I just bought a dehydrator (which started my interest in raw veganism) and it is great for making those raw cookies and crackers! It also does a great job dehydrating the nuts after soaking. The walnuts really turned out yummy and crunchy. If you’re interested in cracker and cookie recipes, just google raw vegan dehydrator cracker/cookie and you’ll find a bunch of great recipes! I made my crackers with zucchini, bell pepper, chia seeds, salt, flax seeds and sunflower seeds (and a bit of non-raw peanubutter powder). For the cookies I used a pear, an apple, a small amount of coconut flour and oatflour, peanutbutter powder, flax, chia, raw cacao nibs and raisins. As you can read, no sugar or sweetener added to the cookies and they’re delicious! How? The dehydrator removes the water from the batter, so the apple and pear sugars become really concentrated and give sweetness to the cookie. I’m definitely going to keep making these great cookies and crackers!

I’ve included my mealplan with shopping list, and also an empty plan to use for yourself:

Mealprep plan raw vegan week

Mealprep plan (empty plan to use for your own meapreps)

I made some things on forehand, like the cashew ‘cheese’ (it has to ‘ripen’ for 2-3 days), the hummus (the chickpeas had to soak and then sprout for a couple of days) and the cookies/crackers/plantain/dried apples/dried nuts which all had to dry or soak->dry in the dehydrator. As you can see I only fully prepped for my workdays, but I planned the other days too because of some of the things I have to make in advance.

Mealprep breakdown: PicsArt_1423665351289

  • Breakfast: layered oats
  • Snack: dehydrator cookies, dehydrator apple slices and veggies
  • Lunch: dehydrator crackers, sprouted chickpea hummus, ½ avocado and a bunch of green veggies
  • Snack: apple, nuts and a Roobar (raw, vegan, wholefood bar) on 2 days.
  • Dinner: dehydrator plantain chips, raw cashew cheese, dehydrator crackers and green veggies
  • Snack: a pear.

I will add at least some tangerines, dates and a banana here and there. I also bought sunwarrior protein powder (which is raw vegan), I’ll drink that after gymming.

How did the prepping go:

I made the crackers, cookies, apple slices and plantain in advance during the days before prepping. I made the cashew cheese with this recipe (it is incredibly delicious, and I’ll continue eating it!).

Breakfast: (you need 4 big jars)

Puree 4 bananas and 6 dates, put it in a bowl. Add 70 gr of oats,1/2 liter almond milk (add more when it’s too thick), 40 gr flax, 40 gr chia seeds, 15 gr hemp seeds. Divide this in 4 bowls. Now add 15 gr of grated coconut to the ‘white’ bowl. Puree a cup of kale and cup of spinach and add it to the ‘green’ bowl. Add 2 scoops of raw chocolate protein powder and 15 gr of raw cacao nibs to the ‘brown’ bowl. Add a cup of pureed berries to the ‘red’ bowl. Taste all the bowls and add a bit of raw agave to the ones needing it. Now scoop it in the jars to create the layers, I added 15 gr of raisins somewhere in between and topped it with blueberries. It’s a lot of work, but the colorful layers make me happy in the morning haha!

After this I devided all the greens (spinach, kale, lettuce, aragula and bean sprouts) in the 8 tubs. I divided the cashew cheese by 4 and put them in the small jars. I cut the avocado (put them in an extra bag), and put the crackers and avocado in the tub. I made the sprouted chickpea hummus:

Sprouted chickpea hummus:

PicsArt_1423665294734

Chickpeas sprouting in the jar

1 cup of dried chickpeas, 2 tablespoons of tahini (not raw!), 3 tbsp olive oil, 1 clove of garlic, salt and pepper. Start with soaking the chickpeas for 1 day in tap water on room temperature. Then you put them in a sprouting jar or just make one by punching holes in the lid of a jar (I used 2 jars for this batch). Place the jar in 45 degrees and somewhere where there’s light (doesn’t have to be direct sunlight). Now rinse the chickpeas twice a day with tap water and put them back in the jar. They start sprouting after about a day, I waited until the sprouts became a bit bigger then their own size (picture). Then put all ingredients in a food processor and processed until it’s creamy (add a bit of water or oil when it’s too dry). I put the hummus in my lunch tub.

I cut the veggies and put them into tubs with a bit of water. I portion everything and place it on the table for picture taking (very essential lol!).

PicsArt_1423665385152

Breakfast/snack/lunch closeup

Clean eating

So what is this ‘clean eating’ everybody is talking about? It certainly isn’t cleaning your food really well before eating lol! But I’ve found so many definitions and ‘rules’ for clean eating, it kind of gets a forest of information out there and you’ll not know what to follow. In no way I say my own vision is the right or correct one, I’m just going to say something about how I envision clean eating (aka just healthy eating in general).

Paleo-vs-Clean-EatingWhen  you look up clean eating on the internet, you’ll find a lot of lists of food to avoid, or even worse, food that’s forbidden. You’ll find a 30 day clean eating cleanse or the ‘whole 30’, which is practically the same to me, or the Paleo diet. Personally, I believe in moderation. Yes, of course, I would love to be able to eat clean 100% of the time, but then life happens and social situations occur and there’s also the inner fat girl that just wants to eat pizza and drink wine. So I’ve learned the hard way that by forbidding myself to eat something ‘unclean’ I will end up eating a truckload of it, so that doesn’t work for me personally.

Of course, there are foods that I’d rather not eat and are ‘unclean’ in my eyes, which is to me simply everything that’s been processed. It comes down to: all types of bread and pasta, white rice, all types of dairy, processed meats like burgers or sausages, all ‘diet’ products, anything with white flour or sugar in it, like cookies or nutella, fast food and probably some other things I forgot to mention. I’d rather not eat dairy because it seems unnatural to me to take another species mother milk that’s meant for its baby, but that doesn’t mean I never take it, because cheese is one of my weaknesses. (I know generally dairy is allowed in the ‘clean eating society’.)

So to me, it’s all about that balance, I try to eat as natural as possible, but allow myself to eat certain unclean things on a daily/weekly basis.

So why is this important?

Well, to start, clean and whole foods contain a lot of nutrients. Yes, a nice big steak contains more calories than a skinny chicken sausage, but have you read the labels of those sausages? Most of them only contain 40-50 % meat, they add all kind of things (mostly white flour and other unclean things). In the end, you’ll get more nutrients (protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals) from the steak than you’ll get from the sausage. If you look at losing weight, people might choose the sausage because it contains less calories. I think this is a very important mistake many make! We are surrounded by ‘diet’ products, low fat this, sugar free that….. and they all try to convince us it’s healthy. You might be able to lose weight with it, but at what cost? It’s time for us to stand up to those big brands and say: NO! We want real food and if I decide to take something ‘unclean’, I’ll go for the real deal, full fat/sugar dark chocolate and wine, or a really cheesy pizza.

Basis for a clean and healthy lifestyle:

Vegetables, fruit, legumes/beans, whole meat, whole fish, eggs, nuts/seeds, whole grains (including brown rice) and starchy veg/roots like (sweet) potatoes.