3 ways to use meditation and mindfulness for losing weight

03 Feb 2021 no comments Criss SFTB

When we want to lose weight, meditation and mindfulness can help us, because it makes us focus on our thoughts and emotions towards understanding ourselves better.

The American Meditation Society says that during meditation, the attention flows inward instead of engaging in the outside world of activity. Briefly put, when we meditate, we acknowledge what we think and how we feel without judgment. From this place of awareness, we can improve our minds, hence our choices to live a healthier lifestyle.

When we meditate with regularity, we see the benefits of our practice in our everyday life. Here is what we can achieve by using meditation and mindfulness as tools for living more consciously.

Curb the emotional and stress-related eating

When we understand our thoughts and emotions, we realize what triggers us and why we want to eat in response to what upsets us. Meditation makes us see why we find comfort in food when we deal with negative emotions. It helps us overcome the mindless response and find better solutions to the problems causing us stress than eating.

Control our impulses

When we feel stressed, our impulses take over. Thus, we make emotional-based decisions rather than rational ones. With the help of meditation, we can exercise the ability to inhibit such impulses and behave in accordance with our goals. Therefore, we make better choices and reduce the level of stress also who can harm our health in the long term.

Intuitive eating

Meditation can help us recognize and understand our emotional needs but also know ourselves better. For example, if you tend to eat even if you are not hungry because people around you sat at a table and do so, meditation can help you be aware of such a context.

This way, you will learn to be connected with your physical hunger instead of your emotional hunger and you will eat when you need to, what you need to, and how much you need to. The Internet provides a lot of resources for meditation, so if you never did that, just Google for ‘meditation for beginners’ and you will get a selection that you can choose from.

yummdiet.com is a diet and well-being platform where nutrition coaches are by your side every step of the way. Purchase your subscription now: https://yummdiet.com/products

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Meet the yummdiet.com community members: Marcela P.

03 Feb 2021 no comments Criss SFTB

A new mom who lost 24 kilograms in 6 months says yummdiet.com changed her life and made her fall in love again with healthy eating and exercising.

A doctor living in Germany for over 6 years, presently with her husband, Marcela P., aged 33, recently became a mother too. Just now she finally realized that her eating habits and lifestyle are not organized and that she has to make a change. Especially when I was working during the night, I used to eat a lot of sugar. Besides that, before getting pregnant, I followed hormonal protocols and I didn’t workout for long periods of time. That’s how I gained 20 kilos, Marcela admits.

We got together with her to find out more about how yummdiet.com changed her life and what are some of the most valuable lessons that stuck with her after using the platform for 6 months. Though her weight loss journey is coming to an end, she says she will not stop using yummdiet.com any time soon.

During pregnancy she understood the need to change something in her lifestyle

I knew about Cori Grămescu ever since I was living in Bucharest, Romania, and I used to go to LadyFit Gym to train. I always loved her style and I continued following her on Facebook. But I never managed to really make a change for myself. When I got pregnant, I knew I had to change something because, due to some problems, I gained some kilos. I wanted to change so I could be an example for my child.

Marcela loved everything about yummdiet.com

Yummdiet.com is so easy to use. For example, the replacement computer. You can change foods whenever you want so you never get bored with what you’re eating. There are also interesting articles and recipes that are worth trying. Also, access to workouts adapted for any fitness level is great.

Lockdown and being a new mom brought her the discipline she needed

I wanted to make a change for the better, to learn again to eat healthy and become active. Lockdown and staying at home with my newborn, helped me discipline. After pregnancy I had elevated transaminases and I was shocked to realize how bad sugar can be for the body. I started using the platform 3 weeks postpartum and I’ve used it for 6 months now. I lost 24 kilos so far and I have one more month to go, then I will start with the maintenance process.

yummdiet.com team was by her side all along

I never met diet coaches who behave so nicely and are so caring with their clients like I did on yummdiet.com. They are there, for you, 24/7. They motivate you, they encourage you, they give you useful ideas all the time. It’s like a big family where everyone learns how to live healthy.

Benefits of losing weight showed up right away

I started my weight loss journey with the breastfeeding diet, and it influenced my lactation as well, it became better. I ate diversified and I had a lot of energy for a new mom with many sleepless nights. It was a slow weight loss process but looking back I managed to lose 24 kilos in 6 months which is great. I think the last time I looked so good was in college, and my skin has also improved. I have more self-confidence, and I love working out again. I find it easy to eat right now and I am even ready for a new pregnancy.

The most important takeaways after the yummdiet.com experience

  • Food’s diversity on the plate
  • Pay attention to how many carbohydrates, protein and fats we consume a day
  • Never skip a meal
  • Eat something sweet when you feel like it but in the first part of the day
  • Learn how to read food labels
  • We need 180 minutes of exercising a week and 30 minutes of rapid walk to lose weight
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Learning how to live healthy can be done at any age

Our body is our temple and living healthy improves our overall life experience
yummdiet.com has everything that you need when you want to lose weight and learn how to live a healthy lifestyle, at a very accessible price.

yummdiet.com is a diet and wellbeing platform where nutrition coaches are by your side every step of the way. Purchase your subscription now: https://yummdiet.com/products 

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8 Tips for Long-term Motivation to Lose Weight and Keep it Off

07 Jan 2021 no comments Criss SFTB

To loose weight you should not focus on time and number target since achieving a permanent behaviour change brings more benefits and i have 8 such tips.

Determine why you want to lose weight

Clearly define all the reasons you want to lose weight and write them down in detail. This will help you stay committed and motivated to reach your weight loss goals. Try to read through them daily and use them as a reminder when tempted to stray from your weight loss plans. You can even set daily reminders on your phone or calendar with them.

Your reasons could include feeling more confident about yourself, preventing diabetes, keeping up with children, looking your best for an event, improving your sex life or fitting into a certain pair of jeans, being a positive example in your family or having more energy. Many people start losing weight because their doctor suggested it, or out of a negative self-perception but research shows that people are more successful if their weight loss motivation comes from within and from various reasons to do so.

Stop buying your problem foods

If you have a penchant for junk foods or other unhealthy foods, and find yourself saying, “I’ll just buy one package of [insert your dietary kryptonite] so I can have some when I really want it…”, it’s time to consider that your favorite food might not be doing you any favors. You could be creating a comfort zone for self sabotage. So muster up some self-control and put the package of cookies down. Also, read food labels to know what you are eating.

Since anyone ever craves broccoli and salmon, we may state, without mistake, that avoiding buying sodas, sweets, chocolate, chips, crackers, baked or fried nuts, alcohol and pastry is a good start. If you don’t have them around the house, there are less chances that you’ll get dressed, jump in the car and go to the supermarket to buy them. You can, instead, plan a day where you enjoy one of your favorite foods freely, being mindful of your immediate satisfaction and long term goals.

Have Realistic Expectations

Many diets and diet products claim quick and easy weight loss. However, most practitioners recommend only losing 1–2 pounds (0.5–1 kg) per week. Setting unattainable goals can lead to feelings of frustration and cause you to give up. On the contrary, setting and accomplishing achievable goals leads to feelings of self confidence and improves motivation. Also, people who reach their self-determined weight loss goals are more likely to maintain their weight loss long-term as long as they did so following a sustainable and mindful change in their behavior.

A study using data from several weight loss centers found that women who expected to lose the most weight were the most likely to drop out of the program. The good news is that just a little weight loss of 5–10% of your body weight can have a large impact on your health. If you are 180 pounds (82 kg), that is just 9–18 pounds (4–8 kg). If you are 250 pounds (113 kg), it’s 13–25 pounds (6–11 kg).

In fact, losing 5–10% of your body weight can:

  • Improve blood sugar control
  • Reduce the risk of heart disease
  • Lower cholesterol levels
  • Reduce joint pain
  • Reduce the risk of certain cancers

The most successful approach to long term diet planning is to set a goal to lose 5-10% of your body weight, then plan for an active weight maintenance period of at least a month, then, if needed, embark on a new period of weight reduction.

Weight-Loss Motivation: Set Small and Large Goals

While your long-term goal may be to lose 20 or 40 or more pounds, you need small goals to keep your motivation up. Pick weekly goals, such as losing 1 percent of your body weight, eating more veggies, or getting more exercise and sleep, and then pat yourself on the back as you achieve them.

You should also take time to notice the other improvements a healthy diet and exercise plan can bring to your life, such as:

  • Clothes that fit better
  • Sleep that’s more sound
  • Energy levels that are higher
  • Increased libido
  • Improved self-confidence
  • A better relationship with your body
  • Self-growth
  • Consider setting SMART goals to set strong goals

SMART stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-based

Some examples of SMART goals include:

  • I will walk briskly for 30 minutes five days next week
  • I will eat five servings of vegetables every day this week
  • I will only drink one soda this week

Keep track of your nutrition when you feel you’re losing your grip

Eating too much or eating too little are equal enemies of maintaining weight loss. It might seem counterintuitive that each end of the spectrum can get in the way of healthy habits and healthy eating but eating too little can leave you, among other things, feeling deprived, which can lead to gorging on unhealthy food, which is typically readily available and easy to shove into your mouth. Eating too much is a more obvious way to derail from healthy habits and healthy eating because we don’t tend to overeat spinach.

The best way for people to stand up to healthy portion saboteurs is to keep track of their meals on a daily basis. When you feel that you are losing control, the best action is to reach out for help in the yummdiet.com community. The diet coaches and the members’ community will provide much needed support, problem-solving ideas and a flexible mindset that will support you to navigate the bumpy road of emotional eating.

Keep a Weight Loss Journal

Self-monitoring is crucial to weight loss motivation and success. Research has found that people who track their food intake are more likely to lose weight and maintain their weight loss. However, to keep a food journal correctly, you must track down everything you eat, this includes meals, snacks and the piece of candy you ate off your coworker’s desk. The easiest way to “account” each meal is to take photos of everything you eat.

You can also record your emotions in your food journal. This can help you identify certain triggers for overeating and help you find healthier ways to cope.

Aim for flexibility, not full restriction

Enjoy your favorite foods. Instead of cutting out your favorite foods altogether, be a slim shopper. Buy one fresh bakery cookie instead of a box, or a small portion of candy from the bulk bins instead of a whole bag. You can still enjoy your favorite foods – the key is moderation, a meal or two each week are more than enough to keep you both satisfied and aligned with your weight loss diet. There will always be holidays, birthdays or parties to attend. And there will always be stressors at work or with family.

It’s important to start problem solving and brainstorming about these possible weight loss challenges and setbacks. This will keep you from getting off track and losing motivation. You can research restaurant menus in advance and find healthier options. At parties, you can eat in advance and only enjoy small bits of the foods that tempt you.

When you aim for perfection, you will quickly lose your motivation. By allowing yourself flexibility and forgiving yourself, you can stay motivated throughout your weight loss journey.

Make peace with your body, learn to appreciate it and find inspiration in positive role models

Having a relatable and positive role model may help keep you motivated. Make sure to search role models that have a similar body history, personal journey and age to yours.
Maybe you know a friend who has lost a lot of weight and can be your inspiration. You can also look for inspirational blogs or stories about people who have successfully lost weight, but filter out the “lose weight fast content”.

Research has repeatedly found that people who dislike their bodies are less likely to lose weight, as they will most likely engage in self-sabotaging behavior. Taking steps to improve your body image can help you lose more weight and maintain your weight loss. Furthermore, people who have a better body image are more likely to pick a diet they can sustain and try new activities that will help them reach their goals, since they instinctively feel when they put too much pressure on themselves.

The following activities can help boost your body image:

  • Exercise
  • Appreciate what your body can do
  • Do something for yourself, such as getting a massage or manicure
  • Surround yourself with positive people
  • Stop comparing yourself to others, especially models
  • Wear clothes you like and that fit you well
  • Look in the mirror and say the things you like about yourself out loud

Weight-Loss Motivation: Skip the Take-Out

You probably know you should cook at home for the best weight-loss results, so consider this news a friendly reminder of why: In a study of more than 2,000 adults, eating fast food or take-out food more than twice a week resulted in a 31 percent greater likelihood of abdominal obesity in men and a 25 percent higher risk in women. Focus on cooking healthy, whole food meals that you enjoy eating and adapt ethnic recipes to a healthier approach while maintaining the traditional flavors.

Remember, it’s also normal to have random days when you feel unmotivated or when you ask yourself what’s the point of all this. Nobody is 100% motivated all the time, nor are we a bubble of enjoyment and positivity.

Allow yourself to navigate the lower days mindfully, be kind to yourself and plan ahead for those moments so that you pass them gracefully and without guilt.

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6 Books to Uplift Your Mood and Inspire Your life in 2021

07 Jan 2021 no comments Criss SFTB

Reading a book is a relaxing but also a knowledge, educational, inspirational experience, helping understand us through the others and I have some good book titles to share.

While it is true we learn our most valuable lessons by personal experience, the experiences of others can help us grow, too. Reading books is a great way to jump into other worlds and see how other people dealt with hardship and different moments in their lives. Their experiences give us examples of good practice and encourage us to keep our heads high knowing we are not the only ones going through difficult times now and then.

I selected 6 authors and their books that might make a difference after you read them. I liked them because they are authentic, friendly and empathic to the reader, but also because they share valuable lessons, from living authentically, to living creatively, to overcoming fear and not listening to what other people tell you about how you should live your life. So grab a pen and paper and write down whatever titles draw you attention, then run to the bookstore and buy your favorites. Are you ready?

Elizabeth Gilbert : Big Magic. Creative Living Beyond Fear

Elizabeth Gilbert’s name might be familiar to you because of Eat, Pray, Love, a novel then turned into a well known movie starring Julia Roberts. In Big Magic, the author shares her lessons on how to unleash creativity and live beyond fear. She talks about a trio made up of you – creativity – fear where you make room for fear, but you keep it in its place. In other words, we cannot escape feeling fear, but we can control it.

Another lesson Gilbert offers is about persistence. She says we should not expect to be good immediately at what we do, because it takes years of practice to get to a deep level of mastering a craft. The more you get to know your true self, the truer the work that you do becomes. Last, but not least, the way we face whatever comes our way is a matter of mindset and this might be the most important skill to grow within ourselves.

Mark Manson: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck

Getting into the spotlight as a blogger writing monthly long pieces on different life matters, Mark Manson is now the author of three world acclaimed books. But, its most popular title remains also his first, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck. It is reaction to the self-help industry and what Manson sees as a culture of mindless positivity that isn’t practical or helpful for most people.

His book uses the author’s personal experiences to illustrate how the struggles in our lives give meaning to our existence at the same time offering valuable lessons. Manson says that getting meaning from our life experiences is more important than the constant pursuit of happiness most self-help books encourage.

Angela Duckworth: Grit

Psychologist Angela Duckworth shows her readers that the secret to succes is something called grit. She describes grit as passion and perseverance for long-term and meaningful goals. Sharing her life experiences from a very early age, she concludes it was what she went through as a child that made her understand the power of grit in following her dreams. Duckworth sees grit as a skill that can be developed, a growing mindset all of us can benefit from. She also says that, in the long run, grit is what determines success, not talent. Success, she adds, can be also determined by how well you deal with failure.

Christopher McDougall: Born to Run

Even if this book is about ultra-running and ultra-athletes, stating that every human being has the ability to run long distances because we are designed to do so, Born to run is more than a book about running and that is why it became a worldwide hit. McDougall shares his story on how he discovered ultra-running when he thought he is not made for this.

He stated that only by pushing our limits and overcoming our fears we can learn more about who we are and what we can do. He even goes to Mexico, where he meets the Ta rahumara tribe of ultra-runners, whose lives are centered around running. They run in sandals and despite the heat and mountainous terrain, they can run more than 100 kilometers a day.

Miguel Ruiz: The Four Agreements – A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom

Miguel Ruiz says that limiting beliefs are what give us a hard time, robbing us of joy and creating needless suffering. So, he reveals the sources of these limiting beliefs, encouraging us to be aware of when they become present in our lives so we can acknowledge them and not give into their consuming energy. Thus, The Four Agreements is a source of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives, so we can experience freedom, happiness and love.

Although these rules seem easy to follow when we read about them, it can be challenging putting them into practice. These four rules are: 1. Be impeccable with your word; 2. Don’t take anything personally; 3. Don’t make assumptions; 4. Always do your best.

Michelle Obama: Becoming

Before becoming the First Lady of USA, Michelle Obama grew up and lived in a little Chicago apartment and studied at Princeton and Harvard. Her book, which became a worldwide bestseller, is her personal story of hardwork, family and being the most powerful lady in the world. Her thoughts on different aspects of her life make her relatable to the reader.

She states that while there is always an easy way out of every difficult situation. To be successful means to put the hard work in and to push our limits, no matter what other people think about our efforts. Michelle Obama is the kind of person that pushes through every situation, never gives up and she encourages us to go for our goals no matter what, because most goals worth pursuing will always seem out of reach at first.

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Dieting while struggling with depression and anxiety

02 Jan 2021 no comments Criss SFTB

Depression and anxiety seem very difficult but going outside, eating healthier and being social can really make a difference and I would like to share my experience and tips on how to get over them.

As a survivor of depression, I was often asked how I manage my everyday diet on the days when I feel numb, unwilling to get out of bed, wash my teeth or breathe. Or when anxiety cripples me over and I can barely breathe for hours in a row.

In the early days of my depression, I didn’t manage anything. I would just lay in bed, in the dark, without washing for weeks in a row, staring at the walls. I still have a tendency, when I’m not feeling well, to numb my pain by scrolling endlessly on social media or the internet, and subconsciously comparing myself with others. I can technically live on bread, butter and swiss cheese for days in a row (don’t ask) and I once ate 3 kilos of danish cookies a day during the peak of my depression. So, I know a thing or two about not functioning and getting out of that state of emotions.

Luckily, most people only experience milder forms of depression or face days when they feel unmotivated or a bit down, but the list below helps you navigate with a certain degree of success the days when you feel like there’s no purpose to anything and you might as well give it all up.

What I feel is a chemical imbalance

Whenever I feel really down and unable to exist, it helps me a lot to repeat this out loud to myself. I acknowledge my pain, but I also distance myself from it. Viewing my depression as an outside illness helps me get into the “fixing” mindset. I know from my therapist and my psychiatrist that these actions radically improve my physical state during depression:

  • Stay in the sun, spend time outdoors in nature
  • Channel my anger in contact sports (hello, kickboxing or boxing)
  • Drink water, exercise mildly and do breathing exercises to embody my emotions
  • Spend time with people I like and I have a genuine connection with
  • Be open about my depression with my close group of friends

Regarding my depression as external to me, I can begin to work on it. I usually drag myself outside the house for a long walk while listening to an audiobook I like. This helps me disconnect my mind from my depression and regain focus on something else. While walking, I take deep breaths and relax my body. I think they call this mindful walking.

I just focus on feeling my body in the movement and inhaling as much air as I can and keeping it for 4-6 seconds in my lungs. After an initial heart rush, things start to feel better. Then, there’s my daily kickbox class. I work out with a trainer and release all my anger. I punch and hit like a mad woman, but it really helps me release all these emotions through my body. It’s amazing how effective it is and I’m doing it whenever I feel the tension building up inside my mind.

I also have an agenda to meet people I like and I care about. I still have a strong tendency to isolate and lay in the dark and I linger on without actually having any sort of motivation. My friends know about my depression and they stopped encouraging me to “feel better”, and it really helps just to stay there with them without feeling awkward.

I do things that I know are good for me without feeling like I want to do them. I just focus on “It’s good for me, so I do it as medicine”.

Eating healthier can really turn you around

It helps me a lot when it comes to food choices. Of course, I would eat fast food or pasta or cookies when I’m feeling like crap. Of course, fried chicken tastes better than grilled fish. Of course, French fries taste better than grilled vegetables. However, I know that eating healthy nutritious foods nourish my body and help maintain my blood sugar levels stable and this improves how I’m feeling.

So, I choose to eat better without feeling like it. The way I manage this is to eat tastier. For instance, I order Thai vegetarian dishes that are both veggie-packed and tasty or add lots and lots of spices and flavors when I cook at home, so that food is actually tasty, not just healthy.

I also make sure I eat sufficiently for my needs. This means eating a large plate of vegetables with each main meal, having enough protein and not reducing my complex carb intake. I have a large slice of rye bread or some good 5-6 spoons of rice or a large potato with each meal.

When the brain struggles with depression or anxiety, the cognitive processes that help us navigate the emotional distress require more energy to complete the daily tasks, so it’s better to feed yourself a bit more complex carbs from healthy sources to support the process. Otherwise, the cookie crave you feel when you’re feeling crappy is your body’s way to signal its needs in the same dysfunctional way it got depression in the first place

I don’t ask too much of myself

This was a lesson I learned the hard way. After a second miscarriage that ended up with internal bleeding and a major surgery performed in emergency, I pushed myself to immediately resume my professional activities and daily life. I was under the influence of will over feelings moto and I kept pushing and pushing myself to get over it. 3 months later I was in my worst emotional state ever, contemplating the fact that death seemed a far better option than my life. Therapy and a good psychiatrist that guided my treatment without jumping on medicating me immediately helped me recover, but it was a good lesson.

I acknowledge the days I’m really feeling down and if I manage to crawl out of the bed and wash my teeth, I already credit myself for the accomplishment. If I manage to take a shower, I really honor my effort. Do I eat decently? I’m my own hero. Of course, accepting myself and even showing a bit of self-love also helps.

I take it from there, I do what I can and it’s ok, I mean really, deep-down ok. Depression has taken most of my perfectionist dreams and unrealistic standards away, and I’ve learned to be at peace with a less-impressive version of myself and my life. I just do what I can.

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Avoid the New-Year, New-ME trap! Here’s 5 better goals for this year!

30 Dec 2020 no comments Criss SFTB

The temptation to get your weight back under control after the holidays is very high but poor results show and stress should make you think why it does not work and there are better things to do and goals to set during this time.

The fitness/diet industry makes the largest part of its revenue in the 5 weeks that follow Christmas holidays. Diet culture has inoculated the idea of guilt after the holiday season and offers radical, strict “detoxes”, “rapid weight loss diets”, “HIIT fat burn programs” that promise to help you “regain control over your body”, “ditch the holiday fat” and “get lean fats”.

Before setting any goals, escape the holidays’ guilt

Like most people, you may have made the mistake of believing such misleading, guilt-inducing claims. After all, losing fat fast and getting “back” in shape in 5 weeks seems like an irresistible promise. The media, the diet industry and the fitness market have all induced the idea that our body is a machine that must be programmed/pushed to “burn fat”, creating a perpetual, negative circle of heavy restrictions/bingeing episodes and subsequent distorted body image, weight shame and a troubled relation with food and our bodies.

Escaping this destructive pattern is easier than you think, that’s the good part of the story. It’s going to take longer than you expect, and it will often feel quite alien, and that’s the more complicated aspect. But it’s manageable and the change you will feel and see will be worth the trouble of getting there.

Eat better food and give yourself time to learn to enjoy natural food

What we choose to eat is fully under our control. When most of your meals (to be read as 8 out of 10) are made with natural, unprocessed ingredients (meaning vegetables, fruits, fish, lean meat, natural dairy products) you may indulge from time to time in your favorite treats and still reach a healthy weight, without feeling that your life is an endless list of restrictions.

A reasonable progress is to opt to have 2 days of fast food per week in the first 2 weeks of dietary change and to reduce soda to only a small serving per day. For the next 2 weeks create a mixed pattern – eat 2 days of fast food, but eat it at home, accompanied by a serving of vegetables (a salad is the simplest option) and gradually reduce French fries and added sauces. In the next 2 weeks opt for a single day of fast-food eating, no soda, and increase the focus on veggies, while cooking the rest of the meals at home from natural ingredients.

Aim for small, constant improvements in your daily life

Most Americans eat fast food 3.4 times per week. Switching to healthier options requires some significant effort – to buy and cook food and to adjust to the lower taste intensity of home-cooked meals, compared to fast food. Remember, fast food products are ENGINEERED to deliver intense taste from food additives and chemicals.

Sleep better

Most of the modern world is sleep deprived and heavily caffeinated, so no wonder you usually feel crappy, tired and unmotivated. A good sleep is extremely important for a healty life. Stick to drinking only one coffee in the morning and replace the rest of the day’s habitual coffee cups with matcha and turmeric latte drinks. They offer you a more subtle energy boost, and don’t impair your sleep routine.

Turn off the TV, laptop, phone and computer around 10.30 pm, dim the lights in the house and switch to reading or doing yoga for relaxation. Don’t binge on Netflix or social media, it’s a guaranteed way to add emotional pressure and stress in your life. Also, don’t stay in bed unless you feel sleepy, avoiding creating an association between bed and relaxed sleep. Following this pattern of evening relaxation should offer you a better sleep within 2-3 weeks or so.

Drink water

Lots of it, since our body requires 44 ml of water per kilogram of body weight. It will help you feel energized, you will better control cravings and your digestion will improve. And your skin will glow, you will see that improvement first. No kidding!

Add 30 minutes of walking per day and work your way up to more effective workouts

You may find Instagram workouts really inspiring, but if you’ve spent your last 6 months seated on various chairs and couches you might want to start slow, with basic beginner workouts. Focus on form, not volume of exercise and build your endurance gradually. A 4–6-month plan is a reasonable timeline to improve resistance and stamina.

As you see, all the resolutions above refer to a timespan of 4-6 months, they don’t push you way outside your comfort zone and accommodate a significant degree of flexibility. They may not sound like the bombastic “get lean now” or “detox your holidays meals” you are bombarded with these days, but they are science-backed, long term behavior changes that are sustainable, realistic and maybe most important, attainable.

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How to maintain emotional well-being

30 Dec 2020 no comments Criss SFTB

Emotional health, the way you handle emotions and achieve wellbeing is a skill that can be improved if you are patient, relaxed and communicate with the others, make some simple changes in your life.

As we approach the end of a very difficult year, I thought this would be a good time to talk about one of the most important aspects in one’s life: emotional well-being. As part of what constitutes mental health, I find emotional well-being a.k.a. being in tune with your own emotions, as extremely important in our lives because learning to listen and to understand ourselves is the key to a clearer, disciplined, fulfilled life.

Understanding ourselves means we no longer look for answers outside our own interiors, because the way we see and value the world around is just a projection of our own thoughts and feelings. Thus, by learning to connect with what we feel and understand why we feel in a certain way, we manage to get control of our own being and existence. Also, it is important not to forget about self-love.

There are ways to maintain and encourage emotional well-being and it is valuable not only in times of profound stress and uncertainty like 2020 was, but also in everyday life, as a reminder to ourselves that it is really in our power to keep on track no matter what we do and our responsibility to take care of our own mental health, thus emotional well-being. Let’s dive into some of the tips and tricks that can help us keep it together when the tough gets tougher!

Make sleep a priority

When we don’t get enough rest, it can be difficult to deal with reality even if nothing major is going on. A tired mind has this capacity of overreacting, keeping us on edge and moody for the entire day. In order to avoid tiredness and negative emotions, it is important to sleep between 7 and 9 hours a night and to stick to this sleep routine as much as possible by going to bed and waking up at similar hours.

Exercise

Be it in a gym, or outside in the open air, fitness and non-fitness movement is very important for our bodies and minds. When we participate in physical activity, our brain releases hormones that boost our moods. Simply put, we feel happier and more energized. Exercising also helps us sleep better and rest at night while boosting our immune system, improving our overall general. Do not forget that we are moving beings so try to keep in motion as much as possible every day!

Volunteer your time

We feel good when we can help other people! So why not offer our time volunteering for the causes we believe in? There are so many people and causes that need our help that it is a pity not to offer our time to make a difference in the world. When we volunteer to a cause or organization, we show that we care. This behaviour can get us a long way in helping our emotional state. Volunteering also helps us gain perspective on different life situations other people have and get better in touch with our emotions.

Get a pet

Even if getting a pet means responsibility, an animal around the house brings a lot of joy. Taking care of a pet and owning one can make you feel great and gives you a jolly mood. Pets live in the present and they always teach us to do the same: be in the moment, enjoy ourselves and not have a care in the world.

Spend time with our friends

We are social beings and this means being around people is of extreme importance for our emotional well-being. Make sure you surround yourself with people that make you feel good and then stay in touch and cherish these relationships for as long as you live. Time with friends can have a positive impact on your emotional health as participating in activities you enjoy together can help you take any focus off the negative emotions that you might experience.

Talk about your feelings

In order to understand your feelings, it is important to talk about them. It is the first step that you must take if you want to get what’s going on emotionally in your life and then take the needed steps to improve it. Don’t think that it might sound weird or soapy to express your feelings, they are what they are and once they are out in the open, they become a reality you can work on!

It is important to remember that being emotionally healthy brings a lot of benefits in your life:

  • People who are emotionally healthy are in control of their thoughts, feelings and behaviours
  • They are able to cope with life’s challenges
  • They can keep problems in perspective and bounce back from any hard experience
  • They are aware of their emotions at all times

Do not forget that emotional health is a skill and, as many others, can improve if it is trained. You can be better at handling emotions if you just have patience to work on this skill!

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Carbohydrates

30 Dec 2020 no comments Criss SFTB

A balanced diet does not avoid carbohydrates but makes a good food choice or selection that covers needs and preferences to reach a healthy optimum, and there are some key facts i like to share with you.

You may love them, resent them or fear them, but it’s more and more difficult to simply view them as food. The internet launches a new opinion about them every day and every diet in the last 30 years has offered a radical position regarding carbs. We have measured them, limited them, sorted them by glycemic index, reduced them to a minimum or binged on them, so no wonder you may feel insecure about whether or not carbs are good for you.

So, what exactly are the mighty Carbs?

From a nutritional perspective, carbs can be classified as starches, fibers, and sugars. Starches, often referred to as complex carbohydrates, can be found in grains, legumes and starchy vegetables like potatoes and corn, sugars, or the simple carbs, are natural sugars in vegetables (dextrose), fruits (fructose), milk (lactose), and honey (glucose) and fibers, that the body cannot digest and absorb, but they add bulk to the stool and help activate digestive transit. Fibers are found in cereal bran, vegetables and fruits.

Carbohydrates are one of three macronutrients, along with proteins and fats, that make up the daily foods you eat and the way your body absorbs food.

Chemically speaking, a carbohydrate represents a bio-molecule, made up of Carbon (C), Hydrogen (H) and Oxygen (O) atoms and it is a synonym of saccharide, a group that includes sugars, starch, and cellulose. Saccharides are also further divided into four chemical groups: monosaccharides, disaccharides, oligosaccharides and polysaccharides, monosaccharides and disaccharides, representing the smallest types of carbohydrates (having a lower molecular weight) and being commonly referred to as sugars. Enough chemistry?

Avoid processed foods and look for fibers

Other than the naturally occurring sugars, thanks to the increased food processing that accompanies our life, we need to talk about added sugars, which can be found in processed foods, syrups, sugary drinks, and sweets. From naturally occurring fructose (honey) to processed versions of simple carbs – agave syrup, maple syrup, coconut sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, apple concentrate, molasses and all sorts of sugar alternatives, added sugars are to be limited together with highly processed, nutrient-void foods.

Last, but not least, fibers are the type of carbohydrate the body does not absorb, as fiber cannot be broken down into simpler molecules, like the other carbohydrates, and instead, it passes undigested through the digestive system. But fibers have so many benefits for our health!

There are two types of fiber – soluble fiber, that creates gels after it dissolves in water and insoluble fiber, cellulose, that remains intact in contact with water.

Soluble fiber means it dissolves in water and helps regulate the metabolism by lowering glucose levels and also helps reduce “bad” cholesterol (oats, nuts, legumes, apples, blueberries…), the other category of fiber is insoluble fiber that does not dissolve in water and creates stool bulk, helping the bowel movement and regularity, thus, preventing constipation through foods like root vegetables, cereal bran and green leafy vegetables .

Let’s not forget about the cellulose, a polysaccharide found in the cell walls of all plants, and one of the main components of insoluble fiber. Resistant starch and inulin, are other polysaccharides insoluble fibers which and represent the favorite food of good bacteria in large intestine microbiota, being metabolized to short-chain fatty acids.

Do we need carbs?

With the myriad of “anti-carb” diets, no wonder you ask yourself whether or not you should actually eat carbs.

First of all, carbohydrates’ primary role is to provide energy to your body! They are digested and further broken down into glucose. Then, the glucose in the blood is transported to cells and through a series of complex processes it produces adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a central molecule of our metabolism.

It is true that most of the cells can produce ATP also from fats, but the cells will always prefer carbs as their main energy source! Now, if your body has enough glucose to fulfill its current needs, the excess glucose is stored in the form of glycogen, which is found in the liver (approximately 100 g) and muscles (approximately 500 grams), for later use.

Pay attention! If your body has enough glycogen and also your glycogen stores are full, the excess carbohydrates are converted into triglyceride molecules and stored as fat.
As well, there can be situations when glucose from ingested carbohydrates is lacking, but the body is very smart and uses a process called gluconeogenesis to create glucose from available proteins in case of intense or prolonged stress and starvation.

Low-carb and ketogenic diets’ shortcomings

More than that, when carbs are not available to provide your body with the energy it needs to properly function, the brain shifts from using glucose as fuel to ketones (made from fatty acids), as its primary fuel source. The adaptation process to using ketones for energy is a grueling one, and those who follow ketogenic diets often complain of months of fatigue, hunger and over-focusing on food choices.

Keeping in mind that all diets have a comparable outcome when evaluated for longer periods of time, following low-carb or ketogenic diets may not be the most comfortable solution for most people.

Why carbs and fibers are good for your body

From our perspective, the most important aspect of carb-eating is this one: we need carbs for an optimal digestive system!

As we have mentioned above, fiber helps in lowering glucose levels and also the levels of “bad” cholesterol, it is important for the bowel movement and regularity too, preventing constipation, and also feeds the good bacteria within the intestinal microbiota. In addition, soluble fiber passes through the small intestine, it links to bile acids and prevents it to being reabsorbed (the liver uses cholesterol to make more bile acids). Thus, the heart disease risk decreases. According to studies, the risk of heart disease decreased with 9% for every additional 7 grams of dietary fiber daily consumption.

Key Carbohydrates facts

  • Carbs are body’s primary source of energy
  • Fiber promotes digestive health
  • Complex carbs contribute to hearth’s health and help prevent diabetes
  • Carbs help lower “bad cholesterol”
  • Carbs help maintain a healthy muscle mass

Don’t be afraid of carbohydrates!

As the dietary guidelines recommend, carbohydrate intake should represent 40 to 55% of our total daily calories, but this refers mostly to naturally occuring, unprocessed carbs.

  • Choose fruits and vegetables rich in fiber! Choose whole fresh fruits and vegetables, and if you buy them frozen or canned, opt for products without added sugar. Aim for seasonal, local products as much as possible.
  • Avoid refined grains and flours! When you choose to eat cereal-based products (bread, pastry) opt for products made entirely from whole-grains, as white flours, other than being nutritionally void, are often “bleached” using chemical additives that make them whiter.
  • Don’t ignore legumes! Peas, beans and lentils are some of the most complex and nutritious available foods! Low in fat, high in folate, potassium, iron and magnesium, and rich in fiber. More than that, legumes are a good source of protein and they help keep you full longer thanks to their unique composition.

Limit added sugars as much as possible! 

In small amounts, there is no danger, but can you stop when you should? There are no health benefits to consume any added sugar! The recommended daily intake of added sugar for adults is 25-35 grams per day, that means less than half a can of soda.

Make sure to always read the small nutritional label on the back of packaged foods to determine the added sugar content of what you eat, since added sugars are found in bread, deli and cured meat, dairy products, cereal flakes, ketchup and sauces, soda and snacks. Pretty much all packaged foods contain added sugars, as it is used to preserve and glaze the foods we eat.

So, don’t be afraid of carbohydrates, just choose wisely!

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How to avoid overindulging during the holidays

22 Dec 2020 no comments Criss SFTB

With just some simple tips and tricks we can make sure we can enjoy these couple of weeks without feeling completely drained at the end of all holidays. Studies show that an average person will gain about 2 to 3 kilos over the Holidays as this time of the year forces us into too much of everything: eating, drinking, shopping, and so on. While indulging in everything this season has to offer is a treat we give ourselves once a year, overindulging can cause more harm than joy, both on a physical and mental level.

But, as usual, we can prevent extreme behaviours with just a little bit of planning ahead and a clear mind. It is important to always keep the idea of balance in mind and things will be just fine.

If we are not careful with our behaviour during the Holidays, we might feel the unpleasant consequences when all this is over:

  • Bloating or fatigue from too much fat or sugar
  • Guilt from eating too much
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Even depression

Here is some of the advice I give to myself too as a reminder every year, before Christmas:

Keep your meal routine

Just because you are on vacation even if you stay home and your fridge is filled with goodies and you can order anything you want to eat with just one phonecall, it doesn’t mean you should be doing it too. Just stick to the usual way of eating – three main meals and two snacks – because it’s not the food that makes you merry. Even if you snack on more sweets than usual or have a glass of wine for lunch because there is nothing keeping you away from it, don’t go all crazy!

Meal size or portion control

At home or at a Christmas party, remember you can always eat as many veggies as you want, but really think it through if you need that second plate of whatever just because it tastes good or smells delicious. While it is true that being around with friends and family on Christmas can make us feel children again, wanting to enjoy everything there is to enjoy, controlling ourselves as adults get as a long way. If there are several courses to eat during a meal and you want to try them all out, make sure you just taste out of everything without filling up your plate.

Keep hydrated

With all that eating and drinking, hydration is often the last thing we’re thinking about. Yes, we might be drinking alcohol and other beverages, but we need water next to us when food and drinks keep on showing up on our tables and then in our bellies. Why we need so much water? Because water is a great way to flush out toxins and support the liver in processing the Christmas excess.

Walk off the weight

While we might be spending most of our time around the table drinking and eating, we can make time to take a few steps outside, too. Grab your best friend, your mother, or your uncle and go take a half an hour walk in your neighbourhood and have a pleasant conversation while doing it. If you can get to 10.000 steps a day that would be even better, but any kind of exercising is good as long as you’re doing it.

Plan for the future

When the parties and the get-togethers are over, what you want to do is get back on track to your usual routine as fast as possible so you can avoid stress and anxiety from eating and drinking too much. So, each healthy choice that you make after such a busy time is a reminder that you are in fact committed to staying healthy and fit.

The Holidays are here to be enjoyed! But remember the joy doesn’t lie in food and drinks. Be aware of your surroundings and make the best of seeing your family and friends without putting food and alcohol consumption in the centre.

Have a great time!

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I gained weight. What do I do next?

22 Dec 2020 no comments Criss SFTB

We just need a plan, to be constant about what we have to do, practice self-love and good results will come by. Even if gaining weight due to different factors in our lives is a normal thing, most times we feel overpowered by the impact such a shift of events has on us. We suddenly feel down, sad, even depressed and we feel the extra weight is here to stay with us forever as we see it as an irreversible fact.

Just as easily as we gain weight, we can very well lose it. We don’t have to despair or be mean to ourselves as if we are not worthy of a good life and self-respect because of the extra kilos. In these situations, a rational mind and methodology work better than giving in to emotions.
Here are some tips and tricks about what to do next after you realized you gained some weight. Gaining weight is ok, it is not the end of the world, so just be kind to yourself and take positive action to turn back to your ideal self.

Don’t mentally punish yourself

When we do something that feels wrong, we tend to be mean to ourselves. Instead of focusing on solutions and positive actions, we go negative with ourselves and we only manage to bring ourselves now. To what avail? Extra weight can be lost by planning ahead better nutrition and moderate workouts, for example, not with calling yourself names. Also, people who practice self-compassion are more effective at changing their behaviours.

Don’t start skipping meals

The first idea that crosses our minds when we gain weight is to start eating less. And by this we mean start skipping meals. Most times it is not the quantity of food that we eat that makes us fat but the quality of it. So, instead of having cereals with milk for breakfast we can try eggs and veggies. Or instead of a hamburger and fries for lunch we can try a steak with turmeric mashed potatoes and greens. Making better choices for our nutrition is more important than how much we eat and a plan will help you out in this direction. Your body needs energy, so your body needs good, nutritious foods.

Don’t over exercise

While working out is good for losing weight and for the general well-being, the tendency to over exercise when we want to get thinner will not bring desired results in the long run. Why is it so? Because over exercising means our bodies get very tired, so we might not be consistent enough with carrying on 3-4 workouts a week at high intensity. Moreover, exercising hard makes us feel more hungry, so instead of eating small portions of food every few hours, we feel we need more food.

10.000 steps a day

Alongside planned workouts, non-fitness movement is just as important. Walking every day as much as you can is natural for our bodies, it is just that we tend to not do it that much anymore because everything has become so easy for us: we use cars when we want to get places, we order groceries via apps instead of shopping ourselves, and so on. We basically transformed walking outside our homes into a delivery app holding us inside on our couches and chairs. So, just move as much as you can as part of your lifestyle routine, not just as an extra measure when you want to lose weight.

Don’t obsessively weigh yourself

When you want to lose weight, the idea is to lose it in a healthy way. Skipping meals, over exercising and obsessively weighing yourself won’t get you far because these aren’t the signs of a healthy lifestyle. A number on the scale is not the ultimate proof of our well-being. It is more important what we eat and how we exercise. Our weight can easily change depending on a lot of factors such as hormones, how much water we retain in our bodies or day to day choices that we make. So, it is not worth obsessing over something that can fluctuate so easily. A once a week weight figure, first thing in the morning, should be enough!

No mindless snacking

Most of our weight gain is due to mindless snacking. We just pick up stuff that we find around and eat it. From candies, to chips, to leftovers and sugary drinks, these are the items we forget about consuming because sometimes we don’t even realize we are doing it and that is why it is called mindless. When you’re hungry, for a meal or a snack, have it on a plate, sit at a table, and be mindful about your eating process.

Following the above steps alongside drinking more water, having enough sleep, limiting processed foods intake and enjoying small treats like chocolate and wine, once in a while, to avoid frustration and the feeling of deprivation, can get you a long way. Don’t forget: losing weight is not the end of the world, it is a process that takes planning, action, consistence and self-love!

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