Why you should embrace moments of failure when you are losing weight?

09 Nov 2020 no comments Criss SFTB

When dealing with new experiences, everything is trial and error and it is essential to learn to embrace failure in all our journeys to achieve goals, including weight loss plans.

Adjust expectations and effort

All or nothing! Unfortunately, more and more people think that perfection is everything and that if they not succeed in anything at first, it is not worth trying it anymore and they should give up. But When did we start thinking that making mistakes is a burden and it is only for losers?

Don’t get me wrong! I used to think that I had to be perfect in everything I do, too. I learned my lessons the hard way and I wish I knew everything I know now long before I started to struggle to keep up with the false image that I have everything under control and nothing will keep me aside from reaching my goals. Not embracing self-love deepened the problem.

A couple of years ago I decided to lose weight and for one year I thought I did everything I had to do to kill it and never go back to the weight I tried so much to lose. I started to work out 5 days a week, I was eating super correct, I didn’t drink alcohol and I didn’t eat sweets.

The fear of mistakes affects you too much

If friends invited me to go out for dinner, I would avoid doing it in order not to eat foods that were not in my diet menu. If I was offered a glass of wine now and then to celebrate something, I would say no because I didn’t want the empty calories in it. I was trying to control every part of my life in order to reach my goals as soon as possible and not give in to error.

But, one day, my body shut down. While I was in the gym, I could not move a muscle trying to do simple exercises. I got out of there crying, feeling exhausted and on the edge. Soon, my doctor said I pushed to hard and I am facing the mighty burnout.

I stopped exercising, went on holiday, started to eat properly and while I returned to acting like a balanced human being again, I gained back the 15 kilos I was so proud of losing. If I had learned to embrace failure, I wouldn’t have gone through all this pain and my results would have been long term, a real change of habits and lifestyle in a healthy way, made to last.

Here are some lessons that I learned while going through my own weight loss journey:

Accept trial and error

We are human beings and we are not perfect! Learning new things is a process and making mistakes are part of it. It is true that while we are not encouraged as children to see mistakes as part of the learning process, we must educate ourselves to embrace mistakes in our lives and learn our lessons while failing and getting back up.

It is our minds that our holding us back and we are starting to give in to fear too easily when we should build the character needed to ride the waves even in the darkest of times no matter what we do or trying to achieve. Nothing comes easy, but that is the fun of it, not the reason to give up the very moment an obstacle comes our way!

Failure expectation is required to reach goals

While I was going through my weight loss journey, I didn’t even want to think of failure. I thought that if I ate something sweet or if I drank a glass of wine, these would mean major setbacks and I didn’t want to compromise my effort.

I was, actually, punishing myself without knowing I am doing that because I was sure that the better I behave, the closer I will be to my goals. This is true, only that for me ‘better’ meant ‘perfect’.

When you’re on your own weight loss journey, accept that:

  • You might miss exercising
  • You might eat too much
  • You might not eat enough.

No matter what your mistake is, just remember the choice is yours and the only thing we have to do is to just keep going with our healthy habits!

Mistakes aren’t a big deal

Instead of avoiding sweets or alcohol while I was on my weight loss journey, I could have easily eat the cake or drink the wine and then move on with my exercising and healthy eating. It is what I do know, but I didn’t know I could do back then, because I was too afraid that one mistake would mean I am not strong enough or focused enough to achieve my goal.

Mistakes shouldn’t matter that much! Whenever we make one, we just have to take ownership of it and move ahead with the habits we know that, in the long run, will make the difference. A day of eating cake and drinking wine will not makes us fat again. It is what we do most of our time that matters, it is in the daily behaviour, not in that one time exception!

Accept that you will make mistakes and then carry on! Only by embracing this simple lesson you will be able to move towards your goals and not give up after one mistake.

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Period cravings – what to eat and how to survive them

28 Oct 2020 no comments Criss SFTB

We’ve all had them, they’re normal, and you can make some food choices to cope better with your requirements. To make things clear, it’s absolutely normal to crave different foods in the days before the menstrual period.

If the discomfort is severe and it lasts more than 7-10 days, it’s not a bad idea to go see a doctor and a hormonal balance specialist. Some conditions (like PCOS or hypothyroidism for example) may have quite an impact in the intensity of your PMS, but happily the symptoms can be eased with dietary changes and treatment.

Different food preferences

The hormones estrogen and progesterone have high variations in the days before the menstrual flow starts, and this usually makes us all feel moody, bloated, craving carbs (sweet and/or salty) and sometimes tired, nauseous or with a migraine or low back pain.

So, like I said, craving carbs in the days preceding the period is absolutely normal. Choosing the right mix of healthy, tasty and nutritionally balancing foods and occasional treats will help you navigate the PMS days gracefully, without killing anyone (joke). If we eat too much, there is a way to cope with this as well.

Making a balance between wants and needs

On the objective side, in the premenstrual days (known as luteal phase of the cycle) your body needs green leafy vegetables, sesame and pumpkin seeds, lots of fibers to fight the infamous PMS bloating and gas that you can find in legumes, vegetables, whole cereals, fruits and dried fruits . You should avoid stimulants (caffeine and alcohol), reduce the salt to avoid feeling even more bloated and try to limit sugary foods and refined carbs.

Here’s a daily menu sample so that you know how your food should look like to ease the PMS symptoms.

  • Breakfast – Rye bread with sardines’ pâté and red bell peppers
  • Morning snack – Grapes with pumpkin seeds
  • Lunch – Black rice and zucchini risotto, mixed green salad and pan-seared veal liver
  • Evening snack – Chickpeas and baked beets hummus with Belgian endives
  • Dinner – Caramelized carrots with oven baked mackerel

Healthier foods

If you crave sweets, opt for fruit smoothies with psyllium and cereals, sweetened with dates. They have a larger volume compared to cookies and other sweets, fewer calories, more fiber and are packed with vitamins and minerals. You may want to include sweeter fruits, such as mango, bananas and persimmons and opt for naturally gluten free cereals, such as millet and buckwheat flakes.

If you crave chocolate and chocolate desserts, you can make a hot cocoa drink that will curb your chocolate crave AND ease the PMS symptoms. Use 1 teaspoon of coconut oil, 2 cups of coconut milk, 3 teaspoons of organic cocoa, 1-2 teaspoons of honey and you can season with vanilla, cinnamon and clove to taste. Heat the coconut oil and milk, add the honey and the spices, and then add the cocoa, mixing gently. You can add some dark chocolate, melting in the warm milk. Its taste is amazing, and it will help you navigate the chocolate crave without feeling frustrated.

If you crave salted simple carbs, such as French fries and pasta or pizza, you can always use an air fryer to make the potatoes using just a tablespoon of oil, or you can make potato chips baked in the oven, using baking paper and some oil spray. You can also replace the traditional wheat pasta with lentil or chickpeas pasta (it’s surprisingly similar as taste and texture, unlike rice or gluten free pasta and has a fraction of the calories found in wheat pasta). If it’s pizza you crave, opt for a lighter, vegetable packed version with whole wheat dough and pair it with a green salad to nutritionally balance it.

Constant exercise is key

Each day you should do some mild exercise, such as low-impact aerobics, walking or static bodyweight workouts. It increases serotonin, reduces bloating, improves sleep and digestion.

Eating healthy, exercising constantly and sleeping well eases in a couple of months the PMS symptoms, so if you are confronted with severe symptoms try the dairy-free meal plan from yummdiet.com to start feeling better.

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What is the mindset for a successful weight loss?

28 Oct 2020 no comments Criss SFTB

When you want to lose weight, you have to make sure this happens for all the right reasons and the most important of them all is that the end results will improve your life and they will make you feel better.
But how do you create a positive mindset before you start your weight loss journey?

If you are a woman, the subject of weight loss will inevitably appear in your life at one point. Be it in your family, among chats with your friends, reading about it in a magazine or being familiar with it while following your favourite Instagram account, losing weight is a topic no woman can escape.

While the Internet is full of tips and tricks, there are some particular ones that I like and I feel they work very well and they can actually help you shape a successful thinking strategy that will be a good friend in the time spent with finding out how to adjust your life to new habits that will improve your life, your body and your mind.

Coping with the social pressure

No matter how we look like, weight loss becomes a constant narrative in our lives, a pressure we feel we might never escape from. Just like a shadow, it sticks in the background of our minds, making us feel inadequate, as if there is something we always need to fix with our bodies. It starts as early as 7 years old now-a-days and it is a baggage young girls, teenagers and women sometimes carry along for their entire existence. This is truly scary!

This is a social construct and changing the narrative is a long and difficult path more and more women will have to be part of in order to shift this kind of thinking. It is only recently women have started to consciously realize that there are in fact no beauty standards to follow and that every woman, just like every human being, is unique in shape, size, genetic background, looks, habits and so on.

Having said that, it is important to keep in mind all of the above when you want to lose weight and treat this topic as a personal, inimitable journey that it is yours and yours alone and that can not resemble with anyone else’s.

Here are my proposals for a mindset that can lead to successful weight loss. Don’t forget – a positive mind goes a long way.

Slow and steady wins the race

Even if there is no race when it comes to losing weight, the point of the saying is that patience is key in this journey. Is there an actual amount of time one needs to spend in the weight loss process? NO! It takes as long as it takes depending on the steps you take in the process and on how your body reacts to the positive changes that you make.

Take this journey step by step, learn the lessons on the way, observe the reactions in your body and mind as time passes by, understand the process and your own feelings. The point is to really integrate this experience in your life with positivity, willingness and eagerness for the better self you become with every new healthy decision that you make and implement!

Don’t set weight goals, focus on behavioural ones

Losing weight is not about the number on the scale, but on how much better your life can get once you start having better habits in your life such as eating more vegetables and walking more. When we add habits that transform our lives for the better, we tend to keep doing that and this way of acting will only increase the good results we have and, thus, our vibe. And when we feel good, we take good decisions for ourselves as well.

So, do not obsess over jumping on the scale every morning. In fact, just leave the scale aside and, in the process of losing weight, start noticing how the new habits that you add transform your life for the better. Your best weight is the one you reach when you live the healthiest life you can actually enjoy!

Use positive psychology

Most conversations on losing weight focus on DON’Ts: don’t eat so many sweets, don’t drink that alcohol, don’t snack all day long. But what if we changed this don’ts into affirmative actions and start talking more about the benefits of positive behaviour in a weight loss process?

It is easier to incorporate one new, positive habit than to eliminate a less-than-positive behaviour. For example, add more vegetables to your meals every day, take the stairs instead of the elevator, eat an orange instead of drinking a glass of orange juice. This kind of habits will pile up in time and enrich your life while transforming it for the better.

Plan, prepare and take action

A weight loss journey does not depend on motivation! I know most conversations you have heard on the topic put motivation at the top of the hierarchy, but it is rather discipline that wins the game: doing what you have to do in order to get where you want to get. Putting up a plan with concrete actions is often better and more productive than just waiting for motivation to kick in.

While motivation might depend on emotional fluctuations, a plan is more rigorous and has a series of steps one needs to take in order to achieve the desired results. For example, if you want to start to eat better, then make sure you get rid of the unhealthy food in your home and fridge and replace it with vegetables, fruits, water and tea, lean meat and eggs.

Envision a better life for yourself, turn it into action, have patience, be constant and everything will fall into place!

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5 objectives that are more important that losing weight

28 Oct 2020 no comments Criss SFTB

Whenever you are going through a process, learn to have patience and see beyond the appearance that may be linked to losing weight with these goals.

Losing weight is not just about kilos! It is about the journey and everything it brings new and useful in your life while you learn to let go of the unnecessary. Losing weight is a process and while you are surfing it, new lessons come your way. Losing weight is an experience, a way that teaches how to handle ourselves better, how to improve ourselves both mentally and physically. It is never about lost kilos, per se.

Learn to ask yourself some questions

  • What does this process teach me?
  • What are the lessons I have to pay attention to?
  • How does this process make me a more mature and evolved person?

When you put losing weight into perspective, you can discover new meanings that will help you even further than just looking better. Let me tell you about 5 objectives that, in my opinion, are more important than losing weight.

Losing isn’t always winning

When losing weight, it is important to give time into the process. You can not change habits over night! Of course that losing weight fast is possible, but trust me, this is not what you want. What you want when losing weight is to also build new healthy habits that eventually will come natural to you into a new lifestyle. I know we live in a world promoting everything in terms of ”fast” and ”now”, but most of the time, this is not the way to do things.

The way you approach the journey of losing weight matters more! Why do you want to lose weight? What do you hope to gain by losing weight? How do you expect to feel once you lost weight? How do you want to lose weight? What are you willing to lose while losing weight? These are only some of the questions you might want to answer before you jump into a hit and run kind of journey where you just want rapid results without understanding much of why you are doing certain things and what are their longterm benefits.

Being skinny doesn’t mean being healthy

Society is based on image and, in the name of it, many people try to project their perfect version. The society of image went so far that now-a-days, because of media and social platforms, we think women and men should look a certain way. And this brings a lot of insecurities, sadness and lack of acceptance of ourselves and others. But you must understand none of it is real and being skinny does not mean being healthy, happy or fulfilled.

We are oftentimes left with the impression that a skinny person has it all: love, money, fame, health. But this is not at all the case! What you should think of when you think of health is choices for mind, body and soul: enough sleep, food that nourishes you, workouts that give you energy and strength. And whenever you do all of these, you are healthy, and happy, and free. This feeling comes in all shapes and sizes because feeling good in your own skin does not look a certain way!

Your value is not determined by numbers on a scale

Loving ourselves, despite our flaws, is the greatest challenge people all over the world have! We seem to be on a constant quest of punishing ourselves by thinking that, no matter what we do, we are never good enough: we are not smart enough, we are not beautiful enough, we are not skinny enough. This kind of thinking is deceiving and, once more, it is not your fault for having these thoughts in a society that created the monster of perfection as a standard no one can really submit to.

The journey of losing weight might bring you less kilos, but will this make you feel better about yourself and happier? The longterm answer is usually NO. While you might feel extatic and proud of losing weight – and you should be – in the long run you discover the number on the scale is not the one making you feel more or less valuable. The answer for self worth relies in yourself, in all the choices that you make in your life: the people you spend time with, the way you cherish yourself through your thoughts and actions, the things that make you feel good, including self-love!

Nothing is permanent, change is inevitable

Accepting the pass of time seems extremely difficult now-a-days as society fake norms put a heavy pressure on women to fight it with all available means. The quest for youth, no matter what, becomes a debilitating topic for many women as it creates the idea that to be young is the only way of being desirable. We need to normalize that aging is inevitable and that it is part of human life. Accepting that nothing is permanent is one of the most important lessons once should learn in life as experiences will demonstrate it over and over again.

Thus being said, change is also inevitable when it comes to our bodies. With age and different experiences, body changes. So, in the journey of losing weight, make sure you actually understand the benefits of eating healthy and exercising: their aim is to give you great health and state of mind no matter how old are you. Because, despite good nutrition and exercise, body will still change its shape and size and adapt to hormonal changes and other influences. Embrace change and everything will come easy!

A healthy lifestyle is a disciplined lifestyle

The way you treat yourself should be intentional! That is why, living a healthy lifestyle means living a disciplined life where you make conscious choices about what you eat, how you spend your time, what you read, what impacts you every second of the day. A healthy lifestyle does not resume to food only, it is about everything that we take in day by day, from thoughts, to information, to beliefs, and so on.

A healthy lifestyle is the one we choose to have because we know what it gives us back: energy, focus, strength, good vibes. Discipline means knowing that what we repeatedly do, day in, day out, brings us satisfaction that translates into a quality life for ourselves and those around us!

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Self-love for dummies

28 Oct 2020 no comments Criss SFTB

Please, take this article with a pinch of salt, I’m still struggling to tame my inner voice here and there, but if you’re looking to grow into self-love and feel like you don’t quite understand it, maybe this personal experience helps sort things out.

Self-love is not straightforward

Long before my own therapy started showing results I was reading about self-love. Books, articles, stories of women who had this feeling embedded into their personality, and even though I consider myself a rather smart and well-educated human being, I have to admit I never quite got it. Not until it started manifesting in myself, but it was a rather difficult and lengthy process, especially because I had very little to build upon.

You know, I was one of the struggling ones. I managed to be successful at most of the things I felt were important through an immense volume of work and thus I overcame most of my weaknesses or missing talent, but truth be told, until my late 30’s, I didn’t feel good in my life. Each new accomplishment and its subsequent joy faded rather quickly into oblivion and I returned over and over to the feeling that I HAD to do some more until I would finally begin to feel that self-love I was reading about.

What got you here won’t get you there

It is, of course, useful to consciously avoid situations, people and behaviors that are fragrantly destructive or belittling. This is the hygienic layer of the behavior. Stay away from toxic people and situations, take red flags for what they are and completely avoid the situations or persons, be careful how you treat yourself (food, rest, sex and life in general) and then you can start building.

Until I managed to cut off toxic people and situations and I started some more respect to myself by being really careful how and what I eat, who I sleep with, how much I sleep, how do I recharge, my life was quite a mess and I was quite unhappy, despite my fulfilling career and social life.

Judge yourself from the outside

Because I had difficulty deciding what situation or person was toxic, I applied the filter “If this was happening to my daughter, would I advise her to avoid it?” and it managed to shed light on what was acceptable or not in my life as well.

When you are quite twisted (trying to avoid the eff’ed-up version) you often have trouble deciding for yourself what’s ok and what’s not ok, because this is what happens when you grow emotionally traumatized. You have a really low standard and learn to live with some very complicated situations, but the “daughter filter” helped me discern better. I, unfortunately, tried to apply the same technique to start feeling some self-love, but I was quite disappointed to observe the fact that it really didn’t bring me any more depth than the simple, basic feeling that I was treating myself nicely.

Acknowledge the wound and be honest

For me, because I had the chance of finding some sort of social and professional success, it was difficult to dismiss my previous life. I felt like at the core of my success was, ultimately, the fact that I didn’t really like myself.

I was afraid that once I’d start being comfortable with myself, I would become fat again, for instance (I grew up as an overweight teen and being fat and then losing weight kind of defined a big part of who I felt I was). So, for years, I struggled with this until I started making lists of things that went well BECAUSE I didn’t like myself and, well, what went terribly wrong, for the exact same reasons.

I reframed the things that went well in a more constructive way, looking for ways to continue the good behaviors in the future, that had some better emotional roots than self-loathing. For example, I felt that thanks to not liking myself I managed to reshape my body. I reevaluated that in a more age-appropriate vision.

Now, at my 37-year-old self, having a nice body translates into having energy, staying active and healthy, being connected to the way I am, feeling attractive and confident, having a nice, strong immune and reproduction systems. Same result, different emotional root.

Remember good things in bad experiences and do not lie to yourself

Not knowing how self-love feels like makes everything more difficult.
My biggest problem was that I didn’t know how self-love feels, and I was usually wondering whether or not I was heading in the right direction.

I feared mostly that my critical voice was becoming destructive and that my process wasn’t deep enough to create substantial change. Blocking this process was in fact the most difficult part, and I managed to silence my mind by journaling and meditating. Also, whenever I observed myself being overly critical and doubting my process, I would apply the “daughter filter” to myself. Would I allow somebody to talk to my daughter in those exact same words I was addressing myself? Most of the times, the answer was “hell, no” and in time I managed to feel love about my own self.

If a dog bangs his tail when he’s happy, banging his own tail won’t make him happy

I would have saved a lot of time and energy if I hadn’t believed in “fake it until you make it”. For years I erroneously thought that IF I acted AS THOUGH I love myself, I had some good chances of growing into loving myself. You know all those warm foamy baths, candles, face masks, self-help books and positive thinking? Seriously, save yourself the time and drop it, if you don’t FEEL it first, they’re just a pleasant waste of time (and often, money).

You can get some inspiration from some books, you can get some optimism if you’re overly critical and some degree of hydrated skin, but that’s about it, unfortunately.

Give it time, lots of it

Love comes with patience; you can’t rush the process.

I’m currently in my 11th year of therapy, with a total of 2365 sessions of therapy. AND NO, I’M NOT BATSHIT CRAZY, as you might think of . I’m not saying it will take you half your life, but you should give it a couple of years of daily self-work to feel like you’re making SOME progress.

Remember, you are changing deep patterns that have been embedded into your personality, it’s not a superficial transformation. And it’s a continuous process, you should grow WITH it. Have faith, even if you feel like you’re not there yet, these things take time.

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The emotional work of weight maintenance

28 Oct 2020 no comments Criss SFTB

I will share this story with you because I want you to understand a couple of things when it comes to the difficult emotional work of weight maintenance. Of course, self-love is also important but you may feel that it is due to your body image, your weight problem, but unrealistic expectations from you or others are the most likely culprit.

If you think losing weight is difficult, think again! We often think the process of losing weight is the hardcore journey that will give us headaches. We imagine that once this process is over because we got the results that we want, we will be free, and happy, and satisfied. Good bye diet, hello freedom! Well, things are not exactly like that…

What I learned from my weight loss mistakes – a personal story

When I was in the process of losing my own weight, I did a couple of big mistakes that left me emotionally drained and physically tired at the end of one year, the time it took me to lose 15 kilograms. I will start telling you about these mistakes because, if I hadn’t done them, the weight maintenance afterwards would have been much easier.
What were these mistakes?

  • Heavy workouts

I was training 4 to 5 times a week, out of which at least 2 of my workouts were hardcore leaving me extremely tired, both physically and mentally. I was so drained sometimes that I needed 2 or 3 days afterwards to recover, but I was never really recovering because I kept on training, kept on pushing even when I was out of energy. I was thinking not being in the gym almost every day will be a big setback. All I wanted was to lose weight, no matter what it took!

  • Unrealistic diet.

One year I didn’t eat any sugar and I didn’t drink any alcohol. NOTHING! My body reacted immediately to these dietary changes and the heavy workouts I was performing.

I didn’t think for one second if this is a lifestyle I can maintain, I was only living in the present, obsessed with my goal, not caring for the future or for how I am going to turn this severe routine I was forcing myself to have into a forever way of living. Obviously, the unrealistic diet kicked back once I was done with my regimen.

  • Toxic gym trainers.

I am sometimes the kind of all or nothing person, so when I put my mind into something, I go all the way, without thinking of consequences, might there be any. This kind of thinking as well as being surrounded by gym trainers who were pushing me super hard didn’t make a good match!

Now I know that my trainers back then should have been better guides in my process of losing weight and they should’ve known better that a behaviour like the one I had will not take me anywhere in the long term. I only realized it after my one-year effort turned against me.

In my case, a toxic gym trainer was the kind of person who pushes you to the limit because, more important than your well-being, is their ego and personal satisfaction that their program is working NOW and is working FAST.

A toxic gym trainer will not take into consideration any aspect of your life – day to day job, children to take care of, a family that needs you, chores and so on – and will always tell you that you are not willing enough, disciplined enough or hard working enough in order to achieve his/ her goals in the amount of time desired by him/ her so that she/ he can portrait the regimen as a fast solution of losing weight that is really working.

What happened after that one year? One day, as I was in the gym, I couldn’t do a simple squat and then I started crying. No matter how hard I tried to move, it was as if my body froze. My doctor told me I was exhausted, physically and mentally.

I was pushing myself so hard that I had no energy left and no period, for that matter. I stopped going to the gym and I started eating normal again. Effortlessly, I gained the 15 kilograms back in only 3 months. For one year afterwards, I didn’t step into the gym anymore, because I couldn’t. I hated it!

Steps for an eased mind when you want to maintain your weight

In time, I realized where I went wrong: I wasn’t upset with myself, I just understood I didn’t know better! With the help of another trainer, this time a woman that understood what I was going through, I was able to get back in the gym and start eating without cutting any food category. It was a process and I am still learning from it, but I have come a long way since that destructive behaviour I was not aware of back then.

  • How you start the journey is how you will continue it

It is important to have a good start in your weight loss journey because this journey will be your new way of life. And as any new thing, it takes time, patience and practice to master it. So do not see it as a sprint, but as an ultra-marathon, because this is what weight loss is: learning new habits of eating healthy and mindfully and incorporating movement in your life as often as possible.

  • Do not compare with other people

Like every journey, the weight loss one has ups and downs. Do not expect to have a linear progress with only good results. The body changes with time and the way it behaves depends on many other variables than just food and workout. Be understanding to your body, cherish it and always aim at protecting, loving and taking care of it. If you have these positive aspects in your mind, everything will fall into place. Your journey is unique and there is no need to look anywhere else to see what others are doing!

  • Be nice to yourself

Loving yourself is the most important thing in any process of change. Everything that we do to ourselves must start from a place of love and acceptance because this is the only true foundation that will help you integrate a new way of living. Being nice to yourself means giving healthy food to your body but also giving it a sweat treat, walking in the park for 2 hours a day but also enjoy a day in bed watching your favourite series. Balance is everything!

  • Get sleep!

In a society more and more deprived of sleep there is no wonder people feel anxious, depressed and tired. As basic as it might sound, sleep is really a miracle for our minds and bodies and a good night sleep, of 7-8 hours, help us stay clear-minded, positive and hopeful. Sleeping well will help you be kind, generous, understanding and always choose the best for yourself and others from that one soft place we all have, our hearts!

  • Do as many things you like as possible

When we do nice things for ourselves, we tend to do even more of them. When we feel good, we take good decisions and this means we are more inclined to eating good food, exercising more often and enjoying ourselves more. You deserve the best!

People do not change overnight, so remember that when it comes to weight loss and weight maintenance, it is not only your body that will change, but moreover your mind. You will learn new habits, you will forget old ones, you will start to value new principles and you will leave behind the ones that are not of use for you anymore.

It is not an overreaction to say that losing weight and then maintaining it will also update who you are and your beliefs. It will be a good ride, I promise!

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How to read food labels – what to look for when shopping for food

28 Oct 2020 no comments Criss SFTB

More than ever, consumers are interested in improving their health and food labeling has become more sophisticated than ever. In a previous article, we discussed the most misleading health claims found on processed foods, but now it is important to understand how to actually determine the healthiness of foods. Just follow this simple guideline and learn how to make the best choice for your health!

Make sure that the majority of your food choices comes from whole, unprocessed foods – vegetables, fruits, legumes and beans, wild fish, free-range or even organic meat, eggs, dairy products and whole, unprocessed cereals. When you do buy processed, packaged foods, always read the small label on the back. You don’t have to be a nutritionist to evaluate certain foods.

Review the ingredient list

Ingredients are listed according to their quantity in the recipe, so always look carefully at the first 3-5 ingredients. Then take a look at the length of ingredient list. The more processed a food, the longer the ingredient list. If the first 3-5 ingredients contain ingredients that are problematic for your diet (sugar and alternatives, fats, flour, gluten) or they sound like a chemistry lesson, don t buy the product, regardless of the heath claim it has on its front label.

Check the serving size

Also, make sure you evaluate the nutritional quality of the product according to it. Most junk food products are listed with a ridiculously small serving size, that often leads consumers to over-indulge in calorie-rich, highly processed unhealthy foods simply because they seem harmless. For example, Pringles’ serving size is 25 grams, or 12 crisps, but most people with effortlessly snack on at least half a box of pringles, or 100 grams, which is in fact 4 times the quantity and calories of the listed serving size. The same goes with Nutella, with its serving size of 37 grams, or two tablespoons. However, the 2 tablespoons listed in the label are not overfilled with Nutella, like most people believe, and thus the confusion and excess calories, we may add.

Take note of energy intake

Food labels contain information about the energy intake of the product, expressed in kilocalories or kilojoules and information regarding protein, fat, carbohydrate and fiber intake.

After you choose a product that contains as little as possible artificial ingredients, the next step is to read and evaluate the food label.

Find out the amount of fat

If a product contains more than 17 grams of fat for 100 grams of product, it is high in fat. A product that contains less than 3 grams of fat for 100 grams of product, is a low-fat product. You should look for products containing 3-10 grams of fat for 100 g of product.

Saturated fat is high in products containing more than 5 grams of saturated fats for 100 grams of product, and low in those containing less than 1.5 grams of saturated fats, so you should choose products containing 1-3.5 grams of saturated fats for 100 grams.

Check the sugars

A product containing more than 22 grams of sugars is high in sugars, and if it contains less than 5 grams of sugar it has a low-sugar content. Choose products containing less than 12 grams of sugar if you are interested in losing weight, while maintaining a mild caloric deficit.

Avoid large amounts of salt

A product containing more than 1.5 grams of salt have a high-salt content, so choose foods that have less than 1 gram of salt for 100 grams of product.

When following a weight loss diet is important to choose foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber and have at the same time low calories and high volumes, in order to promote satiety and digestive comfort.

Choose balanced, minimally processed food

When you choose to add in your diet packaged foods, evaluate the decision based on some important criteria – ingredient quality, nutrient profile and shelf life. Choose foods that have natural ingredients, with as little chemical additives as possible. The nutrients should be well balanced, with a moderate intake of sugars, fats and salt.

The shelf life should be reasonably short, and the rule of thumb is – should I cook this food, how long should it last? If your processed food has a seriously longer shelf life, don’t buy it, it most probably contains additives.

As long as most of your diet ingredients come from natural sources and you carefully read and evaluate food labels, you have a pretty good chance to significantly improve your dietary choices.

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How to read food labels – avoid being tricked by misleading food marketing claims!

28 Oct 2020 no comments Criss SFTB

To avoid being tricked by misleading information coming from big food marketing departments, here’s a comprehensive guide on how to read food labels. You can also find a further guide on hot to shop based on food labels.

Yummdiet.com strongly recommends that you eat as many whole, unprocessed foods, as the basis for a healthy, long lasting dietary change. But we all know that while this is the heathiest alternative, in our modern-day society it is extremely difficult, if not impossible to completely avoid processed foods.

Reading only what matters from the food package label

Since food regulations are complex and often vary across different countries, we must grow into the habit of carefully reading the food labels and choosing the best options available.

NEVER read the front side of the package, it is often packed with marketing-driven claims, created by teams of specialists focused on increasing sales. Always go for the small ingredient-based label on the back, that’s where you will find the truth about the quality of your choice.

With people being more and more interested in improving their health comes increased interest to promoting so-called “health claims” on processed foods, in order to make them more alluring to consumers.

Some of the most misleading claims are “natural”, “multi-grain”, “low fat”, “fruit-flavored”, “zero trans fats” and so on. Here’s a list of the most misleading claims and what usually lies behind them.

Key words explained

Natural does mean that at some point in the manufacturing process some of the ingredients used came from a natural source. Concentrated fruit juice benefits from this claim, because initially was produced from apples, even though it eventually became a low-fiber, high in sugars, low vitamin beverage.

Multi-grain or made with whole grains or gluten free – these claims refer to cereals and they are often quite misleading. Multi-grain may sound healthy, but it usually means that the product is made with two or more cereals, usually refined grains. Made with whole grains refers to the fact that the product contains some unprocessed cereals, but it doesn’t say anything about the amount of simple sugars or dietary fibers that the product contains.

Gluten free refers to the fact that the product does not contain wheat, rye, spelt or barley and nothing more.

Low fat or zero trans fats are misleading claims regarding fat content. Usually, when in a processed food fat is removed from its ingredients list means that sugar or other highly processed ingredients have been added. Zero trans fats refers to the amount of trans fats in the serving of food, so we should always check the serving size. Often, it is unrealistically small (see serving size for potato chips – who eats that little?) and the product actually contains trans fats.

Low carb, no added sugar or fruit-flavored refer to carbs and tend to be super misleading. With the increased awareness people build regarding simple carbs excess, there’s no wonder big food companies try to lure us to buy products that are not necessarily healthy.

Low carb means that the amount of carbohydrate in a product falls in the low range, but it says nothing about whether or not the food in question is highly processed or does contain non-caloric sweeteners to substitute for the low carb content (it usually does).

No added sugar means that sugar was not added to the product, but since this applies to foods that are naturally high in sugar (like dry fruits for example) you should not assume that the food in question IS low carb. Also, since the food industry uses a huge variety of sugar-alternatives, you may be surprised to find out that one product may indeed not contain added sugar, but might contain molasses or agave syrup, which is pretty much the same thing – simple, refined sugars.

Fruit-flavored is another super misleading food claim, that says nothing about the ingredient quality. Fruit-flavored usually means that a bunch of chemicals that taste like fruit are added to the product, without any actual fruit addition.

These are just a few of the food claims that can lure you into buying foods that look like being a good choice, without actually being one. So don’t let yourself be fooled by the food industry, educate yourself to avoid these nutritional traps!

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WHY AREN’T YOU LOSING WEIGHT, EVEN THOUGH YOU WATCH WHAT YOU EAT?

So, you decided to go on a diet. What’s next?

21 Sep 2020 no comments Criss SFTB

A good, no matter how successful diet, needs to start with a detailed plan to track your progress, realistic goals and I will provide some suggestions.

Find a good enough reason to go on a diet

Having some degree of discontent regarding our physical appearance is not complicated to obtain in today’s over-exposed, highly edited and appearance-centered society. It is quite easy to fall in the trap of comparing yourself against social media images, internet-imposed beauty standards and the quick-fixes effortlessly promised by ads.

Unfortunately, the diet culture approach became mainstream as more and more women started calorically and nutritionally restricted meal plans. The term “diet” has changed it initial meaning of “the kinds of food a person, animal or community habitually eats” to “a special course of food to which a person restricts themselves, either to lose weight or for medical reasons.”

So, after having decided that you are going on a diet, choose the first definition of the term diet, instead of the second, and start aligning it with your goal. 

Set your goals

Speaking of goals, what is your goal? Define it in a multi-dimensional way, using several KPIs to define your success: 

  • number of kilos – don’t engage in a goal-weight that is less than your height in cm of which you subtract 110)
  • fitness goals – challenge yourself to do a certain workout in a certain amount of time, for example, or to run a race, or do a certain yoga pose that you find challenging at the present moment)
  • lifestyle goals – the way we live is way more important than the way we look, so make sure you actively try to improve your sleeping pattern, hydration level, mindfulness activities or authentic, enriching social connections. 
  • dietary changes – actively add to your diet new foods that you haven’t consistently eaten before, new spices and build a preoccupation to cook for yourself healthy but tasty food. 
  • self-image and self-love goals – in order to improve your relationship with your body and to make better food choices you should build a strong emotional foundation. In case you’re wondering, most of us have issues in that area, but with constant self-care and kindness things can improve.

A better way to track progress

So, after defining your goal, here’s a couple of ideas that will help you be more compliant with the dietary requirements necessary to reach your goal. 

  • Calculate between 1 and 2 weeks to lose one kilo of body fat in order to operate a lasting change. The more you rush things, the more aggressive the weight bounce and all the side-effects of yoyo dieting that come along (constipation, rapid weight gain, stretch marks, cellulite, disordered eating habits, low self-esteem) 
  • Make moderate exercise and brisk walking a part of your routine, you only need 30 minutes of exercise per day and 30 minutes of walking. Keep it pleasantly challenging and practice mindfulness breathing while you’re doing it 
  • Buy the healthy foods you need for your diet for the upcoming week and try to cook it 2 days in advance, so that whenever you feel hungry you have a healthy option at hand. 
  • Make a list of restaurants that you like and look for meals that are similar to your diet. Even if they will probably have more calories than your weight loss diet, it’s a compromise that you will learn to do, as it’s more efficient to have some degree of flexibility that enables better dietary compliance over time. This way, you will know what to order when you go out with friends or loved ones
  • Limit shopping for sweets or snacks that trigger you into over-eating them. If you are living alone it’s best to clear your cabinets and donate the foods that trigger you. Plan a family reunion in which you explain your dear ones that you need their support and plan for a day a week in which you all go out and enjoy your favorite treats, instead of having them handy in the house. Get them onboard your process and openly discuss boundaries and support system. 
  • BE PATIENT, learn to enjoy the change and the challenges you overcome and give yourself credit for every new milestone you reach in the process. Take pictures of yourself, write yourself a congratulations card, offer yourself a facial or a massage as a gift for accomplishing your intermediate goal and give yourself credit for every step of the way, you are really the one making it happen!

In the end, keep in mind that a good diet has to be followed by a good weight maintenance plan.

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Ginger-shallots cauliflower rice

Ginger-shallots cauliflower rice

21 Sep 2020 no comments Criss SFTB

Add some of the florets into the food processor. Pulse the florets until they look like the size of grains of rice. Transfer the riced cauliflower into a bowl and continue pulsing the rest of the cauliflower florets.

In a large pan, heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add half of the riced cauliflower and a small pinch of salt and sauté for about 3 minutes. Transfer the cooked cauliflower to a bowl. Drizzle another 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil into the pan and swirl it around. Add the remaining riced cauliflower and a pinch of salt. Cook for 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and transfer the cauliflower to the bowl. Let the moisture drain, otherwise the cauliflower rice will be mushy and watery.

Second part of meal preparation:

Wipe down the pan and heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add the diced shallots and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, until they soften. Add the minced ginger, carrots and red peppers  and cook for 2 more minutes. Transfer the cooked cauliflower to the pan and stir to mix the ingredients.

Season the cauliflower rice with the soy sauce and sesame oil. Taste and season with more salt, if necessary. Serve immediately, sprinkle fresh parsley to decorate.

Ingredients

Quantity 
1 kgCauliflower florets, trimmed
3 tbspOlive oil, divided
150 gDiced shallots (about 2 large shallots)
60 gMinced ginger
150 gGrated carrots
100 gSliced red peppers
1 1/2 tbspSoy sauce
1 1/2 tbspToasted sesame oil
to tasteSalt
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