The Seven Effortless Sneaky Tips for Maintaining a Lean and Shapely Body

The Seven Effortless Sneaky Tips for Maintaining a Lean and Shapely Body

After years of dieting and failing, I tested and lived by experiences rather than succeeding!

These days, I use food for medicinal purposes — including mental health. Back in my 20, my only intention for eating well and less was to maintain a somewhat ‘perfect body’ even though my health and life were suffering. I don’t know how I managed to exercise so much yet live on a less-than-ideal diet filled with so-called ‘low caloric’ foods that contained so much sugar. I used to eat and do many stupid things — to attain the perfect figure! No decision was as silly as dieting for a bodybuilding show — and that body became an obsession to attain, even though being such a low body fat as a woman was dangerous. We become so fixated on the ideal body that our health doesn’t matter. We’re young, after all, and can take it. That attitude in itself is a recipe for disaster! I spend the next several years suffering from weight gain and the inability to lose it! How could something like that happen to a person like myself exercising and eating well? It can happen to us, and no one is immune to it. But unfortunately, when you take the obsessive pathway to weight loss, it has many consequences. And none of them is more important than our mental health — which can take a beating. Through maturity, I have grown to understand and appreciate my body differently. We eventually move into self-acceptance and embrace age, our body’s limitations, and triumphs. We can do a lot and be more than we realise — but drawing the line is also necessary! Unfortunately, when we are young, that line is blurry. So, here is the line I draw, and that’s one of simplicity, less complexity and using intuition for guidance:


One: Avoiding the processed food trap

We all love some convenience because cooking at home and meal prepping can be somewhat annoying. However, to avoid the processed food trap, you must look at a food label. That will tell you the truth about the food you are potentially going to eat. But this time, I’m not referring to calories; I want you to look at the ingredients! This isn’t about fitting into your macros but working into your health goals. How is that for a change in perspective? Do the ingredients help you align with your goals? Does it nourish your body or drag you down into the slumps at 3 pm? I guarantee that if we ask ourselves this question, we’d have a much more healthy and holistic life instead of obsessing about the math calories. So, next time you are contemplating eating something — healthy or unhealthy, look at the ingredients and allow your mind and body as one to decide if it’s the right fit for you.


Two: Eat more nuts regularly as a snack

A friend at work cringes at my little jar of seeds and nuts. He makes fun of me every time for eating ‘bird food.’ But this bird food muncher would rather eat seeds and nuts than a Tim Tam! According to PubMed, nuts are nutrient-rich and dense foods filled with unsaturated fatty compounds, protein, and fibre. Nuts also reduce coronary heart disease and diabetes incidences in men and women, hypertension & inflammation. Nuts are also unlikely to lead to weight gain and obesity. I mention this because we all know how high the caloric content of nuts is. They are healthy, but with anything, they should also come with a maximum consumption level; that is, you stop when you are full. I like to use a variety of nuts, which also include pumpkin and sunflower seeds. As I don’t eat animal protein, I need to get as many Omega 3 fatty acids as possible. Sunflower seeds help with boosting those levels. Pumpkin seeds also help with my hair growth. I have noticed a big difference in the quality of my hair and how long it’s growing; Pumpkin seeds contain magnesium, Zinc & Iron. So they contribute to hair growth and help other bodily functions. I’m going to keep eating birdseed to improve my health. So I suggest you do too. 

Three: Avoid added sugar in drinks and food

When it comes to sugar, it’s tough to stop once you start. Those who don’t consume sweet products daily can become more susceptible to binging sugar-filled foods when given a chance. We also start to get that energy slump faster — and I find myself yawning towards 3 pm when I need a coffee to boost my productivity until 5 pm! Sugar intake from food and drink can cause depressive symptoms and mood disorders, which doesn’t really help you get any leaner — as those symptoms can usually trigger you to overeat or eat to fill the energy or mood void. To avoid that, eliminate processed foods. Try alternating it with natural, wholesome alternatives like an apple — or perhaps a mood-boosting banana. When something makes us feel good, it’s not hard to keep doing it. The only ‘hard’ part about it is starting. Once you build that good habit, then it will become easier. You can do anything if I knock my ‘4 sugars into my coffee habit!


Four: Drink your coffee

If you don’t like coffee (I don’t even want to know you, lol), swap that out with tea, green tea or something else you enjoy drinking with a bit of caffeine. Coffee is a natural stimulant, but it’s also filled with antioxidants and phytonutrients. As a result, it aids in weight loss. Harvard ed says that a coffee intake of about 2–5 cups per day is linked to lower incidences of diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease and depression. So that’s a pretty good reason to keep drinking away during regular intervals. Most of us don’t need an excuse to keep drinking coffee — this allows me a lot more leverage to back up those health claims! So, as long as you aren’t pregnant or young, coffee drinking is more health-inducing than harmful. Avoid caffeine supplements, as they can be pretty dangerous to your heart.


Five: Put olive oil on your salads

Boy, do I love cold-pressed olive oil! I used it on my baked veggies, avocados, and even a dip for my sourdough bread. As you may already know, one of the strong points of the Mediterranean diet is the amount of fruit, veggies, grains and good fats it contains. Extra virgin olive oil is associated with better health, including protection against heart disease, Improved blood sugar levels, reduced risk of diabetes and relieving constipation. If you want to try my remedy for constipation relief, do the following:

  • Take one teaspoon of cold-pressed olive oil in the morning on an empty stomach,
  • Then follow with warm lemon water.
  • This is relatively fast-acting and potent — so have the toilet handy!

Olive oil is also fantastic for hair and nails. You can apply it to split ends or massage your scalp if it’s dry gently. Try that out next time you want to add some hydration.


Six: Allow yourself more sleep, but know that’s not the only part of it

Sleep deprivation increases your appetite for sweet things, including junk food and overeating. It could be that sleep overexerts our mental capacity. When a little bit of stress, deadlines, overwork and anxiety comes into the mix — it’s not hard for many people to resort to emotional eating. Weight loss is a matter of making lifestyle changes, including what we eat, how much exercise we do (including the incidental variety), how long we sit down, and what kind of stressors we suffer from. It’s never really one key thing — but it does disrupt the apple cart. So, if you allow yourself a bit more sleep, the likely hood of your other symptoms easing is possible! Like a domino — one thing always leads to another, on the good and evil end of the spectrum.


Seven: Drink water during regular intervals but stop at 7 pm

My doctor told me many years ago to stop drinking water after 7 pm because it will eliminate bathroom trips during the night. That was one downfall in my youth, as I’d save my water consumption for the evening. Realistically, I should have spaced out my water-guzzling through the day so my. Body and mind would operate effectively. Some people forget to drink a glass of water, and lunchtime has been and gone. We must consciously choose to drink water regularly during the day, not save it up for the evenings. This is just one way you can train yourself to be vigilant and aware of those natural signals your body gives you on a moment-to-moment basis. Dehydration comes in a few pretty apparent forms

  • Headache
  • Dry mouth and throat
  • lack of concentration
  • tired and yawning
  • hunger

Yes, dehydration can bring on false hunger, so we must keep on top of that. However, this is one occurrence you can avoid, and as a byproduct, avoid weight gain! Do your body a favour and drink water all day, stopping at 7 pm, so you don’t disturb your sleep.


Key takeaways

Although this is not the complete list of what I’d consider essentials in my life, they are things I’m working on as part of a ‘lifestyle change.’ Of course, they are not always easy to stick by, and I have my moments as well — but it’s usually ideal for running your life based around things that make you feel good, give you enough energy to get through the day — and of course, help you achieve your goals whilst being there for your family. I believe in staying lean for good health, longevity and warding off disease — but I also like to look good in my clothes and adopt a youthful outlook on life. Who said we had to act our age, and with a healthy lifestyle, no one would notice? So, live to its fullest, be happy, and stay healthy.

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