As I have posted before, I am a fitness nut. After losing 40+ pounds in 2008, and keeping it off (except around the holidays!), I am addicted to running and living healthy. Before I moved to Costa Rica, I used to exercise a whopping 8-10 hours per week! I also used to spend a lot of time and effort just trying to eat healthy, and I often felt I was “detoxing” after indulging at a restaurant or party or trip. Now, my personal fitness experience, coupled with my knowledge as a physician and the limited resources I have living in a developing country have led me to come up with 4 ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle with a lot less effort. Here are 4 ways you can simplify your body:
Avoid recipes with more than 5 ingredients or take more than 30 minutes to make.
Hey I love to cook! I love to bake! I am OK making a complicated meal with a lot of exotic ingredients every once in a while for a party or special visit. But on a day to day basis, I keep our meals simple. Our most common dinners include picadillo, arroz con vegetales, vegetarian shepherd’s pie, or pasta with homemade pesto or cheese/butter. Simple meals help me save time, money, calories, and processed ingredients. Meal preparation should be fun and easy so you can include the whole family. Keep in mind that the more ingredients and time-investment a recipe requires, the more calories you will also be consuming. Also, if you stick to the same, simple meals on a regular basis, you will be less likely to overindulge.
Incorporate exercise into your daily life.
You can do this by walking, biking, or running to work, school, or to run errands. I used to run at 5 times per week for a total of 6 hours (or more when I was training for a marathon) and I would also do Insanity work outs a few times per week. I had to do this because my day-to-day life was fairly sedentary. I spent a lot of time in front of the computer or charting at the nurses’ station. I did some walking around to see patients, but that hardly constituted exercise. Now that I do not have a car, I walk everywhere. I carry groceries and produce on my back. I walk to my yoga class. Because I incorporate physical activity into my daily routine, I don’t feel I have to exercise as much as before. I run 3 times per week for approximately 2.5 hours. I do not exercise on weekends anymore. I run because I enjoy it and to allow myself mocchachino with whipped cream every couple of weeks. The walking I do as part of my daily routine keeps me fit without having to do a lot of extra exercising.
If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it.
I used this trick on my kids when they used to accompany me to the grocery store. Whenever they would clamor for powdered doughnuts or some other junk, I would challenge them to pronounce the ingredients. If you could not, I would not buy the product for them. The aim of that practice was to teach them about the junk found in so many of foods. Reducing the amount of processed foods you eat will help you clean out your body. While I do not consider myself a militant anti-processed foods person, I do think it is important to eat as many fresh, non-processed foods as possible. You will feel a difference in your wallet and your body. Hey I eat chips every once in a while. I drink my mocchachino from Cafe Orquid a couple times per month. But it is essential that processed foods are not part of your daily diet. Save them for a rare occasion or treat. Eat fresh fruits and veggies, rice, beans, and other homemade foods.
I only drink water at meal times and in between meals. I treat myself to a coffee on weekends and a treat, like candy. By drinking water, you will be naturally purifying your body, saving time, saving money, avoiding high-calorie drinks such as soda, and curbing your cravings. I know that power smoothies are all the rage nowadays. The main problem with that is that they are time-intensive and often people drink them in addition to their regular meals, which adds to their daily calorie intake. So I recommend that anyone using smoothies as part of their fitness routine keep track of calories carefully.
What steps have you taken to simplify your body? Let me know in the comments below.