10 Rules of Energy
Personal trainer Melinda Nicci has helped hundreds of women regain their pre-baby shape. These are her top tips for health and energy.
1. No Diets
Most people who diet have lost hundreds and gained hundreds of pounds in their lives. This is a negative spiral that will only confuse your body and decrease your self-esteem. What we want to achieve is a balanced approach to energy intake and expenditure. By dieting you will be restricting your self while you are on the diet, and what most people do is lose all sense of responsibility when they are off the diet- a healthy lifestyle will give you health, vitality, balance and you will probably look your best too!
2. Eliminate: don’t negotiate
Why allow your self to have only a little of something that is bad or you when you will need lots of will power to stop having it at a certain point? That energy is far better utilised in other areas of your life - like exercise and running around with your children.
Therefore it is easier to eliminate than negotiate whether to eat a certain food. If something is not on the list, then you won’t have to worry about whether or not to eat a small amount - the answer is simply not negotiable. It is not in your meal plan, therefore it is not nutritious and is not going to go into your body.
3. Eat clean
Eat simple, healthy food and keep your body healthy. Clean food is healthy food. Food bought as fresh as is possible not only tastes better but will have a higher nutrient value than if it is frozen, processed, already cooked or has additives to make it thicker, last longer and taste better. Additives and preservatives have their place in our food, but where it is possible to have a choice of fresh and raw vs. ready cooked and processed, the additive-free route is a much healthier option.
4. Leave out labels
The processes we use to get wheat and sugar into sought-after treats make these foods very close to sugar, and it is metabolised immediately as ready-to-use energy. If you do not use this energy straight away, it will be stored as excess and turned into fat.
If a food needs a label to list ingredients, then it is certainly processed, added to, and might have some nasty added sugar and preservatives. By leaving out any labelled food from your diet (and by this I don’t mean some condiments and spices, salad dressings and sauces - but check the sugar content), you will be better-able to control what you are putting into your body.
5. Energy in vs. energy out
Human weight is determined by a simple equation of what goes in your body and what is used up. Put simply, any extra calories (energy) that you consume but don’t burn off will be stored in your body. The more energy stores you have, the more fat you will have on your body.
6. Nutrients vs. Calories
What are the smart choices to make in order to get the best nutrition and best value for calories? When you are faced with a choice of food, one thought should be on your mind: what food will give me the most nutrients for the least amount of calories? Have a look at the nutritional content on labels and you will be better informed of a particular food’s value.
7. Treats to eat
Dieting generally leaves the dieter feeling deprived and this can lead to overeating and binging on the wrong foods. When you allow yourself to ‘indulge’ in a controlled way, you will not be left feeling deprived. The ultimate trick is to learn to reward yourself with things other than food. For example, a massage, facial, beauty treatment or some new clothes would be much more fun and better for you than a moment of forbidden food that will have far-reaching negative effect. The energy has to go somewhere after you have eaten it!
8. Hunger wins every time
When you skip meals and deprive yourself of food then you get really hungry! Hunger is a basic instinct and it will always win out. Give your self the right foods and feel great while doing it. By restricting your calorie intake to a drastic level you send your body the signal that you are starving. Its response will be to slow down your metabolism and store its energy for survival.
You need to feed your body regularly to avoid getting so hungry that you’ll want to grab whatever you can (this is usually something fast and fatty!).
9. Time to eat
Making time to eat well is part of a healthy lifestyle and is very important if you are going to be the caregiver in your family. So plan your meals around your life - not the other way around. We want to be better role models for our children and there is nothing more important than teaching children how important their health is.
10. The big W: Water
It is a widely debated topic amongst health professionals that people do not consume enough water. As a result, most people walk around mildly dehydrated most of their lives. Water is vital for life and energy, and if you are busy mum the chances are you will be neglecting your intake of water. I can’t stress enough the importance of drinking water throughout your day. It is not sufficient to drink only when you are thirsty - the best way is to take water in little sips throughout the day and evening.