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Incredible small life-style changes

I have always had a sweet spot for health and fitness. It is one thing to think about being healthy and another thing to actually take action. I must say starting is always a struggle for me. I have made a few changes over the past few years and have learnt a few things that I would love to share with you. I quit smoking 5 years ago, changed my makeup to natural (paraben free, etc) and I also now eat mostly organic food.

Online information can be overwhelming and my skepticism surely does not help. My weight has always fluctuated by a few pounds for as long as I can remember mostly due to my secret love affair with pizza. However I have been trying something a bit different and have surprisingly made some positive progress. I have never counted calories seeing that I do not like being deprived. I do not have a scale, never had one and do not plan on getting one. As a result of the small changes that I made, I feel healthier and also feel like I have gained a bit of muscle. I know I still have ways to go before I reach my end goal.

Paleo. So we have all heard of the paleolithic lifestyle right! So I kinda eat paleo. Heard me say kinda. That’s because I don’t like to be completely restricted. According to The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a Paleo-like diet can lead to decreased waist circumferences, better HbA1c, and blood triglycerides over a three month period (1). So I have been trying it out for the past few months. I love it and have been seeing results. Before I started, I used to get terrible sugar highs even from eating an apple and could not handle any form of carbs. At one point, I would pass out or would feel tired after eating medium sized meals or high glycemic meals. Now it has all changed and crushing is a thing of the past. Now I eat mainly organic fruits and vegetables, grass fed beef and not a lot of dairy. Overall, I do not feel deprived on this lifestyle change and feel like it has been working for me. However I feel there is still a need for longitudinal studies on paleolithic lifestyle. I also recommend GP consult first.

Intermittent fasting. It seems to be all the rage right!! Well I was skeptical about it since I do not like yo-yo dieting. I however thought why not give it a chance to see if it will help with my insulin sensitivity. The first few weeks were hard, I was cranky, and I felt like I was going to pass out. Seeing that I love my morning coffee, when fasting I added grass fed butter, coconut oil or grass fed ghee butter to ensure that I got some calories from healthy fats. (Ps. Please seek GP advice first and I would not recommend this to expectant mothers or to those with other health comorbidities). All the unpleasant experiences went away after a few weeks. Now I can handle complex carbs better without crashing. I have also noticed that my waist circumference has decreased and my muscles are popping. Hmm so I cannot complain. However, I am unsure if it is something that should be done over a long period of time and therefore think that there is also a need for longitudinal studies. Below are results from a study over a 12 week period.

Alternate-day fasting trials lasting 3 to 12 weeks reduced body weight by 3%-7%, body fat by 3–5.5 kg, total cholesterol by 10%-21%, and triglycerides by 14%-42% in normal-weight, overweight, and obese humans. Whole-day fasting trials lasting 12 to 24 weeks also reduced body weight by 3%-9% and body fat, and favorably improved blood lipids by 5%-20% reduction in total cholesterol and 17%-50% reduction in triglycerides (2) (Tinsley GM., La Bounty 2015).

HIIT cardio. I personally do not like it. Ohh man I sound like I do not like anything. I do it for just 10 minutes almost 3 times a week. I usually do it on a bike, treadmill or using body weight. I prefer to do it on the bike though because of my booty. I can’t stand it when my booty giggles too much when I am trying to exercise (Struggle is real). I like HIIT because all I need is 10 minutes. Besides helping with fat loss and muscle retention, it is also shown to reduce liver fat and to improve cardiac function (3).

In Summary, in addition to doing HIIT and intermittent fasting, I also eat clean during the week, and lift a bit more weights. For the longest time I was only lifting 15 pounds an arm (I know that’s not a lot), but today I lifted 20 pounds per arm for first time (Yeah!). I am however still having pizza once a week and drinking organic red wine when I feel like having a drink. Are you thinking of making changes in your life? What are your goals? Please charm in and tell me what has been working for you or has not been working.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19604407 (Beneficial effects of a Paleolithic diet on cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetes: a randomized cross-over pilot study.)

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26374764 (Effects of intermittent fasting on body composition and clinical health markers in humans.)

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26265792 (Modified high-intensity interval training reduces liver fat and improves cardiac function in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: a randomized controlled trial.)