Imagine standing in front of a mirror and seeing a trim toned body.
How do I know? As a doctor I’ve witnessed my patients make remarkable transformations; as a health coach I’ve seen clients do it. Plus, I’ve done it myself. This person to your left is me now; the person to your right is me 20 years ago.
Each moment of each day, you’re either building fat–or burning it. Here are three tips to turn your body into a fat-burning machine:
You can get there!
Just as your car runs on gas, your body runs on glucose. Your body has an ideal blood sugar zone. Not too high, and not too low, but just right.
Sharp blood sugar peaks and valleys lead to weight gain. Here’s how to get off the sugar roller coaster and keep your blood sugar in the steady fat-burning zone.
Eat regularly. Hunger is like your admission ticket to a sugar roller coaster ride. Find the eating schedule that works best for you. It may be three squares a day, or it may be grazing every 2 to 3 hours.
Eat right. Avoid foods that lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar. Instead reach for foods with a low glycemic index that keep you in the fat-burning zone.
Eat enough. Let your body–not your brain–tell you when you’re hungry and when you’re full.
Think of muscle as a fat-burning furnace. Exercise flips the furnace switch on.
Get started. Even moderate exercise supports fitness and weight loss. Begin small, even if it’s just a ten minute walk. Stick to it for one week and notice how much more energy you have. And how much easier it is to make good food choices.
Have fun. Find something that’s fun to do. Factor in how you like to move your body, and your desire to be around people. Some prefer solitary time for thinking. Other want to make it social.
Make it a habit. Build exercise into your schedule. Make it part of your day like brushing your teeth.
Besides losing weight, you’ll also enjoy a healthier brain; exercise causes your brain to make a substance called BDNF, also called “Miracle Grow for your brain.”
If exercise turns on the fat-burning furnace, stress turns it off.
Think of stress as a scarcity alarm. You hang onto resources–whether it’s money in the bank or fuel stored as fat–during times of scarcity.
Avoid scarcity of the elements that fuel your life: food, water, sleep, oxygen and human connection. Here are some tips to get in balance in each area:
- Air Fill your lungs. Put your hand on your belly and take a deep breath. Your belly should pooch out. Do this with every breath.
- Water By the time you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. The best indicator of your water balance is the color of your urine. It should be light yellow.
- Sleep Get a full night’s sleep. Your electronic devices all have off switches; use them. Consider daytime naps.
- Human connection Human connection powers our lives just as surely electricity powers our houses. Get and stay connected to important people. Meet in person when possible.
- Food When you reach for food, ask, “What is my body really hungry for?” Is it a nap or a call to a friend?
Keep that picture of that slim toned self in your mind. You can and will get there!
ⓒ 2012 Dr. Vicki Rackner All rights reserved. May be reproduced with permission.