Article By Laura Ancilli
Christmas holidays are a beautiful time of the year full of love, full of presents but also full of cakes, chocolates and generally speaking full of unused calories which all go straight to hips (for us girls) and stomachs (for the boys)…
I’m not a believer in strict diets which have lots of “no-foods” and that do not educate people to a better nutrition which becomes a lifestyle and which is forgiving of some chocolate sins and some fish-and-chips outings that we all love every now and then.
This is why I decided to share with all of you my 5 golden rules for nutrition which have been part of my lifestyle for many years, are easy to follow (no need to look up a complex calendar to see what you can have for dinner each day!) and above all work very well!!
1. Drink a good glass of water before you put any food in your mouth!
Water is one of the most important elements for the good functioning of our bodies. If our daily intake of water is not sufficient the consequences, like high blood pressure and high cholesterol, are quite immediate. Everyone should aim to a daily minimum of 1 litre of water per every 30 kilos of body weight, and increase this quantity when you are exercising or if you live in warmer temperatures. Also, very often when our bodies are dehydrated, we might feel hungry rather than thirsty, so it’s a good idea to drink a good glass of water before any meal: it will replenish the water content in your body and partially fill up your stomach taking the edge off the hunger and making you eat a bit less during the meal. It is also a good practice to start a day with a glass of water in which you squeeze half a lemon or lime. These fruits, even though they are acidic, they become alkaline when they enter our system, and a pH of 7.4 is essential to lose weight and keep it off!
2. Make sure that half of your plate is taken by green fresh veggies!
The best thing is to have a giant fresh salad made up of different leaves (lettuce, spinach, rocket and basil are just a few typical choices), a couple of tomatoes, celery, carrots, raw mushrooms and whatever else you like in a salad. Now, the secret is to have 2 or 3 mouthfuls of salad before you have anything from the main dish. I often do this when we are having a takeaway pizza, but you can do that with any other meal which is not 100% healthy like fish and chips, or your favourite takeaway. I find that by eating the salad first, I fill up some more space (some has already been taken by the glass of water!) and when I get to the pizza I only have a couple of slices.
3. Combine the right foods…
The right combination of foods is highly important both for weight loss and for a healthier body. Excellent combinations are: a) Proteins (like meat, fish and eggs) and non starchy vegetables (lettuce, mushrooms, broccoli, zucchini, tomatoes, capsicum, spinach, asparagus, cabbage and green beans to name a few); b)Starchy vegetables (like potatoes, pumpkin, peas, carrots, beans and corn) with proteins and non starchy vegetables. c) Grains (like pasta, bread, millet and couscous) with non starchy vegetables.
4. Delay the sweet foods cravings!
Sugar and sweet foods are acid forming in our body, which means that they make us fat in two ways: first by creating acids which our body has to “pack away” in fat cells, and secondly by providing us of an excessive amount of calories in just a mouthful. So, when you have a craving, before you go to the pantry and grab a packet of chocolate biscuits, drink slowly a glass of water… then munch on a piece of fresh fruit or a carrot or some celery… If you are still craving, now you can go a grab a piece of chocolate, make sure it is a small one and don’t feel guilty about it, enjoy it and tell yourself that you are a healthy person and you are improving every day!
5. Walk it off, dance it off, swim it off and remember to smile!
Exercise does not need to be a boring chore that we have to do to keep healthy… If you have a dog take him for a long walk of at least 20 minutes every day, walk with long steps, breathing deeply and aim to increase your speed a little bit every day to the point of doing a light jog… Your fourlegged friend will be very grateful too! Maybe you prefer dancing? Get your partner or a friend to join you and enrol in some dancing classes of your favourite style… it’s heaps of fun and it will get your heart beating! If you live close to the ocean you can go for a walk and a swim in the morning, it’s a fantastic and energising way to start the day, and you also get the benefits of all the gorgeous minerals that are in the ocean, magnesium included! And last, but not least, make sure you keep a positive attitude, don’t nag yourself if you commit a little chocolate sin but congratulate yourself for becoming every day a slimmer, healthier and happier person!!
Laura Ancilli (PhD) is a researcher and a journalist. Her life long interest in nutrition, energy medicine and alternative therapies took her on a 20 years learning journey during which Laura has studied, researched and often experienced on herself different healing techniques, from foods, to herbs, to massage techniques, to EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique).