Congratulations, you made it to week 4 of my Body Shaping Plan! By now you would have increased the amount of nutrients in your diet to support optimum health and vitality, added protein to most of your meals to help with satiety, and might have even cut down on unnecessary kilojoules in your diet.
This last week is all about balance, rest + recovery – the key to sustainable weight loss. While you can sip on healthy smoothies everyday, eat all the right things and exercise regularly, if you’re not reaching your body shaping and weight loss goals, it could be because you’re chronically stressed, fatigued or just not getting enough sleep.
On my Body Shaping Plan this week, I recommend:
- Continue with Week 1, Week 2 and Week 3 tips.
- Continue to replace one meal a day with my Body Shaping Smoothie.
- Stick to water or green tea, such as organic matcha tea, instead of coffee, alcohol or other beverages. If matcha isn’t your cup of tea, Genmatcha (Uplifting Zen) is a milder tasting green tea that is loaded with health boosting and body shaping benefits.
- Focus on balance, rest + recovery. I’m almost always on a busy schedule, but I commit to sticking to the below lifestyle habits for optimum health + wellbeing.
My top 4 tips for balance, rest + recovery:
1. UNWIND AT THE END OF EACH DAY
Chronic stress can keep cortisol levels in the blood elevated for longer, which in turn can affect metabolism, suppress thyroid function and increase abdominal fat.
It’s so important to manage your stress levels because it not only saps your energy and vitality, but it can also hinder your weight loss progress.
If you simply have no time during the day to take time out, ensure you get enough down time before you sleep. If you have an anxious mind like me, or find it hard to just switch off, I find a warm bath with lavender oil or a cup of Healthy Hot Chocolate helps to promote sleep. This drink is comforting, nourishing and full of magnesium which helps calm the nervous system. Combined with homemade cashew milk, you are getting a good dose of tryptophan, the amino acid which helps to make serotonin – the FEEL GOOD hormone that promotes feelings of wellbeing and happiness.
2. BE KIND TO YOURSELF
Sometimes work can run on a very hectic schedule, but I try to remind myself to take it all in one -step at the time! When I’m feeling a little stressed or rundown, you’ll often find me taking a light stroll in the sunshine, which instantly makes me feel calmer and more relaxed. Incidental physical exercise forms part of the foundation to my everyday health. I make sure I walk most days of the week and try to get 10,000 – 15,000 steps in the day. Other times I like to go to one of my favorite cafés in Surry Hills and have a herbal tea or a turmeric latte with my hubby.
While food is an important part of keeping healthy, it’s how you eat that’s just as important, but is often overlooked. Mindfulness is really important when you’re eating. It means chewing slowly, eating at a table with no distractions, and treating each meal as a celebration of health and wellbeing. Many of us rush around and chow down our food when we’re stressed, but this can hinder proper gut function and peristalsis – which explains why your digestion can feel a little slow and sluggish.
3. REST + RECHARGE
Not getting enough sleep means our bodies can’t repair and recover optimally, and our ability to function also becomes affected. According to the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, those who reported being short on sleep (less than seven hours) increased their risk of obesity, compared to those who reported sleeping around the recommended 7-8 hours a night.
Lack of sleep = stress on the body = weight gain, premature ageing, hair loss, hormone imbalances, infertility, and lowered immune function.
And, in another study, researchers found that short sleepers had a higher BMI and waist circumference than long sleepers.
In fact, research shows that people who don’t get enough sleep have a greater risk of developing metabolic syndrome (also known as syndrome X or insulin resistance syndrome), which can increase your risk of Type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease.
This is by far one of the most important ways to keep healthy. If you’re not making effort to take time out or get adequate sleep every night, it is reflected in how you feel, how you work and how your body performs. These days, I have to really focus on getting enough sleep to get me through my busy week because if I don’t, my body let’s me know by weakening my immune system and removing that outward glow I strive for.
Perhaps one of the most important tips I’ve learnt for a good night’s sleep is turning off the computer and phone at a decent hour and making sure I get a good 7-8 hours of sleep. I also like to take herbal tea such as Relax + Renew that supports a calmative state, reduces stress and promotes a restful night’s sleep.
4. GET ADEQUATE PROTEIN IN YOUR DIET
I covered the benefits of having protein in your diet for weight loss in Week 2, but I can’t stress how important this nutrient is for supporting your body in times of stress. Protein is rich in the amino acid L-tryptophan one of the essential amino acids that your body uses to make serotonin and melatonin. These neurotransmitters send messengers to your brain to relax so you'll able to have a good nights sleep. Protein rich foods such as wild caught fish, organic chicken, organic dairy products, nuts and Healthy Chef protein are foods that are high in L-tryptophan foods.
Protein is an essential nutrient to help your body recover and repair. Increasing protein intake can help support high stress levels by stabilising any blood sugar spikes, reducing mood swings, jitteriness and improving sleep.
Getting adequate protein every day is also important if you're dealing with the symptoms of menopause. Aim for 30 grams of protein per meal to help sustain lean muscle tissue, create hormones and keep skin firm and glowing.
And this is it, my 4 week Body Shaping Plan to kickstart you on the way to your body shaping and weight loss goals. I’ve designed this plan so you can easily integrate it’s principles and steps in your daily routine.
Looking for more inspiration? Pick up a copy of my latest cookbook Purely Delicious, which contains over 200 wholefood recipes to help you on your body shaping and weight loss goals everyday.