Guest Post: Elizabeth Nixon from Clementine and Clover


Elizabeth Nixon is a journalist and lover of design, event planning and letterpress printing, which she writes about on her blog Clementine and Clover. Nixon works as an editor at Lifescript.com, a site devoted to healthy living for women.

Fall into a Healthy Lifestyle this Autumn

By Elizabeth Nixon

With autumn in full swing and comfort foods a-beckoning, this time of year I often find myself doing a great impression of a bear beefing up for winter. But those extra pounds slow me down and zap my energy. This fall, I know I need to do something differently. The problem is – I’m a diet-phobe. The word diet, to me, has negative connotations: tasteless shakes, too-skinny models, and endless baggies of zero-calorie celery pieces dance across my mind.

But after recently spying this infographic by Sarah Kliff in The Atlantic on what Americans eat in a year, I was sufficiently grossed out and determined to reevaluate what I put in my body, and, gasp, maybe even start a diet for the first time in my life.


Years of impossible-to-resist chocolate brownie bites from Trader Joe’s and an aging metabolism have caught up to me. Plus, a diet would be friendlier on my wallet – I’d buy fewer of those expensive processed foods, eat out less, and I wouldn’t need to shop for as many clothes if I always stay the same size.

I know it’s possible to achieve the body and healthy lifestyle I want. I dropped 12 pounds in one month a year ago for my wedding. Even without a diet.

So, this time around, I’ll bet I can get even better results (that stick!) with an overall lifestyle change, not just a workout DVD for 20 minutes a day, which has always been my go-to plan when I need to shed pounds.

My lifestyle change involves the following plan. It’s simple and three-fold:

1. Limit sugar intake. After spotting this interesting article in the New York Times on how fructose is actually a toxin, I decided it was time to give it the boot. I’m not quite going cold turkey – I’ll still allow myself a spoonful in my coffee and one of those brownie bites after dinner, but when it comes to “hidden” sugars, I’m going to take the extra time to root it out of my diet. When I say hidden sugars, I’m referring to the high fructose corn syrup that lurks in tons of “low fat” products and even bread. Check out this lecture on sugar given by UCSF Professor Robert Lustig, MD: “Sugar: The Bitter Truth.” He outlines the many unexpected products on grocery store shelves that are packed with fructose. Give it a listen – it was the lecture that sparked the New York Times’ article.

2. Stick to a metabolism-boosting diet with limited calories. That means lots of snacking every three hours during the day – 200 to 300 calories at a time. You know, hunter-gatherer style. My favorite snack food is baby carrots or a cup of Greek yogurt – it packs in nearly double the amount of protein found in regular yogurt, which helps satisfy hunger. I was inspired to try this method by this article from Lifescript.com (where I work) on how eating 5-6 small meals per day will speed up your metabolism.

3. A cardio, abs and weights workout for 20-30 minutes per day. I’m not a gym person but I’m big on the outdoors so I try to fulfill most of the cardio by playing with my 6-month-old puppy or hiking.

So far I’ve been doing this plan for seven days and I’m happy and excited to report I’ve lost four pounds!

Are you on a similar path toward adopting a healthy lifestyle? Or are you running interference against the holiday extravagances at the table that are just around the corner? What’s your plan to stay healthy this autumn?

Comments

  1. Crazily enough, I'm studying right now for my master's in holistic nutrition... and school "recommends" I follow the 80/10/10 raw food diet.. its a ration of 80% carbs, 10% protein, and 10% fat. I know, I know, this is so contrary to what EVERYONE seems to be espousing about diets, and I'm only on my third day, but I do feel better (and have lost some weight!)...Personally, I recommend everyone UPS their fruit intake and LOWERS their fat intake, in however possible manner (: But, OF COURSE, I will allow myself a cheat day on thanksgiving- but just little bites, not the texas sized meals I'm so used to having...

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  2. Haha, about two months late in responding to your great comment, Ash, but YES, I hear that a raw foods diet is GREAT for shedding the weight! And VERY good recommendations to up fruit intake and lower fat intake. Also interesting: People on low-protein diets tend to lose more weight than those on high-protein diets, but, here's a REALLY interesting article from NPR about what to be wary of when it comes to low-protein diets: http://n.pr/A31CL7

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