By Ethan Bowman
Short-term weight loss is easy. Long-term weight loss is much harder to achieve.
However, you know people who are permanently in beach-ready shape, so it is possible to be lean for life.
This begs the question: how can you lose the weight for good?
The answer is not found in a single habit or action, but rather in the following 5 Lean for Life Habits…
Habit #1: Reimagine Yourself
Up until now you’ve accepted the shape that you are in, and even if you hate it, you’re comfortable with it. Read that again to make sure it sinks in. You are comfortable with the body that you have right now, and until you decide it’s no longer comfortable then you’ll be stuck in the shape that you currently have.
Now spend time reimagining yourself leaner. Really let that new image sink in until you’re more comfortable with it than you are with the image of your current body. Rinse and repeat. The clearer you can see and feel and imagine yourself in a lean body, the more urgency and desire you will create to achieve and maintain it.
Habit #2: Break-Up With Sugar
Look, Sugar, we have to break up. It’s not you; it’s me. Sure, we’ve had some good times. You’ve tickled my sweet tooth and pleased my taste buds, but loving you is a double-edged sword that leaves me heavy and out of shape. So this is it, we are through!
As silly as that sounded, your relationship with sugar is holding you back from living in a lean for life body. It’s not only refined sugar that is messing with your body composition; in order to be lean for life you’ll also need to manage your intake of natural sugars.
The good news is that every day spent without sugar will make the next day that much easier and your cravings will become that much weaker. Stay strong and soon you’ll be more than happy with the occasional sweet treat rather than the all-day sugar drip that’s sabotaging your swimsuit dreams.
Habit #3: Forget Dieting
Going on a “diet” implies a start and end date, but if you really want to change your body composition for good then there is no end to your healthy lifestyle. It’s a marathon of adapting to healthier (and healthier!) habits to maintain for the rest of your life. The day that you stop trying is the day that your body reverts to its old (less svelte) shape.
Don’t worry, the more time that you get under your belt with healthy living, the easier it becomes. Soon your lean for life habits will feel like a normal day – just as your current habits feel like a normal day now. The key is to stick with it until the habits fully stick, and to vigorously fight the urge to give up.
Habit #4: Plan Your Cheats
Being lean for life doesn’t mean swearing off pizza and ice cream for the rest of your days. (Thank goodness!) On the contrary, you’ll find that planned cheat meals of your favorite foods are more enjoyable than ever before. The key is that you will be planning your cheat meals in advance and containing the excitement to one sitting each week.
The fun thing about enjoying a cheat meal while living a lean lifestyle is that there is absolutely zero guilt associated with the pleasure. Most of us experience twinges of guilt associated with most of our meals, because in the back of our mind is the thought that we should really be eating healthier in order to lose the weight that we have yet to lose. Once you’ve lost the fat and are actively living a lean life those cheat meals will be 100% pleasure!
Habit #5: Be Part of a Fitness Family
Belonging to a group of fellow fitness enthusiasts is key to making and maintaining your body transformation. Being fit is easier achieved in a supportive and encouraging group, rather than alone. The accountability provided from your fitness peers will save you from missing workouts and will get you to push yourself to try harder.
One of the most gratifying parts of being in a fitness family is the day when your support makes an impact on a new member. To give the encouragement that was given to you is a special moment that will stick with you and will recommit you to your fitness lifestyle.
Feels Good, Doesn’t It?
A challenging exercise routine is a quick and simple solution to get you feeling good fast.
This is because every time you exercise your body increases its production of endorphins, which are responsible for that feel-good euphoria you get after a great workout or while chomping down on a piece of chocolate.
However, before you turn to chocolate and skip the gym, remember the end result of each and choose which one will help you reduce stress in the long run.
Do you choose what you want NOW or what you want MOST OF ALL?
Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potato
Here’s a flavorful, nutritious meal that comes together quickly. It’s a perfect weeknight dinner that takes chicken breast and infuses it with a sweet and spicy poaching liquid of chipotle, pineapple, fresh cilantro, savory Worcestershire and tangy lime. These flavors are robust and delicious!
Courtesy of RealHealthyRecipes.com
What you need
4 sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon Coconut Oil OR Butter
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into thin strips
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and sliced into thin strips
3 tablespoons minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce (or MORE if you like it spicy!)
½ cup orange juice
¾ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1 lime, sliced into wedges
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Rinse and scrub the sweet potatoes. Pat dry with a paper towel and pierce several times with a fork or knife. Place on the baking sheet. Lightly spray the sweet potatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes to an hour, until tender when poked.
3. Melt the coconut oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, bell peppers, onion and chipotle and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
4. Add the orange juice to the skillet along with 1/2 cup cilantro and the Worcestershire and bring to a simmer.
5. Add the chicken to the skillet, cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until the chicken registers 160 degrees, 10 to 15 minutes, flipping the chicken halfway through. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken and veggies to a plate and cover.
6. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook the liquid left in the skillet until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 5 minutes. Off heat, whisk in the mustard. Using 2 forks, shred the chicken and return it and the veggies to the skillet. Add the remaining 1/4 cup cilantro and toss until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
7. Slice each baked sweet potato down the middle and fill with a heaping spoon of the chipotle chicken. Serve with lime wedges. Enjoy!
One serving equals: 372 calories, 8g fat, 34g carbohydrate, 8g fiber, 9g sugar and 39g protein.
Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness