Caffeine is a stimulant that will increase your stress hormones and, when stress hormones go up, so do your insulin levels.. Long term heightened levels of insulin can be a cause of weight gain but are also linked to a number of long-term illnesses.
That's not to say there aren't any benefits to drinking caffeine, we just need to find a healthy balance.
Limit caffeine to 5 servings per week MAX (and never after 1 pm.) On days you have caffeine, make sure you drink an extra glass of water.
***To take it white, use semi skimmed or plant milk, and ditch the sugar unless it’s 1 tsp. or less of coconut sugar or raw honey. Organic coffee & green tea are your best options for caffeine.
Alcohol, Sugary Juices & Soda:
Liquid calories can add up FAST. There's a reason why they are called "empty calories." Not only that, but they’re also loaded with sugar that will spike your insulin. It places a heavy load on your body, specifically your liver, to detoxify from it (which it the exact opposite of what we’re trying to do during this programme)
For the next four weeks, you’ll be steering clear of anything other than water, the drink recipes in your meal plan, or an occasional coffee or green tea. If you’re going to indulge on one of these drinks during your cheat meals, make sure it’s only 1-2 servings maximum per week.
Sleep to Peak:
Over 40% of us suffer from chronic lack of sleep! Lack of sleep is associated with impaired memory, slowed speech, lack of ambition, and will lead to imbalanced hormones in your body causing weight gain and chronic fatigue. During this challenge (and in general) aim for 6-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.
Always Be Prepared:
“If you keep good food in the fridge, you will eat good food.” ~ Errick McAdams.
This goes for your cupboards too. It’s simple and easy to follow and is the main premise behind pretty much every programme I run at Karen Lawther NLC.
Being prepared will mean the difference between success and failure during this programme! Set yourself up for success by cleaning out your cupboards from temptations and replacing them with healthy, delicious options.
Go Organic as much as possible:
Below is EWG’s updated “Dirty Dozen List and Clean 15 List”.
This will outline the fruits and vegetables that have the highest levels of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides on them. Try to purchase as many organically grown foods as you can from the “dirty” list.
The “Clean 15” is the list of foods that are likely to have fewer chemicals. Other than this list, a good rule of thumb is to choose organic when you’re going to eat the skin such as grapes, pears, cucumbers, etc.
ONLY Purchase Food on your Grocery List:
Don’t fall into the trap of putting tempting items in your cart while you are at the shop.. If this is something you struggle with, try eating a small apple or drinking a glass of water before you go. This will definitely help! Also, always print out your shopping list before you go or have it on your phone.
De-Stress Your Life:
It’s time to focus on YOU for the next four weeks. Here’s a great rule of thumb to help: If it’s NOT going to help you grow, contribute, or reach your personal goals, then it’s probably wasting your time.
All of that “extra stuff” = stress.
Stress increases cortisol in your body and that equals more body fat. Not only that, it takes away the most valuable resource which we have, our time. Guard your time like your life depends on it, because it does.
Toss the Margarine:
Just get rid of it. Margarine smells SO horrible after all of the processing that it needs to be chemically deodorised so people will be able to eat it. It’s also processed with a petroleum solvent. Bin it.
Measure Your Food:
Measuring is extra important if portion control is an issue for you. When you start doing this regularly, you’ll soon be able to estimate the correct serving sizes just by looking at it. This is a very eye-opening exercise!
Grass-Fed, Organic & Wild:
The living conditions (whether or not the animals were raised in congested feedlots, given antibiotics and hormones, what they are fed, etc.) all play a major role in the amount of nutrition that is passed along to us when we eat protein.
I could write an entire chapter about the differences between grass-fed, organic, and wild practices versus conventionally raised and farmed practices. It’s true that you’ll pay a little bit extra for the quality, but it is definitely worth it in my opinion.
Plus … you’ll be saving money during this challenge because you won’t have any food that goes to waste, so it will help balance out the cost.