Tips for Good Health

Lifestyle Choices that You Can Live With

Improve Your Healthy With Subtle Lifestyle Changes

We all have a million excuses for not living a healthier lifestyle. There is time and effort involved in planning to eat healthfully and carving out time for a daily jog, swim or visit to the gym. Instead of focusing on all the reasons why weight loss doesn't come easily or why we fail to get our regular allotment of physical activity, it's time to refocus our energy on living the lifestyle we know we should. You'll be pleasantly surprised that it's not really that challenging after all. Here are a few tips that will go a long way toward improving your overall health.

STRENGTH TRAINING & PROTEIN CONSUMPTION

If you are not doing any strength training (i.e. weight lifting and core work) you will lose muscle mass and not fat. Many people, especially women, say that they hate to build muscle because it makes them gain weight. In fact, muscle does weigh more than fat. But having fit muscles also boosts your metabolism and actually helps you to burn more fat than if you did no strength training at all. Consuming healthy amounts of protein provides fuel for strength training and helps to maintain lean muscle. Engaging in strength training for 20 to 30 minutes two or three times per week is ideal. You can tack this on to your cardiovascular workout or do it on the days that you are not running, swimming or cycling.

AVOID DRASTIC LIFESTYLE CHANGES

Crash diets and overzealous workout routines are counterproductive, yet women in particular, seem to fall prey to the allure of rapid weight loss that can be temporarily achieved through such fads. The problem is that because we can't sustain the unrealistic lifestyle we've adopted, we eventually stop and the weight comes back quickly. Consequently, we usually weigh more than we did when we started. Making smaller, more subtle changes that can easily be sustained is far wiser. Such changes may include eating breakfast daily, eating extra fruits and veggies, limiting TV to only as much time as you've exercised each day or putting your favorite shows on TiVo and watching them only after you've completed your workout routine. According to an article in Women's Health Magazine, women who changed their TV watching habits as mentioned, lost an average of 8 pounds in two weeks.

REDUCE MEAT CONSUMPTION

Meat is expensive. In fact, it is one of the priciest items you purchase during each shopping excursion. By slightly decreasing your meat consumption you can not only save money, but will lose weight as well. Meat can be replaced by whole grains and vegetables and because you aren't giving it up altogether, you won't crave it. By limiting yourself to no more than one or two servings of meat per day, you can slash up to 15% of your daily calories. That being said, do not cut out meat altogether. It contains healthy amounts of protein that provide ample fuel for your body during workouts.

PLAN MENUS IN ADVANCE

It is far easier to eat healthfully if you plan your meals in advance. Spend time each weekend planning out a menu for the week. You can find countless healthy recipes in cookbooks and online that include nutritional information. Many recipes are accompanied by pictures so you can choose what most appeals to you. If you plan in advance, it will accomplish a few important goals:

  • Reduces chances of buying unhealthy foods and spur-of-the-moment purchases when shopping
  • Reduces chances of cooking less healthy meals using processed foods during the week
  • Reduces convenience of indulging fast food meals
  • Reminds you to take something out of the freezer each day
  • Reduces overspending on groceries because you only have to get what's on your list
  • Allows you to purposefully add more fruits and veggies to your grocery list

The CDC did a study that revealed that nearly 40% of those who planned their meals in advance lost significant amounts of weight and kept it off.

WATCH WHAT YOU DRINK

Did you know that the average American consumes over 450 calories per day in liquids? This may come in the form of sports drinks, soda, and juice (which also contains high amounts of sugar) or coffee and other beverages. If you can cut that amount in half by replacing it with non-calorie beverages (water is the best) you can save up to 25 pounds per year!

MANAGE YOUR SEROTONIN THROUGH DIET

Did you know that crash dieting causes your serotonin levels to plummet, leaving you irritable and less desirable to be around? This is because serotonin is the chemical in your brain that directly affects your mood. More serotonin, better mood; less serotonin and your friends will make a bee-line for the nearest exit. In order to keep your serotonin levels in a desirable range you must balance your caloric intake with your fitness routine so that you are consuming enough healthy calories to sustain and support your level of exertion. The key here is not just consumption, but the emphasis on "healthy calories." Eating ice cream, drinking milk shakes, eating chips and too much meat because you think you're going to burn off the calories anyway, is counterproductive. This type of eating makes you sluggish and actually makes your workouts far less efficient. Eating a balanced diet of proteins, fruits, veggies, and whole grains is best for managing your weight and your mood!

FRUITS AND VEGETABLES PROMOTE WEIGHT LOSS

Leafy green vegetables are high in folate, which when consumed, facilitates weight loss of up to eight times more than you would lose without it! Eating fruits and vegetables helps to fill you up and provides essential nutrients that boost energy levels and protect your immune system.


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Comments 9 comments

Donna Janelle profile image

Donna Janelle 5 years ago from Oklahoma

These are some great tips!! Thanks for sharing!


Donna Janelle profile image

Donna Janelle 5 years ago from Oklahoma

These are some great tips!! Thanks for sharing!


Jaynie2000 profile image

Jaynie2000 5 years ago Author

Thanks Donna Janelle. I'm glad you found them useful.


cwarden profile image

cwarden 5 years ago from USA

Very good tips. I packed on a few pounds over the holidays, mostly from eggnog and other holiday drinks. It's hard to believe that a drink can have so many calories in it. I hadn't even given it any thought - just ask my hips! Thanks for sharing!


Jaynie2000 profile image

Jaynie2000 5 years ago Author

Thanks, cwarden. I know what you mean. I am a Starbuck's junkie and even though I always ask for non-fat lattes, that has nothing to do with the calories I'm consuming. I've been trying to get that habit under control cuz you're right...hips don't lie.


lyndapringle profile image

lyndapringle 5 years ago from Austin, Texas

You are so right about the crash dieting. I did that in 2006 and lost 30 pounds in only two months only to regain it all back with a vengeance a year later with now a slower metabolism. I hope to lose the weight this go around in a healthier, slower fashion. I hate exercise but ten minutes a day is better than nothing and I have good discipline with food in general. The weight gain is due to medication but I'm confident I can lose it. It helps that I've cut the Starbux out of my diet because of the expense. :-D


Jaynie2000 profile image

Jaynie2000 5 years ago Author

30 lbs is quite an accomplishment, but you're right, it always finds it's way back if we're crashing instead of making a true lifestyle adjustment. I commend your efforts to continue moving in the right direction. Also remember that you don't have to be skinny to be healthy. Some people, myself included, are not tiny. I am quite curvy. But I am healthy and I have maintained a 35 lb weight loss for the past 6 years through moderation and routine exercise. Good luck to you!


LensMan999 profile image

LensMan999 5 years ago from Trans-Neptunian region

Thank you so much Jaynie2000 for providing this useful tips for a healthy life style. I will surely follow all your tips for being healthy.


Jaynie2000 profile image

Jaynie2000 5 years ago Author

I'm so glad. Thank you so much!

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