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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