10 Steps To A Thinner, Healthier, Newer You
So here we are in a new year, and once again we find ourselves disappointed when we look in the mirror. Time to drag out that annual resolution and get healthy, lose weight, and rediscover that svelte version of ourselves we are all convinced we were in high school. I am right there with you, wondering what happened to all those grandiose plans I was making to help survive the holidays. Well, hike up your sweatpants kids, because I've ten steps to help guide us in the right direction this year. I'm not a doctor and this isn't really a plan per se, just 10 ideas that if implemented can make huge impact on how we look and, more importantly, how we feel. These aren't ranked in order of importance, just how they came to me. As I implement these steps in my own life I will regularly add to this hub to keep you updated on my progress. Good luck everyone!
10. Drink Water
Did you know you're supposed to drink at least 64 ounces of water per day? More than that if you are working out regularly. And no, beer doesn't count because it has water in it. Water can do wonders for a body that needs to shed some extra pounds. It can help curb those feelings of hunger that send you to the snack cupboard (I'm not the only one with a snack cupboard, right?). Try this the next time you feel a hunger pang; drink a glass of water and wait for 10 minutes to see if you're still hungry. Staying hydrated also helps flush out toxins and funk from your system as well and keeping those hard working muscles from cramping. Tip: If you drink ice water your body will have to burn a few extra calories warming it up.
9. Eat A High Protein Breakfast
If carbohydrates (bread, sugar, crackers, noodles, grains, etc.) are the kindling that jump start our metabolic fires, then protein is the big log that burns for a long time. Every had a donut for breakfast and been hungry an hour later? That's because your body spiked quickly on those carbs and then they ran out in a hurry, leaving you hungry and reaching for more calories. If you can get some protein (preferably lean) into your breakfast you will feel fuller longer into the day. Try an egg white scramble with turkey bacon or low-fat sausage. Making a list of healthy protein can help make your morning decision easier.
8. Don't Eat 2 Hours Before Going To Bed
Sleep is the time for your body to relax and recover from all your hard work during the day. Filling your belly with food prior to going to bed not only will give your body something to do instead of recharging (breaking down and digesting food), but also give your body few options other than converting that food into fat. That is, unless you run marathons in your sleep, in which case you'll be fine. Drink some water or have a healthy snack 2 hours before you go to bed to help curb those just-before-bed cravings.
7. Get Plenty Of Sleep
As you begin taking steps to a healthier you, your body is going to need ample time to rest and recover. You are changing your diet and working out more. Your body is trying to do more with less. Respect its need for rest. You may not think you need 8 hours of sleep but your body definitely does. I know this can be hard and maybe not possible, but try your best to turn off the TV, finish writing your hub in the morning, and wait to read the rest of the chapter in your book. Your body will thank you and you will have more energy to get up and get going the next day.
6. Create A Support Network
The importance of this step cannot be understated. If you have family and friends you can confide in then include them in your mission to be healthier. If you don't have people in your life you can include then join a community online. There is no shame in admitting you are overweight or unhealthy. Letting people know you are making changes can elicit some great advice, support, or at least stop them from buying you donuts every morning:). You will be surprised at how many people have been or are in similar situations as you. Also, having people celebrate your success with you can be motivating in itself and help keep you on track.
5. Celebrate Small Victories
Sure, we all want to lose a lot of weight or make drastic changes. News flash: that won't happen quickly. Changing your lifestyle and body is a painfully slow process when done in a healthy way. You will not be skinny tomorrow, you won't lose 25 pounds in a week. So don't set yourself up for disappointment by expecting immediate changes. Instead, focus on the smaller, day-to-day victories you have. Celebrate a good workout, or a week without eating cake, or choosing to take the stairs instead of the elevator, or fighting off an intense craving. These little choices you make throughout your day are what will add up to your eventual success. Don't hesitate to get excited about them!
4. Monitor Your Progress
There is a bit of debate out there as to how many times you weigh yourself, or look at yourself in the mirror, or measure that problem area. I believe the solution lies in a balance. You don't need to hit the scale after every meal, every workout, or even every day if you don't want to. But you should have a good idea of the progress you are making. For some people that means every day, for some every week or month. Knowing where you start from, where you are, and where you are going are critical in feeling like you are making progress. You can also glean valuable information about your eating habits and work out regimen by monitoring your weight. Tip: If you are going to weigh in every day, make sure it is at the same time of day. Your body fluctuates throughout the day and weighing in at different times can be deceiving as to your true progress.
3. Control Your Portions and Eat Slower
This is the step that I struggle with the most. I overeat and I do it quickly. In America, everything seems to come super-sized these days and it can be hard to understand what the correct portion is. I'm working on a hub about correct portion sizes, check back in the next couple of days and learn a lot. You'll be really surprised! In the meantime, focus on thinking about the amount you are eating and if you are actually still hungry. Take the time to chew and eat more slowly. This will allow your stomach to let you know when it is full even if there is still food on your plate. Tip: Try eating your meals on your smaller salad plates. That's a little more realistic size of how much you should be eating. If you're truly still hungry when you are finished, you can always go back for more.
2. Eat Something Fresh Every Day
Studies show that when we cook food they lose some of the nutritional value. I'm not advocating a completely raw food diet (more power to you if you can do that), but remembering to include some fresh, uncooked food into your meals can go a long way to providing important nutrients you need. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts are all great ways to include nutrient rich foods into your diet. I like to eat mine all at the same time in a salad. You can also go the rout of a juicer and drink your raw food. The more you do this step the more your body will crave those fresh foods and the healthier you will be.
1. Move More
As I talked about in another hub (http://hubpages.com/hub/Why-I-Am-Fat) of mine, the science and numbers of losing weight are fairly straightforward: if you burn more calories than you consume you will burn off extra calories your body has stored as fat. Obviously its not quite that simple but if you can grasp that concept you will be well on your way to losing weight. The most effective way to burn more calories during the day is to move more. That may be a workout, it may be taking a walk, it may mean parking in the last spot in the parking lot. But the more movement you incorporate into your day the more calories you will burn. Be careful though, you don't want to reduce your calories and increase your working out to the point that you are being unhealthy and doing damage to your body. Make sure you are maintaining healthy levels of caloric intake (roughly 2000 per day for an adult) especially if you are adding a workout regimen into your lifestyle. In some cases you may even need to eat more in order to properly fuel your body for weight loss. If you are unsure, talk to a health care professional to figure out what will work best for you.
Pretty simple right? Sounds easy enough. But we all know the real work is in the doing, not the writing about it:). I hope that you found some helpful tips in this hub. As I said before I will be updating my progress as I strive to reach a goal weight of 200 pounds. Check back often and let me know about your goals and accomplishments. Good luck!