Tips To Help You Lose Weight and Get Healthier
I was recently asked by my sister-in-law for some tips on what to eat to lose weight and become healthier. I first planned to send her a short message on what had worked for me. When it became clear that it was going to be a bit longer than the average message, I decided to publish a hub about it. Who knows, this information might even help someone else who is struggling.
In the words of my husband, “Eat less, exercise more”. It really does work. But, if you eat the right things, and stay away from the bad, you can actually eat more than you think.
The first thing I recommend is to stop drinking soda pop. Do not drink it at all, not even diet. It is a crutch and will keep you wanting sweet drinks. You need to get past your craving for the really sweet taste of soda pop. The best alternative is to drink water. Drink lots of it. Your body will thank you and you will feel so much better. If you want a change, try green tea or some of the water flavorers that are becoming popular now.
Second, stop eating fast food. Do not even eat the salads. There are too many things on them that are high in sugar. And, you do not think of salads being bad, but they can be. Fast food restaurants use the cheapest ingredients that are available. That means that the cheese on your salad is high in cholesterol and sometimes sugar. Those bacon bits are imitation and very high in sugar and salt. If you want a salad, make one at home. Use all the ingredients you love. Just be sure they are fresh. If you want bacon bits, get the real bacon pieces. They will still have a bit of salt, but there will be no carbs, or a very low amount. And, they taste better than the imitation.
White flour, white sugar, white salt, and white rice are a few of the foods you need to stay away from. Try some of the whole wheat or multi-grain pastas. I prefer these because they are not as pasty as regular pasta. And, there are many whole grain breads that are not white. Do not just look at the wheat breads. There are some multi-grain breads that are delicious. If you enjoy rice, look for the whole grain versions. And, try to stay away from as much sodium, or salt, as possible. Read the labels on the foods you are buying. You may be surprised how much is in them.
Try to make up most of your diet out of foods that are only one ingredient. The more processed and pre-pared foods are, the worse they are for you. Eat lots of lean protein. Try to avoid the fatty proteins such as beef. Chicken and fish are very easy to prepare. And, you can find them in bulk at larger grocery stores. Avoid frying, if at all possible. Try grilling, baking, or broiling. And, no breading. Breading is full of carbs. If you are grilling outside, instead of just cooking what you will be eating for your meal that day, grill some for the next day or so. You can cut it up and use in a salad, wrap it in a whole wheat tortilla, or eat it plain. Add a large green salad and you have a great meal. And, you can eat the dressings you like. Most do not have lots of carbs, which is what you need to watch the most.
I can not emphasize the value of leafy, green vegetables enough. There are so many types of lettuce to choose from. Then add a bit of baby spinach. Top it off with other veggies, such as peppers, onions, sprouts, anything green. You can also add herbs for a bit of taste. Try adding some parsley, basil, or even mint. Just try to limit yellow vegetables, such as carrots and squash. Top it with some low carb cheese and dressing, and you have a delicious meal or side dish. The healthiest meals are over half green vegetables. This can be difficult, but you will love the results.
Fruit is also important to a healthy diet. You just have to be careful to eat the correct amount. Most fruits contain a large amount of sugar. While it is natural sugar, it will still be stored in your body as fat. Apples are a good choice. Oranges have much more sugar in them. Try to limit your intake to one small piece of low sugar fruit a day.
When looking for produce, try shopping at your local farmer's markets, if you are lucky enough to have one near your home. The vegetables are much fresher and probably have less chemicals on them. And, you will be helping the local economy, as well.
If you work long hours, it can be very difficult to be motivated to exercise when you are tired from working. Try starting to exercise on your days off. Work up to at least forty-five minutes of good cardio on those days, an hour is better. Once you can do that easily, add weights. Get some ankle weights and hand held dumbbells. Try doing some exercises that will build your arm and shoulder muscles. Muscle will help you keep the weight off after you lose it. And, you do not have to look like Mr. Universe to get the benefits of healthy muscles. Be sure and stretch your muscles after you exercise. This will help them recover more quickly for your next session.
If your work environment is especially stressful, or if you just want to relax a bit, yoga is a wonderful exercise to add to your routine. Since you can do this at home, you could try yoga on the days you work and still get your cardio on the days you are off from work. All you need to practice yoga is a mat and an open space that is large enough for you to move and not hit furniture.
Another tip for exercise is to add variety. If you do the same thing every day for months or years, you will get bored. Find at least three different activities you enjoy and do each of them twice a week on different days. Also, if you do the same exercise every time, your body will get used to it and you will not get as much benefit. If you surprise your body with different types of movement, you will see much better results. And, you will be more likely to stick with your new exercise program.
Once you have been exercising for a while on your days off from work, try adding one day to your exercise routine that is a work day. Do not try to add more than one work day every two weeks at the most. Get your body accustomed to exercising on work days and you will feel so much better. And, you will sleep better, which will help you work better. It is a cycle that you will enjoy working into.
Eating healthier will take a bit of work. You will have to spend some time in your grocery store and read labels. Lots of them. You will need to find the foods that do not contain too much sugar or salt. This can be a challenge, because most packaged foods contain an abundance of these two ingredients.
I hope these tips can help you get healthy and lose weight. But, as with any new diet or exercise program, please consult your doctor before trying something new. This information is not ever intended to be a substitute for advice from a medical doctor.