- LEARN TO COOK
Cooking meals at home allows you to control portion sizes and quality of ingredients, and it cuts your intake of sodium, fat, and calories. Avoid frying foods by learning to roast or bake, and eat more raw foods to boost flavor and cut calories. Use herbs and spices to reduce salt intake.
- DRINK WATER
Hunger is often confused with dehydration. Next time you feel snack, have a glass of water. Even mild dehydration can alter our body’s metabolism, so aim to drink eight glasses a day and limit soda, caffeine, and alcohol. It is also agreed that drinking water before meals can help promote weight loss. Studies show people who drink two glasses of water before meals feel fuller and eat less.
- EAT BREAKFAST
By eating a hearty breakfast, you’ll give your metabolism a jumpstart and be in better control of your cravings. When we miss our first fuel of the day, by mid-morning we are hungry and more likely to engage in mindless nibbing, snacking, overeating, and over compensating for any calories “saved” by skipping breakfast. Studies repeatedly show daily breakfast consumption is associated with maintaining a healthy weight. But if you are not ready for breakfast early in the morning, listen to your body and eat when you feel it’s best for you.
- EAT CARBS-REAL CARBS!
Replace refined carbohydrates like white bread, pasta, bagels, cereal, and pretzels with complex carbohydrates from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber which slows digestion and promotes stable blood sugar levels. They’re also packed with antioxidants which help reduce inflammation in the body. Whole grain carbohydrates should always be chosen over refined varieties. Think about eating them as you would find them in nature – breads made from wheat that’s milled, brown rice simply taken straight from the plant – complete with fiber and phytonutrients the way Mother Nature intended they be eaten!
- CHOOSE HEALTHY FATS
A common misconception is that fats should be completely eliminated. In reality, we could not live without fat. The body utilizes dietary fat for energy, health of hair, skin and nails, vitamin absorption, and normal everyday bodily functions. Good fats promote several health benefits such as protection against heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and depression, as well as reduced blood pressure and lower cholesterol. Choose sources such as nuts, seeds, fish, avocados, and extra virgin olive oil.
- EXERCISE YOUR BODY AND MIND
Exercise has enormous benefits for your mind and body with research boasting decreased body weight, smaller waist circumference, lower resting heart rate and blood pressure, AND it boosts your mood! Strive to be active at least 30 minutes every day to help keep your body strong and lean. It doesn’t have to be expensive – any movement is better than none. Try these tips to get moving:
- Go on nightly jogs or walks with your dog.
- Take a walk with your friend instead of coffee drink.
- Buy new sport clothes
And playing your children in the park or trying a hand at gardening will keep your body active. It’s also just as important to keep your mind active. Boost brainpower by spending time thinking positively, meditating, or practicing activities that require deep thought like reading or playing Sudoku.
- EMPHASIZE LEAN PROTEIN
Our bodies require protein to continuously renew and replenish our cells, stabilize our blood sugar, and give us energy. Our bodies are literally made out of the amino acids that make up protein in our food. Many foods contain protein, but the richest sources include animal products like meat, dairy, eggs, and fish, as well as plant sources like beans, nuts, and seeds. When choosing animal protein sources, be conscious of the way the animal was raised and what it ate. Grass-fed beef and free-range chicken are healthier and more ethically sound choices then feedlot meats. Organic yogurt and cage-fee eggs are great for vegetarians, while tofu, tempeh, and peanut butter are good vegan protein sources.
- CATCH SOME ZZZZS
Research suggests that those who sleep five hours or less weigh tree kilos more than those getting at least seven hours of shut eye per night. Over time, weight gain can increase more rapidly in those who get five hours of sleep when compared to those getting seven hours. Lack of sleep disrupts circadian rhythms and can lead to inefficient body regulation of energy balance, metabolism, and appetite. Abnormal leptin and ghrelin levels – hormones that tell your body “I’m full, stop eating” – can go awry with too little sleep. Said simply – sleep more, eat and weigh less! Strive for seven to eight hours of sleep each night.
- EAT MORE FREQUENTLY
It’s important to balance your food intake throughout the day to help maintain normal blood sugar and decrease chances of binging when hunger strikes. Try to keep track of your meal choices and balance the variety intake. Feeding your body on a regular basis lets it know food is available and it’s okay to burn energy rather that conserve and store it as fat.
- KEEP TRACK OF WHAT YOU EAT
Be a food detective, and investigate what you choose to put into your body. Check labels, and avoid ingredients such as sugar, trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, and long “chemical names” that are hard to pronounce. The healthiest foods are those found just as nature intended – whole and unprocessed. When was the last time you saw an ingredient list on a stalk of broccoli or a fresh filet of salmon?
- Institute for Integrative Nutrition database
- Why Sugar Makes Us Sleepy (And Protein Wakes Us Up)
- Higher protein intake preserves lean mass and satiety with weight loss in preobese and obese women
- Relationship between Eating Behavior, Breakfast Consumption, and Obesity Among Finnish and Geek Adolescents