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What Can I Do Today to Start a Healthy Lifestyle?

As the old saying goes, you cannot out run a bad diet. To achieve weight loss results, you must set goals and an action plan.

As I state in my nutrition book, “Healthy Lifestyle the inside secrets to transforming your body and health”; there is no magic diet to loosing weight. I cover all key focus areas including nutrition, fitness, sleep, mindfulness and meditation. I wanted to cover the basics to getting started on your path to a healthy eating routine and living the life you always wanted but did not know how to even begin.

Let us first look at simple daily food and lifestyle changes:

1. When you wake up, having 2 glasses of water left on the counter ready to drink in the morning before consuming anything is beneficial to getting yourself hydrated and getting your motor running up to speed, which powers the metabolism. The reason you should not have cold water right away is to provide a less of a jolt to your body in the morning after 6-8 hours of no fluids. Keep yourself hydrated throughout the day with water consumption of half your body weight. Add a little lemon to help in appetite suppression. Then you will be ready for that morning coffee. Of course, eliminating any cream or sugar is key.

2. Ensure you are having breakfast within 30-45 minutes of waking up, which should include oatmeal, eggs, Greek yogurt, and/or fruit, such as grapefruit which is an excellent choice to aid in weight loss but always check with your doctor as it can interfere with some medications. Try to stick to around the 300-400 calories for your total breakfast. You never want to skip any meal as it only leads to overeating later and remember a healthy breakfast kickstarts your metabolism.

3. Eating smaller meals throughout the day will ensure energy is maintained throughout the day. It keeps you full throughout the day without overeating or feeling bloated, which is about 4-5 small meals all day at about 300 calories each. Snack ideas when replacing processed snack packaged foods are incorporating carrots, tomatoes, pea pods along with hummus as your side dip.

4. Cooking at home ensures you are consuming the right ingredients and getting the nutrients your body needs. It keeps you accountable to knowing how much you consume at every meal. By creating your own recipes or revamping the old ones, provides healthier alternatives and helping you avoid having too much sugar, salt, etc. Also choosing to prepare your foods by baking, grilling or steaming them will provide the best options to still getting the most nutrients from your vegetables. Of course, consuming the vegetables in raw form ensures you have not lost any of the viable nutrients in the heating process. Anytime, you can avoid packaged or processed foods will be key to living longer and feeling vibrant.

5. Keep a daily routine of incorporating the Healthy Eating Plate:

Food Type                                                            1600 Calories                           2000 Calories

Grains

At least half of your servings should be whole-grain.

6 servings per day                6-8 servings p/day
Vegetables

Eat a variety of colors and types
3-4 servings per day4-5 servings per day
Fruits

Eat a variety of colors and types
4 servings per day4-5 servings per day
Fat-free or low-fat dairy Products2-3 servings per day2-3 servings per day
Lean meats, poultry, and seafood3-6 oz (cooked) per day Less than 6 oz per day

 

Fats and oils

Use liquid vegetable oils and soft margarine most often
2 servings per day2-3 servings per day
Nuts, seeds, and legumes3-4 servings per week4-5 servings per week
Sweets and added sugars0 servings per week5 or fewer servings per week

 

 

6. Tracking keeps you on top of your total calories with a protein, carbs, fat, etc. breakdown. So, I would recommend having a food journal or getting a fit bit, or etc. They really give you a true picture of not only your diet, but exercise and sleep. This way, you know if you are getting the 6-8 hours of sleep needed and how many steps are you getting each day? I keep it on all day and charge it only when I am in the shower, which keeps it at a full charge all day.

7. You know what they always say “Never go to the grocery store on an empty stomach because as you do when your home and starving- you tend to reach for more refined products, or sugary items that only keep you on the same hunger path. Reading labels is important to keep ensuring you are buying healthy foods. Always check the ingredients as the main ingredient has the most in the product and having 5 ingredients or less is ideal. Side note: If you cannot pronounce the ingredient, probably best to avoid it. Keep in mind, calories per serving, sodium, sugar, and fats. Are they the good fats, which are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which keep your immune system healthier. Then there are the bad fats, which are trans and saturated fats. They can raise the bad cholesterol and lower the good cholesterol. They also increase risk factors in coronary heart disease and stroke.

8. Focus on you “fullness feeling”, which is your satiety level. Overeating can impair your bodily functions and lead to additional overeating along with bloating, gas, etc. That’s why small meals lead to successful weight loss to help burn calories throughout the day while maintaining energy to keep you feeling alive. Keep in mind, choosing junk food only leads to feeling nauseated, uncomfortable and drained of energy.

9. All in moderation- Keeping your regimen in balance is key, but life does not work on cue so, some days life is hectic, but you restart again the next day. This does not mean eliminating all the foods you love but revamping them to a healthier version. So, whether you are revamping a recipe, or selecting options at the restaurant. You want to change ingredients or side options to get the best results, such as getting a balsamic dressing and, on the side, or a bun less burger with a side salad instead of fries will cut your calories dramatically. Let us not forget the salt, fat, carbs, etc. that are benefiting your health as well. One thing, I will tell all my clients is I never want them to feel like they are being deprived or restricted from eating the foods they love. I am just helping them revamp them and helping identify healthier versions, so they can still have that burger, etc. If you deprive yourself or take away all the foods you love, your body craves them, and you overindulge.

10. Always be moving- Keep incorporating movement into your day, whether it is parking further away in the parking lot or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Exercise helps alleviate stress and boosts your mood. Plus take in some vitamin D while your exercising outside to provide additional happiness into your day.

11. Always put things back as you found them to avoid chaos later. Organization can play a huge role in your mental health, since our surroundings keep us rounded and provide stability in our lives. So, if there is clutter in your bedroom, you tend to focus in on the problem and therefore; not getting a restful sleep. Setting up your bedroom to provide ambience is key to a good sleep regimen. Shutting down technology 1 hour before bedtime, keeping the room cooler, making sure there is no light that can impact your sleep and looking at candles or oils, such as lavender to make you feel a sense of calmness before going to sleep.

12. Take time for yourself by focusing on mindfulness, mediation or yoga to bring wholeness to your body. Letting go of what you can not control and taking in those deep breaths and letting them out to let the body relax and relieve the stress or anxiety around you.

13. Having family meals together, while disconnecting from tv, phones, etc. and having a conversation across the dinner table. This will help avoid the mindless eating and stay attuned to your family’s needs and staying connected with them.

Avoid late night binge eating by creating meals that provide fiber and fullness during dinner and eating at a reasonable time such as 6 pm and usually 2 hours before bedtime. If you really are craving a late snack, you could choose either frozen blueberries, bananas or popcorn.

Curb your sweet tooth by consuming vegetables that have natural sugar such as carrots, sweet potatoes, or bell peppers. As an added benefit, add them to any dish for extra nutrients, add fiber & fullness while helping reduce the sugar kick.

Start with baby steps and introduce one new intention each week to get you on the right path and continuing a routine will keep you accountable toward a successful, healthier new you, while providing the benefits to feeling better and the path toward longevity.

As always, consult your health professional before starting any exercise to ensure you are on the right track.

I hope this article finds you in good health.

 

Reference:

Healthy Eating

Good Fat vs. Bad Fat

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/HealthyDietGoals/Suggested-Servings-from-Each-Food-Group_UCM_318186_Article.jsp#.Wrqxw5dOnIU

Image Credits: Shutterstock.com

About the authorConnie McDonald

Connie Stoltz-McDonald is an Integrative Nutrition-Certified Health Coach, CPT, Wellness Educator, and Blogger, whose passion for living a healthy lifestyle has become her mission through helping others achieve a balanced life. From her passion for writing, she is excited to announce her first book release titled “Healthy Lifestyle- The inside secrets to transforming your body and health.” If you’d like to get a copy, you can connect with her at www.lifestylehealthmentor.com at Facebook at Twitter at LinkedIn at Instagram.

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