7 Tips to a Healthier You
Getting in shape and having the body you want doesn’t just come from waking up in the morning and running or sweating it out in the gym. In fact, there are so many people out there that put in so much physical work and money only to end up disappointed with the results (or lack of) that they see. The key to seeing the changes you want is supplementing a good exercise program with healthy eating. Gaining or losing weight comes down to how many calories you take in and how many you are burning throughout the day.
If you are trying to lose weight your caloric intake needs to be lower than the amount of calories you burn that day. The opposite goes for gaining weight with your caloric intake needing to be higher than the amount of calories you are burning in a day. Remember this though: Calories are not all equal. This means even if the cheeseburger and chicken breast have similar amounts of calories, the quality is very different; quantity ≠ quality. The diet should be nutritionally balanced and offer a variety of foods.
As with everything else in life, I like to keep my eating and fitness to a “just for today” mindset. While having a fitness plan and meal plan is a great way of being prepared and staying consistent, it is important to recognize what I can do to better myself and my situation TODAY. “Just today I won’t eat at the McDonald’s drive-thru.” Or… “I’m going to get up and exercise even though I don’t feel like it, today!” Let’s face it anyway…feelings aren’t facts… and the fact is we need to take action today to change our feelings and mindset. Tomorrow will take care of itself and we will be better people in a better situation if we can just take care of our part today! (Okay, motivational speech complete )
I have compiled a list of tips that I use to achieve and maintain success in my diet and keep my fitness level high in the grocery store and kitchen.
1. HYDRATION IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS! Before eating a meal or grabbing a snack when you feel hungry, drink some water. Thirst is often mistaken for hunger so drinking water can help you avoid unnecessary calorie intake. Drinking water is also important for exercising as a 5% loss in bodyweight water can result in a 30% workload capacity reduction.*
2. Eat protein at every meal. Protein encourages fat burning and preserving muscle. It’s more satisfying than carbs or fat and will fill you up for longer.
3. PREPARE! I choose Sundays and Wednesdays as my prep days. I cook my meals for the next few days and freeze them. Having meals prepared keeps me from being tempted by ordering out, eating out, or eating unhealthy. It is equally as important to prepare for going to the grocery store.
4. Stay to the outside. When shopping in the supermarket you will notice that the produce, meats, dairy, and generally the less processed foods are on the outside. Have a strategy of shopping on the outside perimeter of the store and only go in the aisles for things on your list. Get in and get out!
5. Always eat breakfast. You have heard it said that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Well, this actually holds some weight. Different studies have shown that eating breakfast can help to curve your appetite later in the day. Start the day with some healthy carbs and protein.
6. THROW UNHEALTHY FOODS AWAY! Clean all unhealthy foods out of the cupboard and fridge. Donate what you can to a food bank or food drive and throw the rest in the trash. Don’t tempt yourself or you may throw away a week of healthy eating for an ice cream and cookie bender!
7. Get Support! Keep yourself accountable with family and friends and with your trainer. It is much easier to do together what is hard to do alone.
Whether this is the beginning of your journey to be a fitter, healthier you, or the next step in the process, be proud of yourself for each step in the right direction. Don’t doubt yourself and take it a day at a time. Remember, past performance does not guarantee future results; what you do today will give you a better shot at getting to the fitness level you desire. Reward yourself with a fun day out, some new shoes, or something you like (not food :P) for the progress you make. Enjoy this journey!