Hi friends! How were your holidays? Very good here. I did a recap of our Christmas day celebration on Honey We’re Home if you want to take a peek. Healthwise, I’m proud to say that I stuck to a good workout routine that definitely helped me not feel too bad about enjoying all the extra food I ate in the last couple of weeks. I am ready to kick off the new year strong and was thinking about things we can do daily to change our health for the better today.
I’m not talking about general goals like, “lose weight”, I’m talking specific actions that you can incorporate into your daily routine that hopefully become a habit and add up to some pretty big changes at the end of 2014.
1. Control Portion Sizes Sometimes we eat too much just because the sizes served to us in restaurants are so big that we forget what a realistic portion size looks like. Drink sizes are huge, refrigerators are huge. Have you looked at a fridge from the 50s and laughed at how tiny it compares to today’s varieties? Instead of eating straight from a bag or box (because it’s hard to tell how much you’re consuming), portion out your snacks into baggies or small tupperware. Use smaller plates and understand that most portion sizes are about the size of your fist.
2. Don’t Go Hungry If you wait until you’re starving to eat, chances are your food choices will be poor and you will overeat. By balancing your meals and snacks evenly throughout the day, you are more likely to eat better and stay fuller longer. Bring healthy snacks to work or keep them in your purse. Things like nuts and apples don’t need to be refrigerated, but if you have access to a fridge, you can bring cold snacks like cheese or Greek yogurt.
3. Quit Smoking Period. We all know by now it’s terrible for our health. I’ve never smoked so I cannot say I understand the addiction or how hard it is to quit. I do know that your family members probably wish you would quit because they want you alive and healthy for a long time. I tell this to my parents all the time. I have several friends who quit using acupuncture and/or hypnosis.
4. Get More Sleep Stress and lack of sleep are so hard on a body physically. Do what you can to wind down at night, so you can get the rest you need. Getting off the computer, cell phone and turning down the lights can help get you ready for bed. Sometimes I’ll just get in bed before I’m ready to go to sleep, intending to read, then quickly fall asleep not realizing how tired I actually am.
5. Eat Breakfast My quick go-to breakfasts are oatmeal, toast with peanut butter, or Greek yogurt with granola. My friend makes a protein smoothie for breakfast. Whatever it is, it’s good to get your metabolism going and start your day with calories and energy.
6. Eat More Veggies Incorporating vegetables into our diet is important because they contain essential vitamins and minerals that offer protection against many diseases like cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Try switching out one meal a week for a salad loaded with veggies or add a vegetable to one of your daily meals. I like to snack on a handful of mini carrots or celery and peanut butter. Baked Kale chips are awesome. Edamame is delicious. A veggie omelet is a good way to incorporate more vegetables and you can always toss some spinach into a smoothie.
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7. Slash Sodium The recommended limit of sodium is a teaspoon (or 6 grams) daily. Besides contributing to water retention (i.e. bloating), sodium can raise blood pressure. Processed foods contain the most, so make sure to read labels. Lower sodium diets are linked to decreased risk of heart disease, but are also associated with lower hypertension and weight management. via Reader’s Digest
8. Cut Out Soft Drinks Soda, soft drinks, pop (whatever you call it) has no nutritional value and can pack on the pounds. Giving up these drinks (without doing anything else) can reap great rewards in terms of weight loss. I read at FitDay that estimates show that two cans of soda per day adds approximately 24 to 35 pounds of fat per year, depending on body size, age, habits, etc.. Some people (weighing in at 140 pounds) have reported that by giving up two cans of soda per day, without exercise, they lost 20 pounds in six months.
9. Drink More Water We talked about drinking water recently and how much is enough. Ladies Home Journal found the benefits are: 1) younger looking skin and better complexion by staying hydrated; 2) helps lose weight by keeping you feeling satiated; and 3) boosts mood and brain power.
10. Get Active Even 10 to 30 physical activity has positive benefits like weight loss, improved mood and energy, and better sleep. The easiest way I’ve found to to incorporate exercise is by walking more. It costs nothing and you can do it anywhere. I park far away from the door at stores and take the stairs when possible. If your weather permits right now, just open the door and walk around the block a few times. Once you start this habit, it will feel so good that you’ll crave more. Even if it’s difficult at first, the payoff is worth it and it gets easier!