Friday, September 15, 2017

10 Habits to Adopt for a Healthier and Leaner You!

It's easy to get into a routine in life... whether you consider that routine daily habits, or a rut, it is natural to strive for stability... it's human nature.

But what if those very habits you've gotten into are sabotaging your health, or causing you to get more unhealthy?

Many habits can seem harmless, but add up over time, whether they add to your waistline, or they add to damage inside your body, certain habits need to be replaced.  The following is a list of 10 habits to adopt and/or replace bad habits with!

1. Eat every meal in the kitchen without distractions.  Yep, eating in front of the TV can cause us to eat significantly more food without even registering that we ate it or that we are full.  Being mindful of what you are eating will help you to eat less, and to enjoy your food more.  Take the time to prepare your meal on a plate, sit down, and enjoy the food without reading, watching tv, etc.  Or even better, sit down with loved ones/family/roommates and get some healthy human interaction time in while you enjoy your meal.

2. Meal Prep.  Meal prepping is intimidating if you've never done it.  But here's why you should - #1. You can ensure at least 1 meal per day is extremely healthy.  #2. You save money.  If you're at work and you want to eat out, it can cost you anywhere from $5-$30 depending on where you go.  If you meal prep, you can control costs and get a much healthier meal than fast food or most restaurant food.  Pick a day (for me it's usually Sunday) to pre-make the weeks lunches.  Start with just one meal (like lunch) for each day, and then if you feel like you want to try and meal prep for more than 1 meal per day, add that on after you've gotten into the habit.  It's amazing how much better you feel when you're eating a healthy and nutritious lunch every day instead of grabbing fast food or skipping lunch.  Plus your wallet will thank you.

3. Take the Stairs. If you regularly park as close to the front of a store as you can, take the elevator, and find other ways to shortcut your trek to work and other place, it's time to consider changing up your habits.  Find ways to get more steps in and more movement into your day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park in the back of the parking lot at the grocery store.  You will feel better, and it will burn a few extra calories... something most of us need.

4. Eat More Vegetables. I know, I probably sound like your mom right now.  But seriously.  If you aren't eating vegetables with every meal you are missing out on vital nutrients and fiber.  These nutrients are so important and so many Americans are sick because they don't get enough of them.  The goal is to eat at least 1 vegetable per meal, but if you don't eat any vegetables, at least eat 1 vegetable for 1 meal per day.. and then work your way up from there.  Let me tell you, if you suffer from intestinal problems like I do, this can make an insane difference in your life for the better.

5. Get Better Sleep - Shut off your devices. If you've ever suffered from insomnia, you know it can be maddening and it can also get worse over time.  One night of missed sleep can turn into weeks of terrible sleep.  One of the culprits of poor sleep is screen time.  The lights from the computer screen, your phone screen, or the TV screen actually mess with your circadian rhythm.  An hour before bed, put all devices on sleep mode or turn them off, and start winding down.  Try adopting the habit of reading a book, or drinking warm, caffeine-free tea before bed.  Keep your bedroom a sacred, tv-free place.. a place where you sleep and you don't work.  Train your body to wind down and let your room be the place that triggers those warm fuzzy sleepy feelings. (I'd like to add that if you exercise that day, keep it several hours before bedtime.. and you'll probably sleep really well if you push yourself hard)

6. Drink More Water and Less Crap. If you find yourself drinking more flavored drinks than you do plain water... it's time to consider a switch.  First of all, if you're drinking your calories, you're taking in empty and useless calories... a total self-sabotaging move.  If you love carbonation, try drinking carbonated water, or stevia flavored drinks (like Zevia) as treats.  Even with those, try to cut down your consumption in favor of water over time.  Water keeps our bodies running like a well-oiled machine.  If you're dehydrated, you'll be tired, feel like crap, and things won't work properly.

7. Learn to Indulge.  If you are going to indulge with food, learn how to do it in a healthy way.  Don't indulge with a giant bag of M&Ms.  Buy your favorite high-quality chocolate, or go out and get a slice of your favorite dessert, but don't over-indulge.  Eat a normal and conservative portion and savor each bite.

8. Relieve Stress Without Stress Eating.  If you are stressed out all the time, you have to find a way to reduce that stress, because stress is a huge burden on the body and the endocrine system.  It can actually cause you to gain weight.  Do not eat your stress away.  Try a nice massage, or a bath with a bath bomb and a good book to de-stress.  Indulge in a movie (sans popcorn).  Meditation is another great way to de-stress. Exercise is one of the best ways to get rid of stress, even though it seems to be the last thing you want to do when stressed.  Find a non-food way to relax.

9. Meditate.  Meditation has wonderful benefits that are still being studied.  It's a great way to relax, lower your blood pressure, and refocus on what is important in your life.  Try downloading a cool meditation app and try it out for yourself.  OR sign up for a meditation class.  Or Yoga.  Something.  

10. Practice Mindfulness.  Do you think about what you're doing while you do it?  Or are you on autopilot most of the time?  Instead of running on default mode, try to really think about what you are doing.  What are you eating?  How do you feel when you are eating?  Pay attention to what you are doing and how you feel while doing it.  Then try to mindfully exchange some of your bad habits for better habits.  This will be effective in making you healthier, leaner, and also happier in other aspects of your life!

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