By Beverly Burmeier | Edited by Elena Doxey
For many of us, this month is all about getting back on track and achieving a healthy lifestyle. After spending the last month overindulging for the holidays, the early part of the new year is the perfect time to feel refreshed. So, how do you get there? Below, we list out four key components to conquer that will allow you to gain control of your health and stay there.
The key is to eat well without feeling like you’re starving all day. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
- Start your day with a protein-rich breakfast that include foods such as eggs, yogurt (try a delicious, easy to make shake), almonds, peanut butter (who doesn’t love a good smoothie bowl?), meat (preferably organic) and fish (preferably sustainable species).
- Grazing or eating smaller meals throughout the day helps to curb hunger and spread the calories over longer periods of time.
- Incorporate calorie-dense foods that are high in fiber and water. It’s a great way to help you feel full and satisfied while also providing valuable nutrients. Some examples include: fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes.
- Increase your water intake. Drinking two eight ounce glasses of water before meals is an easy way to fill you up with zero calories, and has been proven to help many lose weight and keep it off.
- Eliminate mindless eating by changing your food environment. Some easy ways include using salad-sized plates instead of dinner plates, eating in the kitchen or dining room (away from the television), moving unhealthy foods out of sight and placing healthier options to eye-level in your cupboard or pantry.
It’s no surprise that increasing your physical activity is a crucial part to building a healthy lifestyle and keeping weight off. Here are some fun and easy ways to incorporate activity into your lifestyle and keep the calories burning all day:
- A one-hour brisk walk can keep your body burning calories for up to 14 hours.
- 45 minutes of vigorous exercise has been shown to burn 190 additional calories even when the body is at rest later the same day.
- Join a hiking group, sports team, dance club, or try a yoga fusion class.
- Head outdoors as often as you can. Research has found you use 10% more energy if you walk or exercise outdoors due to the varying temperatures and surfaces.
Some of us have a love/hate relationship with food that can put us on an emotional roller coaster of stress and weight gain. It’s important to identify situations such as negative moods or personal difficulties so you can cope with them in more positive ways. If you find yourself eating for reasons other than sustenance, now is the time to begin substituting an activity in place of those food triggers. Some suggestions include:
- Talking to a friend
- Finding a hobby or other interest that redirects your focus
- Joining an support group that can provide positive feedback
How you feel on the inside and having a positive mindset is critical for living a healthy lifestyle. Here are a few more tips to help you track your progress in a positive way:
- Modify food intake by monitoring portion size and keeping a food diary
- When you dine out, share entrees (it won’t seem like a lot, but you’ll leave feeling just the right amount of full and satisfied)
- No matter how tempting, skip the fast food and pick up a healthy, filling snack
By nailing your goals with these four key components, you will be well on your way to that healthy lifestyle. You have what it takes to make it happen. By staying focused and keeping a positive attitude, you’ll be feeling better than ever and will have the energy and determination to get on a great track―and stay there!