DRINK WATER Hunger is often confused with dehydration. Next time you feel like a snack, have a glass of water. Even mild dehydration can alter your body’s metabolism, so aim to drink eight glasses a day and limit soda, caffeine, and alcohol. It’s also been shown that drinking water before meals promotes weight loss. Studies show people who drink two glasses of water before meals feel fuller and eat less.
EAT CARBS–REAL CARBS! Replace refined carbohydrates like white bread, pasta, bagels, cereal, and pretzels with complex carbohydrates from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber which slows digestion and promotes stable blood sugar levels. They’re also packed with antioxidants which help reduce inflammation in the body. Whole grain carbohydrates should always be chosen over refined varieties. Eat them as you would find them in nature – breads made from wheat that’s milled, brown rice simply taken straight from the plant – complete with fiber and phytonutrients the way Mother Nature intended.
CHOOSE HEALTHY FATS A common misconception is that fats should be completely eliminated. In reality, we couldn’t live without fat. The body utilizes dietary fat for energy, hair, skin and nail health, vitamin absorption, and every bodily function. Good fats protect against heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and depression, reduce blood pressure, and lower cholesterol. Choose nuts, seeds, fish, avocado, and extra virgin olive oil.
EMPHASIZE LEAN PROTEIN Our bodies require protein for cell growth and renewal, blood sugar stabilization, and energy. We’re literally made out of the amino acids that make up protein. Many foods contain protein, but the richest plant sources are animal products like meat, dairy, eggs, and fish, and plant sources like beans, nuts, and seeds.1,2 When choosing animal protein sources, be conscious of the way the animal was raised and what it ate. Grass-fed beef and free-range chicken are healthier and more ethically-sound choices than feedlot meats. Organic yogurt and cage-free eggs are great for vegetarians, while tofu, tempeh, and peanut butter are good vegan protein sources.
EAT BREAKFAST By eating a hearty breakfast, you’ll jumpstart your metabolism and reduce cravings. When we skip breakfast, by mid-morning we’re hungry and more likely to overeat. Studies repeatedly show eating breakfast is associated with maintaining a healthy weight.3 If you’re not ready for breakfast first thing in the morning, listen to your body and eat as soon as you can.
EAT MORE FRESH FRUITS AND VEGGIES They will help you get good nutrition and feel fuller because of the fiber that they contain, helping you regulate your blood sugars.
EXERCISE YOUR BODY AND MIND Exercise leads to decreased body weight, smaller waist circumference, lower resting heart rate, healthy blood pressure, and improved mood. Aim to be active at least 30 minutes every day to help keep your body stay strong and lean. It doesn’t have to be expensive – any movement is better than none. Try these tips to get moving:
Get off the subway or bus one stop earlier.
Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
Go on daily walks or jogs with your dog. Even playing with your children in the park or gardening will keep your body healthy. It’s just as important to keep your mind active. Boost brainpower by adapting a positive mindset, meditating, reading, and doing Sudoku or another game that engages your brain.
GET PROPER SLEEP Research suggests that those who sleep five hours or less weigh five pounds more than those getting at least seven hours of shut eye per night. Over time, weight gain can increase more rapidly in those who get five hours of sleep when compared to those getting seven hours. Lack of sleep disrupts circadian rhythms and can lead to fatigue, low metabolism, and overactive appetite. Abnormal leptin and ghrelin levels – hormones that tell your body “I’m full, stop eating” – can go awry with too little sleep. So sleep more, eat and weigh less! Strive for 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
LEARN TO COOK Cooking meals at home allows you to control portion sizes and quality of ingredients, and it cuts your intake of sodium, fat, and calories. Avoid frying foods by learning to roast or bake, and eat more raw foods to boost flavor and cut calories. Use herbs and spices to reduce salt intake.
KEEP TRACK OF WHAT YOU EAT Be a food detective, and investigate what you choose to put into your body. Check labels, and avoid ingredients like sugar, trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, and chemical ingredients that are hard to pronounce. The healthiest foods are those found just as nature intended – whole and unprocessed. When was the last time you saw an ingredient list on a stalk of broccoli or a fresh fillet of salmon?
1. Why Sugar Makes Us Sleepy (And Protein Wakes Us Up) http://geti.in/18uq5gb 2. Higher protein intake preserves lean mass and satiety with weight loss in preobese and obese women http://geti.in/1en0cjq 3. Relationship Between Eating Behavior, Breakfast Consumption, and Obesity Among Finnish and Greek Adolescents http://geti.in/1jt72US
4. Integrative Nutrition, Inc.