1. Everything in Moderation. No, that one cookie isn’t going to reverse your hard work in the gym, but five a day surely may. Get in the habit of not getting in the habit of eating junk! Eat a variety of foods, to receive a variety of your essential nutrients. Sweets are a sometimes, not an always.
2. Use self control. My little trick is to work hard during my workout in the day, eat very well, drink up, and care for myself daily and then at the end of the day (atleast an hour before bed) I reward myself with a sweet. Not something that’s 800 calories, loaded with fat, sugar, and sodium of course. Something like a single chocolate chip cookie (around 150 calories) and a glass of low fat milk. Keep portions small and only have one treat per day!
3. Read Labels. I would have never believed the junk most foods are loaded with before I started being health conscious! The industry is all about money, so you can be sure that many foods are loaded with chemicals. Try organic, or at least back away from the worst stuff, like dyes and large amounts of sugar and sodium. I advise not counting calories, but keep a rough estimate in your head of daily levels. Remember, 2000 cals a day!
4. Do your research. This goes along with my last point. Know what you’re eating. Find a favorite health website to search foods on and see if the bite is really worth the fight. I like Calorie Counter because it provides an A-F score of foods when you type in what you’ve got.
5. Hydrate right. Avoid pop at all costs. Gatorade should only be for post-workout, due to its high amounts of sodium. Milk is great, but not in overabundance, and make sure it’s low fat. Juice is a favorite, but remember it depends on which you buy. Read the label because many are only a sliver actual fruit juice and the rest sugar. I personally love V8 Strawberry Banana Smoothie (It contains my daily fruits and veggies!) and Juicy Juice strawberry banana. Water rules the beverage kingdom though, by far! Eight or more glasses a day flushes out your system and helps you keep off the pounds. Hydration is key to health. Beware of those fancy flavors, sometimes they come with unnecessary junk too!
6. Get your sleep. Sleeping at least seven hours each night gives your metabolism a chance to catch up for the day and leaves you in a better state of mind. Those who get good sleep are more likely to make good eating choices during the day, as they won’t be trying to make up for lack of energy with sugary junk!
7. Be happy. Don’t eat right because you feel like you have to. Do your research and talk to your doctor until you are truly committed to the idea. It may take a few tries to truly become a health nut but you don’t even need to necessarily go to the extreme end of the spectrum. Worry less and don’t think of food as your escape. Remember, you’re doing this for health and not because you aren’t beautiful. You were beautiful to begin with, but healthy adds that special shimmer.
8. Don’t be a social eater. Or drinker. Go easy on the high in calorie alcohol. Don’t stuff your face just because all of your friends are on Game Night. Just because you guys ordered pizza doesn’t mean you have to eat it! Or if you do, have one or two slices with water, and then if you’re still hungry, eat a salad with light dressing. Never “stuff” yourself, unless it’s Thanksgiving! Remember your stomach is only the size of your fist. Overeating makes it grow and stretch, which helps you to continue the habit even worse. Be loyal to your commitment to health and don’t let others embarrass you into straying from your path of health.
9. Exercise. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, healthful eating and active living must go together. Doing one and not the other only basically means you’re pressing the gas on a car that’s stuck in a ditch. You’re going nowhere. Thirty minutes a day, five days a week. Fun options like Zumba make you forget you’re even burning all those calories.
10. Get in sync with your body… and your life. Get to be comfortable with your doctor. Know your body well enough to report when something’s off. Find what works for you and stick with it. You may be the only one around committing to this lifestyle, but make sure you’re surrounded by people who love and care for you and remain supportive through your journey. Whether your goal is weight loss, toning up, or just cleaning up your system, remember to truly work, this should be a lifelong plan. I believe in you!