Monday, February 4, 2013

5 Easy Changes For A Healthier Lifestyle

Did you know that, in 2012, 3 of the top 5 resolutions made were:
 
Lose Weight
Be Fit and Healthy
Enjoy Life to the Fullest
 
 
So often, we look at the desired results without counting the cost or making a plan to get there.  Extreme diets or severely limiting foods we love sound like a good, healthy plan,but they rarely work, because we will eventually go back to what is 'normal' to us.  Changes must be incorporated in our day to day lives. We are never 'suddenly healthy', but we can always be working towards making better choices.

Here are 5 easy changes to help you on your way to a healthier lifestyle.  Remember, these are new habits which will replace old (bad) habits!   They can be easily incorporated in our daily routines, bit by bit. 
 

#1. Drink more water:
According to the December 2012 issue of Women’s Health, drinking 2 cups of water before meals can make you lose an average of 4.5 pounds more than if you don’t. Drinks can be a hidden abundance of calories. Often times when we feel hungry, out bodies may simply be needing more hydration, so try a glass of water first!   I began by replacing water at mealtimes and then adding a glass during the day.
 
#2. Choose Snacks in Nature’s Packaging
It goes without saying that the healthiest snacks are REAL foods, grown in nature. It’s one thing to know this and another to consciously practice consuming these foods. This collage found at How Does She, is a little reminder of the various flavors, textures, and convenience that come with foods from mother nature! Clockwise from top left are berries, bell peppers and hummus, clementines, and apple slices with almond butter and granola.
 
The most important aspect of the above selections is that they are high in nutrients per calorie consumed. The body craves nutrients and will signal you to keep eating until the right amount is obtained. Choosing nuts for a snack or nut butters as dips means you’re also getting the healthiest fats in your diet.

3. Choose “Super Meals
These are meals that combine several nutrient rich items in one dish. Two of the simplest ways to get a variety of the most nutrient rich foods in one sitting are through salads and smoothies.
You can do a mix of romaine and spinach for a salad base, add various nuts, seeds, vegetables (carrots, green or red peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers etc.) even top it with fruit - apples, pears, dried cranberries to get the most out of a simple salad.
 
Now for a super meal in a glass!
Is there anyone out there who doesn’t love a good smoothie!?!? I sneak kale or spinach into smoothies whenever possible.  A good chocolate protein powder completely hides the taste of greens.  Adding peanut butter adds protein and makes them more filling. Another tip for adding extra nutrients in your smoothies is to use organic strawberries and keep the green tops on them.
 
#4. Have Fun! - and experiment
I finally found a great recipe for brussel sprouts that I could eat!  Frying a few  bacon pieces, adding a sweet and sour sauce (vinegar and sugar) and almonds made a vegetable my family could never quite get a taste for edible!
 
5. Move Your Body!
Hippocrates said, “Walking is man’s best medicine”. While 30 minutes of walking is what Dr’s Oz and Roizen (the YOU doctors) recommend, even 10 minutes has been shown to have a positive impact on health. A mere 10 minute walk has been shown to boost brain chemistry and increase feelings of happiness.
 
That’s it!
 
Give yourself ten days to incorporate a couple of the above ideas on a daily basis and see if you notice a difference. A ten day commitment is usually enough to feel the positive effects of a new healthy habit. If you like what you feel, keep going!

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