We’re two months into 2010, now. Are you still keeping up to date with your new years resolutions of eating right and exercising? I know it can be very hard to keep up with a healthy lifestyle, especially if you are not used to it. However, with a few simple guidelines and some planning you can definitely improve, and your body will thank you! Last year I set a similar resolution, with many (many!) ups and downs, and I’ve included only those tips that actually worked for me. So, how about we get started on your plan for continuing a healthy lifestyle for 2010?
Step 1: Plan.
Pick any convenient day of the week for you (mine is Sunday), and plan out your meals for the week. From there, write out your grocery list so you only need to make one trip to the grocery store.
Even if you cannot plan for 7 days out of the week, start to plan for just 5 days. If you’re at work and eat your breakfast every morning at your desk, then opt out of high sugar cereals or high calorie and fat breakfast sandwiches. Instead plan to get yourself some packets of plain instant oatmeal, or low sugar instant oatmeal. If you can’t bear to stray away from your cold cereal, opt for cereals with no more than 5 grams of sugar. Want a breakfast sandwich in the morning? That’s fine – if you choose a healthy choice. (Thank goodness for Dunkin’ Donuts Egg White flatbreads!) Better yet, wake up a few minutes earlier, and make your own egg white omelet with a slice of extra thinly sliced deli Swiss, on toasted whole wheat bread. You will save yourself over 20 grams of fat and literally hundreds of calories!
Plan out your lunches in advance. Make your own subs with lean deli meat, tons of fresh veggies, low fat Swiss cheese, all drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette on a whole-wheat roll or baguette. Another idea for lunch is to make whole-wheat pasta, tossed with fresh veggies and marinara and a sprinkle of Romano cheese.Â Whatever you would like for lunch, make it a healthy, filling meal.
Plan out your dinners. Buy fresh veggies to grill up, make a salad with, or roast for a healthy side dish. Swap out your regular potatoes for fiber filled sweet potatoes. Buy lean chicken and seafood and experiment with different marinades.
Snack it up by buying portable snacks. Move away from high sugar granola bars, instead get crispy apples, mixed nuts, low fat yogurt or even make your own trail mix with a mixture of nuts, dried fruit and chocolate chips!
The point is, when you make your own food, you know what you are putting in your body. You control the sodium, fat and calories.
Helpful hint: Purchasing healthy food at the grocery store is undeniably expensive. Try using these websites to find out what foods are on sale at your local grocery store and get money saving coupons:
These sites can help you plan your meals with serious cost efficiency. It also saves time and money to have a list of sale items set BEFORE you go to the store (as opposed to ad-lib shopping based on your appetite at the moment).
Now that we have your food down, let’s take a look at portion distortion. This is where you need to start reading labels. If you must, spend $3.00 and buy yourself a set of measuring cups. When we eat portions too big, we allow our stomachs to stretch, which means more food is needed to fill us up (think about a balloon being filled with water, it’ll just keep expanding). If you eat proper portions, you can shrink your stomach to its normal size. So, as I was saying, read labels and measure your food out.
Step 2: Make time for exercise. All you need is 30 minutes of physical activity per day to get you going. Take half of your lunch hour to go out for a brisk walk. You can also find a workout buddy and head to the gym together. Don’t have the time or money for the gym? No problem, invest in a good workout DVD that you can do at home, or check your cable On-Demand for workouts. You can also decide to take up running. Anything that will get your heart rate up for 30 minutes will not only make your heart stronger, but will help you lose weight!
Step 3: Keep yourself hydrated. Studies have shown that your body can mistake thirst for hunger. Try to aim for at least eight 8oz. glasses of water a day. Carry a reusable stainless steel water bottle with you and keep refilling whenever you can.Â Jazz up your water with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.Â You can also be a little exotic and add a couple of drops of refreshing rose water!
Step 4: Get some good shut eye. I know its hard to get 8 hours of sleep per night, but try to get at least seven. Seriously, we all know we could use some more sleep. Our bodies need this time to recuperate from the day and refuel for the next. In addition, studies have shown that sleeping less leads to an imbalance in the hormones that control your appetite and tell you when to feel full (ghrelin and leptin). Treat yourself well and get a good night sleep every night.
I hope you all will use these steps as a great guideline to working your way to a healthy lifestyle. By treating your body well, you are also treating your mind well.
– Kanwal Ullah