Friday, March 25, 2011

Healthy Habits: Small Changes Cutting Big Calories

The fastest way to lose weight and/or live a healthier lifestyle is to go cold turkey: eat a clean diet and exercise every day. However, being the humans we are, few people are willing to make those kind of changes that they perceive as drastic. So, if you think that making small changes that you can integrate into your life creating new habits is something you are willing to do, here are a few small changes you can make that will reward you with greater energy and better health.

STOP EATING DESSERT FOR BREAKFAST: Let's face it, many 'breakfast' foods eaten at any other time would be considered dessert. Sugar coated cereals, pastries, muffins (muffins=cake), etc. You know when you eat it! You're only fooling yourself.
Choose instead to eat something that will fuel your body with energy (such as fresh fruit and whole grains) and leave you feeling satisfied instead of craving more sugar.

EAT SMALLER MEALS MORE FREQUENTLY: Eating smaller meals five or six times a day ensures that you will be giving your body fuel every time it needs it and when it needs it. Waiting until you are 'starving' causes you to eat more than you need, making you feel over full and dragging physically.

GET ENOUGH SLEEP: When we are tired, our bodies crave food because they are looking for energy. Pay special attention to how you feel the next time you have a regular day of activities after a short night of sleep. It is usually a struggle to not overeat on those days. The funny thing is, it is sleep that our bodies really need in order to feel energized...we give it food instead. Try taking a nap and see if you don't feel better. If napping doesn't work into your schedule (I know it doesn't for me) then it is extra important to plan to get enough sleep at night.

GET REGULAR EXERCISE: Strive for 30 minutes each day. Few people have a schedule that is so tight that they can't fit in 30 minutes of exercise. If you found 30 minutes to watch tv then you have 30 minutes to exercise, it's all a matter of priority. If you truly can't find 30 solid minutes, then split it into three 10-minute sessions (walk, stairs, weights, sit-ups, push-ups, etc). Three 10-minute workouts over the course of a day is not as good as doing one solid 30 minute workout. This is because you release metabolism boosting hormones over the duration of longer exercise. But, 10 minute bouts are better than no exercise at all!!

What small (or large) changes have you made in your life that are making a difference? What changes do you struggle with that you would like to make in order to live a healthier lifestyle?

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