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Live a healthy lifestyle
Getting fit and eating well doesn’t require you to overhaul your life. Take the easy road to a happier, healthier you by following these simple steps.
Step it up
Make time for daily physical activity – whether it’s a brisk walk at lunchtime or a light jog after dinner. You should aim to do at least 10,000 steps per day. Pedometers are available from sports stores – pop one onto your waist band when you wake up to begin counting your steps each day. For even more benefits from exercise, schedule your workouts early in the morning. Exercising early will activate your metabolism and give you more energy for the day.
Record the foods you eat each day in a food diary. Note the food itself and how much you ate. If you really want to get specific, record nutritional information too (carbs, fat, sugars, protein and salt). Those who are mindful of what they eat, tend to eat less and lose weight faster.
Don’t skip breakfast – ever. It’s the most important meal of the day for a reason: a nutritious breakfast will fill you up, meaning you won’t need to eat as much during the day. It also kick-starts your metabolism, so the food you eat during the day will be burned off faster.
Don’t shop hungry
If you do your grocery shopping on an empty stomach, you’ll be more likely to buy more, stocking up on unhealthy snack foods that’ll “call your name” from the pantry and test your willpower. Schedule your shop after dinner (when the crowds have died down). Make a list of what you need to buy and stick to it.
How often to do you eat because you’re bored, nervous, feeling down, etc.? Before you reach for that second biscuit, ask yourself whether you’re really hungry or just want the pleasure of something sweet and (temporarily) satisfying. Remind yourself that eating that naughty snack may make you feel good now, but will result in guilt and self-disappointment later (making you feel even worse than before). Try recording in your food diary how you feel when you eat. Detect any patterns? Get to the core of your emotional issues.
In the meantime, when you feel the need to combat negative feelings with food, try engaging in some other simple pleasures instead. Apply some sweet-smelling hand cream, text a friend to see how they’re doing, go for a walk, or make yourself a cup of herbal tea.
Brush it off
Here’s a nifty little trick: brush your teeth after a meal. That fresh-mouth feel will signal to your mind that it won’t need to eat again soon. Try it and see if it works for you.
Sometimes our brains confuse hunger with dehydration. Drink water with meals and throughout the day. When you start feeling peckish, reach for a glass of water and wait to see if it quenches your hunger. Tired of plain water? Spritz some lemon and lime into your glass, or add muddled mint leaves to change the flavour. If you must eat, fruits and natural yoghurt are also high in water content so eating these foods will have similar effect.
Get some sleep
Studies show those who don’t get the recommended eight hours of sleep each night are more likely to consume high-energy foods throughout the day and are more susceptible to weight-related illnesses. It makes sense – we feel the need to quickly bring our energy levels up when we’re tired, so we reach for a sugar high. Our body’s ability to metabolise carbohydrates is also reduced with less sleep.
If you have trouble sleeping, try Chillax natural sleep drink. It’s made with Montmorency cherry juice which contains significant levels of the natural melatonin our bodies need for sound sleep.
Wait 20 minutes
It takes 20 minutes for the brain to realise the stomach is full. Instead of having seconds or dessert after a meal, just wait for 20 minutes. Activate the timer on your phone and time yourself if you need to. Note how you feel just after a meal and how that differs after the 20 minutes. Fill the time following a meal cleaning up the kitchen, or conversing with your company, instead of eating more.
Eat soup first
Dining out for a three-course dinner? A small bowl of broth-based soup for entrée can help fill you up so you don’t feel like eating as much during your main meal. And because soup is mostly water, it’s a tasty way to feel full without piling on calories.
You’ve managed to keep your exercise up and have resisted those naughty snacks. You’re probably noticing results in the way your clothes fit, or how much easier it is to climb those stairs now. Well done! Humans respond well to positive reinforcement, so why not reward yourself for your hard work? Go out and purchase that new shirt or dress you’ve been eyeing off. You deserve it.
Our bodies tend to retain fat and calories under stressful situations. Take the pressure down with exercise, catching up with friends, a relaxing bath, a walk, or whatever makes you feel better.
Spend some time measuring the amount of food you eat. Become familiar with exactly what constitutes a portion size, and how many calories are in each portion. You’ll soon learn what certain portions look like, so you won’t have to keep measuring.
Feel a little puffed while doing the vacuuming? That’s a good thing. Basic domestic chores can burn significant calories, so clean up your act and get the calorie-burning benefits of a clean abode. Ask yourself: which other everyday tasks provide incidental exercise? Try to incorporate more of these activities into your day.