12 Most Effortless Ways to Shed Some Weight & Kick Your Body Into Health for 2012
Everyone is talking about all that food they ate over the holidays: the desserts, the cookies, the cakes and pies. Who didn’t overdose on turkey or drink a few too many cocktails (delicious but laden with calories)? So what’s next? The quest to get back in shape, fit back into those jeans ~ that’s what we are all talking about right? Well, I have a solution, and it won’t be treacherous, it won’t involve hours at the gym, it will just involve some sensible choices and a commitment moving into 2012 to live a healthier lifestyle. Far too many of us take for granted what we eat, thinking about it only when we need to lose some weight or go on a diet. The reality is, when you make healthy choices part of your lifestyle you won’t worry anymore, because the path to good health will be the one you are already on. Here are the 12 Most Effortless Ways to Shed Some Weight & Kick Your Body Into Health in 2012.
1. Never go hungry
Some people think that skipping meals or starving themselves is a good way to drop some weight. Much to the contrary, doing this actually confuses your body and creates a situation where your body believes it is starving, therefore when it finally gets some food, it stores fat to prepare for the next incident of “starvation”. The best way to keep your body healthy is to consistently give it moderate amounts of food, so it always knows more fuel is coming so that your metabolism will operate at ideal conditions. Eating breakfast is a key to kick starting your metabolism each day. Don’t skip meals and never let yourself “starve”.
2. Keep yourself hydrated
Every person is different and the amount of water you need every day will change based on several factors including your level of physical activity, temperatures, even your age and body weight. Regardless, most people do not get the amount of water they need and this is essential for maintaining good health and feeling “well”. Often signs of dehydration can include headaches, dizziness, tiredness and among other things it can even effect your blood pressure. I can not believe how many people I meet who say they don’t/won’t drink water because they don’t like it. Often when you are dehydrated, you are so used to it, you think you are hungry. Eating in the place of hydrating yourself is one of those nasty habits that you can turn around easily for great health results. Not sure how much liquid you should be consuming each day, try out Coca-Cola’s Hydration Calculator. Make a commitment to yourself to drink more water throughout your day. You will start feeling the difference, feeling more energized and ready to take on the world!
3. Dessert is not a daily routine
You’ve just eaten a meal, do you really need to end it with what is the caloric equivalent to a second meal loading your body with starches, fats and sugars? Make your dessert fruit, or don’t have it at all. When you do your shopping for the week, avoid stocking your home with all kinds of dessert foods and snacks. Make decadent desserts a special occasion, not your daily ritual. Your family may complain at first, but they will find other alternatives to fill their hunger. A habit takes 30 days to form, why not give this a try.
4. Drop soft drinks
When you reach for a soft drink, your body is likely saying it needs some liquid, and what you are choosing to give it is something completely unnatural, likely filled with sugar, caffeine and/or chemicals. To lead a healthier lifestyle, you need to alter your perception of what this lovely little bubbly drink is giving you and think of it as holding very little quality for your nutrition and health. If you must have them, consider them as the dessert drink: Giving you nothing, except pleasure (?). Is it worth it to you?
5. Think more about Juice – What’s in it for you?
Everyone thinks that drinking juice is a healthy thing, and it can be. The question is, what are you calling juice? Drop the fruit punch and start reading the labels of your beverages. Don’t fill your body with sugar water, or fruit juices that give you nothing but sugar. Apple juice is one of the biggest fillers, there may be some Vitamin C in there, but overall, drinking apple juice is giving you more sugar than value. Start with the label and think about what is really in your juice. Because of its caloric content, juice should never be thought of as a substitute for water. Want some help getting your mind around this point? Check out Juice Wars for some great insights. Once you’ve cut the sugary juices out, or cut them down, you may even want to go to the next level, and start with your own juicing and fun smoothies where you can get value from the “juice” you’re putting in your body. Dane Findley, of Instant Dane TV has some great videos and posts on smart healthy ways to do this.
6. Forget what your mother told you & listen to your body
We have all heard the story, you aren’t getting dessert until you finish everything on your plate. Many of us in our upbringings were taught to ignore what our body was telling us simply to finish the plate. We are not children, we should know what we need. Every single person is different. Age, physical activity, height and weight all determine how much we really need. Some people need more of one nutrient than others. We are not all the same. Eat for your needs not the people around you. Restaurants choose the quantity of food they want to put on our plates, based on what they perceive the average consumer to want. You can visit a friend for dinner and all of a sudden you have this huge serving of food in front of you. What are you going to do? Try figuring out how much you really need, and start reducing the quantities you have, become accustomed to fitting your actual needs. When your body tells you it is satisfied, stop. Don’t ever eat until you are “full”.
7. Learn about nutritional values of food
This doesn’t just mean read the labels at the grocery store, this means think about what your body really needs, and as you prepare meals, ask yourself, what am I getting out of this meal? If you don’t know, look it up online. If you get yourself in this mindset, you will start to see a major difference in how you make your choices.
8. When you eat out, explore more foreign foods & natural ingredients
Classic American food is not healthy in general. There are often abundances of bread, grease, fats, sauces and meat. Start mixing foods from more moderate countries into your diet such as Morocco, Thailand, Japan, Peru, Fiji, India. Choose items that have more natural ingredients, avoid breaded and fried items, and look for items flavored from natural sauces and herbs. Not only will you be eating healthier, you will be discovering new flavorings that you may not have known before. Make healthy eating an adventure in discovery.
9. When you are serving your plate make sure you see some color
Fruits and vegetables, do you eat them every day? If you don’t, ask yourself what you are eating instead? Make a promise to yourself to reach for some blueberries next time you want a snack, or whatever your favorite fruit is. Keep chopped up fruits and vegetables in your fridge so it’s as easy as possible to reach for. Make a commitment to integrate fruits or vegetables into your snacks and meals every day. Back in 2006, Yoga Journal had an excellent and easy to reference chart on foods and their colors, It’s a great starting point to get you thinking in the right direction. I keep it on my fridge, check it out.
10. Throw out your salt shaker
The greatest insult to a chef is to have a salt and pepper shaker on the table. Why? Because it implies that the chef did not flavor the meal appropriately. Remove it from from the table. Cook with the minimal amount of salt and get used to it. Add more pepper and other spices to bring out the flavors in your food if you have to. High salt intake is a major problem. At a very minimum, salt increases water retention and contributes to high blood pressure. Another way to reduce your salt is to avoid canned foods, which are usually loaded with sodium. Go fresh, and go light on salt. This is one choice that will make a huge difference, almost painlessly.
11. Speak with your doctor or dietitian about your health
Weight issues can be the result of many medical illnesses. Every individual is different, maybe you’ve been struggling with something thinking it is a diet issue, when really its an indicator of a medical issue that could be addressed easily. Doctors and dietitian’s can also help identify key food that your body will thrive on vs. the ones causing you harm.
12. Respect your body
Respect that it is a machine, and you want to feel good – so care for it. If you take nothing else away from this, at least take away this habit: When you go to eat something, drink something, just take a moment to ask yourself, does my body need this? What am I going to get out of it. Make sure what you get out of it is worth it for you. Everything starts with a small change, start this change now in your mind and you will have the foundation of a healthy lifestyle.
Now go have some of that decadent holiday cake, because now that you are turning your eating habits around, you’ll be able to afford these decadent treats every once in while without feeling guilty, because when you make healthy lifestyle choices in general a treat here and there is never an issue. Wishing you a healthy and happy 2012!
Featured image courtesy of ecstaticist