1. Water, water, and MORE water!
We all know that we are supposed to drink water everyday to hydrate our bodies, yet most of us live in a dehydrated state. Not only do we need water for our organs and bodies to work at optimal levels, but our brains actually can't tell the difference between hunger and thirst. So, many times we eat when we are actually just thirsty. We end up consuming extra calories every day. Next time you are feeling hungry or are going to eat a meal, drink a glass of water first, and see if that makes a difference in your hunger. The minimum amount of water you should have daily is eight 8 ounce glasses. Another good gauge is to determine how much water you need by your body weight. Take what you way in pounds, change it to ounces, and divide by 2. Example: If you weigh 150 pounds: 150 divided by 2 = 75 oz.
2. Workout 5 days a week!
I know it is a challenge to get 5 workouts in a week, but it is possible. Even if you only do 20 - 30 minutes, it is better than nothing! Find little ways to incorporate more exercise during your day also. Take the stairs, instead of the elevator. Park further away in parking lots. If it is possible to walk or bike instead of drive, do it! Play outside with your kids. Walk your dog. Brushing your teeth or doing the dishes, do calf raises or squats. Just be a little creative. You could easily burn an extra 100 calories a day!!
3. Eat small meals, and eat them often!
I do my best to eat every 3 hours. Notice I say my best, because it is a challenge. Especially on my super busy days when I am running errands all day. I eat smaller meals 3 times a day, with 3 snacks. I eat as many clean foods as possible, and I always have something with me when I leave. I usually have a bottle water, apple, and/or fiber one bar. I don't want to get to the point where I am so hungry that I will eat anything, because for me, that anything will always be a cheeseburger!! :) So, take a few minutes to throw a few healthy snacks in your bag. You will maintain healthy blood sugar levels, which will also keep you from crashing and getting mean!
4. Do NOT drink your calories!
We live in a culture that is obsessed with drinks, especially coffee drinks!! Not only are we ending up completely addicted to caffeine, which can damage your body in all sorts of ways, but we are also consuming a TON of calories and sugar. Everyone wants a mocha frappe latte whatever, with whipped cream, chocolate, and/or carmel. One drink is easily 400-500 calories. And here's the thing.....you are hungry AFTER consuming 500 calories! As a hungry girl who wants her food, I just can't justify drinking my calories. Next time you are tempted, find a healthier version or a bottled water. You don't need to be a slave to caffeine and sugar.
The same also holds true for alcohol. Not only will you be consuming extra calories and sugar, but you will also lower your inhibitions, and will be more likely to binge on unhealthy food. If you are going to have a drink, make it skinny and limit yourself to two. Remember, moderation not deprivation. Living a healthy life doesn't mean you never get to enjoy yourself.
5. Limit processed foods & sugars!
If you have read any of my health blogs in the past, you may know that I used to be overweight (over 200 pounds). There are a lot of diets and gimmicks, and I didn't know where to start. To make a long story short, I lost a significant amount of weight and maintained it without counting a single calorie! I ate as many clean (unprocessed) foods as possible, and watched my sugar intake. So many people are scared of fat, and I'm not saying go drink some bacon grease, but what they should really be scared of is the sugar. It will put weight on you quicker than anything, disrupt your hormones, and wreak havoc on your entire body! Processed foods are loaded with them, so make sure you are reading your labels.
6. Lift weights!
I started lifting weights in high school. Just small weights around 3 pounds to videos that I did in my living room. That is where my love for weight training first started. Once I got to college, I got into it even more, and now most of my home gym is weights. Most of my workouts revolve around weight training in various ways. I won't get too complicated or into too much detail, but know that the more lean muscle mass you have on your body, the faster your metabolism will be. This means you will even burn more calories while you are sleeping! If you are new to weights, start out slow with light weights, or just use your own body weight. Body weight alone is enough resistance to build and lean out muscle tissue. Think about squats, lunges, pushups, pull ups, tricep dips, etc. Doing nothing but cardio, would never give me the body I desire. I would have a completely different shape to my body, and a metabolism that burns at a slower rate.
7. Get 7 - 9 hours of sleep a night!
This is a hard one for so many of us, including me! If I get six hours, I feel a sense of accomplishment. I have battled insomnia for 12 years now though. I have a routine that I do my best to follow. It took a lot of trial and error to figure out what works best for me. The biggest help for me is preparing for sleep. It takes some time at the end of my evening, but it is worth it. A hot bath, lavender essential oils, hot tea, music, and a few supplements definitely help me. A lack of sleep can mess up your hormones, which throws your metabolism and moods completely off. It is a vicious cycle that you want no part of. Plus, if your are exhausted you will never have the energy for your workouts, and healthy meal preparations. If possible, I do take a nap, which can really help to reenergize you.
8. Allow yourself one cheat meal a week!
Yes, I believe in having a cheat meal. I believe in moderation, not deprivation. Honestly, I don't want to live the kind of life that doesn't allow me to enjoy some of the simple pleasures. I don't want a life that forbids cheeseburgers. That doesn't sound like such a good life to me! So, once a week I decide on what my cheat meal will be, and have it on friday evening. It gives me something to look forward to, and keeps me eating well knowing that a higher calorie meal is coming. And I can honestly say that I enjoy and savor those meals in a way that I never did before when I was eating bad on a regular basis. *Caution* when you eat clean and healthy the majority of the time, many meals that you used to love and crave will not taste very good anymore.
9. Set small goals!
Focusing on your ultimate goal can be very overwhelming to the point that you start to think why bother?? Instead, set smaller goals that are easier to obtain. Reaching those small goals will eventually bring you to accomplishing your main goal, without feeling so defeated by it. Small changes lead to big results!!
10. Reward yourself when you reach your goals!
I have a goal for myself right now, and a reward for that goal. Honestly, I never stop making goals for myself. I always believe that I can do better in every aspect of my life. I always want to improve. I always want to be a better mom, wife, daughter, woman, athlete, caretaker, etc. I want to be able to look back on my life and honestly say that I did my best. When you reach your goals, big or small, acknowledge them. Look back on the changes and choices you made to reach that goal, and build upon it. Take the time to reward yourself (not with food, of course). It may be something small, like buying a book or meeting a friend for coffee. It could be a big reward for when you reach your ultimate goal, like a vacation. Give yourself something to work towards, it helps to keep you motivated and on track.
I hope you can incorporate some of these tips into your life, to improve the quality of your life. Honestly, life is far to short to be unhealthy, overweight, sick, and uncomfortable in your own skin. If you would like to ready my journey, Click Here! If you have any questions, please leave them below or message me on Facebook. Have a healthy and happy week!!