Many people struggle to lose* weight, improve* their eating habits and be fit. Most don’t achieve their goals and give up soon after starting.
If you count yourself in that group, it could be because you are choosing complicated treatments or setting unreachable goals, such as falling into the false promises* of hard to follow cleansers and fads.
Instead, you might be forgetting some common, basic behaviours that when practised daily can make a big difference in the way you look and feel.
There are some simple rules that when followed daily will help you achieve some of your goals. They can easily turn into healthy behaviours, and when they become a routine, you might not even feel you are working towards a goal.
Let’s see if you are following them.
1. Do You Eat Three Meals Per Day?
Make sure you do. Many of my patients feel frustrated because they reduce* the amount of meals they eat per day and they still don’t lose* weight. Some tell me all they have in one day is coffee and toast, and they are still putting on some pounds.
Well, the problem is that when you drastically cut down on your calorie intake, you slow your metabolism.
Metabolism is the process by which nutrients get converted into energy and used for different body functions. To lose* weight and feel good, you need to cut down on calories, but do not eliminate* them.
When you do, your body backfires and starts using less* energy, thus putting you in “savings mode”. Once in this trap, it’s hard to lose* weight.
2. Are Your Portions Small?
Also, when you start skipping meals, you don’t realize that you might be switching to one or two much bigger meals because you feel hungrier.
At the end of the day, your calorie count is higher. You might think you are eating less* because you are not eating as frequently, but portions matter too.
People also like to indulge in healthier foods, thinking that because the item is healthier, you can have all you want. A patient of mine was told that whole wheat bread was healthier than white bread.
He ended up eating 4 to 5 slides instead of the 1 to 2 he usually ate. Obviously, he was gaining more weight.
3. Do You Snack Only When You Are Hungry?
Are you a snacker? Are you one of those people that aren’t hungry for food but can’t resist cookies, candy, chips and ice cream? Don’t worry, you aren’t alone.
Many people like to eat snacks that provide great flavour, fat, sodium, sugar and calories but are low in nutritional value. The problem is that all these foods will give you undesirable extra calories conducive to weight gain, and higher risk to suffer higher blood sugar and hypertension.
Before you grab that snack, assess if you are really hungry. Does your stomach hurt or grumble? Did you eat more than two hours ago? Did you skip your last meal? Was your last meal so small you can’t even call it a meal? If you answered no to all the questions, you are not hungry.
You are just having a craving, or maybe you are feeling anxious.
Sometimes even television commercials showing all that good looking food can make us “hungry”. Instead of eating snacks look for some type of activity that distracts you from food and makes you feel good.
Try reading, listening to music, calling or chatting with your friends, going for a walk or enjoy a long bath. You will be happier to know that you are saving calories and will immediately feel empowered, in control*, and much more relaxed.
4. Do You Drink Water?
People often confuse hunger with thirst. If you start feeling dizzy, warm, dry, sluggish and you think you are hungry before you grab a snack or eat a meal drink a cup of water.
You might see your symptoms and desire to eat disappear. Drinking water is an easy way to always be hydrated and save some calories!
You don’t like water? No problem! Put some lemon, orange slices, berries, pineapple chunks and/or herbs like mint, or cinnamon sticks and give it a delicious natural flavour. Make sure to have water handy.
When it is close to your chances are greater that you will drink it.
5. Do You Eat Vegetables Daily?
Vegetables and fruits have very little calories, plenty of vitamins and dietary fibre. The fibre will give bulk to your meals and help you feel satisfied for a longer time.
If you don’t currently eat vegetables, make a list of the ones you like the most.
Try to include seven vegetables in your list, one for each day of the week. Eat a cup of vegetables for lunch and/or dinner every day.
If you don’t get to a list of seven vegetables, include some fruits in your list.
6. Do You Exercise Regularly?
Move, move and move! This is not only a great way to spend time; it also helps you feel better* about yourself, better* your mood, distress, and burn calories.
If you don’t have time to exercise just choose activities that are more active, like walking around the mall, at a park, or playing ball with your kids.
While at work, stand every now and then and walk around your desk and stretch. Who said you have to join a gym to exercise?
7. Do You Sleep At Least 7 Hours A Day?
Sleep is crucial to fell and looks good. When you don’t sleep, your energy is low. Lack of sleep makes you feel and look tired, it activates your cravings for sweets and makes you eat more carbs.
Try to sleep at least 7 hours per day to feel reenergized and avoid cravings. If you can’t sleep 7 hours straight, try having a quick, peaceful nap during the day, or at least close your eyes for a few minutes and try to meditate to rest your mind.
We often forget how simple details in life can have great results. Do not look too far or too deep, and mainly don’t believe in fads. Try practising these seven behaviours daily and see how you will quickly improve* your fitness levels, health, appearance, and even your self-esteem.
Make sure you eat three meals per day and keep portions small to keep your metabolism going strong. Only when you feel hungry between meals, eat a small, healthy snack.
Snacks are a great opportunity to enjoy some of your favorite vegetables or fruits and bulk up on some vitamins and dietary fiber. Drink your water, move, and sleep. Easy changes can quickly become behaviors that will bring great advantages to your health and the way you feel.
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