Whether you're trying to lose weight or simply improve your overall health, it all starts with changing some habits.
"Men's natures are alike; it is their habits that separate them." Confucius
8 Ideas to Build Healthy Habits
1. Drink More Water. Even mild dehydration (1-3% loss of body water) can alter our body's metabolism while adversely affecting physical performance and cognitive ability. Drinking enough water can also improve metabolism and weight loss so stay hydrated by aiming for eight 8 oz glasses a day and limiting soda, caffeine and alcohol.
2. Eat Real Carbs. Replace refined carbohydrates like white bread, pasta, bagels, cereal and pretzels with more nutritious carbohydrates like fruits and vegetables. They are filled with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, which are vital for health. Eat generous portions of veggies, and moderate amounts of fruit each day. Remember, fruit contains sugar (fructose) so if you are diabetic or weight loss is your goal, limit your servings.
3. Choose Healthy Fats. Good fats provide many health benefits and protect against heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's, and depression. They also reduce systemic inflammation, blood pressure and lower cholesterol. Include healthy fats in each meal from sources including nuts, seeds, olives, avocados, coconut oil, and extra virgin olive oil.
4. Emphasize Lean Protein. Our bodies require protein to continuously renew and replenish our cells, stabilize our blood sugar, and give us energy when needed. Eat protein at every meal from sources such as lean meats, eggs, fish and supplemental protein.
5. Eat Breakfast. By eating a healthy breakfast, you'll give your metabolism a jumpstart and be in better control of cravings. When we miss our first fuel of the day, by mid-morning we are generally hungry and more likely to engage in over-eating and over-compensating for any calories 'saved', which put you at risk of hormonal imbalances (insulin).
6. Exercise Your Body. Exercise provides enormous benefits when done properly and consistently. However, what many don’t know is just how important strength training is. Muscle quality matters more than movement quantity so keep your body strong, lean and healthy with twice-weekly strength training.
7. Catch Some Zzzz's. Research shows that those who sleep 5 hours or less each night weigh 5 pounds more than those getting at least 7 hours per night. And, over time, weight increases more rapidly in those who get 5 hours of sleep when compared to those getting 7 hours. Strive for 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
8. Keep Track of What You Eat. Avoid ingredients such as sugar, trans-fats, high-fructose corn syrup, and long 'chemical names'. Keeping a food diary increases your food awareness and accountability, especially if you submit it to a friend, family member, or fitness professional. You don’t have to record exact measurements so use an online journal or simply scribble down what you eat in a notebook. Any method will suffice as long as it is complete and consistent.
By creating realistic and sustainable habits, you can transform the way you look, feel and function. Here are a few strategies to build healthy and helpful habits.
6 Strategies to Create Healthy and Helpful Habits
1. Decide on one habit to change or a new one to develop. It's tempting to change several things at once, but doing just one (or maybe two) is realistic and much more doable.
2. Write your new habit(s) down on paper. Also, include your primary motivators for developing this new habit, the obstacles that you face, and your strategies for overcoming the obstacles.
3. Keep track of your progress. Keep a detailed journal or simply make a check mark on each calendar day that you successfully exercise your new habit.
4. Keep yourself accountable. Status updates on Facebook, an announcement at the dinner table, or hiring a personal trainer will do it. Your family and friends will offer you support and encouragement so open up to them about what you are doing and why.
5. Stay the course. When you fall off track, which you will at times, figure out what went wrong so you can handle it differently in the future.
6. Reward yourself for success…but don’t sabotage your new healthy habits.
Give yourself 3-4 weeks to makes these new habits second nature then add your next healthy habit by following the same steps.
Need some help changing your habits? The Exercise Coach® Metabolic Comeback™ is designed to develop these habits so you can reclaim your healthy body once and for all.