Eat Breakfast. By eating a hearty nutritious breakfast 30 minutes after waking, you’ll give your metabolism a jump-start and be in better control of your cravings. When we miss our first fuel of the day, by mid-morning we are hungry and more likely to engage in mindless nibbling, snacking, over eating, and over compensating for any calories “saved” by skipping breakfast. Studies repeatedly show daily breakfast consumption is associated with maintaining a healthy weight.
Don’t eat on the go, running down the street, or when you feel stressed. Take five minutes between working and eating to just pause and relax. When your body is more relaxed, you digest more efficiently and get more nutrition from the food you eat.
Exercise Your Body and Mind. Exercise has enormous benefits for your mind and body with research boasting decreased body weight, smaller waist circumference, lower resting heart rate and blood pressure, AND it boosts your mood! Strive to be active at least 30 minutes every day to help keep your body strong and lean – remember, it doesn’t have to be expensive.
Try these tips for starters:
*Go on nightly walks with your dog
*Play with your children in the park
*Try a hand at gardening
*Take the stairs instead of the elevator
*Get off the subway or bus one stop earlier
It’s also just as important to keep your mind active. Boost brainpower by spending time thinking positively, meditating, or practicing activities that require deep thought like reading.
Eat Real Carbs. Replace refined carbohydrates like bread, pasta, bagels, cereal, and pretzels with complex carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber which slows digestion and promotes stable blood sugar levels. They are also packed with antioxidants which help reduce inflammation in the body. Whole grain carbohydrates should always be chosen over refined varieties. Think about eating them as you would find them in nature – breads are made from wheat that’s milled, while brown rice is simply taken straight from the plant, complete with fiber and phytonutrients the way nature intended.
Choose Healthy Fats. A common misconception is that fats should be completely eliminated. In reality, we could not live without fat. The body utilizes dietary fats for energy; health of hair, skin and nails; vitamin absorption; and normal everyday bodily functions. Good fats promote several health benefits such as protection against heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and depression; as well as reduce blood pressure and lower cholesterol. Choose sources such as nuts, seeds, fish, avocados, and extra virgin olive oil.
Emphasize Lean Protein. Our bodies require protein to continuously renew and replenish our cells, stabilize our blood sugar, and give us energy. Our bodies are literally made out of the amino acids that make up protein in our food. Many foods contain protein, but the richest sources include animal products such as meat, dairy, eggs and fish, as well as plant sources such as beans, nuts, and seeds. When choosing animal protein sources, be conscious of the way the animal was raised and what it ate. Grass-fed beef and pasture-raised chicken are healthier and more ethically sound choices than meat raised in feedlots and CAFO's (concentrated animal feeding operation).
Have something raw in each meal. Raw foods are full of enzymes. Enzymes are needed for lots of things like breaking down the food and other processes of digestion. You don’t have to be 100% raw, but raw food is great and there is a lot of value in it. Try adding kale, collard greens, spinach, avocado, walnuts, broccoli, carrots, or celery to your meal.
Don’t eat until you are stuffed. Experiment with eating to the point when you are just starting to feel full. Don’t fix a huge plate that your body can’t even digest. Being aware of portions is important.
High GI (Glycemic Index) carbohydrates cause fat to accumulate. We secrete insulin primarily in response to carbohydrates such as pasta, potatoes, bread, rice, flour, and sugar in our diet. When insulin is secreted or chronically elevated, fat accumulates in the cells of the adipose tissue. Limit your intake of starchy foods for weight loss.
Catch Some Zzzz’s. Research suggests that those who sleep five hours or less weigh five pounds more than those getting at least seven hours of shut eye per night. Over time, weight gain can increases more rapidly in those who get five hours of sleep when compared to those getting seven hours. Lack of sleep disrupts circadian rhythms and can lead to inefficient body regulation of energy balance, metabolism, and appetite. Abnormal leptin and ghrelin levels – hormones that tell your body “I’m full, stop eating” – can go awry with too little sleep. Said simply – sleep more, eat and weigh less!
Learn to Cook. Cooking meals at home allows you to control portion sizes and quality of ingredients; while at the same time cuts your intake of sodium, fat, and calories. Try to avoid frying foods by learning to roast or bake; and eat more raw foods to boost flavor and cut calories. Use herbs and spices to help reduce salt intake.
Keep Track of What You Eat. Be a food detective, and investigate what you choose to put into your mouth and body. Check labels, and avoid ingredients such as sugar, trans fats, high-fructose corn syrup, and long chemical names that are hard to pronounce. The healthiest foods are those found just as nature intended – whole and unprocessed.
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Chew Each Mouthful 30+ Times to ensure your body is able to absorb all the vitamins and nutrients it so desperately needs from foods you are eating.
Eat More Frequently. It’s important to balance your food intake every three hours throughout the day to help maintain normal blood sugar and decrease the chances of binging when hunger strikes. Try to keep track of your meal choices and balance your caloric intake. Feeding your body on a regular basis lets it know food is available and it’s okay to burn energy rather than conserve and store it as fat:
*Snack - fruit
*Lunch - lean protein + metabolism boosting veggies + good carbs or healthy fats
*Snack - nuts & seeds
*Dinner - lean protein + hot veggies + raw veggies
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Why is Nutrition important? Because you are what you eat! Most people don't realize that everything we put in our mouths literally creates us. From our cells and organs, all the way out to our skin, hair and nails. In fact, within the human body, cells divide nearly 2 trillion times everyday! Chronic disease is usually a side effect of a toxic diet. The body is an amazing machine; you just need to keep the nutrition tanks full, and your body will take care of the rest. The healthier the foods are that you consume, the healthier you will be. However, the less attention you pay to what goes in your mouth, the more problems you may see.
Drink Water Before Your Morning Coffee. Your body is composed of about 60% water, and after sleeping for 7-8 hours your body is severely dehydrated. Even mild dehydration can alter the body’s metabolism, circulation, skin, kidneys, mood, energy levels, bodily functions, and transportation of nutrients. So aim to drink water as soon as you awake, on an empty stomach, even before your coffee! Water also helps with digestion and weight loss when you drink it 30 minutes prior to all meals and snacks; while limiting soda, caffeine, and alcohol. Hunger is often confused with dehydration. Next time you feel like a snack, have a glass of water.
Eat More Anti-Inflammatory Foods. When you challenge your body with foods that it cannot recognize and can not process, it leads to inflammation. Most starches & sugars such as bread, pasta, cereal, fried food, soda, pastries and deserts have very little nutritional value - feed inflammation - and get stored as fat. Outside factors can also increase the inflammatory value of foods such as pesticides, herbicides, insecticides found in produce and hormones found in meat.
Proper Portion Size for Foods
*size of your fist = carbs such as fruit, grain, rice, beans, bread, cereal, pasta, potatoes.
*size of 2 fists = vegetables.
*size of your palm = proteins such as eggs, lean meat (poultry, seafood, beef).
*size of your thumb = fats such as nuts, seeds, cheese, dressings & oils.