Summer is quickly approaching and you want to make some healthy changes… but where do you start?
Many of us find it overwhelming to embark on a healthy lifestyle because of the amount of information that is out there. Do not get caught up in all the hype. Instead, do what makes sense for your body. Focus on you and what you need. Remember, the simpler and fresher, the better, especially when it comes to food.
Here are some of my favorite tips to help you along the way:
- Drink a glass of water every morning on waking up. Add lemon to it for extra digestive and cleansing benefit.
- Take a good quality probiotic to ensure proper digestion. When your digestive system is working properly it will get rid of unwanted substances and toxins, which in turn will promote healthy weight loss.
- Keep well hydrated by drinking a minimum of eight glasses (64 oz) of water per day.
- Load up on fresh vegetables, healthy fats, and lean proteins.
- Avoid the processed food – including sauces. Try creating your own healthy versions of your favorite sauces instead.
- Switch up your salt – Opt for fresh herbs, whole spices, or Himalayan pink sea salt instead
- Do not fear healthy fats – These keep your blood sugar levels stable, keep you fuller for longer, and keep your skin soft, supple, and glowing.
- Find ways to move more – Get active outdoors; walk your dog, go for a stroll in the park, find a sport you enjoy, or create/join a hiking club. Making exercise social will help you stick with it and enjoy it far more.
- Stick to small dinners and bigger lunches.
- Eat some protein at every meal.
- Avoid processed carbs at night – Stick to lots of vegetables and proteins instead.
- Work with your body – It takes 20 minutes for our brain to register that we have eaten, which is why we often eat more than we should. Allow your body 20 minutes to process the fact that you have eaten and then, only if you still feel hungry after 20 minutes, eat a little more.
- Sleep – Aim to get at least seven hours of sleep per night. Switch off your phone, laptop, TV, and all technology at least 30 minutes before going to sleep. This will allow your mind and body to prepare for rest. A lack of sleep causes us to feel depleted of energy, so we crave more food to replenish the energy that we need.
- Exercise five to six times per week – Consider making three of these sessions high-intensity interval training and two of these sessions yoga, Pilates or stretching-based training. Our bodies are designed to move, so do not think of exercise as a chore, think of it as something you need! You do not need to spend hours training each day – focus on fast-paced high-intensity sessions of around 20 to 30 minutes. This will maximise fat burning, build strong lean muscle, and it will make you feel great.
- Set realistic expectations – Do not let yourself get caught up in the whole ‘lose 10 pounds in two weeks’ nonsense. If you want the weight to stay off then you need to be consistent in the changes you make and see those changes as a commitment to yourself. Slow and steady weight loss is always best for the metabolism and will ensure that it stays off.
- Be sure to keep a balance – Look at all facets of your life – sleep, exercise, eating, relaxation, mental health, stress levels, work – how are you feeling in each one of these spheres? Are you in balance? If not, work on finding ways to establish that balance.
- Do not become obsessive – Your health should be something that you enjoy and cherish – do not ever let it become a chore. Remember balance is key!
- Rest – If you have been training hard and are feeling run down, do not be afraid to take a little break. One or two days of rest can do wonders to rejuvenate your body. Remember that exercise puts stress on your body too, which in excess can cause your cortisol levels to rise, which will make your body want to retain and store fat.
- Think healthy thoughts – Spend five minutes every day visualising yourself as healthy and fit. Your body listens to your thoughts so keep them positive and self-affirming.
- Above all, give your body love – Show it respect, appreciate all that it does, and it will reward you abundantly.
Do not forget, consistency is key, so stick to it for amazing results.
Carmen Keith, MD, IFMCP