Portion control, periodic weight checks, regular exercise, making good food choices, figuring out which foods are good and which are not...these can drive a person crazy. But they don't have to drive you crazy. Here are some pointers to help you make sense of all the conflicting information you are constantly bombarded with.
- Fat is not the enemy. Choosing good fats to include in your diet is a great way to maintain a healthy lifestyle and to stay satisfied longer. Stay away from trans fats, highly processed oils, margarine or other substitutes for butter, and fats that are included in highly processed foods. They are likely the aforementioned trans fats and processed oils anyway.
- Try to eat more of a plant based diet. You don't have to become vegan or even vegetarian to enjoy the benefits of eating a plant based diet. When you prepare your meal, make your animal protein more of a side dish rather than the main course. Fill your plate at least 75% with vegetables, beans, whole grains, and fruit.
- Consider having one day a week designated as a meatless day and use plant based proteins as a substitute. Anything that has been alive has protein in it so you do derive protein from your vegetables and fruits. Don't use processed products that are created to be used as a substitute for meat like textured vegetable protein. Those products are highly processed. Eat a meal using beans, nuts, seeds, tempeh or tofu as your protein source. If you are using soy products like tempeh or tofu, make sure it's sourced organically and not genetically modified (non-GMO).
- Don't obsess over the scale. Weighing yourself daily, or worse several times a day, can be very demoralizing. Your weight will naturally fluctuate throughout the day. You should limit your weight tracking to once per week unless you are trying to maintain where you are. As long as the scale isn't creeping up but rather hovers around the number you're happy with, you are doing fine.
- Don't compare yourself with others. This holds true with anything you do. Social media has made us all at one point or another, compare ourselves unfavorably to what someone else has posted about themselves. But you don't see what it took for them to get there, if they really even have gotten there. There are a lot of misleading posts on social media to make people feel good about themselves by deceiving others into thinking things are much better in their lives than they actually are. The only person you should be comparing yourself to is the you you're planning to leave behind. The new and improved you will compare well to that person if you follow some steps toward developing a healthy lifestyle.
- Exercise regularly. Daily movement is so important because it keeps things in your body moving the way they were intended to move. We were not designed to be sitting machines. Our bodies were designed to do physical work, not sit behind a desk. Get up every hour, take a walk, stretch, do some deep breathing. Frequent movement is good for the mind, body and soul.
- Take breaks from the grind. Step away from the stress and spend time being still and even meditate a little. Meditation is just sitting quietly and trying not to let your monkey mind get the best of you. Take some deep breaths and let them out slowly and completely. Count your breaths so you take your mind off of your racing thoughts.
- Minimize stress. Exercise, meditate, listen to some soothing music, take a warm bath with lavender essential oil and epsom salts in a darkened bathroom with some candlelight, drink a cup of caffeine free herbal tea. All of these things will help to lower your stress level.
These are just a few of the new habits you can incorporate into your healthy lifestyle. You don't have to change everything all at once. In fact, I don't recommend making wholesale changes all over your life. That could become very overwhelming and no one needs that. Take one new habit at a time and try that on for awhile. Once that is ingrained, go to the next. This is a journey and if you want to make permanent changes in your life that will make a positive difference, this is the way to do so.
As a health coach, I work with women who are facing serious health challenges like heart disease, metabolic syndrome and diabetes or who have been diagnosed as having a precursor to a serious health issue such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or high blood sugar. I help them make food and lifestyle changes so they can get healthy, live longer and enjoy a fuller, happier, more energetic life. If you would like to have a free consultation about the health challenges you have and the improvements you would like to see in your health, click here to schedule a no strings attached call.