One of the best things about nutrition and fitness is that you can pledge to be better at both any time of the year. You don’t have to wait until you notice a change in your weight to get fit or wait for spring to arrive for you to work toward obtaining a beach body. You could start eating healthier and making more of an effort to get fit today, and our tips will help you get started.
Don’t Call It a Diet
Certain words evoke certain actions, and committing to your health means changing the language you use and the attitude you have toward healthy eating and fitness. For example, if you say that you are on a diet, you are more likely to feel that you are restricting your eating habits and begin to feel as though you are being punished. You’ll indulge or even binge on the foods you have told yourself you cannot have, simply because you think you are on a diet that prohibits certain types of foods. When you use the word “diet,” you are setting yourself up for failure because you will wind up yo-yo dieting and gaining weight while feeling guilty.
One of the easiest ways to avoid using the word “diet” is to change your approach to, and attitude about, nutrition. When you think of the food you eat as being the fuel that your body needs, you will be less likely to indulge in junk food because you will want to give your body healthy foods necessary for proper function. By changing the way you think about the food that you eat, you will find that it becomes easier to avoid junk food; in fact, rather than eat foods that lack nutritional value and are high in fat and sugar, you will opt for fresh fruits and vegetables to properly fuel your body.
Squeeze in Healthy Foods and Water Wherever You Can Each Day
You probably know that you are supposed to be getting seven servings of fruits and vegetables every day, but you may not know how to fit them into your day. If you eat cereal or oatmeal for breakfast, put blueberries or strawberries on top. If you are pressed for time in the morning, make a smoothie with frozen bananas or frozen blueberries and other fresh fruit. Go the extra mile with your smoothie and add baby spinach to it. You should opt for fresh-squeezed orange juice instead of store-bought, but if you do purchase your orange juice, opt for the one with added calcium.
Snack on apples, oranges, or berries. At lunch, add some berries or apples to a salad, eat a veggie wrap, or opt for a pizza with double sauce, half cheese, and veggie toppings instead of pepperoni or sausage. Dinner should include sides of vegetables that fill half your plate, leaving a quarter for your protein and a quarter for your starch. While watching television at night, snack on crunchy carrot sticks rather than potato chips or popcorn. You’ll soon find that adding seven servings of fruits and veggies each day is easier than you thought.
Get Enough Sleep
Other than preventing crankiness, did you know that sleep is vital to your health and overall fitness? In a study of 500 adults over the course of 13 years, it was found that those who slept less than 6 hours each night were 7.5 times more likely to be overweight even after controlling for factors such as physical activity and family history. In addition, those who slept at least 7.5 hours each night had the lowest body mass index (BMI). The good news is that your new fit lifestyle could hold the key to a better night’s sleep. Most researchers agree that moderate exercise at least six hours before lights out is best, and the quality of your sleep will depend on your workout intensity.
Regardless, sweating it out is great way to improve your health and promote natural sleep as opposed to sleep that is dependent upon sedatives and sleeping aids, which are extremely addictive. Instead, take a warm bath before bed to wind down, and do a relaxing activity such as meditation, reading, or a crossword puzzle. Once you hit the sheets, turn the phone off, as the blue light from your phone hinders your body’s natural sleep cycle, leaving you lying awake longer.
Make Your Workouts Fun
Let’s face it: it’s tough to get motivated to exercise because there are other activities we would rather be doing that are a whole lot more fun. Well, the best way to make sure that you stick to your workout is to make it as fun as possible. This means taking advantage of various activities as the seasons change. During spring, make use of the warmer weather and start hiking, biking, and walking outside. As the weather continues to warm, play games with friends so you won’t feel like you are working out; try Ultimate Frisbee, touch football, baseball, kayaking, and canoeing. When fall hits, take advantage of the nature trails in your area and take in nature’s beauty as the seasons and foliage change.
Don’t allow winter to derail your fitness routine. There are lots of fun activities you can do when the weather turns cold, too. Join an indoor volleyball team, play handball, or find a local dodgeball league. Most area fitness centers and YMCAs offer indoor winter leagues for fun intramural sports such as these. Many fitness centers also have indoor swimming pools, so you can exercise and relieve sore muscles by swimming laps and doing water aerobics and exercises in water.
Eating healthy and staying fit can be a way of life if you change the way you think about nutrition. Avoid using the word diet, eat healthy fruits and vegetables each day, and make your workouts fun to kick your health and fitness goals into gear.
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