It is officially fall! Fall is typically a time when most people get organized, back into routines, and create some new health goals. Today I am sharing ten tips to kick start your journey that doesn’t require dieting or counting calories; who wants to do that anyways?!
These tips focus on YOU, how you feel, and just simply making some smarter choices when it comes to food. Now remember, the biggest tip to cleaning up your eating habits is to aim for 90% clean food and 10% “cheat/unclean” food, but be happy if 80/20 is how it turns out some weeks too! You have to enjoy the little things in life, including some tailgating food and pumpkin beer with friends.
Feed your soul with primary food. What is primary food? Primary food is your friends and family, physical activity, spirituality, and a satisfying caree. All of these things in life give you energy, think of them as food. A lack of primary food creates over-reliance on secondary, edible food.
Drink water. Most people are chronically dehydrated and don’t even realize. Many people often mistake thirst for hunger. If you feel hungry between meals, drink a glass of water before giving into any cravings.
Eat mainly plant-based diet. Plant foods are typically lower in fat and calories and higher in filling fiber than meat, dairy, and processed foods, while providing loads of essential nutrients. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables!!
Chew your food well. Digestion actually begins in the mouth; by thoroughly chewing your food, your body will better digest all of its important nutrients. This mindfulness will also allow you to slow down your eating. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register that it is full so by eating slower you might feel satisfied with less food.
Eat real food. Avoid products with high-fructose corn syrup or a long list of unpronounceable ingredients. These foods are highly processed which means they are lacking the nutrients your body needs; essentially they are empty calories.
Eat breakfast. Skipping meals causes your blood sugar levels to peak and dip, affecting your energy and moods. It can also cause overeating later on because you’re so hungry.
Eat mindfully. Turn off the TV. Get away from the computer. Sit down and savor the food you are eating with no distractions!!
Get moving. Do any type of physical activity every day. Find movement or exercise you enjoy.
Sleep, rest and relax. When you are sleep-deprived or stressed, your body will crave energy, causing cravings for sugary snacks and caffeine as an energy boost.
Schedule fun time. Boredom and stress can lead to overeating; in order to avoid this make sure to take time to laugh and participate in activities that make you happy.
content via IIN (Institute for Integrative Nutrition)
Reduce or (if possible) eliminate caffeine. Caffeine causes many ups and downs that include dehydration and blood sugar lows and highs, making mood swings more frequent.
Drink lots of water – Most of us are chronically dehydrated. Try to drink a glass of water before you go to sugar or caffeine and wait a few minutes to see what happens.
Eat tons of dark leafy green vegetables. Green is associated with spring, a time of renewal and refreshing. Greens are full of vitamins and nutrients and great for improving circulation, lifting the spirit, purifying the blood, and strengthening your immune system.
Use real sweets. Avoid sugar and chemical artificial sweeteners. Use natural sweeteners like maple syrup, brown rice syrup, and agave nectar. Eat sweet vegetables such as yams, carrots, and beets or fruit to curb sweet cravings.
Get Moving. Start with simple activities, like walking or yoga. As this becomes a routine increase the amount or type of exercise.
Get more SLEEP, rest and relaxation. When you are tired or stressed, your body will crave energy. These cravings are often a result of being sleep-deprived, going to bed late, and waking up early for months and years on end.
Evaluate the amount of animal food you eat. Eating too much meat, dairy, chicken, and eggs can lead to low energy. So can eating too little! Experiment and see what your body feels the best with.
Evaluate your close relationships to see if there are people who drain you of your energy. It doesn’t mean that they are bad, but it is good to notice who drains you and why. See if you can transform those relationships by communicating and/or setting boundaries. Don’t be afraid to distance yourself or end the relationship.
Take time for YOU. Find activities that restore your energy, such as a walk, a bath, a movie, or whatever you might enjoy and schedule some time with yourself to do these things!
This past Sunday was Inner Strength Studios Grand Opening in Sudbury, MA. This is their second location; their first is in Watertown, MA. The studio is located in a relatively new business complex with lots of parking and right next door to the restaurant, 29 Sudbury (perfect for post yoga cocktails). I have always told myself that I should add yoga into my weekly workout routine, but when it comes to spending more money on additional studio packages, I always back out. Yoga has a beautiful way of working your body in ways you don’t realize you are capable of, all while giving you an hour + of complete relaxation. Yoga works wonders when dealing with stress; something I struggle with constantly. Anyways, I was super excited to see that Inner Strength was opening in Sudbury because we are lacking good yoga studios in this area outside of Boston; and this location is halfway from my office to home which really makes it a home run.
Sunday I attended their 1 hr of warm gentle yoga and quickly fell in love. The place is simple, clean, relaxing and filled with extremely nice staff. The studio owner, Roman, is a wealth of knowledge and is so accommodating and welcoming. He immediately makes you feel a part of the Inner Strength family. This class in particular hit on all the yoga basics in a heated room; not too hot, but enough to have me dripping sweat. As a new student, I took advantage of their one week of free yoga and since have gone back every night after work to do their classic power hour class. This class was a little more advanced and difficult (at least for me as a beginner yogi). Finally, last night I took their 75 minute hot yoga class which was the perfect ending to a long week. I was drenched in sweat and totally zenned out when I opened my eyes from savasana.
Lets just say I am hooked and already purchased a class pack to continue on this new yogi journey of mine. I highly recommend checking this studio out if you are in the area; they have an amazing group of instructors and some great new client specials to take advantage of!
Sleep – the most overlooked and underrated aspect of your overall health. So many of us put sleep on our backburner in order to get other “more important” things accomplished. However, a lack of sleep is harmful for your body. Here is why:
During sleep your body;
Releases hormones that regulate appetite control, stress, growth, and metabolic strength
Increases stamina and energy levels
Strenghtens immune system
Improves brain functionality to increase focus, alertness and creativity
Increases mood and helps reduce anxiety and mental exhaustion
Without sleep your body;
Decreases the release of a hormone called, leptin, which plays a HUGE role in appetite control therefore increases your likely hood to gain weight
Increases the amount of inflammatory proteins and blood sugar levels within the body which all increase your risk of illnesses, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and infection
Impairs your brain to function optimally which decreases your ability to process new information and also affects your mood and focus levels drastically.
So how much sleep do you need?
For anyone over the age of 18, it is recommended to get at least 7 -9 hours of sleep a night!
How can I sleep better?
Make a routine – try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day
Give yourself at least 30 minutes to wind down – avoid using your IPhone, TV, or other electronic devices
Make your bedroom comfortable and completely dark
Reduce your caffeine intake; especially in the afternoon and night
Don’t overeat before bed
Limit beverage consumption so that you do not wake up in the middle of the night