We all want to be our best, healthiest selves, but with so much advice floating around out there, it can be hard to home in on which healthy lifestyle tips are actually worth trying.
To make your life a bit easier, we've rounded up a number of our go-to healthy strategies, to help you reach your goals.
Whether you're heading off to spin class, boot camp, or any other exercise, it's always important to hydrate so you can stay energized and have your best workout. But you don't want to grab just anything for hydration purposes.
Find a workout buddy:
A friend you can work out with is hugely helpful for keeping motivated, but it's important to find someone who will inspire—not discourage. So make a list of all your exercise-loving friends, then see who fits this criteria. Can your pal meet to exercise on a regular basis? Is he/she supportive (not disparaging) of your goals? And last, will your bud be able to keep up with you or even push your limits in key workouts? If you've got someone that fits all three, make that phone call.
Stock your fridge with healthy items:
While there are heaps of good-for-you foods out there, some key ingredients make it a lot easier to meet your weight-loss goals.
During your next grocery store run, be sure to place Newgent's top three diet-friendly items in your cart: balsamic vinegar (it adds a pop of low-cal flavor to veggies and salads), in-shell nuts (their protein and fiber keep you satiated), and fat-free plain yogurt (a creamy, comforting source of protein). "Plus, Greek yogurt also works wonders as a natural low-calorie base for dressings and dips—or as a tangier alternative to sour cream.
Relieve those achy muscles:
After a grueling workout, there's a good chance you're going to be feeling it (sore thighs, tight calves, you know the drill).
Luckily, you can relieve post-fitness aches by submerging your lower body in a cold bath (50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit; you may have to throw some ice cubes in to get it cold enough) for 10 to 15 minutes.
Curb your sweet tooth:
Got a late-night sugar craving that just won't quit? "To satisfy your sweet tooth without pushing yourself over the calorie edge, even in the late night hours, think 'fruit first,'" Newgent says. So resist that chocolate cake siren, and instead enjoy a sliced apple with a tablespoon of nut butter (like peanut or almond) or fresh fig halves spread with ricotta.
Know when (and how often):
Keep your portions in check:
Does your steak take up more than half your plate? Think about cutting your serving of beef in half. That's because it's best to try and fill half your plate with veggies or a mixture of veggies and fresh fruit, so you can get a healthy mix of proteins, fats, and carbs.
Don't stress over a cheat day:
Feeling guilty about that giant ice cream sundae you enjoyed at your niece's birthday party? Don't; it takes a lot of calories—3,500—to gain a pound of body fat. "So really, that one off day doesn't usually result in any significant weight gain. It's about what you do the next day and the day after that's really important—so don't stay off-track, but also don't go overboard. Remember: starvation and excessive exercise are not the healthy answer.
Add some spice to your food:
It's easy to get in a diet rut, even if you're loading up on flavorful fruits and veggies. The solution? Have plenty of spices, fresh herbs, and lemons at your cooking beck and call. "It's amazing what a little dash of spice, sprinkle of herbs, pinch of lemon zest, or squirt of lime juice can do to liven up a dish—and your diet.
Have a fruity ice cream sunday:
Next time your family or friends decide to make an ice-cream run, don't worry about being left out of the fun! Order a fresh (and super-refreshing) ice cream sundae, piled high with diced kiwi, pineapple, and strawberries. You'll get a serving of delish fruit and satisfy a craving.
Slim up your snack:
It's hard to avoid that 3 p.m. stomach rumble. And while it's fine to eat something to hold you over until dinner (in fact, we encourage it!), some choices may be better than others. So instead of running to the vending machine, try fruit or sliced veggies dipped in hummus.
Find healthy fast food:
Have to work late tonight and need dinner in a hurry? Not to worry. If you find fast food is your only option, pull up the restaurant's nutrition facts online before you go; you can make an informed decision ahead of time about what to order. "Nearly every quick-service restaurant has a relatively healthful option or two," says Newgent. Salads, chili, or grilled chicken are all good options, she says.
Up your fiber intake:
Along with protein and good-for-you fat, fiber is one of those nutrition elements that keeps you full and fueled all day long. And if you're trying to get fit and shed pounds, fiber is your best friend. In fact, in one an American Heart Association study, participants who consuming 30 grams of fiber a day ended up losing weight and improving their heart health. So when it comes to staying healthy and slim, aim for that 30 gram fiber goal!
Have a hearty breakfast:
By now you're probably tired of hearing how breakfast is the most important meal of the day—but this tired piece of advice couldn't be more true! In one study completed at the Imperial College of London, participants who skipped breakfast were more tempted to reach for unhealthy, high-calorie foods later in the day. And in case you need more evidence to eat that a.m. meal, further research found that women had a larger drop in ghrelin (the hunger hormone) when they ate a hearty breakfast versus a small one.
And now 12 tips to help you lose weight
1. Do not skip breakfast
Skipping breakfast will not help you lose weight. You could miss out on essential nutrients and you may end up snacking more throughout the day because you feel hungry.
Eating at regular times during the day helps burn calories at a faster rate. It also reduces the temptation to snack on foods high in fat and sugar.
Fruit and vegetables are low in calories and fat, and high in fibre – 3 essential ingredients for successful weight loss. They also contain plenty of vitamins and minerals.
4. Get more active
Being active is key to losing weight and keeping it off. As well as providing lots of health benefits, exercise can help burn off the excess calories you cannot lose through diet alone.
People sometimes confuse thirst with hunger. You can end up consuming extra calories when a glass of water is really what you need.
6. Eat high fibre foods
Foods containing lots of fibre can help keep you feeling full, which is perfect for losing weight. Fibre is only found in food from plants, such as fruit and veg, oats, wholegrain bread, brown rice and pasta, and beans, peas and lentils.
7. Read food labels
Knowing how to read food labels can help you choose healthier options. Use the calorie information to work out how a particular food fits into your daily calorie allowance on the weight loss plan.
8. Use a smaller plate
Using smaller plates can help you eat smaller portions. By using smaller plates and bowls, you may be able to gradually get used to eating smaller portions without going hungry. It takes about 20 minutes for the stomach to tell the brain it's full, so eat slowly and stop eating before you feel full.
9. Do not ban foods
Do not ban any foods from your weight loss plan, especially the ones you like. Banning foods will only make you crave them more. There's no reason you cannot enjoy the occasional treat as long as you stay within your daily calorie allowance.
10. Do not stock junk food
To avoid temptation, do not stock junk food – such as chocolate, biscuits, crisps and sweet fizzy drinks – at home. Instead, opt for healthy snacks, such as fruit, unsalted rice cakes, oat cakes, unsalted or unsweetened popcorn, and fruit juice.
11. Cut down on alcohol
A standard glass of wine can contain as many calories as a piece of chocolate. Over time, drinking too much can easily contribute to weight gain.
12. Plan your meals
Try to plan your breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for the week, making sure you stick to your calorie allowance. You may find it helpful to make a weekly shopping list.
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