Happy Wednesday! I’d like to start today’s message with a rhetorical question: Do you want to understand how to balance your diet and your exercise plan for your optimal health? I imagine that for most of us, the answer is yes. Well, in this newsletter, we are going to describe some ways you can do just that!
Diet Tip #1: Decide to decide!
You are the only one who has complete control over what you eat and how much you exercise. The first thing you need to do is to decide – really decide – that you want to look and feel better. Even if you are at a good weight and in pretty good shape, you can still probably do a lot of things to keep that weight in check and to stay fit and healthy. Remember, it is harder to lose weight the older you get. It’s also harder to get in shape as you get older. But, if you decide right now to get to your ideal weight, or stay at your ideal weight and get involved in an exercise plan that works for you, it will be easier to keep it up over time. But, for any of that to happen, YOU have to first decide to do it!
Diet Tip #2: Keep a food diary.
If you are like the average person, you will be absolutely amazed at how much you eat each day. Many people don’t believe the quantity once they start keeping track! The quick snack here and the extra portion of dessert there can really take their toll, and if you aren’t aware of what you are eating, you won’t be able to take control of what you are eating! Another advantage of keeping a food diary is that it helps to get rid of the guilt that so many of us associate with food. If you are clearly and plainly writing down everything you eat, you are admitting to yourself that you had that extra piece of bread or that extra big slice of pie, and the shame is gone!
Diet Tip #3: Admit you are not perfect.
We all will fall off the wagon from time to time. It happens because we are human. So, if you admit ahead of time that there will be times that you allow yourself that special treat, it will help keep that treat feeling special and will help you keep more cravings in control. If, for example, you tell yourself that once a week (or once a month), you will allow yourself that hot fudge sundae (with the cherry on top, of course), then you will have something to look forward to and a goal to achieve. Now, that’s better than sneaking off to eat that hot fudge sundae somewhere where no one can see you – and then feeling guilty and shamed by it! Have that special treat, and tell everyone about how you earned it. You can tell everyone that it is your reward because you’ve been working towards that treat as a goal. And you’ve MADE that goal!
Diet Tip #4: Choose only healthy foods!
Outside of your special treat that you have chosen for yourself, you can decide that all the other food you eat will be healthy food. No chips, no fried foods, no fatty foods! Your meals and your snacks should be wholesome, whole foods and include high quality protein, complex carbohydrates (like whole grains) and healthy fats. These foods will fill you up and leave you feeling satisfied longer – and that, in the long run, can help you lose weight.
Diet Tip #5: Eat with a purpose and a plan.
You have the plan – you are slimming down and staying (or getting) into shape. The idea with this tip is to eat at a pre-determined time and place, and focus all your attention on the process of eating and enjoying your food. This means that you sit down at a table at a specific time and with no distractions (as in – turn off the TV!). You can, of course, sit with your family, but you should be focusing on the food and eating as a process and be aware of your food. Set a time for a snack as well, and focus on the snack you have chosen. If, for example, your snack is a handful of nuts, eat each nut individually. Don’t just toss the nuts into your mouth all at once! Also, chew each mouthful at least 30 times. Why? There are a few reasons:
It makes you aware of what you are eating.
- It allows you to more fully enjoy the taste and the texture of each mouthful.
- It prepares the food for the next step in digestion, making it easier to digest!
- It slows down the eating process.
Now, what about exercise? Here are some tips on getting into shape.
Exercise Tip #1: Keep it simple, and keep it pleasant.
At least as you are beginning your exercise plan, keep it short and sweet. If you try to run 5 miles on the very first day of your exercise plan, well, unless you have been running for a while, you are just not likely to complete those 5 miles! And then what? You’ll feel like you failed and won’t have motivation to try again. If, on the other hand, you decide to walk 5 blocks – well, that’s doable, and you are likely to enjoy it as well. And, you are less likely to wake up so sore the next day that you can barely move! Then, the next week, you can increase your routine to 8 or 10 blocks. You can keep increasing the walking and the speed as much as is comfortable for you – and because you aren’t in pain, you are more likely to keep at it!
Exercise Tip #2: Walk, don’t ride!
In this case, this means you walk up the stairs rather than take the elevator or escalator. Now, if your office is on the 50th floor, you may want to break that up just a bit – walk up the first five flights, and THEN take the elevator the rest of the way. Or, if you are at the grocery store, park far away rather than spending 10 minutes trying to get the closest parking spot! Walk as you are running your errands, not driving them.
Exercise Tip #3: Multi-task.
Use an exercise ball as you are watching TV, or do simple bodyweight exercises. Or, you can use a treadmill or exercise bike while reading, listening to music or watching your favorite movie. Put leg or arm weights on as you do household chores or do the gardening.
Exercise Tip #4: Do whatever works for you.
Again, the idea is to make the exercise enjoyable. Otherwise, you are less likely to keep it going. If, on the other hand you DO enjoy your daily exercise, you are MUCH more likely to keep on doing it and achieving your goal of a healthier, happier and fitter life.
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