Eating & Exercise Road Rules for Healthy Habits

Healthy Habit Tips for Eating & Exercise

Consume lean protein with every meal. There is compelling evidence that lean protein increases thermogenesis and increases satiety. More calories are burned when you eat protein because of the energy required to break it down compared to carbohydrates. Protein has positive affects on hormones that regulate appetite producing greater satiety and less caloric consumption.

Eat every 3-4 hours or 4-6 small meals per day. Frequent small meals control blood sugars levels, and prevent ebbs and flows in energy. Knowing that you will eat again in 3 hours helps control portion size. Eating slowly and mindfully allows the appetite control hormones to work properly. Adopting frequent meals as a lifestyle is very difficult for most because it requires such extreme changes in eating behaviors and habits.

Eat vegetables with every meal. Do you want to know the secret to loving your vegetables? Become a good cook. Fresh seasonal vegetables prepared properly are divine. Spend a few minutes browsing your local produce stands. Decorate your counter tops with a display of fresh vegetables prior to preparing. Learn basic cooking techniques for sautéing, roasting, baking, steaming and boiling. Eat your colors.

Limit carbohydrates to mornings or after workouts. There are essential amino acids (proteins) and essential fatty acids (fats) but there are no essential carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are needed for energy but are not essential macronutrients. A good rule of thumb is to match your carbohydrate intake to your energy expenditure. If you are highly active, eat more carbohydrates. If you are largely sedentary, eat fewer carbohydrates. Throughout the day, time your carbohydrate intake to energy expenditure. Most people are more active during the day compared to after dinner or at night and would do well to limit carbohydrate intake after mid-afternoon.

Don’t drink calories-drink water or green tea for hydration. The high calorie content of soda is well recognized in our culture but if you are still a hold out, start by switching to diet soda. If all soda is out of your diet-good for you! Add some variety to your fluid intake by adding one to two cups of green tea a day (hot or cold). The amount of flavonoids in green tea is similar to a serving of vegetables conferring protection against heart disease, cancer and other oxidant stresses.

Plan your meals. It takes a tremendous amount of focus to change your habits and lose weight. Once those healthy habits are established, it takes far less energy, but you have to put the time in to get there. You will get it back in health benefits and will spend far less time with your friendly family doctor! If you don’t cook or don’t have someone to cook for you, learn. It’s not that hard. Limit take-out and eat out. Plan. Shop. Cook. Eat and repeat. Repetition is the key to success.

Schedule your workouts in advance and don’t break your dates. Your workouts should be on your calendar and need to be high priority. Aiming for 1000 calories per week is a great start. That breaks down to roughly 10 miles of walking per week, which should be fairly easy in three sessions. Already there? Bump it up to 2000 calories per week, which is the recommended amount of exercise for those trying to lose or maintain weight loss.

Find a workout partner, small group class or personal trainer. The most successful exercisers have accountability to someone else for at least part of their training routine. Finding an exercise partner, small group or personal trainer keeps you on track when the going gets rough. And makes it more fun! If your exercise regimen is boring and you dread doing it, you probably can’t stick to it for long. Stack the deck in your favor and find activities and people that make it fun.

Cross train to prevent injury. Once you have a regular work out program in place, take it to the next step. Incorporate a balanced approach of Pilates and/or yoga, cardio and strength training into your workouts. Pilates builds core strength. Yoga improves flexibility. Cardio burns calories. Weight training increases lean muscle mass, and increases basal metabolic rate. Mix and match to get the right balance for you.

Play a sport. Make exercise fun. Get in tune with your inner athlete. Remember, many sports have repetitive, one-sided movements so pay particular attention to the cross training tip above to prevent injury.

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