I hope you have enjoyed my previous articles. I am going to continue to remind you that your health should always take priority over other parts of your life. You want to be able to enjoy your whole life, not just living in the moment. Every action always has a consequence, either good or bad. Get up every morning, look in the mirror and tell yourself you matter and you are worth it. Plan your day before you begin it. What are you going to eat that is healthy? When can you exercise cardio (two days) or strength (three days))? It only takes 30 minutes — make it happen. Donít forget your 64-72 ounces of water. Donít forget: You need a good nightís sleep (6-7 hours minimum).Here are some common unhealthy habits you need to break to stay healthy and lose weight.
- Not drinking enough water — 64-72 ounces (Institute of Medicine): Staying hydrated helps keep your memory sharp, your mood stable and motivation intact. It allows muscles and joints to work better, and helps clean toxins from the body through the kidneys and bladder.
- Eating late at night: Your body doesnít know it is late, but it does know you are not working off what you just ate. Late-night meals can cause indigestion that interferes with sleep. You may sleep better if you avoid eating late at night. (National Institutes of Health) If you must have a snack, try plain veggies or three cups of popcorn made with coconut oil. Donít forget to stay away from artificial sweeteners. Stevia is a natural plant.
- Not getting enough exercise: It only takes 30 minutes. Most individuals have a hard time finding motivation to exercise at home. That nice, expensive home gym equipment becomes a clothes hanger or collects dust in the basement. Exercising regularly can help you lose weight and boost your energy, and it may help you live longer! (Framingham Heart Study) Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends adults get 75 minutes of cardio activity like Zumba per week and two or more days of resistance training (strength). You and a friend should work out at a fitness center that monitors your activities, with staff who make sure you are using the equipment properly. Monthly weigh and measures are important to assess your progress, but have fun, too.
- Not getting enough sleep: Research shows a lack of sleep can compromise your immune system, your heart health and your judgment and ability to make decisions. Being sleep-deprived may fuel depression and make it harder to lose weight and easier to give in to temptations. (National Sleep Foundation)
- Eating too much sodium: Americans, on average, eat about 1,000 mg more sodium each day than we should (New England Journal of Medicine). Eating out can be your worst enemy. Restaurant foods are high in sodium. Cook at home with fresh ingredients, and know exactly what is in your food. For optimal heart-health, the American Heart Association recommends no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day. Here are approximate amounts of sodium in a given amount of table salt:1/4 teaspoon salt = 575 mg sodium; 1/2 teaspoon salt = 1,150 mg sodium3/4 teaspoon salt = 1,725 mg sodium; 1 teaspoon salt = 2,300 mg sodium
- Choosing food based on health claims: Low fat means more carbohydrates and sugar; gluten free has more fat. Avoid being taken in by a healthy-sounding label. Compare the Nutrition Facts Panels and ingredient lists across brands of the same food category.
- Eating lunch at your desk: Itís too easy to munch on your midday meal desk-side; but, according to a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, youíll feel more satisfied, and will rein in that temptation to binge mid-afternoon if you are focused on your meal. Eat lunch, and then get up from your desk and go for a walk.
- Avoiding treats: You might think itís good to banish sweet treats. Studies suggest that feeling deprived can trigger overeating. Making any food off limits increases its allure. If itís something sweet youíre craving, go for it: A small treat wonít break your healthy eating pattern. Two squares of dark chocolate or one-half cup of ice cream are less than 150 calories.