Healthy Habits & Tips

I just wanted to stray away from the typical subjects I write about to share some of the most useful eating and lifestyle tips I’ve come across over the last few weeks. I’ve done a pretty good job of consistently hitting the gym and doing cardio for about 40 minutes a day, but I’ve noticed that I haven’t lost a whole lot of weight over the past 2 months – if anything, I’ve tightened up a bit, but I still have a lot of work to do. Now, I know I’m not ginormous, but I guess I’m just stressing about my weight especially because: 1) I have never weighed this much in my life, and 2) None of my jeans fit. None of them! I’d be happy just going back to my original size.

I’m starting to learn that diet is a major contributor to weight loss – Clearly, I’m not a pro. But I just wanted to share some of the tips I’ve learned over the last several weeks. Although I haven’t lost a significant amount of weight, I feel better mentally and I can feel changes in my body. Hopefully I start to notice BIG physical changes soon!

1.Drink a glass of cold water every hour. Sometimes I feel hungry, but my body is just dehydrated. Drinking enough water will also make you feel full and less tempted to snack. But if you’re still hungry after 10 minutes, grab something to eat and the water will aid digestion and you’ll absorb less fat from the food you eat. It’s also good to drink cold water because your body will burn calories just to get the water to a normal temperature to digest.

2. Always, always eat breakfast. After going a whole night without sleeping, your body will start to consume muscle through a process called ketosis if you don’t grab something to eat first thing in the morning.

3. Sleep at least six hours a night. If you don’t sleep at least six hours, your metabolism will decrease to maintain your energy level.

4. Have six small meals a day. Try not to have portions that are bigger than a cup. Your stomach will expand and then you’ll get even hungrier! Use smaller plates if you need to. This will also stimulate your metabolism.

5. Eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and drink water in between bites. It takes your body 20 minutes to send signals to your brain that indicate that you are full. To avoid overeating, eat slowly so you’ll feel full quicker.

6. Celery actually burns calories. This is because celery holds ZERO calories. Eat a stalk of it every hour, and it will increase your metabolism.

7. Supplements. Not everyone needs them, but I felt like I needed a few. The ones I take daily are:

– 1260 mg of Green Tea. The antioxidants in green tea provide energy, increase the metabolism and work as a detox. I used this to maintain my energy level, and it’s proven so far to be a viable substitute to coffee – I’ve actually been coffee-free for two months!

– 4000 mg of CLA. I honestly am not 100% positive in how this works, but to my limited knowledge, it’s supposed to enhance the activity of the enzymes that extract energy from fat. In other words, it aids in reducing fat mass. Or something like that… I just thought that I would try it, since it was cheap enough – only $9 for a bottle.

– 3000 mg of Glucosamine & Chondroitin. Since I’ve been doing a lot of cardio, my knees have been giving me trouble – glucosamine and chondroitin are essential components of what make up ligaments, tendons and cartilage, as well as lubricate the joints.

– Multi-Vitamins. We should all know what those are!

8. Make sure to shock your body. I was told that low resistance and high speeds was the way to burn fat when I do cardio. The problem is that I felt significant changes in my body when I started in the beginning, but just like those thick people you see running marathons, my body ended up getting used to the routine and I started to plateau. Now I’ve started to mix it up – different programs on the elliptical, biking, the stairmaster, etc.

9. Detox. It’s okay to reward yourself with a little treat every once in a while, but if you end up going a little overboard, remember to detox! Flood your system with healthy antioxidants by eating lots of fiber, fruits and vegetables for a couple of days.

10. Make cuts in calories and fat wherever you can. By this, I mean going from 2% milk to 1% or skim. Or going from white bread to whole wheat. Putting tuna and chicken in your sandwiches instead of ham or steak. Putting less dressing on your salad. Drinking water instead of anything else. Giving up junk food in its entirety, and cutting down on or eliminating your coffee intake – I did it, and so can you! These little things CAN and WILL make a difference.

11. Be more active where you can. This sort of parallels to the last tip, but in respect to physical activity. Instead of taking the elevator, take the stairs. Go for a walk during your lunch break. Do a couple sets of crunches and stretch before bed. Walk instead of drive to close destinations. These little things will make a difference too!

12. Stay motivated. I often feel discouraged because my old jeans still don’t fit the way I wanted to, or I don’t look the same in pictures as I did a year ago. But I just need to keep at it. Nothing I want will come overnight. I need to keep working hard, and it’ll pay off in time.

As I mentioned, I am NOT a professional, nor have I taken any nutrition classes or anything like that. These are tips I’ve consolidated over the course of reading numerous health articles and exploring posts on Pinterest (Yeah, yeah I promise I work hard at the Mayor’s Office – they just don’t keep me busy!) I found these tips useful, so I hope you do too! Just remember to believe in yourself, and know you can do it!

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