Busy lives. Media overload of diet tips and trends. Conflicting information. Budget constraints. We get it, and feel your pain. Navigating through it all can be a job within itself which is why we’re here to help with five simple things you can start doing today that will lead to a healthier you.
#1 Drink more water. The benefits of drinking water are endless, plus people often confuse thirst with hunger so staying hydrated can help prevent unnecessary weight gain. Invest in a good, reusable glass or stainless steel water bottle and aim to drink roughly 13 cups a day for men (3L) or nine cups a day for women (2.2L). Flavor your water naturally with slices of lemon, lime or cucumber instead of buying artificially flavored or sugar-laden beverages.
#2 Include a fruit and/or vegetable with each meal and snack. Not only will this help you reach the minimum of five servings a day, but fruits and vegetables are relatively low in calories and fill you up with beneficial fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. You’ll also be less likely to reach for that bag of chips or candy bar.
#3 Eat more real, whole foods. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store to fill your cart with things like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and other fresh foods. If it comes in a box or package, check the ingredients to make sure you can understand everything that’s listed – the shorter the list the better!
#4 Limit your sugar intake. More and more research is coming out about the negative impacts sugar has on the body (all forms of sugar including corn syrup, honey, maple syrup, white sugar, etc.). We are consuming more of it now than ever before which is alarming when we know it can increase cholesterol levels, stress the liver and contribute to weight gain, sleep disturbances and more. Rather than replacing with artificial sugar substitutes, satisfy your sweet tooth with something healthy like a piece of fruit. You also might find that once you rid your diet of the excess sugar, you won’t crave it as much.
#5 Listen to your body. Eat when you’re hungry and stop eating when you’re satisfied but not necessarily full. We often continue eating to clear our plates or just because the food tastes so good! It takes time for your stomach to send the signal to your brain to stop eating so if you eat slowly, savor each bit, enjoy your food and stop eating before you feel overly full, it will help to prevent over eating. Tuning into your internal cues vs. external triggers (like stress, social events, cravings, etc.) takes practice and skill but you will be amazed at the impact it has on your overall health and well-being!
Amanda Benson, Registered Dietitian, Vitality Wellness Strategy Manager, Certified Corporate Wellness Specialist, new mom of an amazing 10-month old baby girl, foodie, runner, music lover and overall health and wellness enthusiast.