Over the past year, I have been working hard to better myself and my body. These are some things that I have tried and that have worked for me. Try all of them or just a few at a time and you will see a difference in the way you look and feel. This isn't some secret formula or any earth shattering discoveries, just tried and true things that really do work. Looking and feeling your best isn't about some fad diet, it's about creating good habits and building a positive relationship with healthy food.
1. Drink lots of water- I know people say this all of the time. But it really is so important and really does work. It is especially great to drink and ice cold glass of water first thing in the morning to get your metabolism going.
2. Eat breakfast- Many people skip breakfast. Not a good idea! Breakfast kick starts your metabolism, gives you energy for the day, and keeps you fuller longer. I eat a green smoothie every morning and it gives me the energy I need until lunch.
3. Cut out carbs- There is a lot of debate over the carbs issue. I personally love carbs, but I noticed such a difference in my body when I slowly started to cut them out. I still eat the good carbs, like in bananas and quinoa, but I try not to eat white bread and pasta ever.
4. Eat lean proteins- proteins are great. I try to incorporate them into every meal in some way, whether it is chicken, eggs, etc.
5. Limit your sugar intake- The best thing to do is to eliminate all added sugar to your diet. Sugar comes in natural forms in all sorts of food, but food with sugar added is no good. You will be surprised by how many products do have added sugar in them. This includes artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners=bad.
6. "Cheat" wisely- if you are going to have a meal that is not healthy, don't let the rest of the day go to waste. Eat great the rest of the day instead of just giving up. If I am going to eat something not as healthy, I make sure that I am still getting nutrients by adding vegetables.
7. Stick to veggies- You can never go wrong with veggies! The more veggies the better. Eat lots of different colors of veggies and know which ones are best for you (Kale, spinach, tomatoes, broccoli).
8. Get Moving- If you don't have the time to do 2 hour workouts everyday, that is fine. Still try to incorporate movement into your day. Take the stairs, park far away, do jumping jacks during commercial breaks, anything to get your heart rate up a bit.
9. Portion control- this is the one I struggle the most with, but it is so important. You can eat a perfectly healthy meal, but eat way too much. Eat until you feel full, not until you can move off the couch you are so full.
10. Eat- They say that the best way to lose weight is to eat less. Sure, you shouldn't overeat, but eating the rights things instead of starving yourself is the key. The best thing to do is eat when you start to get hungry and only eat until you are just full. Don't get overly hungry or overly full.
11. Dairy- I don't condone cutting out cheese, because I am pretty sure cheese makes the world a better place. But, some people have found great success with limiting or removing cheese and other dairy products.
12. Eat the right fruit- it is so important to eat fruits and veggies, as they gives us the nutrients we need. All fruits are not created equal, though. Some of have a ton of natural sugar, so they should be eaten in moderation (pineapple, grapes).
13. Don't count calories, make calories count- When people count calories, they are often not focusing on what they are actually eating. Sure, you could save up all of your daily calories and then eat an entire pizza at the end of the day, but is that doing you any good? You should be eating good calories full of natural ingredients and nutrients.
14. Don't buy it- This is probably my number one tip. If you have it in your house, it takes tons of self control not to eat it. You are only at the store for about an hour, use self control during the time and JUST DON'T BUY IT. If you don't buy it, you can't eat it.
15. Cut out processed food- Processed food is bad in all sorts of ways. There are no nutrients and there are additives that cause weight gain and other medical problems. Whole, clean foods are the way to go.
16. Don't over snack- the right snacks can be great, but don't take it to the extreme. Many people say that eating snacks throughout the day keeps your metabolism going, but eating too many snacks wastes calories and takes away from your main meals.
17. Read labels- I can't stress this enough. Know what you are putting in your body. Look at the label before buying something. If it says low cal., low sugar, fat-free, there might be additives that are just as bad.
18. Eat healthy fats- fat has gotten a bad name over the years, but good fats are important to our diet. Avocados, nuts, olive oil, etc.
19. Alternate between cardio and strength- change up your workout. Make sure you are getting in cardio and weight training.
20. Find good foods you enjoy eating- I have found some go-to foods and recipes that are healthy and satisfying. Find foods that you really like to eat, then you won't feel like you are punishing yourself.