Tag Archives: Drink lots of water

Clean Eating and Weight Loss

Image by graphit
Image by graphit

A very big reason for dedicating yourself to a clean eating diet is that it puts you on track for reaching and sustaining a healthy weight. There is a direct correlation between clean eating and weight loss.

When you eat real food that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean meat, and whole grains –  you not only feel better, you will begin to lose weight if you are carrying extra pounds.

There are a few things you can do to speed things up, as well. This is particularly important if you need to lose a lot of weight or if you are pre-diabetic.

Eliminate Artificial Sweeteners

Image by Hillary Stein
Image by Hillary Stein

A clean eating diet requires that you eliminate all refined (white) sugar products including artificial sweeteners from your diet. Instead . . . you can use natural sweeteners like honey, agave syrup and maple syrup (in moderation).

Be careful not to get carried away with the natural sweeteners. Replacing your empty-calorie sweet treats with “clean” versions that contain a caloric equivalent of natural sugars will NOT help you lose the weight – plus, it is NOT good for your blood sugar.

Go Easy on the Carbs

Curbing your carbohydrate intake is one of the best ways to lose excess weight. Fill your plate with low carb, non-starchy vegetables – go easy on the potatoes. Add a few berries and you are set.

If you are unsure about what is classified as a carbohydrate, go online to educate yourself. Track your carbohydrate consumption for a few days to help you get a feel for what clean foods are high in carbs and how lowering your carbohydrate intake makes you feel better.

Eat Protein and Healthy Fat to Stay Full

So – what should you eat? Even though big salads when prepared properly with “clean dressings” are healthy, they will only satisfy the hunger for so long.  You can remedy this by eating plenty of clean protein and healthy fats. Both take longer to digest and will help you stay full.

You can eat chicken, low fat cottage cheese, Greek Yogurt, ground turkey etc. with each or snack – in fact all of those can be added to your salads.

Nuts are another great option because they are full of healthy fats, but – watch your portions. The same holds true for healthy fats like cold-pressed olive oil or avocados.

Filtered Drinking WaterDrink Lots of Water

It is easy to mistake thirst for hunger. When you feel the need to eat, try drinking a big glass of fresh water first. It not only contains “0” calories, it also keeps you body hydrated, which is critical for good health. Staying hydrated makes it easier for your body to process body fat into energy. In other words, drinking plenty of water helps melt fat right off your body.

Move Your Body

Eating real food in appropriate portions makes a huge difference when it comes to controlling your weight. When you add movement into the mix, controlling  your weight becomes even easier.

I am not talking about going to the gym every day for an hour workout, or going for a 5-mile run.  If those fit your lifestyle – great!  If not, just get in the habit of moving your body every day for at least 15-20 minutes. Maybe it’s climbing stairs instead of using the elevator – or taking a walk at lunch. Every bit of exercise you can work into your day will have a positive impact.

Take your kids to the park and race around with them for a little while, park your car at the back of the parking lot at the mall or the parking lot at work – or dance around the kitchen to your favorite music. Not only does exercise burn extra calories, it also puts you in a better mood and kicks your metabolism into high gear.

Step-up to Good Health

There is nothing I can tell you that you haven’t heard before if you are concerned about your health and are looking for ways to improve it – or sustain it.

The basics listed below still apply:

  1. Eats lots of fruits and vegetables.
  2. Eliminate sugar and white flour from your diet.
  3. Avoid junk food and fast foods
  4. Exercise
  5. Get plenty of rest.

All of the above are much easier to think about than to actually put into action.

I don’t have any magic bullet for you and I can’t change the rules, but I hope you are ready to step-up to good health and make some changes in your behavior – even if it is a single step at a time.

Every small change makes a difference.

Which leads me to the focus of today’s posting. I want to share a few easy practices that will do good things for your body – but do not require huge life-style changes.

Take time to relax:

Image by Dmitriy Shironosov
Image by Dmitriy Shironosov

When you are faced with a hectic schedule between work and family, getting enough rest is not always possible (even though I encourage you to do so as often as you can.)

This makes it even more important to create enough space in your day for a little downtime. This is crucial to your health.

It doesn’t have to be a lot of time. Fifteen minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the afternoon or evening will do wonders for your energy and outlook.

Take this time to do something you really like, for example:

  • Dance around the living room to your favorite music.
  • Take a walk by yourself to enjoy the quiet and the fresh air.
  • Sing, play the piano, or any other instrument.
  • Read from your favorite book of poetry
  • Have a good book handy that you can pick up and read.
  • Make a healthy smoothie or a nice cup of coffee/tea and sit on your patio.
  • Paint or draw.
  • Take a power nap.
  • Sit outside and enjoy the sunshine.
  • Or – simply sit and do nothing, letting the stress bubble up and away from you.

Drink a lot of water:

Filtered Drinking Water

Drinking lots water is one of the easiest and least expensive habits you can form that will contribute to good health. There is scientific evidence that drinking water regularly throughout your day increases your metabolism.

It is very easy to get dehydrated – especially in the winter months and if there is a lot of humidity in the air.

In addition to slowing your metabolism which leads to weight gain, dehydration can also create multiple problems including a drop in blood pressure, dizziness, lightheadedness, dry mouth, and dry skin.

The average person should drink a minimum of 64 ounces/day.  Six 12-ounce bottles of water will do it – starting with one in the morning as soon as you get up to rehydrate your body after sleeping and fasting overnight.

Pay attention to everything you drink:

Yes – fluids are critical, but drink fluids that are good for you – especially water as listed above.

In addition, it is important to pay attention to other liquids you consume. Particularly note the sugar and caffeine content. Both ingredients are very detrimental to your health. The liquid intake is great, but the rest of it is not.

When you start tracking your intake, you may be surprised at how many extra calories of sugar and milligrams of caffeine you are ingesting on a regular basis.

This is especially important if you are a fanatic about “energy drinks” such as Red Bull and monster – or even Starbucks products – both the hot, fresh cups of coffee and the bottled drinks.

Even though such products are touted to increase your energy, there are a number of studies that show an increase in cardiac problems (including cardiac arrest), headaches, migraines and anxiety in young people who consume several of these drinks each day.

By substituting a bottle of water for even one of these drinks every day, you will be moving in a positive direction.

Enjoy your food:

Eat slowly, chew slowly, and enjoy every bite. With the hectic lives that people live today, the tendency is to quickly gulp down food and go onto the next thing they “must” do.

The art of “fine dining” and savoring the pleasure of a good meal with good company has almost disappeared.

You may have heard that you should chew every bite –  anywhere from 10 to a 100 times. That may sound like an old wives’ tale, but it is actually good advice. The number of times you chew each bite has a direct correlation to how well you digest your food.

The bottom line, however, is to slow down when you are eating. Take your time, chew your food, enjoy the flavors, and enhance your health.

When you eat slowly, you feel full more quickly with less food. It also helps resolve many common digestive problems like heartburn and indigestion.

Eat good fats:

AvocadoYes, you read that correctly.  The body needs goods fats to function well.

The USDA recommends that 25-30% of calories should come from fats (with a minimum of 10%).

Notice I said, “Good fats.”

Eating mono- and polyunsaturated fats in moderation can help reduce cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Avocados, cheese, whole eggs, and fatty fish are all good sources of healthy fats.

On the other hand, avoid trans fats completely, if possible – or at least keep them at a minimum.

Move your body:

Believe me, I am not an exercise fanatic. You do not have to exercise a couple of hours every day to be healthy – BUT, you do need to be active.

Regular physical activity of some kind is crucial. I am not saying that you must go to the gym on a daily basis. There are many other options.

Taking a 15-20 walk each day is a great start (and can help you with the relaxation that we mentioned in the beginning of this post).

Walk at a comfortable pace for you. It does not have to be FAST, but remember the livelier the walk the more calories you’ll burn. Start slowly and build up to at least a medium-brisk pace overtime. You know what your body can handle.

The most important thing is to start!