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Health and Fitness Blog 101

Let's Get Healthy Together

Simple Ways to Get Healthy Now

Posted by larends on January 31, 2014
Posted in Health and Fitness  | No Comments yet, please leave one

Fruits-and-VegetablesMany people don’t know where to start when it comes to eating healthy.  Think of food as fuel for your body.  Your body needs healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, protein, dairy and whole grains to function at its best.

How many people take better care of their cars than they do of their bodies?  We take our cars in to get the oil changed, have it checked out when it doesn’t run right or makes unusual noises, and we only put gasoline or diesel fuel in the fuel tank.  Why do we do these things?  So our car will last longer.  What would happen if we put a lot of sand in the fuel tank?  It would plug up the fuel filter and could cause other damage to the car.  We also have to make sure there is the right amount of oil in the car.  If it runs out of oil your engine will fail.

Eating a lot of sugar is like putting sand in the fuel tank.  We know it’s not good for us, but we continue to do it.  Not drinking enough water is like running low on oil. If we drink plenty of water, we will feel better and our body will function better.

So, what can we do to take care of our bodies?  Here is an easy maintenance plan:

  • Eat a healthy breakfast – include plenty of protein (eggs are a great source)
  • Eat every few hours to prevent your blood sugar from falling and to keep your metabolism running
  • Bring a healthy lunch and healthy snacks to work instead of going out to eat.
  • When you don’t have time to make a lunch, go to the grocery store to pick up salad or fruit.
  • Always have healthy snacks available, so you aren’t tempted to eat junk food.
  • Get plenty of sleep

Here is a list of foods that are considered healthy and should make up your main meals:

  • Protein (fish, poultry, beans, nuts, eggs)
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits (fresh are best and don’t add sugar)
  • Whole grains (brown rice, whole wheat bread, whole grain pasta)
  • Low-fat cheese/dairy (limit to 1 to 2 servings per day)
  • Water or tea (with little or no sugar)

Here are some healthy snack options you can eat in limited quantities:

  • Whole grain crackers
  • Greek yogurt
  • Tuna on whole grain wrap
  • Whole grain pita with hummus
  • Whole grain crackers with peanut butter
  • Baked tortilla chips and salsa
  • Yogurt and fresh fruit
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Apples and peanut butter
  • Dark chocolate
  • Lightly salted cashews or almonds and craisins
  • Graham crackers

Here is a list of foods to avoid:

  • Fried foods
  • Soft drinks or other sugary drinks
  • Food containing trans fat
  • Processed meats
  • Candy
  • Cookies
  • Any food containing a lot of sugar
  • Salt
  • Processed foods

I hear it all the time and it baffles me every time:

  • “I don’t want to exercise and eat healthy.”
  • “Everyone dies of something, I’d rather eat what I want and die happy.”
  • “I’ve tried eating healthy, it doesn’t do any good.”

So many people think only of the here and now.  They don’t want to plan for the long term.  They want immediate gratification.  If they don’t see immediate results, they give up.  Many people want to eat what they want and don’t want to “waste” time exercising.  Short term thinkers don’t think about the long term effects of not eating healthy and not exercising.

Those that choose not to exercise and eat healthy don’t consider that by not eating healthy or exercising their health will deteriorate and could cause them pain.  Some common health issues that could be prevented by exercising and eating healthy include;

  • Heart disease
  • Joint problems
  • Back problems
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Stroke
  • Arthritis

All of these health issues can cause pain or limit a person’s quality of life.  A stroke or Alzheimer’s can limit your mental capacity.  Heart disease, joint problems, back problems, diabetes, cancer and arthritis can severely limit your physical abilities potentially making you dependent on your family or unable to take care of yourself.

So many people would rather be prescribed a pill for high blood pressure or high cholesterol instead of eating right or exercising.  If people could see into the future and realize what health issues they may have to deal with, they would be more likely to try to prevent them.  Healthcare costs have skyrocketed and will continue to increase because people don’t want to take responsibility for their own health.  What can each of us do to help change this mindset?

Many people make a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight.  The problem is sticking to it.  Follow the steps below to improve your chances of keeping your resolution:

  • Be specific about what you want to accomplish.  Instead of just saying you want to lose weight, write down how much you want to lose in a specific timeframe.  For example, I want to lose 10 pounds by spring break.  Maybe your goal is to fit into the shorts or jeans you bought last year.  Some of you may want to just look good in your swimming suit this summer and are looking to simply tighten and tone.

 

  • Post pictures around the house or at work as reminders.  If you have a picture of yourself wearing those clothes you want to fit into again, display them where you will see them frequently.  Hang your swimsuit somewhere as a reminder that you will be wearing it soon and want to look good.  You could even post pictures of clothes that you want to buy once you lose weight.  A great place to post these pictures is in the kitchen, so every time you reach for a snack, you’ll be reminded to eat healthy.

 

  • Plan an exercise program.  You should include a mix of cardio and muscle building exercises to lose weight or get in shape.  Cardio is any type of exercise that gets your heart rate up, such as; running, swimming, jazzercise, dancing, aerobics, walking, biking, jumping rope, basketball, volleyball, soccer, etc.  These are just a few examples.  Anything that gets you moving will help get your heart rate up and burn fat.  Some muscle building exercises include; lunges, squats, weight lifting, leg lifts and abs.  These are toning exercises that help build muscle.  When you build muscle, your body burns more fat.  Try to do 30 minutes of cardio at least 3 days of the week and muscle building 2 or 3 days.  You can also combine cardio and muscle building on the same day.  When you combine cardio and muscle building in the same workout and alternate between them, it’s called interval training.  Interval training has been found to burn more fat than cardio or muscle building done separately.

 

  • Create a checklist to track your workouts.  I have a spreadsheet that lists all the days in the month and has a column for each type of workout that I want to do on a regular basis.  It includes cardio, lunges, squats, arms, leg lifts and abs.  Since I’m so busy all the time, I leave each column open and fill in what exercises I’m able to do each day.  You can also schedule what exercises you want to do each day.  When I do cardio, I track how many minutes I worked out.  For the toning exercises, I do a certain amount of sets for each.  Each toning exercise can be done in 10 minutes, so these are great to do when you don’t have a lot of time.  You can also work in cardio in 10 minute sessions, so don’t feel like you can’t do cardio when you are short on time.

 

  • Post your checklist in a prominent place.  I keep my exercise checklist posted in the kitchen where I will see it every day.  This helps remind me to do my exercises every day.  It also reminds me how much work I have done, so I’m less likely to eat snacks.

 

  • Track what you eat.  Keep a journal and write down everything you eat throughout the day.  We often don’t realize how much we eat and by writing it down it makes us more aware of what we eat.  We can also see what time of day we lose our willpower or what triggers cause us to eat more or eat unhealthy snacks.  By finding our weaknesses, we are more likely to overcome them.

By following these steps you’ll be more likely to keep your New Year’s Resolution.  Good luck and check back next week for more tips on getting fit for the New Year.  Just stick to it and don’t give up.  Getting healthy is a lifestyle change not a temporary fix.