Start the New Year Right: 5 Small Changes for a Healthier You!

Small Changes for a Healthier

Every New Year brings a hope for change. Resolutions are made, but as the first few weeks pass, you may find the big goals you set out for yourself are just too difficult to attain. In 2014, start the New Year right with small, simple changes can really make a big difference on you health!

Ditch the Soda. A can of regular soda contains about 150 calories. Switching from soda to water is an easy way to drop unwanted pounds. Soda is high in sugar, and can actually cause your body to crave sweets. The same goes for diet sodas. Although they are sugar-free and calorie-free, diet sodas contain artificial sweeteners that are much sweeter than sugar, and cause sugar cravings. A study published in the “Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine” also found a strong link between diet sodas and weight gain. If you crave carbonation, try natural sparkling water.

Choose Water. Water has zero calories and nothing hydrates the body better. Not drinking enough water taxes your kidneys and your liver, decreasing your body’s natural fat burning potential, and causing you to store unwanted fat. Many of us mistake thirst for hunger, and eat when we are actually dehydrated. When hunger pangs strike, choose water first. Drinking water before a meal can also fill you up, and help you consume fewer calories when you eat. Add a lemon wedge for a burst of flavor, vitamin C and potassium.

Eat slowly. Take the time to savor your food. It takes around 20 minutes for the stomach to tell the brain that it is full, so try to chew each mouthful for 30 seconds and stop BEFORE you are full. When you slow down and focus on your meal, you will eat less, and enjoy your food more!

Don’t skip meals. It is important to keep your blood sugar levels steady to prevent hunger, and keep your metabolism fired up throughout the day. Skipping meals will only cause you to give in to bad cravings, or overeat later. Keep healthy snacks on hand, and stick to a nutritious, balanced diet. Remember that calories are the fuel your body needs. Women should strive for 1600-2000 calories per day, and men should strive for 2000-2400 calories, depending on age and amount of physical activity.

Just Keep Moving. You will be more likely to stick to a workout if you are doing something you love. If you love to dance, try Zumba. If you long to be outside, jog or go for a bike ride. If you crave quiet time, try yoga. Keep your metabolism up with 3 or 4 ten-minute workout sessions a day instead of one 30-40 minute session. If you have hit a plateau in your weight-loss, add weight training to your routine. Building muscle mass will help you burn more calories by increasing your resting metabolic rate. Working out with a friend will keep you motivated and hold you accountable. You will be less likely to skip a workout when someone else is relying on you to show up.

These five steps are simple stick to, and will lead to big results! Here’s to a healthy 2014!

 

Resources:

http://www.webmd.com

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/can-switching-water-make-lose-weight-3446.html

http://www.choosemyplate.gov/weight-management-calories/calories/empty-calories-amount.html

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