Has the post-holiday season scale left you scrambling to try the latest diet?
Many health experts and fitness professionals agree shifting the focus to health instead of pounds logged on a scale is a more effective approach than dieting to fit into those skinny jeans or that new bathing suit. Check out the following tips to improve your health and maybe even your pants size!
- Set Aside the Sugar Bowl: The World Health Organization advises adults to consume no more than 25 g of sugar each day. Even healthy-sounding snacks like nonfat yogurt, power bars, and smoothies may contain more than a day’s worth of sugar! To control sugar, add some berries to plain Greek yogurt instead of buying flavored varieties. Blend frozen fruit and almond milk for a lower sugar smoothie.
- Eat Whole Foods: Instead of grabbing a Granola and Yogurt Parfait at the local breakfast spot or a Double Mocha with Extra Whip, eat a bowl of steel cut oatmeal. Pack some leftover stir fry or a salad of veggies and lean protein for lunch instead of microwaving a 200-calorie meal filled with sugar, salt, and preservatives. Top your salad with oil and vinegar or lemon juice.
- Sleep Well: Listen to your mother’s advice to get plenty of rest. According to the Mayo Clinic, women who sleep fewer than seven hours a night typically weighed 11 pounds more than those who slept between seven and nine hours a night.
- Curb That Evening Cocktail or Two: While the flavonoids in red wine may increase HDL (“good” cholesterol) and lower LDL (“bad” cholesterol) as well as provide other health benefits, the CDC advises against adding alcohol to one’s diet or increasing amounts just for the health benefit. Over an extended period of time, 8 or more drinks per week for women and 15 weekly drinks for men may present long term health consequences.
- Get Moving: Increasing activity can help reduce stress and motivate exercisers to adopt other healthy behaviors. According to Harvard Medical School, just thirty minutes per day of movement may improve cardiovascular health, decrease risk for diabetes, and improve brain function in older adults. So, find an activity you enjoy, whether a Zumba or yoga class, walking the dog, or even climbing the stairs instead of taking the elevator!