Strategies for Success

 

Eat a balanced diet, but don't deprive yourself

Eating a balanced diet means including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains into each portioned meal. However, cutting things out such as whole grains or your favorite treat all together can lead to trouble. When you deprive yourself, your chances of overindulging later increase. Eat sensibly and watch your portion sizes when choosing foods.

Find a workout buddy (to hold one another accountable)

It can be easy to talk yourself out of a workout. Plenty of things can prevent you from getting your 30 minutes a day such as laundry, errands, or the old stand-by, too tired to workout. If you find yourself guilty of using these things to get out of exercising, a workout buddy may be just what you need. A workout buddy is meant to encourage you, exercise with you, and help you stick to your goals. Find a friend and make your workout plan and goals clear to one another, this way you can understand ambitions and help your friend (and let them help you) stay on track and reach your goals.

Prepare meals at home

Grabbing a fast food chicken sandwich or a frozen meal from the grocery store may seem like the most convenient option, but it is not the healthiest one. The hidden sugars and fats in these quick meals can add up and pose a threat to your health. To avoid these hazardous meals, set aside some time each week to plan and prep meals for the upcoming week. Being able to shop and choose ingredients for your meals puts you in total control of what is going into your body. It is also a good idea to make a meal in abundance, then you can freeze what is left from dinner and you will have a meal option at your fingertips when you are in a time crunch.

Drink water often

Many people find drinking enough water each day hard to do. With yummy juices, smoothies, and other things to drink, who needs water? You do. It makes up 70% of your body and the intake of water is important to keep your body functioning as it should. It is recommended that men drink 3 liters of water per day and women drink around 2.2 liters of water per day.

When it comes to eating right and exercising, drinking water is crucial because during exercise,  you lose water through sweat. Drinking water will keep you hydrated with zero calories and aid in your performance. To make it more appealing, try adding fresh fruit or herbs such as peppermint to a glass of water for taste.

Log your progress

Seeing is believing! When you track your exercise or food intake, it can make sticking to your plan much easier. Writing down the food you eat can be especially helpful as we tend to forget the small things we may have snacked on throughout the day. When you look at your log, you might be surprised at all the little things you added to your diet that you hadn't realized. Tracking your exercise can help you reach your weight-loss goal, if desired. It can also help you set new goals as you reach new levels of fitness.

If you are not sure how to create a log, use an internet search engine and look for "exercise log" or "food log" for ideas on how to set yours up.

Understand nutrition labels

Nutrition labels can be confusing, especially when you are not sure what some of the nutrients or included contents are. Educate yourself on the items which are foreign to you and know what you are looking for on a nutrition label in relation to your specific diets needs. There are several websites which can break down a nutrition label to help you  better understand their meanings:

FDA - Labeling Nutrition

MyPlate - Nutrition Facts Label

Sensible portions

When a food is good, it can be hard to remember healthy portion sizes. However, when it comes to shaping up, portion sizes become critical. Too much of a good thing is very real and can cause some very real problems. Portion sizes can be hard to determine sometimes, so it could be helpful to invest in a food scale or to cook smaller portions.

Here are some everyday comparisons to help you figure out your serving sizes:

  • 1 teaspoon of margarine is the size of one dice
  • 3 ounces of meat is the size of a deck of cards
  • 1 cup of pasta is the size of a baseball
  • 1.5 ounces of cheese is the size of four stacked dice
  • .5 cup of fresh fruit is the size of a tennis ball

For more on portion sizes, click here.