Countless products claim that they assist with weight loss, but end up doing either the opposite or have terrible side effects on your body. A healthier lifestyle isn’t something that can be achieved overnight but requires carefully planned baby steps. It’s all about getting into healthy habits.
In India, over 135 million people are affected by obesity, so wanting to be fit and healthy is natural. Starving yourself will do you no good, as that just slows down your metabolism. So are you ready to achieve a healthier lifestyle? Check out these 10 golden tips focused on eating habits, exercise and positivity for the answer!
- Drink water
- Know What You’re Eating
- Cook Your Own Meals
- Eating Habits
- Cut Down On Sugar
- Avoid Processed Food
- Get Enough Sleep
- Avoid Too Much Alcohol
- Surround Yourself With Positivity
1. Drink Water
Did you know that the human body is made up of 60% water? The intake of water is an absolute necessity. You could say it’s just as vital as breathing. Water is needed to carry out bodily functions, rid the body of waste and allow our body to receive oxygen. If you’re looking to lose weight, drinking plenty of water is important.
Dry lips, dry mouth, and little urination are all signs of dehydration. To know how hydrated you are, check your urine. The ideal colour should be slightly yellow. If it’s dark yellow or even orange, you should drink water immediately.
The psychology surrounding this is that water helps fill your stomach, making you feel less hungry. If you’re interested, check out this study published by Gaiam.
2. Know What You’re Eating
It’s important to know what you’re eating at all times, whether you’re looking to get healthy or just eat right. Certain ingredients and nutrients, depending on how much is consumed, may affect you and your bodily functions in varying ways. For example, excess fibre can lead to constipation.
To get the maximum amount of nutrients and enrich your diet further, it’s recommended to consume a variety of fruits and vegetables with different colours. Each colour has different antioxidant fighting properties which help your body create a defence and strengthen your immune system. White, yellow, orange, red, green, purple, and blue are great colours to look out for in vegetables.
Choosing the right type of healthy food is important too. Grains are known to be healthy, however, there are certain things to keep in mind. There are grains which are known as intact, which have the outer hull removed, while other grains are considered whole, which has been refined. Refined grains are less healthier and contain more calories than intact grains, and is advised to consume more of intact grains over whole grains. Brown rice, quinoa, cracked wheat and wheat berries are all considered intact grains.
To cap off knowing what is in your food, we would like to bring your attention to vegetable oil. Vegetable oil, even those marketed as “heart-healthy oil”, is in fact not healthy at all. The refinement process removes any and all nutrients, with the main intent behind it being to extend shelf life. The best way to avoid over-consumption of oil, go for items containing less oil in stores and restaurants. Try eating more baked foods or switch over to an air fryer!
3. Cook Your Own Meals
Instead of telling you what and what not to eat, we decided to take it one step further. Rather than guessing or constantly inquiring what is in your food, take control and start preparing your own meals. This not only is a great way to get healthy but also is a great hobby. Take the first step and invest in some kitchen equipment. Search up recipes online to start your diet!
As you get more into cooking, you will begin to learn about food combining. This is basically the idea that different foods digest at different rates in your body requires specific environments. Which is why based on the food combination principles, certain food groups should be consumed to complement each other and maximize digestive efficiency.
Some rules of the principle are not to mix proteins with starchy foods, not consuming vegetables and fruits during the same meal and avoiding the consumption of water until at least 1 hour after your meal.
Benefits include improved energy levels, weight loss, improved digestion and better absorption of nutrients.
4. Eating Habits
During times of stress, anger or sadness, have you ever begun to binge eat? This is again tied back to the rewards food gives our brains. When we are stressed or feel emotional, we tend to find ways to make ourselves feel better and many of us have resorted to eating. When we emotional eat, we eat not to satisfy our hunger but to fill an emotional hole.
To overcome these habits we must first form better eating habits. Firstly is to switch from eating in large quantities to having several smaller meals in a day. This spaces out your consumption, helping you control your hunger and blood sugar. After about 3 hours, the food you have eaten has already been digested and your blood sugar begins dropping. Any longer and your blood sugar plummets, forcing you to grab whatever you can find and eat it. Having frequent spaced meals can also help reduce the chances of overeating, as waiting extended periods of time to eat has a high chance of overeating.
A way to teach you restraint is to say no. Saying no is a habit everybody should learn, whether its distractions, commitments or even food. Simply saying no can be tough in certain situations, especially when the person offing tries their best to convince you to change your answer. A good way to start is using the right terminology.
Most people find themselves saying “I can’t eat this, I’m on a diet”, which invokes a response such as “it’s only just a bite”, tempting them further to break their diet and indulge in this pleasure. Using the correct terminology has noticeable effects on the person you are speaking to as well as yourself. By changing “I can’t” to “I don’t”, it can instantly change how willing we are to accepting the offer.
Lastly, there are certain foods that once we start eating them, we cannot stop. These are called trigger foods.. The best way is to either practice not giving into temptation or simply avoiding them. It’s important to remember your goals and think about happiness in the long term, rather than short term.
5. Cut Down On Sugar
You may think the excess consumption of sugar comes from too much sugar in your coffee or fruits. In reality, it’s all coming from processed foods, often disguising the sugar content with alternative names such as high fructose corn syrup.
Consuming too much sugar is a self-destructive and dangerous habit. Too much sugar can lead to obesity, cancer, type 2 diabetes and tooth decay. Unfortunately, completely ridding yourself of any and all sugar consumption is nearly impossible due to how readily available it is all around us.
Although sugar is found in almost all foods, including fruits and vegetables, the added sugar is what makes most foods dangerous. Sugar is the root of most of the addictive properties seen in food. This highly addictive source of energy was mainly used to survive, but now as we aren’t in the wilderness fending off on our own, manufacturers have leveraged sugar to sell more.
So to what is the extent of the effects of sugar? To start off, any and all processed food is spiked with sugar. Sugar, when consumed, adds an addictive property to the food consumed. As a result, the reward hormone, dopamine is released in the brain.
Overconsumption leads to a sugar rush, making us “feel good”, but in reality, this sugar rush only lasts for a short period of time, followed by us crashing, which makes us crave more. Consuming excess sugar makes our brains impartial to the substance. As a result, our self-control drops, and we fall into the hands of temptation.
Completely cutting sugar out of your diet is difficult, but it is recommended in order to achieve your goal of losing weight.
6. Avoid Processed Food
Processed foods are foods that have been chemically processed and made from only refined and artificial ingredients. In general, it is not a healthy choice for those looking to lose weight.
The nutritional value is drastically decreased and the added preservatives such as excess salt, sugar and high concentrations of unhealthy fats can lead to increased blood pressure and heart diseases.
As talked about briefly in point 2, processed foods are made with the intent of high consumption. Manufacturers ensured that their processed food won’t be swept under the rug in this highly competitive market space by making them as rewarding to our brain’s reward system as possible. It’s human nature to seek out foods that are sweet, salty or fatty as they contain the nutrition for us to survive. The problem lies with how rewarding these foods are to our brains, causing us to eat more than we should.
With this addiction, it may remind you of something. The high rewards it gives to our brains, junk food can become as addictive as any other substance. In fact, the reaction in the brain when having an addiction to junk food is similar to that of drug addiction.
The bottom line is processed food is okay once in a while, but it is a better idea to stick to whole, real, organic food.
7. Get Enough Sleep
Poor sleep is linked to weight gain. It has been shown in studies that a lack of sleep results in an increase of the hunger hormone called ghrelin and a decrease of the satiety hormone, leptin. The combination of these two results in elevated levels of hunger, resulting in an increase in appetite and which inevitably leads to overeating.
People tend to form habits of overeating when sleep deprived due to how the brain’s reward system functions. The frontal lobe, in charge of decision making and self-control, will experience a lack of functionality, while overeating stimulates the reward centres of the brain.
A lack of sleep also leaves the person feeling fatigued decreasing the levels of motivation, quantity and intensity of physical activity.
The bottom line is that sleep is an important factor in the weight loss process and deprivation changes the way your body reacts to food. When you are unable to sleep, you have a tendency to gain weight and as you gain more weight, it becomes increasingly more difficult to sleep. Escape this cycle with tips on how to have a healthy sleep cycle.
It was a given that exercise would be on this list. As many people dread the thought and avoid it as much as possible, some form of movement is required to achieve weight loss. As it doesn’t need to be a full-blown workout regiment, simple exercises can be done throughout the day such as taking the stairs over the elevator or walking short distances instead of using transportation.
A good place to start is finding an exercise which appeals to you. Do you have an interest in sports? Maybe dancing? Gymnastics? Trekking? Take it up! Don’t think of exercise as a form of pain and suffering, but instead look at it in a more positive way; as a way to be healthy and have fun at the same time.
However, for those looking to exercise through workouts, make sure not to simply repeat the same exercises daily. Work on exercising different muscle groups at the same time. Everyday jogging is good for you, but as repetition persists, you may get tired of the same routine. This is where finding an activity which you enjoy can really help.
Sports are a great way to start as they are fun, competitive and work out many muscle groups. Some more taxing activities such as trekking can be great for your body while also experiencing what nature has to offer.
Looking to start gyming and want something to help you get into it? We suggest a duffel bag for your belongings.
9. Avoid Too Much Alcohol
Alcohol has been said to have health benefits if consumed in fixed quantities, which to an extent is true. For example, red wine reduces blood pressure and contains antioxidants.
For weight watchers, alcohol doesn’t need to be cut out of your diet entirely. However, keep in mind that alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it causes excess urination. Moderate consumption can have negligible effects on your goals. Excess consumption, like everything in life, is where the problem lies.
Excess alcohol has undesirable effects on your body. Starting off, it has little to no nutritional value, making it empty calories. Alcohol with mixers contains even more calories.
The effects of continuously consuming alcohol can lead to permanent damage to your liver. Your liver acts as a filter for any foreign or unknown substances entering the body. It also helps in regulating the metabolism, fats, proteins and carbs. If enough alcohol is consumed, it can alter your liver in such a way that your body changes the way it stores fats and carbs, which may result in a beer belly.
Lastly and most importantly, it has negative effects on your sleep schedule. If enough alcohol is consumed, it can lead to an imbalance of hormones, which subsequently can cause your sleep schedule to go for a loop, increased hunger and excess energy storage.
10. Surround Yourself With Positivity
Although this may not be what everybody was expecting, a very important part of being healthy is not just eating right, cutting down on certain delicacies and exercising, but also surrounding yourself with positivity.
To achieve a healthy lifestyle, many people simply say eat right and exercise. The truth is that mental health is just as important as physical health. Surrounding yourself in positivity can be done by first loving yourself. A positive, “I can do this” attitude is the first step to any goal.
Friends also play an important role. Friends who support your goal, help you grow as an individual and makes you want to get up for activities are who you should be choosing. However, if you aren’t too keen on making lots of friends, there are plenty of solo activities you can participate in. The most prefered being travel.
Have any of these points inspired you to take control of your life right now and make a change? Maybe there is a feeling inside you saying that you need to head out and explore. Many people make the best of this sensation by packing their bags and head out to travel.
Travelling helps with exercising, rebuilding your mental health and helps you connect with nature, depending on your destination. Looking to begin your travelling adventure, but don’t know how to fit all your belongings in a bag? Maximize your storage and worry less with our FitPack Pro, complete with multiple storage compartments, USB charger, and microfibre lining!
Did any of these tips resonate with you? Maybe it sparked the bit of motivation you needed. If you think any of these tips will help your friends and family too, feel free to share them! And remember, a healthier lifestyle can be achieved once you put your mind to it!