At the beginning of a new year, two friends started plans to lose weight and improve their health. Their target weight loss goals were similar, but each friend had very different plans for reaching the finish line.
One started a diet based on a point system that completely changed the way they ate but included no exercise other than their usual routine housework and short walks to work across the street. The other friend made small but significant changes to their diet, like slowing soda consumption down to one a week, drinking the daily recommended amount of water every day, and adding more fruits and vegetables to their diet. They also added 1-2 hours of medium impact full-body exercise 2-3 times a week to their routine which didn’t consist of any regular exercise before. At the end of the year, both friends lost a similar amount of weight but didn’t quite reach their goals.
Which friend had the right idea for losing weight? Neither were wrong, as it turns out, but if the two friends had combined a bit from each of their plans, they probably would have reached their goals. That’s because both diet and exercise are equally important and essential to reaching and maintaining your health and fitness goals. Here are a few quick tips for adding a healthier diet to your daily routine:
- Start the day off right with a healthy, well-balanced breakfast rich in protein and fiber. Swap sugary cereals for oatmeal, oat-bran, or whole grain cereals that are high in fiber. Be sure to add proteins like milk, yogurt, or chopped nuts to your bowl.
- Replace the all-purpose flour in your pancake and waffle batter with whole grain flour and choose whole-grain bread when you have a craving for toast. Don’t forget to add a protein like eggs, peanut butter or turkey bacon.
- Eat your carbs, just choose the right ones. Contrary to popular belief, all carbs aren’t bad and the good ones are necessary. At least 45%-65% of your daily diet should consist of good carbs. You can find them in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Stay away from the simple carbs in sweets and processed foods.
- Have protein in every meal. Eggs, poultry, red meat, fish, dairy, and legumes are the best sources of protein. Just make sure you don’t eat too much of one source. Mix it up!
- Increase your fruits and veggies intake until half of your plate at every meal is filled with them. A good way to select fruit and veggie choices at each meal is to make your plate look like a rainbow of colors. Try adding a new veggie to your cart every time you grocery shop to discover all the great options and find your new favorites!
- Like carbs, you need healthy fats especially when you exercise. Seeds, nuts, olives, avocados, and certain oils are your best options.
- Before heading out to exercise, fuel up on simple but nutritious snacks like bananas, berries, nuts, and nut butter.
- If you’re cutting out excess calories from your diet, don’t cut out too many. Women need 1200 to 1500 calories a day and men need at least 1500 to 1800 to lose weight safely.
A healthier diet isn’t all your body needs for optimal health. Our bodies are made to move, which is why you should at least be taking a brisk walk for 20-30 minutes a day along with being intentional about moving around throughout the day. If you want to see significant changes in your muscle tone and other areas, you’ll need more than low-impact cardio. A variety of medium to high impact workouts have been created to improve tone and strengthen the body, and most are offered in classes at local gyms. Many classes offer a free trial workout. We recommend taking advantage of these free trials to find out which one should be added to your new fitness routine.
Of course, no new diet or exercise routine should be started without talking with your medical provider first, and if you’re truly serious about taking better care of your health and body this year, the first step you’ll take is to pick up your phone and request a routine check-up and physical exam. At your exam, you’ll get a truer assessment of your health and you can share your fitness goals and proposed plans to reach them with your provider.
Ready to start your 2020 health and fitness goals off right? Request your annual check-up and physical exam with EliteCare today.