Spring into a healthier lifestyle
By Ashley Husbands—
As the spring warmth emerges from this particularly cold winter, it is a perfect time to think of new, fresh beginnings and see things with a renewed energy. With constant warm weather approaching, we want to feel and look our best and shed the winter coats, which includes the nice little winter fat layer we might have accumulated over the last few months. One way to shed this layer is by focusing on our eating habits.
The 5 tips I am about to share with you do not involve swarming you with “lose weight quick” schemes, expensive supplements, wraps promising weight loss within minutes, or even massive changes to your habits. These tips are simply ways to see a healthier you by helping you trim your weight and increase your energy level to help you more actively participate in the upcoming warmer weather adventures.
- Drink more water. Many people are under the assumption that they consume enough water, a misconception that could be greatly limiting your energy and causing your body to actually hold onto fat. According to the Live Strong website, not consuming adequate amounts of water causes your kidneys to be overwhelmed by the concentration of fluid in your body, which makes your liver work harder. When your liver has to start doing the work that your kidneys should be doing, it neglects its original job of burning fat, causing your body to hold onto the fat it could have burned if you had just consumed enough water. No one looks or feels their best when they are bloated and retaining water, but this is the result if you allow your body to panic from not getting enough water and feel like it needs to retain water just to survive. Additionally, increased water consumption causes a lowered appetite in most people, which helps curb overeating.
- Eat more greens. Kale, broccoli, spinach, arugula, cucumbers, etc. are all packed with nutrients. Does this mean that you have to eat salads for every meal and snack to be healthy? Absolutely not. Get creative—make smoothies with greens and add some of your favorite fruits to sweeten it, try some healthy homemade salad dressing to use sparingly on a side salad with your dinner, or add some greens to your eggs in the morning. However you find it easiest to sneak in extra greens to your diet is fantastic. You do not have to go full blown vegetarian or be miserable eating “bird food” every meal to enjoy the benefits of extra greens in your diet.
- Limit consumption of fried foods. We live in Texas, I know this. We don’t bother adding on the word “steak” when we order a “chicken fry” because everyone knows what we are wanting. There is nothing wrong with enjoying the occasional chicken fried steak or some fried okra, but constant consumption of these things could be harmful to your health. Try focusing on consuming more fresh, raw foods. Instead of ordering those fried pickles or okra on the side of your main dish, maybe try ordering some steamed vegetables or side salad more often. Little changes can make a big difference in how you feel and look.
- Limit consumption of sodas and alcohol. This can be especially difficult to college students but as I have stated before, changing your entire way of life is not the goal here, so don’t worry. I am not suggesting that you never drink or look at a candy bar again for the rest of your days. Most alcohol we consume is very high in calories and sugar. The key here is moderation. You can still have a drink or two every now and then, but try to limit yourself. Limit the number of nights that you allow yourself a drink. Another easy tip to cut caloric intake is to order water or unsweetened tea at restaurants instead of sodas. Constant intake of sodas and alcohol can cause you to be dehydrated, leading to the problems discussed in the first tip. Switching from sodas and alcohol to water not only helps you be hydrated, but it also cuts your caloric intake.
- The final and most important tip is don’t be too hard on yourself. Be realistic in what you can do and will be willing to stick to. Many people try to cut out all bad things at once and cause themselves to feel miserable which only leads to failure. Do not make yourself miserable. Allow yourself “cheat” meals that consist of things that you like. The process of getting healthy is not a quick and easy thing; it is something that requires patience and discipline, but does not mean that you have to frown everyday while choking down food you hate. Find healthy recipes you like, encourage your friends and family to make healthy changes with you, and take pride in small victories. If you make a mistake and binge on anything unhealthy you can possibly find one night, do not give up! One bad night or even a few bad days does not mean all is lost; it just means you stop, pull yourself together, and try again. Do not make the mistake of giving up on everything because of a little stumbling block.
You deserve to be healthy and feel your very best. I hope these tips help you in your journey to feeling and being healthier. Let me know how these tips work for you and suggest more things that have worked for you that others can try by hitting me up on twitter @TSULivingWell #healthtips, commenting on this page, or emailing me at email@example.com. Thanks for reading!