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It’s March and been two months since you sat down and wrote down your New Year’s resolutions. Often times, losing weight or hitting the gym are on this list of resolutions. We all want a happier and healthier lifestyle. In order to maintain a healthy weight, though, it must be more than a resolution – it has to become a lifestyle. As a health nut, I do not believe in diets, but I do believe in these easy and healthy rules you can incorporate into your life – no matter what part of year it is.
1) Drink water
Water will help flush out your system, keep your body and muscles hydrated, and improve the overall appearance of your skin. Water is your best friend, not alcohol and sugary drinks. I’m not suggesting that you should never indulge in can of soda. I’m a firm believer in everything in moderation. However, sugary drinks and alcohol are two of the biggest contributors to bloating and carrying water weight. Try to limit those drinks for special occasions or to a few a week. Believe me, you’ll be thanking yourself come bikini and shorts season.
Keeping a healthy weight does not mean you must become a gym rat or run five miles every day. Walking is one of the best cardiovascular exercises you can do, and is much kinder to your joints and muscles. It’s easy to fit in walking throughout the day if you cannot reserve a specific block of time for it. When shopping, park farther away in the parking lot; at work, take a few minutes from your desk to walk around the building every hour; at home, do chores and housework while watching TV, or fit in some walking lunges. Also, take the stairs whenever you can. Stairs help your cardiovascular health, as well as firm your legs and glutes. If possible, at work or when out and about, try to take a few flights of stairs every day. They’re a killer calorie burner.
3) Know that a gym membership is not required
Gym memberships can be costly, and they are not needed to have a healthy and fit lifestyle. I have gone the past two years without a gym membership, and am in better shape now than the years when I was a gym rat. Pinterest and Youtube have great links to workouts that are just as fun and can be done at your convenience. No need to rush to make the spinning or kickboxing class somewhere; your living room can be your new gym.
4) Eat fruits and veggies daily
No, you don’t need to eat a salad every day, but you do need to add some fruits and vegetables to your daily intake. These are super-foods, and will help with burning fat, increasing your metabolism, and improving your skin and muscle tone. I love to add an apple or banana in the morning, some steamed or canned veggies at dinner, and for lunch, since I, too, am a working woman with limited time and resources to make food, I try to eat a salad, soup, or pre-prepared meal a few days a week.
5) Get outside
Hike, walk the dog, bike ride, do yard work – whatever it is, get outside to breathe in fresh air and get moving. Studies have shown that being active outside can decrease risk of depression and increase physical activity. Reserve time with a loved one or friend to make it a joint activity for time to both workout and talk; make it fun.
6) Avoid late night eating and snacking
Try to “close the kitchen” at or around 6 PM in order to ensure your body has the proper time to digest food. Heavy carbs, which most snacks are, store at the later hours of the day because they take longer to break down. Snacking is dangerous, and is often what leads to weight gain. Try to just drink water in those tempting hours before bed, or fit in another workout while you watch TV.
7) Make smart decisions when dining out
Restaurants are terrible about adding excessive calories everywhere. However, they are also very flexible with orders, allowing you to substitute sides for healthier options. When applicable, you can have your entrée grilled instead of fried to cut calories. Try to skip the bread bow, limit the appetizers, and if your meal is large, eat half and take the other half home for another meal the next day. Eating at restaurants is something I no longer have to stress about, knowing I can make smart decisions, stay disciplined, and still enjoy a delicious meal.
8) Invest in some active wear that makes you feel confident
It may sound silly, but wearing cute workout clothes can actually boost your mood and motivate you to be more active. Who doesn’t love feeling confident? Own it, look great, and you may be inspiring others along the way. You work out to feel good, so why not look good while doing it, too?