Eating and Exercising for Health in the New Year
Welcome to 2017. If you’re like a lot of people, you may have brought an extra couple of pounds with you into the new year. No need to beat yourself up over it. You aren’t alone. Lots of people are on the same boat, in fact. According to statisticbrain.com, 32.4 percent of U.S. resolutions are weight related. Whether or not you have recently put on weight, you may feel the need for a healthier lifestyle as you enter the new year. Feel free to add weight management and better health to your resolutions list. I sure am – and I’m happy to share a few of my tips with you.
Exercise is going to boost your metabolism. Whether you have a gym membership, take a spin class, or simply get on a walking/light exercise schedule, most experts agree that morning exercise is the best for boosting your metabolism. Even walking 20 minutes a day will help increase your metabolism as well as improve your heart function. Short on time? Incorporate a walk into your lunch break at work, or buy a small-profile stepper if your workplace has room to store it. There are a couple of gym memberships that are really affordable you can check out as well. Punching out for a quick workout is a good way to break up the day and increase your concentration during the afternoon hours, where it may start to wane after long hours of sitting.
Even moderate weight training several times a week replaces fat with lean muscle and helps increase your resting metabolism, which is highly desirable for weight loss. Whether you do it with a trainer, videos, or YouTube tutorials, weight training is a major component in regulating blood sugar, increasing metabolic processes and building strength in your muscles. Both cardio and weights are recommended for all around conditioning and also for managing glucose. Of course, if you have health problems, you should seek the advice of a professional but a good diet consists of two components – exercise and dieting – for optimal results.
It’s a lot easier to manage your weight if you make your own food. It’s a fact. Fast-food and restaurants are generally super-caloric, high in fat and simply not geared towards health. And it’s difficult to control portions when the gigantic pile of American-sized food is plopped in front of your watering pie hole. The anecdote? Just make it yourself – and you’ll be glad you did.
Freezing food in measured portions is one idea, or simply preparing your meals for the week in standardized containers. If you take that whole dish of casserole to work, it’s just too tempting to have one more bite.
Regardless of the diet you use, portion control is cited as one of the most important aspects of dieting. Measuring and dividing your servings as you prepare your meals will help you resist the temptation to overeat. Collapsible measuring cups are a space-saving way to pre-pack your lunches and high-quality food storage containers like these ensure you limit the quantity of your lunches.
This mega-set has airtight, latched-lid containers in a variety of sizes to carry soups, stews, sandwiches and more, and they are freezer, microwave and dishwasher safe. This would be perfect for a weekend cooking mission, in which you could prepare your food a week or two in advance and refrigerate or freeze it for future use.
Scales are also great for controlling portions, especially if you are doing a strict diet. I use one to weigh fish portions for the week when I’m being extra strict. This Polder digital scale weighs up to 11 pounds of food and has a slim design for super-efficient storage.
Metabolism Boosting Foods
Omega-3 Fatty Foods – including fish, flax seed and reduce inflammation and boost resistance to leptin hormones, which are a factor in fat burning. You can also get these from supplements. Recommended dosages range from 1000 to 2000 mg. per day. Fish is one of the few “meats” you can easily cook in the microwave (which you could even do at work). This fish steamer is inexpensive, at only 8.99, and you can throw in some asparagus or other vegetables for a quick healthy meal.
Tree nuts, lean proteins like cottage cheese, natural Greek yogurt, and spinach are other foods that help keep you in burn mode. Also, most bodybuilding sources recommend eating smaller meals throughout the day, which keeps your system burning (digestion, by itself burns calories). Follow up an intense workout with some healthy protein to add muscle while you’re still in burning mode.
Reduce Trans Fats
Probably one thing all the experts can agree on is that trans fats are bad. Trans fats cause inflammation and slow down the bodies’ ability to burn fat. Avoid the office donuts, fried foods, most fast foods, margarines, and well, um, you probably should start checking your food labels if you haven’t already. You’ll be surprised at what’s in a lot of the food you buy.
Eat Lots of Greens
Whether you like cooked greens or salads, greens are so low calorie, they’re practically a free food, provided you don’t add lots of fattening dressings and toppings to it. Here’s an idea, make your own low-calorie dressing using healthy ingredients. You can spare yourself the harmful preservatives and make it from your own fresh ingredients, including fresh fruits like orange (don’t go crazy) and healthy oils. Rice vinegar with only small amounts of oil is a great way to enjoy a salad without the fats. Use a sugar substitute to further reduce calories.
This OXO bowl makes quick work of salad making as you can chop the ingredients right in the bowl with the included rolling cutter. It has a 5.5-quart capacity and continuous curves for quick, smooth cutting.
Reduce Carbs like Pasta and Bread
Low-carb diets such as the Paleo are very popular and many people respond well to them. There are several bread alternatives that I wrote about in an earlier post that give you a “sandwich-like” satisfaction without all the carbs.
Pasta lovers are turning to things like shirataki noodles to satisfy their cravings, but substituting vegetables for pasta is another really delicious alternative. This spiralizer is an easy way to make ribbons from zucchini, beets and other vegetables for use as low-carb pasta substitutes – or even for salads and garnishes. This is a great way to enjoy a pesto or other indulgent dish without the guilt and the calories.
Planning your meals ahead of time ensures you have what you need on hand for healthful cooking, meaning you’ll be less apt to binge or resort to eating out. Whether you use an app or paper, planning is going to help you monitor what you eat as well as give you a creative space to arrange meals that satisfy your need for variety as well as nutrition. This 55-sheet magnetic Meal Chef notepad gives you 55 weeks’ worth of meal planning, so you can schedule ahead as far as you need to. The magnetic back means you can hang it right on your refrigerator for convenience.
Whether you choose a Paleo or other diet, remember that your metabolism may acclimate to what you’re doing after a time. Also, there is no perfect diet for everyone. Listen to your body. If what you’re doing stops working, it might be time to switch up your diet, change your exercise routine, or do something different. If you have the means, consult a dietitian, an exercise physiologist, or some other health specialist for recommendations on what’s right for you.
Love, Clutter Control Freak
You might also enjoy our “getting organized – 2017 – making and keeping New Year’s resolutions” post on our Organize-It blog.