Finding it harder to zip up your jeans lately?
Chances are, that bulge didn’t happen overnight, but as a result of a few bad habits over time. Poor eating choices here and there or neglecting your workouts one too many days (or weeks) in a row can really add up. But there is hope!
It’s been well-documented that small changes can have long-term effects. So lets avoid the temptation to reach for drastic “fixes” to beat the bulge.
Instead, try these 10 simple tips to help you reach your health and fitness goals the right way – one good habit at a time.
Top 10 quick and easy habits (that you can do in everyday life) to beat the bulge:
1. Make water your #1 beverage of choice
Every system in your body needs water! It’s really nature’s perfect drink. Water carries nutrients to your cells and helps flush toxins out of vital organs. Not only that, it’s calorie-free! Sip on a glass of water upon waking and before every meal, and you’ve already downed approximately 40 ounces.
2. Eat the proper portions
Most of us eat way too much at each sitting. As a culture we’ve basically jumped on the “bigger is better” bandwagon with our super-sized menu items and enormous serving sizes. At restaurants, why not split a meal with a friend or order half to eat there and take the other half to take home? At home, downsize to smaller plates – and fill your plate with nutrient-dense foods in the right portions so you’ll be satisfied and stay fuller longer.
3. Plan your snacks
Intentionally build in healthy snacks per day (preferably a protein/carb combo) and you will be armed and ready to stave off the vending machine at work or the drive through on the way home from the kids’ soccer practice.
4. Take the time
Enjoy your mealtime. Sit down, relax (not in front of a screen, if possible), socialize around the table, be thankful for your blessings, and consciously enjoy your food.
5. Get your Zzz's
Getting a good night’s sleep (at least 7 hours) on a regular basis cuts down on stress, keeps your metabolism in check, and ensures you have the energy your body needs to function properly and in remain in good health. Sleep deprivation can lead to many negative health effects, including weight gain. Did you know sleep even helps regulate your hunger hormones? A recent article by my friend Helen Sanders at HealthAmbition.com also stresses this important tip! So unplug earlier in the evenings and be sure to get your rest.
6. Get fit with friends
Many people “fail” when they figure out that sticking to an exercise and nutrition plan is easier said than done – especially after the honeymoon period wears off and it’s just between them and the person looking back at them in the mirror. Finding support to keep you accountable works on many levels, and finding an accountability partner(s) is easier than ever. Buddy up with a co-worker, join an online community health challenge, or even FaceTime your old college roommate for a friendly competition!
7. Get moving
In case you haven’t heard, exercise is good for you! It conditions your heart and muscles, trims your waistline, combats disease, improves your mood, flexibility and balance, and even helps your brain. There are workouts, group activities, and different sports out there for everyone of all shapes and sizes. All you have to do is be willing to go out and do it.
8. Eat whole food
While exercise is important, the quality of food you put into your body is essential for a long, healthy life. Steer clear of processed food with ingredients that you can barely pronounce. Go for meals you can replicate from your own kitchen, with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and protein. Read labels, eat out less, and learn to cook a new dish every once in a while.
9. Be S.M.A.R.T.
Set goals for yourself that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. Write down the goals and how you’ll get there. Focus on the little things and the big stuff will follow, and don’t worry if you find you need to make some adjustments along the way.
10. Reward yourself - but not with junk food
Remember that as with any goal worth reaching, it can take some time. Keep your eyes on your vision, focus on the process, and the desired outcome will follow – and NEVER compare your “chapter one” to someone else’s “chapter ten”. Write your OWN story. Once you do start to see progress, there are plenty of ways to congratulate yourself for a job well done – without tying it to a reward that is based on food.
Good non-food alternatives might be a day at the spa, an afternoon by the pool, a new pair of workout shoes, spending time with friends, or buying a new kitchen gadget!
So just to recap...
So again, here are the top 10 tips that you can quickly and easily incorporate to help you beat the bulge – starting today!
- Make water your #1 beverage of choice
- Eat the proper portions
- Plan your snacks ahead of time
- Take time to sit and enjoy your meals
- Get enough sleep
- Get some fitness accountability buddies for support
- Move more!
- Eat whole food
- Set S.M.A.R.T. goals
- Reward yourself!
The Lord will guide you continually, watering your life when you are dry and keeping you healthy, too. You will be like a well watered garden like an ever-flowing spring. ~Isaiah 58:11
What small steps can YOU take today to beat the bulge?
In this thing with you,