Life is a certainly a balancing act…why not make it a healthy balance? Making a lifestyle change that’s permanent is not an easy thing to do…there are ups and downs and struggles in between. It involves challenging our own personal belief and value systems, letting go of old ideals and introducing new habits. It’s amazing the deep down relationship and emotional connection we can sometimes have with food…breaking up with these ties is a hard thing to do. Here are a few healthy eating and healthy living tips that can help make your life a healthy balance in 2010 and in the future.
1) Get organized:
- Plan your meals ahead of time. Make a list of foods to pick up at the local grocery store. Being prepared and having healthy foods on hand for meals and snacks makes it easier to choose healthier options throughout the day. Go back the basics, keep it simple … choose fresh natural foods as opposed to processed or boxed foods.
2) Eat at regular intervals throughout the day:
- Eating at regular time frames during the day will help to regulate your blood sugar levels, control your hunger and give you more energy. As well, by including a large glass of water each time you eat will help you meet your daily requirements.
3) Make every meal a healthy balance
- No matter where you are or who you’re with for every meal, make sure your plate is balanced. Half your plate should consist of vegetables, ¼ from a healthy starch (such has whole wheat pasta or whole grain rice), and ¼ protein, such as skinless chicken breast or fish. Keep in mind, have sauces and salad dressing on the side; look for foods low in sodium, unhealthy fats and sugar; and look for meals that were cooked in a healthy fashion…baked, bbq or broiled.
4) Avoid overeating
- To prevent overeating at celebrations drink plenty of water, stand away from a food-laden table and place food on a plate rather than eating straight from the buffet or napkin.
5) Focus on your family and friends
- Socializing is about spending quality time with family and friends. Enjoy mealtimes together. Eat slowly, enjoy your company, savor the flavor and texture of each dish and take small bites. It takes 20 minutes for your brain to realize that you’re full, so taking it slow will help prevent you from overeating.
6) Have fun with exercise
- Exercise helps to increase your energy levels; decrease stress levels, promotes a positive attitude and helps to control your weight. Do something you enjoy – have fun with it.
7) Get plenty of rest
- Burning the candle at both ends, so to speak, for an extend period of time, leaves us feeling tired, concentration may be compromised, increases stress levels and can increase our appetite. We also tend to give into food temptations when we are tired.
8) Be realistic
- Set realistic goals for yourself, based on your own individual body type, activity level, medical conditions and age. Sometimes we look at others and think, “I want to be just like them.” I often hear clients refer to friends who are thin and can eat whatever unhealthy foods they choose. Keep in mind that just because someone else might be thin, does not mean that they are healthy. Food and lifestyle choices impact more than just our waistline … they impact our health, moods and energy levels.
Following a healthy lifestyle does make a difference to your health. I’ve seen it first hand in my own clients, right here in Newfoundland and Labrador. Most have found that their energy levels have increased, attitudes have become positive, stress levels have decreased and they feel good about them selves. Others have had their physicians reduce or eliminate their cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes medications! If they can do it, you can do it too!!
Make it a healthy balance today! It’s never too late to start…your life is worth it! Have a happy and healthy day – everyday!
Tara K. Antle, BSc.AHN, RHN, RNCP
Nutrition & Wellness Consultant
Healthy Balance, St. John’s, NL