It’s that time of year when we set goals and reflect where we should focus our time and energy for the year ahead. That typically leads us down a rabbit hole to health, wellness and everything in-between. The health kick has not been lost on me. It doesn’t quite help that my husband is a personal trainer, but don’t let that paint any kind of picture of me for you.
And now you’re probably thinking, great another post on how to lose weight…diet and exercise (insert eye roll).
I’ve heard it all before. BUT, what if you haven’t? I’m sharing a few tips on how you can have your cake and eat it too. Without extreme dieting and obsessive exercise. Seriously! Are you with me now? I also consulted a highly experienced Personal Trainer who has tons of knowledge on nutrition, Tony Tran, of Tony Tran Fitness (a.k.a. my husband). With that said, he has 15 years of experience and knows his stuff!
Supersize Me Please
I bet you’d never think of hearing that phrase in this article, right? Well think again! As much as I would love to say “supersize those fries” and drop the pounds, that’s not exactly what I’m talking about here. What we can do, however, is swap out those delectable fries for a super-serving of healthy greens. I know, I know. But, those beautiful leafy greens are the fuel our bodies actually need.
A good rule of thumb when dishing up any meal is to start with your veggies FIRST.
Fill up at least half your dish with some tasty veggies. With the vegetables taking up half of your plate’s real estate, you now don’t have room to overdo it on the carbs/starches and protein. Creating a more balanced meal without cutting out all the things you truly do enjoy. According to Tony,
“the more real nutrition you get into your body, the less the body craves for more food.”
We all know by now that water is essential. But, if you’re still following that 8-glass-a-day rule, you’re a little outdated on how much water you should actually be drinking. I’ve also read you should drink half your weight in ounces, but Tony has a better action plan for water intake:
“Urination output is key to let yourself truly know if you are getting enough or too much because there are so many variables; activity, temperature, humidity, etc. Using the restroom once every hour and a half is what to aim for.”
The benefits of staying hydrated are so important. Water helps give us glowing skin, supports digestion (hello happy gut!), flushes out toxins, enhances your mood, and increases overall internal health.
You’re Too Sweet
Let me preface this by saying I have the biggest sweet tooth out of just about anyone I know. Oh my goodness, I have such an affinity for nearly everything sweet! I want a sweet indulgence after every meal and sometimes in-between too.
Sugar is my drug of choice.
However, I have been trying to cut back on caving to my every desire. For one reason, I want to be a good role model for my daughter. Also, I know the long-term effects of eating too much sugar can have on the body. So, instead of eating ice cream every night, I’ll indulge once maybe twice a week now.
I am also making conscious efforts to eat more fruits in place of cookies. When a craving hits, I’ll try to put it at bay by eating a banana, apple, or a healthy option. Another great swap and happy medium are chocolate-covered fruits! I love frozen chocolate-covered banana bites.
Still getting that craving met, but in a slightly healthier way.
You don’t have to cut out sweets all together. See you still CAN have your cake and eat it too, but in moderation.
Don’t Be So Salty
Gosh, another thing I am guilty of loving, salt! This is a newer love of mine. At a young age I had a pretty good grasp on what was healthy and what wasn’t. Knowing salt wasn’t a great ingredient to drench food in, I would often hide the salt and salt shakers in the house from my mom. It never went over well or without at least a little bit of a fight, but I always thought it was funny nonetheless.
Fast-forward a couple of decades and thousands of cooking shows later, I have gained an unexpected love for sodium. With that said, I notice that it has started to become an issue and I am making an effort to cut back. Plus, I’ve gained the knowledge of so many negative side effects it tends to cause (you know the ones like water retention, increased blood pressure, bloating, organ failure, and a slew of other health related issues).
Fortunately, we do most of our cooking at home which really helps to control the amount of salt going into our foods. Also, cutting back on packaged foods and condiments are other ways to lower the amount of sodium ingested. I wanted to consult the pro and get more feedback on this topic, here is what Tony had to say:
“If you are cooking most of your food, active people could use more salt in their diet. Especially if they are not eating packaged foods. Additionally, active people on low carb diets should increase the amounts of sodium, 1400 mg of sodium is the daily recommend average.”
Eat With Your Eyes
I know you’ve heard this one before that we tend to “eat with our eyes.” And it’s true, we first eat with our eyes, not our stomachs. But, oftentimes our “eyes are bigger than our stomachs.” That is especially true when we are, dare I say, “starving.”
This is my biggest piece of advice for this whole article: Eat off smaller dishes!
The average dinner plate size in the US is 11-12 inches. That is a massive plate. In my home we have replaced our dinner plates with salad plates which are 6 inches. Cutting the average dinner plate size in half. And guess what? Loading up that one 6″ plate fills us up, including my husband who has a giant appetite. It might take some adjusting at first, but once you get the portions under control, that’s when you’ll really see a difference in the way you feel and how your clothes fit! Again consulting the pro, he chimed in with tips to help at mealtime:
“Slow down. Chew each bite at least 20 times. People tend to eat way too fast, leading to poor digestive health. Overeating is also a major issue. Eat slower and enjoy your food. Reduce stress by taking a break with a slow pace meal. You’ll get full on less food when you slow down.”
Just a few small changes can make a big difference. Best of all, everything can be done in the comfort of your home and you don’t even have to go to the gym. Now, this isn’t to say exercising won’t speed up results and make your overall health better. But, instead of focusing on the obvious, I wanted to share some easy tips and tricks that we can all benefit from.
Here’s to being happy and healthy in 2019!