Eating healthy and getting fit are two things we all know we should do, but many of us aren’t quite sure how to go about doing them. Or, we can find the motivation to start eating healthy and getting fit but struggle to remain motivated throughout the year. If you want to improve your overall well-being by finally committing to eating healthy and getting fit, our suggestions will help.
Start Eating Healthy by Making Small Changes
One of the reasons that people struggle to eat healthy as often as they should is they try to make too many sweeping changes to their diets all at one time. Making small changes to your diet will slowly improve your nutrition and make you feel better, and eventually, your small changes will add up to a much healthier diet that you won’t want to change because you will feel so much better overall.
One of the first small changes you should make is cutting out sugary drinks. Nearly 50% of Americans drink a sugary beverage each day, but research shows that just one or two sweet drinks per day increases your risk of type 2 diabetes and raises your risk of some types of cancer. You should drink water and unsweetened tea and coffee. And, steer clear of drinks with artificial sweeteners because they can make you crave other sugary foods
Other small changes you should make to your diet include saving cakes and other rich desserts for the most special occasions in life, choosing nutritious dishes at restaurants and avoiding indulging just because others do, serving nutritious meals and snacks to guests, keeping healthy foods within reach and junk food out of sight at home, using smaller plates, sticking to portion sizes when snacking rather than sitting down to watch television with an entire bag of snacks, and eating more slowly.
Understand How Nutrition Benefits You Daily
Knowing that you need to improve your nutrition is one thing, but understanding why proper nutrition is beneficial is another thing. A healthy diet delivers the key nutrients our bodies need to function properly. Everything from inflammation to increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer is affected by what we eat. Filling our systems with junk food, drugs, and alcohol prevents the body from obtaining and absorbing the vitamins and minerals we need. On the other hand, healthy foods like whole grains, lean proteins, and fresh fruits and vegetables work to flush the toxins from our bodies.
Nutrition especially is important for recovering addicts. Studies show that poor nutrition increases our cravings for sugar, caffeine, and addictive substances, while healthy food that promotes healthy blood sugar levels helps addicts limit cravings and can help prevent a relapse. Nutritious foods repair damage related to addiction, and healthy food supplies the body with the energy needed for focusing on staying sober. Healthy food also boosts serotonin levels and results in more positive moods and better attitudes for working to stay sober.
Take Small Steps to Getting Fit
Just as you can make small changes to start eating healthier, you can take small steps to start getting fit. If you have not worked out for quite some time, or if you never have exercised, understand that any movement you work into your day will benefit you in the beginning. Schedule time to walk for 30 minutes a few times per week. Take a yoga class to help learn to stretch and breathe. Then, choose an exercise video or introductory aerobics class to commit to exercising at least three days per week. If you can’t make that commitment, at least put together a little home gym of sorts, so you have no excuse not to use the equipment.
If you find that knee pain or back pain is an issue as you start getting fit, give yourself a break and start working out in the swimming pool. You can swim laps or use a water fitness system. When you exercise in water, you relieve the stress you can put on your joints when you walk or jog on pavement or a treadmill, and you boost the benefits of your workout by working against the resistance of the water in the pool.
Eating healthy and getting fit takes time and commitment. If you start by making small changes to your diet, understanding how nutrition benefits you, and taking small steps to get fit, you’ll soon notice improvements in your overall well-being.
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Written By: Travis White
Travis White writes about food in his spare time. He enjoys showing LearnFit visitors how to cook restaurant-quality meals at home.