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Leading a healthy lifestyle is not about strict fad diets, or restricting yourself! You can simply get on the path to a healthier, slimmer you, just by making simple swaps in your everyday life. I come from an Italian background so you can surely bet that I love to eat and cook. I never believed in following diets, I believe in small lifestyle changes that you can make and easily follow. Here is how i changed my lifestyle, lost weight, and increased my over-all health.
Photo Credit: LuckyVitamin.com
1. Don't drink your calories! - Think twice before reaching for that soda, or sweet iced tea. Some soft drinks contain more calories than your entire lunch! A 12oz can of mountain dew contains 170 calories! If there is one change you make in your diet let it be this, do not drink your calories. If you like iced tea, drink it unsweetened. You can even add some sugar substitute if you'd like. When it comes to sugar substitutes i like to keep it as natural as possible. I use Pyure Organic Stevia in my coffee every morning, or Truvia. Also, try to drink water whenever possible. Water is truly the best thing for you, it has so many benefits for health and well being.
2. Cut out processed foods - This means no junk, no artificial ingredients, and limiting your visits to the nearest fast food drive through! Stay away from foods that contain artificial flavors and dyes, stick to real whole foods. Next time you go grocery shopping, stay out of the frozen TV dinners aisle. Try to buy as many ingredients as you can from the fresh produce section. Instead of reaching for that frozen breakfast burrito as your running out the door for work, make your own ahead of time, wrap them up and pop them in the freezer.
3. Portion Control - This is a staple in my eating habits, i try not to over-eat as much as possible. When you sit down for a meal, finish it slowly. This will give your brain enough time to get the heads up from your stomach that you are actually full. The slower you eat, the more you will enjoy the food, and you will realize when your stomach is satisfied. I like to take sips of water between bites, this helps to fill me up too. Also, I limit snacking as much as possible. Do not eat out of boredom! Only reach for a snack when you are actually hungry, and cannot possibly make it to your next meal without eating something. Snack on healthy foods with nutritional value, one of my favorite snacks is greek yogurt. I like the Dannon Oikos Triple Zero greek brand, because it has no added sugars, and contains fiber. Sometimes i take a small scoop of peanut butter and mix it into the yogurt.
4. Eat your veggies (Fill up on the good stuff!) - I try to eat veggies with every meal. For example if im having a sandwich I will add some lettuce, tomato, onions, etc. I always find sneaky ways to incorporate veggies into my meals. Whether it be into a sauce, or as a topping on my steak. It's very important to get your daily serving of fruits & vegetables because they have lots of nutrients, and high fiber content. Fiber fills you up and prevents constipation, a key to maintaining your weight. When I go out to eat I like to have a side salad before my meal, and a big glass of water. This will fill your tummy up preventing you from overeating.
5. Go Whole Grain - Swap out white rice, bread, and pasta for whole grains. Whole grains are naturally low-fat and cholesterol free, contain 10% to 15% protein, and offer loads of fiber, minerals, & vitamins. Going "whole-grain" can help you loose belly fat. New studies have actually shown that people who incorporated more whole-grain breads, cereals, and other foods into their diets, lost more body fat from the abdominal area than those who ate only refined grains like white bread and rice.
6. Drink Green Tea - Green tea is loaded with antioxidants, and metabolism boosting substances. It contains EGCG, which helps to burn fat & boost metabolism. Green tea is said to especially help with getting rid of belly fat. My favorite brand is Yogi. I like to keep my diet organic whenever possible! Yogi also has an organic decaf green tea that I like to drink in the evening. The Organic Kombucha decaf is also one of my fav's. I recommend two cups of green tea a day to benefit from it's fat fighting abilities.
Photo Credit: LuckyVitamin.com
7. Squeeze in exercise whenever possible - I am constantly moving, which is one of the reasons i tend not to gain weight. I try to get to the gym at least twice a week, and take walks whenever i can, run up & down my stairs a few times, do some squats while watching TV. Wherever, whenever possible I try to squeeze in exercise. There are exercises you can do without even getting up out of bed. Cosmopolitan magazine has a great article on getting toned straight from your home, or mattress. (10 exercises you can do without getting out of bed)