Living a healthy lifestyle is exactly that … it’s a ‘lifestyle’. No quick fixes, yo-yo dieting, or extreme cut backs will ever be able to give you the healthy benefits you want for the rest of your life, simply because they’re not sustainable. Being realistic and positive on your healthy journey is what will really transform your life.
More and more research is suggesting that the key to lifelong health is what we call ‘lifestyle medicine’ – which includes making simple changes in stress management, eating habits and exercise. Here are three other simple ways I keep myself on my healthy lifestyle path which you can do to:
1) Make breakfast a habit
Breakfast provides the body and brain with fuel after an overnight fast – that’s where its name originates, breaking the fast! So to start your day without breakfast means you’re basically running on empty. Try and eat your first meal of the day within 2 hours of waking to really help kick start your metabolism. A nutritionally complete breakfast contains balanced kilojoules (this is what your body uses as energy), balanced nutrients, and balanced protein. Eating breakfast helps with our cognitive functioning, and people who eat breakfast are able to concentrate better, have improved memory, and tend to be happier as it also lowers stress levels.
For any of you thinking that by starving yourself of breakfast you’ll be more likely to lose weight, you couldn’t be further from the truth. By effectively starving yourself, you send your body into ‘shock mode’. So instead of burning calories, your body will now store whatever you put in as a survival technique, as it’s not sure when it’ll receive its’ next meal. It’s one of the most counter-productive methods for weightless and healthy living. So please please please start making breakfast a daily habit (even if you’re not a morning person or can never normally eat breakfast) as soon as you do it regularly, your body will start to crave breakfast and you’ll start to wake up hungry… This is your metabolism saying ‘hello!’.
2) Make sure you have protein in every meal
Protein is so important for living and maintaining a healthy lifestyle because it is responsible for building muscle. Your muscle mass is what drives your metabolism, and your metabolism is responsible for the speed at which your body ages. So in simple, you need protein!
Try and spread out your protein intake throughout the day. Why? By spreading your protein intake throughout the day, your muscles receive a constant supply of the amino acids needed to build muscle and boost metabolism. If you have too little at breakfast and too much at dinner, your body cannot build muscle during the day and is then forced to store protein as glucose or fat at night which is something we don’t want.
It’s also really really important to make sure your consuming protein after you exercise. During exercise you break down/tear your muscles, to then build them back up again. However, if your muscle doesn’t get enough protein, it cannot repair itself meaning your hard work has gone to waste. Don’t waste your blood, sweat and tears at the gym by slacking on your post-workout nutrition. Herbalife Rebuild Strength (a product I’ve been using for over three years) is my little secret which has completely changed my muscle recovery rate & I’m leaner than I’ve ever been, even during my dancing days. It contains 25g protein that contributes to the growth and maintenance of lean muscles!
Some other great protein snacks are 2 boiled eggs, fat free cottage cheese, peanut butter, spinach, hummus etc.
3) Contrary to popular belief, you actually need to be eating more often
Ditch the three meals a day and opt for 5 meals – 3 main meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) plus a mid-morning snack and mid-afternoon snack. The benefit of eating regularly throughout the day, approx. every 3 hours, is you maintain a healthy blood sugar level keeping your body in the fat-burning zone, instead of the fat storing zone. This means you can burn calories throughout the day without even going to the gym. Always remember it’s 80% nutrition 20% exercise because take it from me, you can’t out-train a bad diet!
By getting your nutrition down, you’re already more than half way there to optimising your health. Feeling good about yourself and taking care of your health are so important for your self-esteem and self-image. So no matter where you are on your journey, remember to congratulate yourself for even taking part. Continue all your hard work, stay motivated and remember we only get one chance at life, so let’s make it one to be grateful for.