Switching to a healthy lifestyle can be quite tricky if you do not know where to start off. Nowadays, with fast-food companies on the rise, it seems as more and more people are gaining weight and not taking care of their overall health. If we are feeling overwhelmed by our hectic job schedule or our responsibilities at home, it is important to take a step back and practice self-care. By tweaking our diet and exercise regime, we are one step closer to living a more fulfilled and happy life.
Nevertheless, the popular saying “Eat less, run more” is not as efficient as most people would believe. A lot of people do not know where to start off on their fitness journey, so they result in starving themselves. What happens is quite the opposite-the weight that may be lost will definitely be regained, simply because this method is not sustainable for a whole lifetime. To solve this issue, here are the best ways to alter your diet in order to have a full body makeover.
1. Choose fiber-rich, whole foods
A lot of the times, the main reason for obesity and overall health issues is the lack of exercise and a diet that heavily relies on processed foods filled with artificial ingredients. Greasy burgers, fried food, cakes, soda, etc. can easily make you feel sluggish and unmotivated for anything else in life. As a matter of fact, fried food is one of the biggest triggers for illnesses, such as heart attack or even cancer. To better understand how our body works, we need to learn a bit about cortisol. Cortisol is also called the stress hormone and its function is to regulate metabolism, balance blood sugar levels, and help reduce inflammation. Elevated cortisol levels are extremely dangerous because they directly influence memory, immunity, cholesterol, and blood pressure among others. Of course, when we are under stress (thus, we experience a jump in cortisol levels), we usually grab an unhealthy snack. To make sure that our blood sugar level is in balance and to remain satiated until our next meal, it is important to consume a lot of fiber-rich whole foods, such as broccoli, oatmeal, flax meal, nuts, and whole-grain bread. Legumes are another great source of complex carbohydrates that come with a nice amount of protein as well. Try to shop from local food stores instead of high-end fast-food brands. It is important to remember that we should be consuming real food that does not come from a plastic container or a can. Opt for organic ingredients that have no additional funky ingredients.
2. Get enough protein
Dietary protein is incredibly important if your goal is to lose fat, or overall lead a healthier life. Protein is a great macronutrient; because your body expends more energy digesting it than it would digest carbohydrates or fat. If you are someone who for some reason cannot consume as much protein as needed, it is a good idea to supplement with a high-quality whey protein powder. There are a lot of professional companies that offer a wide range of protein powder supplements that are great not only for athletes but for anyone who would like to pack on some muscle mass. The problem that presents itself when shopping for whey protein is that a lot of brands contain artificial ingredients with added sugar. True Protein frequently writes about the importance of supplements that do not contain any funky ingredients and which are 100% authentic. When shopping, it is important to look out for all-natural, high-quality products that are free of any kind of artificial flavorings. In addition, one of the benefits of whey is that it is low in lactose, and it improves muscle synthesis, thus leading to lean muscle mass. If you do not like the consuming protein shakes, then one of the ways that you can use up whey is to mix it in with your bowl of morning oats. Nevertheless, the best option would be to go for a lean protein source, such as chicken breast, fish, low-fat cottage cheese, whole eggs, and so on. Making sure that protein intake is taken care of might be a slight concern for new vegans or vegetarians. Nevertheless, there are a lot of alternatives that can supply an adequate amount of protein, and which are plant-based. Lentils, beans, tofu, tempeh, buckwheat, and other healthy whole foods should be a part of a vegan lifestyle.
3. Sleep more and manage stress
Getting enough quality sleep every night is important for our overall health. When you are not well rested, the body tends to produce hunger hormones such as leptin and ghrelin. This means that a lack of sleep might lead to munching even when you are not feeling hungry, thus gaining extra weight over time. Try aiming for at least 7 hours of sleep every night. For best results, do not have a heavy dinner and turn off all your electric devices.
Chronic stress can cause extreme damage to the body. The previously mentioned cortisol is the main culprit for your increased appetite for sugary or fatty foods. One of the best things that you can master in life is how to manage stress and live in the moment. There are a lot of activities that you can pick up to relax, such as meditation or art therapy. Exercise is another thing that goes hand in hand with a balanced diet to get you closer to your dream body. If you do not have enough time to go to the gym, then an extra 20-minute walk around the neighborhood is worth a try.
To sum up, a balanced diet and well thought out exercise regime is the best way to achieve your fitness goals. Drink more water, concentrate on getting enough protein in, and relax while the magic happens!