Pack Your Lunch Daily
Lunch breaks are becoming extinct. Workplace surveys found that 60 percent of the respondents ate lunch at their desks and less than 10 percent take a full hour or more. This year resolve to bring your lunch most days out of the week. When you bring your food to work you're not only able to control the calories, but you can control the quality of the food and the portion size.
If you're new to packing lunches here are a few rules to follow: Always include lean protein, a healthy whole grain, a fruit and at least two vegetables. For example, pack a turkey sandwich topped with tomato and kale (maybe even press it in your Panini maker)? Spread on a little hummus, place on sprouted grain bread, add a vegetable soup and a piece of fruit for dessert.
Cut Down on Alcohol
Studies have shown that in the short term, alcohol stimulates food intake and can also increase feelings of hunger. Alcohol is metabolized in the body very similarly to the way fat is processed, and alcohol provides almost as many calories. Research shows a 20 percent increase in calories consumed at meal time when alcohol was consumed before the meal. Not only does alcohol supply us with empty, non-nutritive calories but drinking may increase your health risks because of where you gain the weight.
A study of over 3,000 people showed that consuming elevated amounts of alcohol is associated with abdominal obesity. This beer belly has been linked to an increase risk in diabetes, elevated blood lipids, hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
Get Enough Sleep
Fifty to 70 million Americans suffer from insomnia. Sleep deprivation can lead to many health concerns, such as, foggy memory, decreased alertness, high blood pressure, stroke and obesity. More and more studies are now linking weight gain with sleep loss.
A new study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine suggests that adults should sleep 8 to 9 hours per night to help maintain a healthy weight. To start the process of sleep try drinking an herbal tea made with chamomile, lemon balm, hops and passionflower one hour before hitting the hay. These herbs have all been touted for their sleep enhancing properties.
You may already consider yourself a cardio queen, but if you're not incorporating strength training yet you may be missing out on an essential component. Muscle mass naturally diminishes with age so to keep your metabolism charged for years to come, resolve to lift at least three times per week. As you strengthen your muscles your metabolism becomes a stronger "engine" and is able to burn calories more efficiently, which can result in weight loss. The stronger you are, the easier it is to control your weight.
Strength training has also been shown to reduce many symptoms of chronic conditions, such as, arthritis, back pain, depression, diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis.
Keep a Journal
Thanks to our Type A and multi-tasking personalities we barely have time to eat, let alone register our intake throughout the day. Most people truly have no idea how much food they take in on a daily basis. Researchers at Louisiana State University asked dietitians to estimate their daily caloric intake, results found that even professionals lowballed their intake 10 percent. Many studies show that journaling doesn't just stimulate weight loss, it intensifies it.
Researchers followed a group of dieters who were encouraged to keep daily records and results showed that journaling was the single best predictor of whether a participant would drop weight. Journaling trumped exercise, age and body mass index. The number of pounds people lost was directly related to the number of days they wrote in their log.
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