It’s a new year and time to start living a healthier life.
And while the idea of cutting out carbs and tackling the treadmill every day may seem daunting, that’s not the only way to become healthy and happy, says Dina Juve, one of Fresno’s leading health and fitness professionals.
Juve, co-owner of FitnessSocial, offers a more common sense approach that focuses more on a balanced approached to food and exercise.
She is living proof that change is possible. As a young adult she weighed 202 pounds and ate mostly fast food. After having a child, she realized she needed to make a change. She began eating better and exercising more. Over time, she dropped 90 pounds.
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Her weight these days ranges between 110-114 – and Juve says she’s a lot happier.
So to help get you started, here are Juve’s 11 tips for living healthy.
1. Before embarking on a change in your diet, ask yourself why you are doing it. If you can dig deeper than just vanity, you are more likely to be successful. If you don’t know why you are doing it, chances are you won’t continue to truly live a healthy lifestyle. If you are doing it to feel better, have more energy, for health reasons, to be around for your children and grandchildren, etc., then you stand a better chance of success.
2. Drink water. Every system in your body depends on water. Juve recommends drinking 16 ounces of water before each meal and snack to keep it simple. On average, try drinking 48 to 96 ounces of water per day. Juve says she finds that when her clients have water before eating, they tend to eat less.
3. Stick to whole, real food. Avoid foods that are heavily processed or contain large amounts of artificial sweeteners, dyes or chemicals. Think fresh fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and animal- and plant-based proteins.
4. Add healthy fats from fish, avocado, olives, nuts and tropical oils. Nuts have a lot of health benefits and help you lose fat by improving metabolism, balancing hormones and eliminating constant cravings by keeping you feeling full longer. Healthy fat calories do add up quickly, so be mindful of portion sizes if you are trying to lose weight.
5. If you crave something, eat it – guilt free – just don’t overdo it. Eat the serving size, enjoy it, savor it and be done with it. If your indulgence doesn’t satisfy you, ask yourself why. Are there other things going on in your life that need to be addressed?
6. Avoid categorizing foods with words like good or bad. Negative words make you feel bad about yourself and that’s not helpful. Aim to eat foods that give you energy and not make you sluggish.
7. Mind your eating. Eat when you are hungry and do not eat when you are not. We have gotten into a routine of eating on a schedule, even when we are not actually hungry, or we skip meals. Try listening to your body. When you pay attention to your body, you will find yourself fueling your body and using that fuel before you eat again.
8. Slow down when you eat. Try to take 20-30 minutes to eat a meal. Put your silverware down between bites. Try to chew your food fully. You will most likely find yourself eating less. Try to not eat when you are stressed, anxious, angry or rushed because this can be the cause of overeating.
9. Aim to eat the rainbow by adding more fruits and vegetables. The more colorful your plate looks the more appetizing it will appear to your eyes. It will also most likely ensure that you will receive the vitamins and minerals your body needs.
10. Yes, you can still eat out and have the body you desire. You just have to balance it like a checking account. If you overeat the debt will show up on your body. A healthy eating lifestyle has variety and it includes occasional indulgences. You know you have the plan that works best for you when you feel, move and look your very best. It really is not as hard as it seems.
11. Be realistic about exercise. Don’t start out too fast, or you will quit as soon as you started. If you are doing nothing make it a goal to go for a 20-30 minute walk three times a week. If you are working out three times per week add in an additional day. Keep adding in increments. Eventually aim to be physically active at least 30-60 minutes a day. If you are really active, make sure you take a rest day.