Breakfast
Many have heard that Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and this is true.  Not only does it jump start my metabolism, but it also sets the stage for healthy blood sugar levels all day – as long as sugary breakfast foods are avoided of course!

Exercise Regularly
There are two forms of exercise.  Generally people think of the first form: scheduled work out sessions on a regular basis (either anaerobic or aerobic exercise).  While it is important to work up to frequently scheduled workout sessions, there is another important form of exercise: Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis or NEAT.  NEAT is made up of all the movements your body makes outside of planned exercise.  This is movements such as walking, talking, toe tapping, guitar playing, dancing, singing, shopping, gum chewing, fidgeting and pretty much any movement not specifically intended to improve fitness.  One way to add exercise to our lives without jumping into the gym is by increasing our NEAT points. 
There are many easy ways to do this.

  • Have an elevator you frequent?  Try taking the stairs instead, at least for floor or two.
  • Usually look for the perfect parking spot right near the front door?  Park farther away from the entrance and work towards parking “way out there”.
  • Do you have a seated job? Perhaps stand up occasionally to work, or pace your work space while you work.  A good headset can enable you to move while you talk on the phone.
  • Think of some other ways you could improve your daily movement and prevent your day from being most sedentary.  A lack of movement is a perfect environment for obesity!

Consider if you have weight to lose and work specifically on weight loss before beginning a rigorous exercise plan.

Support
Research shows that people who begin a weight loss plan without support are more likely to either quit their weight loss program or regain the weight quickly.  Have you ever tried to start walking consistently and found yourself forgetting or lacking motivation?  Perhaps you then asked a friend to be your walking partner, asking them to remind and encourage you to walk and you would do the same for them. It is likely you then found it much easier to walk consistently.  This is precisely what I am referring to.  Without support it is difficult for most people to stick with a weight loss plan and even more importantly avoid regaining weight.  It is vital to have friends and family who actively support your health goals.  If you find yourself frustrated by a particular friend or family member who is unsupportive, address the issue with them and explain your plan and purpose for your health changes.  Most of the time our friends and family love us and just want what is best for us and discussing it will solve the support issue.

Find at least one partner who you tag as your support buddy and fully explain your intentions, reasons and plans with them and ask them to hold you accountable.  Knowing that someone is going to ask, “are you making wise choices” can make a big difference in the choices you make.

Low-fat snacks every three hours
It is common for Americans to eat three large meals a day, likely far apart from each other and filled with over-sized portions and unhealthy foods.  I found that, before my health changes, not only was I overeating but I was also making very poor choices on a regular basis.  So overeating unhealthy foods!

Change not only what you eat, but also how much and how often.  Research shows that eating several smaller “meals” a day is much healthier.  Make certain these meals include healthy choices such as carrot sticks, celery, or yogurt.  I have many healthy snack ideas if you are interested.

It is best to eat 2 1/2 to three hours apart.  This sounds like a lot but consider that most of these “meals” are more like snacks rather than a huge meal you cook.  It is still important to consume three larger meals a day but not the traditional definition of large.

Individual Plan
It is important to formulate your health goals around your activities and life-style.  Get a notebook and every evening jot down what you did that day.  Do this every day for at least a week and then look back at where you had dead spaces – gaps of time you were doing little or nothing – or wasted time, time where you did something that could be replaced with something more constructive.  A “soccer mom” for example who is very busy would use this to determine when she can fit in an exercise plan.

Take the same or a different note book and keep track of every morsel of food you put in your mouth for at least a week.  Some people are heavy snackers.  A cookie here and a handful of chips there adds up to a heaping dose of bad calories and eventually an unhealthy, overweight body.  Keeping a food journal will help you determine the poor health habits you need to eliminate.

Monitor
It is essential to monitor  your weight and health to insure you are on a path to long-term health.  Without looking at the signs on the road how can you be certain you are still going the correct direction?

Set up a regular schedule for weighing a measuring your body.  Women tend to fluctuate more in inches rather than pounds and it is important to keep track of that fluctuation.

A good pair of “skinny jeans” is a great way to tell if you are gaining or losing weight.  Notice how tight or loose your clothes are.  If you find your clothes getting too tight perhaps you need to check the other areas I’ve mentioned to determine why your clothes are tight, rather than replacing your clothes! 😀

In Conclusion
It is extremely important to live a life conscious of my health.  Ignore it and it will go away!  Changing things in these areas is certain to improve your health!

All information taken from Dr. A’s Habits of Health by Dr. Wayne Andersen

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