It is often around this time of year when people are inspired to get back in shape or lose weight. The holidays can be a difficult time of year to maintain healthy habits due to increased stress and events revolving around rich foods and caloric drinks.
Many people look to fad diets and extreme exercise regimens to lose weight, but unfortunately these methods often fail. Forming new healthy habits is very challenging for most people, so this year, instead of going extreme, consider adopting some of these simple habits to increase your chances of success:
- Eat the rainbow. Try to eat a wide range of colorful fruits and vegetables every day. Each different color contains powerful antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that nourish your body in powerful ways.
- Hydrate. Drinking plenty of water can help prevent you from snacking unnecessarily, but also helps you feel alert and focused throughout the day. A good guide is to consume half your weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 150lbs, drink about 75 ounces of water per day.
- Fast overnight. When possible, take a break from food and drink, other than water, for at least 12 hours overnight. This allows your body to spend time healing and breaking down fat instead of digesting food, and improves the way your body processes sugar. If you eat dinner at 6:30pm, then try not to eat again until 6:30am.
- Get enough sleep. The average adult needs between 7 and 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. Research shows that not getting enough sleep increases your appetite and causes you to crave and consume foods that are higher in fat and carbohydrates. Lack of sleep also causes changes in your hormone levels that can make weight loss difficult.
- Don’t drink your calories. Ditch the sugary coffee drinks, soda, and juice, and instead choose unsweetened lattes, water, or flavored sparkling water. Popular caramel coffee drinks have more than 30 grams of sugar – that’s more than your typical chocolate bar! Consuming too much sugar regularly will lead to weight gain and increase the risk of developing diabetes.
- Move your body often. You don’t need to hit the gym for 2 hours to reap some of the benefits of exercise. If you don’t have a regular exercise habit, start small with a 10-minute walk each evening, 10 air squats 3 times per day, or do a short yoga video. Once you’ve got a regular habit, begin to increase your intensity, duration, and frequency of exercise.
- Check your hormones. Imbalances in your hormones, including thyroid hormone, estrogen, cortisol, and testosterone can make losing weight and improving your body composition very difficult.
- When in doubt, get help! A physician focused on integrative and regenerative medicine can help optimize your lifestyle and hormone levels to improve your body composition and many other aspects of your health.