Put Rubber Bands on Your Water Bottle
- You’ve likely heard that in order to drink more water you should bring a water bottle with you throughout the day, but it can still be tough to know if you’re drinking enough. Try using rubber bands for tracking your intake. Simply put rubber bands around your water bottle and take off one band for every time you refill the bottle. At the end of the day, you’ll know you met your goal when all the bands are off.
Make Smart Substitutions
Small substitutions can make a huge difference in terms of nutrition. When baking, try substituting applesauce for the oil in the recipe. This trick helps retain the moisture without really changing the taste of the end product. Also, try using low fat Greek yogurt to replace sour cream or cream cheese in a recipe.
- Spend Time in the Sun
- In an age where you’re constantly reminded of the sun’s ability to damage and prematurely age your skin, many shy away from direct contact. As a result, not only might you be vitamin D deficient, but when you skip the sun you’re missing out on several other benefits. 15 minutes of sun everyday gives us energy and promotes Vitamin D production. Getting this exposure is great - whether that be eating lunch outside, walking around the neighborhood or reading a book on your patio.
- Stretch Out
- At the end of your day, lay in bed and open your arms so they are at a 45-degree angle between your head and shoulder, keeping your shoulders down, allowing your chest to open up. You can also try this with a pillow under your back. You may feel a gentle stretch, but it’s fine if you don't. Hold this for around 3 to 5 minutes while breathing slowly into your abdomen. This can help with various problems related to working at a desk and stress. Think of this as a way to counteract how you may have been sitting and standing most of the day. Opening and stretching your chest like this can improve posture, help neck and shoulder pain that is related to posture and can sometimes help with tension headaches. Lastly, holding this stretch for a few minutes before you go to sleep along with deep breathing will help you relax and make it easier to fall asleep.
- Increase Your Omega 3 Intake
- One of the best things you can do to maintain a healthy brain is to increase the amount of omega 3s you eat. Eat more fatty fish, like salmon—it’s packed with omega 3 which can help keep you in a good mood. In addition to the mood boost, including omega 3s in your diet may help prevent mental health decline and heart issues, according to scientific studies.
- Ask for a Non-Grilled Bun
- Many burger places and other restaurants routinely toss buns on the grill and while extra crisp isn’t bad for you, the add-ons may be adding calories. Many times butter or oil is added to each side of a bun before grilling. The seemingly small amount of fat is about 100 calories, and those calories come from saturated fat.
- Rethink Your Drink
- Most drinks we chose like soda, sports beverages, coffee drinks and even juices like coconut milk, orange juice and pomegranate juice are loaded with sugar.
- Be Smart About Alcohol
- It can be easy to forget that alcoholic beverages can be very high in calories. Opt for dry wine over sweet wine, as sweeter wines typically have an additional 100-150 calories per glass. Use club soda as a mixer—it pairs well with vodka or gin, and can even help hydrate to prevent a hangover. Lemons and limes can help flavor the drink without adding calories and can also add a nutritional boost of vitamin C. Try to avoid adding juice, sports drinks, energy drinks or soda to any alcoholic beverage.
- Don’t Confuse Thirst for Hunger
- It can be easy to confuse hunger and thirst. When you get the urge to to reach for an unhealthy snack when hunger strikes… try drinking a big glass of water. The volume in your stomach can take away the hunger pangs so you don't indulge in unhealthy, fatty snacks.
- Prioritize Sleep
- Sleep is super important. If you are sleep deprived, your body produces more ghrelin, the chemical in your brain that says ‘I'm hungry’ and less leptin, the chemical in your brain that says ‘I'm full.’ A lack of sleep also raises cortisol levels, which is the stress hormone that creates (and keeps) belly fat. Try sleeping 7-8 hours each night and an additional hour for every hour you workout that day. Naps count!
- Prepare Your Meals on the Weekends
- Do all or most of your shopping and meal prep on the weekend so you don't have the excuse of a busy week to throw you off of your diet.
- Schedule Your Workouts
- Set your workout plan for the week—schedule in your classes and activities. When you actually schedule your workouts on your calendar and make a plan for yourself, your chances of actually following through increase significantly.
- Eat a Healthy Breakfast
- Start out each day with a breakfast that is high in fiber and protein to keep you full and energized all morning.
Thumbnail Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net