Tag Archives: wellness

How to Train Yourself to Make Healthier Food Choices

As the saying goes, “You are what you eat” and I couldn’t agree more with that statement. What we choose to eat each day not only impacts our overall health and well being but also influences our mood, energy levels, performance, longevity, and our quality of life. I don’t like labeling anything as “common sense” because I recognize that what is common to one might not be common to another but I think most people would agree that they know the benefits of making healthier dietary choices yet so many people don’t consciously follow through with it. I understand that food should taste good but why can’t it be both tasty and healthy? Given the choice, I tell people that I will always choose to eat something based on the health value over how good it tastes because the long term effects of eating the right foods outweigh the instant gratification of how good something tastes at that present moment. However, as I just mentioned, you can still choose to eat things that you love to eat and that are healthy at the same time. You can also treat yourself every so often to really delicious and decadent foods within moderation. If you currently don’t have the best eating habits, the good news is that there is always room for change and that change can start after reading this blog or whenever your mind is firmly set to make the changes that are needed to adapt healthier eating habits into your lifestyle.

Stock Up on Healthier Foods – I always say, out of sight, out of mind and this most certainly applies to food too. I like to have a concrete grocery shopping list before I set out to the supermarket so that I know exactly what I’m looking for and keep the list filled with both clean and organic foods. I try to avoid buying unhealthy foods and snacks because if I have access to them in the comfort of my home, then they are in sight which will make it more tempting to want to eat them. Of course it is okay to have some treats but I recommend finding healthier alternatives or to buy them less frequently so that the few times that you buy them, it is truly a once in a while treat.

Meal Prep Each Week – When you take the time to meal prep and plan out your daily meals, this allows you to be in control of what you eat in terms of the type of meal and the portion size. It is smart to buy containers and fill them up accordingly with a good healthy mix of foods and nutrients. If you are stuck with coming up with healthy meal ideas, you can easily research what others make through a google search or places like Pinterest and Instagram have plenty of resources to use as a guide.

Eat Out Less Often – Even though many restaurants provide healthier meal options on their menus nowadays, it is still hard to know how healthy the meal truly is. There is often a ton of hidden fats, sugar, and other unhealthy things added to make the food taste extra good but obviously aren’t good for you, especially when eaten in excess. For example, an innocent salad can end up having a lot junk in it by the time all the fixings and dressing are added on top. My point is that meals that appear to be healthy on the surface might not end up being as wholesome as you think. If you cook more at home, then at least you know the ingredients and what exactly you are eating as opposed to a restaurant where you are unsure of what the meal actually consists of.

Learn How to Study a Food Label – It is important to familiarize yourself with food labels and compare them when you are shopping for products. For example, it is beneficial knowing the serving size because although it might come in a single bag, you cannot assume that it is one serving. Other areas that I like to pay attention to are the actual ingredient list to see if the ingredients are mostly natural with little additives and artificial ingredients along with the amount of sugar. There are many foods that you would not think have a lot of sugar but actually do which is why it is good to look at how many grams of sugar are in a serving. In terms of the calorie count, I am not as concerned with this number because sometimes high quality foods are higher in calories whereas foods marketed as “low calorie foods” are not necessarily as nutritious as they want consumers to think they are and tend to be created with a lot of fillers and unhealthy ingredients.

Track What You Eat – Often I emphasize the importance of tracking things down which helps by literally keeping you on track but most importantly by making you stay accountable for your actions which in this case is monitoring your food choices. Even someone like myself who already prioritizes living a healthy lifestyle and is very disciplined can benefit from tracking what I eat. I find that when I take the time to list what I eat each day, I am more aware of what I’m eating along with how much. This practice personally helps me stay focused and mindful about making healthy choices each and everyday! (Trust me, it works)!

Staying Healthy and Fit – 5 Things I Recommend Most

Before I share some of my healthy habits, there are a couple things to first recognize when it comes to health and fitness. For starters, everyone’s personal standard of what’s “healthy” is going to vary and secondly, what works for me might not necessarily work for you in its entirety as there are various contributing factors such as your body type, age, current health, etc. So please keep this in mind as you are reading because it’s easy to follow advice and then wonder why you are not obtaining the exact same results. As I mentioned, it’s because every body is different but at the same time, my general health tips are ones in which anyone can pick up at any time to achieve their very own personal success–so that means you can keep reading. 🙂

To me, staying healthy and fit is not only a LIFESTYLE but it also is a COMMITMENT to self. Chances are, my personal health standards are probably much higher than the average individual which is why it seems like I put in a lot more effort than most people. I’m sure I probably don’t need to put in as much work as I do to obtain results but I look at it like this: Why settle on mediocre results when I can opt for the very best results? I do what I know works for me and if that means extra workouts or a little extra focus on what I am eating, then it definitely is worth it.

Put in the Physical Work by Lifting Weights and Adding Cardio – Sometimes people are scared to lift weights because they think it will make them appear too bulky. Again, everyone’s body is genetically built differently but generally speaking, lifting weights will give you a desirable body composition and tone you up in all the right areas. Personally, I try to lift weights for an hour a day. I’ll switch up the moves each day to target different muscle groups but each day will be a mix of moves so that I can do a full body workout as opposed to isolating certain muscle groups on certain days. In terms of cardio workouts, I think it’s helpful to incorporate cardio workouts to burn a few extra calories in the day and that it is also good for your heart. With cardio, I try to fit 30-60 minutes of cardio about 5 days a week. (If I don’t have the time to do both in a day, I would choose to lift weights given the choice).

Eat a High Protein Diet – In order to keep the muscle and stay strong, it is important to make sure you eat enough protein in a day and ideally at every meal. If you consistently lift weights but are not feeding your muscles, then all the physical work could go to waste which is why you need to make sure you have enough protein built into your diet. Some forms of protein that I eat on a daily basis include: chicken, fish, eggs, and whey protein. I will also eat turkey and red meat on occasion.

Pay Attention to Portion Control – When I say “portion control,” I do not want this to ever translate as starvation because you absolutely need to fuel your body with enough high quality foods and nutrients in order to stay healthy and build your muscles. What I simply mean is to be mindful of how much you’re eating during each meal and to really listen to your body when you are full–no matter how good the food is (depending on what it is, you can always save it and eat more of it at a later time).

Stay Consistent with Both Your Exercise and Diet – “Getting” in shape is one thing but “staying” in shape is another. When people are determined enough, they can easily get fit but often times they cannot stay fit. The reason is that there is not enough consistency. In order to obtain any type of long lasting results, you need to stay consistent. For me personally, I consistently go to the gym in the mornings, usually 5-7 days a week. If you are just starting out a good fitness regime, I would say a minimum of 3-5 days are needed to build up consistency. You can’t expect to stay in shape when you workout sporadically or you skip weeks of any form of physical activity. The same also goes with your daily diet. While it is okay to indulge and enjoy a good meal here and there, it is important to stay focused on eating healthier and higher quality foods on a regular basis.

Track Food and Physical Activity – While many people might not see the benefits of writing down what they eat and their physical activity for the day, I personally think it’s extremely important for staying focused and holding myself accountable. That is not to say that if I wasn’t writing this down that I’d skip going to the gym and just eat whatever I want but I do think I’m extra mindful of my actions when I know I’m tracking it everyday. It also is a helpful tool to track progress over time which is another reason why I recommend taking the time to record what you eat along with your workouts.