If someone were to ask me what I do to stay healthy, I’d tell them the surface-level things. I’d say that I exercise a lot and try to eat whole foods whenever possible, and I make conscious efforts to de-stress my life. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are a lot of things that I’ve learned to do over time that make everything else fall into place a lot easier.
These are a few of the mistakes I used to make that have made a BIG difference since I changed them.
- Not getting enough sleep. If you’re tired, you’re stressed. And when you’re stressed, you crave carbohydrates. It’s that simple. At Weight Watchers, they wrote it out this way: “Stressed spelled backwards is D-E-S-S-E-R-T-S.” When you’re tired, you’ll also tend to make poor food decisions, and then be too tired to make a healthy dinner, or maybe too exhausted to exercise. I recently read about establishing an “Amish hour” before bed, where you turn off all electronics and unplug your mind a little! Love that idea! Here’s a link from “Mark Sisson’s Daily Apple” with tips for getting a better night’s sleep tonight: http://bit.ly/1jzoaQ5
- Over-exercising! In a cruel twist of fate, over-exercising backfires. The old mantra of “eat less and move more” is a fallacy that’s worthy of a whole blog in itself. HOW you move matters. The body perceives high-intensity exercise as a stressor. While some stress is good, too much isn’t. Excessive high-intensity exercise will cause carb cravings, and in the end, you’ll be eating all your profits! Also, make sure your exercise is fun! If you’re doing it for pleasure instead of punishment, you’ll be less tempted to use it as an excuse to overeat. (Been there, done that!)
- Not being ready when the sweet tooth hits. My friends calls her son’s after-dinner snacking “late night foraging.” My kids call it “second dinner.” Whatever you call it, be prepared! Having healthy, fresh snacks at eye level in the refrigerator will make it more likely to be eaten. Studies show that you’re more likely to eat food that is visible to you (obvious, right?). Cut-up fresh fruit works well in these impulsive eating situations. Hummus with sugar snap peas and carrots are good for mindless munching, too. I know that when I run out of those snacks in the house, batten down the hatches!
- Not drinking enough water. This is SO easy to do; but it’s also easy NOT to do! According to Paul Chek, internationally known health and kinesiology expert, the ideal amount of water to drink per day is 1/2 of your body weight in ounces of water per day. “Water is important since dehydration can cause a drop in blood pressure and blood sugar levels,” leading to … you guessed it …. sugar cravings! Water helps your organs and even your cells function correctly and makes your stomach feel more full.
- Not grocery shopping often enough. If you can get away with going to the grocery store once a week, you might be undermining your healthy eating efforts. Why? Because healthy food rots. If you can go a whole week without grocery shopping, you might be eating too many processed foods that are full of preservatives. (Exception: Frozen whole food is the next best thing.)
See you at the grocery store!