When it comes to losing weight and getting in shape, Jamie Walker, co-founder and president of the online health community Fit Approach (www.FitApproach.com), knows a thing or two. A Yoga Alliance certified instructor and boot camp leader, Walker is also the winner of multiple marathons.
“Losing weight and getting in shape is more than just counting calories and squat repetitions,” says Walker. “It’s about implementing healthy habits and actions into your daily life.” With this in mind, Walker shares her tips for shedding pounds and living healthier.
1. Trim Your Plate.
When preparing meals, consider proper portion sizes for vegetables, lean proteins, grains and dairy. Using a smaller salad plate will help you keep portions in control, while also providing the visual cue that you have eaten enough food to feel satisfied. To learn more about portions, visit www.ChooseMyPlate.gov.
2. Grab Your Toes, Not a Fork.
“When you’re feeling tired or stressed out your first instinct may be to grab a snack. But before snacking, consider stretching,” suggests Walker. Stretching can help you feel rejuvenated, provide you with longer lasting energy, as well as help clear your mind.
3. When Dining Out, Go Dutch.
When you’re out on the town try splitting a meal with a friend. Most restaurants serve portions that far exceed our dietary requirements for a single meal. Sharing food minimizes the chance you’ll overeat.
4. Wake and Weigh.
“Set a goal to step on the scale at the same time each week,” says Walker. “Sticking to a routine will help keep you accountable, making it easier to track your progress.” Walker recommends the iHealth Wireless Scale which allows you to track your weight over time and compare results to daily activities such as diet and exercise regimens. Results can be shared with your doctor, personal trainer, family members or fitness partners via the free companion iHealth Scale app. Learn more at www.ihealth99.com.
5. Drink More Water.
Thirst is often mistaken for hunger. According to the Mayo Clinic, men should drink roughly 3 liters of water each day (13 cups) and women should drink 2.2 liters (9 cups). Create the habit of drinking a glass of water before each meal to avoid over-eating. Learn more at www.MayoClinic.com.
6. Go Green.
Make a sincere effort to add something green to all of your meals. Dark, leafy greens are full of fiber, which is proven to help you feel fuller longer. Greens such as spinach and kale are also packed with important vitamins, minerals and disease-fighting phytochemicals.
7. Don’t Call it a Workout, Call it Fun.
Instead of associating your workout with “work,” channel your positive energy and make your exercise time pleasurable. Walker recommends working out to your favorite tunes and trying fun, non-conventional ways to burn calories like dancing, jumping rope or doing squats while brushing your teeth in the morning. For more tips on creative ways to workout, visit www.LiveStrong.com.
8. Slip into Something Less Comfortable.
Ditch the sweatpants and opt for something that makes you feel amazing. Studies show that you’re less likely to overeat if you feel confident.
9. Don’t Subtract, Just Add.
Instead of focusing on foods you have to subtract from your diet, focus on the foods that can always be added, like fiber-rich fruits and vegetables. Try new combinations of wholesome foods. You may be surprised by how much you enjoy flavorful, seasonal produce in some of your favorite dishes, such as vegetarian lasagna.
10. Early to Bed, Early to Rise.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, short sleep duration is linked with an increase in body mass index due to an increased appetite caused by sleep deprivation. Learn more about getting a good night’s sleep at www.SleepFoundation.org.