Change your mind set
Many people who maintain a healthy bodyweight long-term approach each day with a focus of health. This does not mean they obsess. Simply, their health, fitness and body are important to them. So they make choices throughout the day that reflect this value. Having the apple over the cake, going to the gym instead of straight home become habit rather than conscious decisions.
More and more people engage in some form of activity. However, these few hours per week do not offset the sedentary lifestyle that many people now live. For the first time ever Australian Health Guidelines are separating ‘exercise’ and ‘lifestyle’ into two separate categories. If you have a sedentary job and hobbies you need to look at ways to change this such as walking around the office every hour or standing whilst on the phone – as well as going to Pilates and Pump every week.
Research shows that people think they eat better and move more than they actually do. Whether you join Weight Watchers and do a weekly weigh in, see a nutritionist or personal trainer once per month, keep a food diary, or use a phone app that monitors your input and output by having you enter your food and exercise details daily, you need to keep an eye on the real picture and not kid yourself.
Keep an eye on alcohol intake
If you enjoy a tipple or two remember to give yourself some boundaries. Alcohol is calories without nutrition and after a few drinks it is easy to reach for foods that you might not otherwise choose. Ideally, limit alcohol to 3-4 days per week and 1-2 drinks on those days. Opt for the lower calorie drinks, avoid mixers and eat before drinking so you don’t overeat later.
Muscle burns calories
Any activity is great and you should definitely get your heart rate up several times per week with cardio. But don’t forget that increasing the amount of muscle you have increases your metabolism making you burn more calories all the time – even when you are asleep. Strength training is a must-do for long-term fat loss.
The gift of sleep
7-8 hours of sleep per night is essential to keeping a trim waistline. Research shows that a lack of sleep triggers a surge in the hormone Ghrelin which triggers hunger. This is one reason we reach for more sugary foods to get us through a busy day when we are tired. Of course, everyone has a bad night now and again. Try to opt for a protein based snack to prevent a sugar and subsequent insulin spike.
By Rachel Livingstone Personal Trainer & Owner of The Health Hub www.healthhub.net.au
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