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How To Start Eating Healthy Today And Turn Your Life Around

How To Start Eating Healthy Today And Turn Your Life Around

It’s never easy to change our unhealthy habits. Our bodies have gotten used to one regime, and any sudden change results in stress. Luckily, these changes do not need to be sudden. You can always take baby steps and gradually adopt new patterns. One bad habit a lot of us share is an addiction to fast food. Sure, we don’t feel hungry after eating it, but the nutrition provided by such a meal is almost meaningless. Even though this may not be regarded as a serious addiction, we can see how this diet can take its toll.

If you stick to a diet high in fast food, you will find yourself at the doorstep of obesity at some point. You need to fight this habit before it’s too late. The later you start, the harder it will get. So, here are some good suggestions on how to leave behind your old eating habits and embrace a healthier diet.

The negative side effects of eating high fat, sugary, and overly salty foods

We can’t see what’s going on beneath our skin, but rest assured that what we put into our bodies has a huge impact. Of course, as long as you don’t push your body or tap into your energy reserves, you can’t really feel the backlash of an unhealthy diet. But, eventually you’ll start to feel certain side effects, like mood swings, headaches, a lack of motivation, and even depression.

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Perhaps knowing what happens underneath the surface will be a powerful motivator for you to start fighting your bad eating habits. When you ingest high amounts of carbohydrates, these carbs are broken down into glucose that is later released into the bloodstream. This leads to blood sugar level spikes, triggering an insulin response. These alterations of normal insulin responses can cause insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. This is just one instance of what occurs inside your body when you opt for unhealthy dietary choices.

So-called “healthy” options can be harmful too

    Truth be told, we are all aware that fast food should be avoided, however, even foods that seem healthy can be harmful. We grow up being told how fish, fruits, and vegetables are good for our body, yet this is not always the case. There are at least 16 different meals and drinks that we eat or drink on a daily basis while thinking they are healthy, yet they can lead to cancer. Here they are:

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    • Canned Tomatoes (dangerous due to their high acidity)
    • Soda (empty source of calories and filled with sugar)
    • Farmed Salmon (high level of PCB’s, cancer-causing dioxins, and mercury)
    • Processed Meat (various chemicals and preservatives, including sodium nitrate, are used to make them look delicious, yet they are really carcinogens)
    • Microwave Popcorn
    • Potato Chips
    • Hydrogenated oils (contains more than enough Omega-6 fatty acid)
    • Highly processed white flours
    • Genetically Modified Organisms or GMO’s
    • Alcohol
    • Red Meat
    • Non-Organic Fruit

    It can be hard to keep track of all of these unhealthy substances, but a skilled nutritionist can prescribe the correct diet to you. It’s important to know about these harmful foods and to avoid them where possible.

    Incorporate all the different colors of fruits and vegetables into your diet

    Let’s focus on what you can eat, or better yet, what you should eat to look and feel young and healthy. Here are five foods that feel like a breath of fresh air to your body.

    • Tomatoes (but not canned ones) contain an abundance of lycopene, which gives our skin a healthy hue. People with a higher concentration of lycopene also have smooth skin and reinforced UV ray protection. You can also find lycopene in carrots, guava, watermelons, and grapefruits.
    • Strawberries are basically a vitamin C injection that can ward off your wrinkles. They promote collagen production — a very important protein used for wound healing. Eating strawberries can help with age-related skin problems, like dryness.
    • Watermelon can offer so much more than lycopene. It also gives you an anti-inflammatory effect. This means that you are less likely to suffer from premature aging.
    • Tuna can help with wound healing as well, since EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) can preserve collagen and keep your skin firm. Furthermore, your body will be replenished with DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which helps in skin cancer prevention by warding off inflammatory compounds that support tumor growth.
    • Blueberries can serve as Vitamin C and E boosters, which help brighten skin.

    These foods may not make up your everyday diet, of course, but if you are looking for a quick snack, these foods are safe options.

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    Reduce junk food to a single meal or snack a day over several weeks

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      If your new diet is to be fully efficient, you need to make constant efforts to reduce your intake of junk food. As mentioned, you do not need to resort to drastic measures. You can gradually reduce the amount of junk food you eat on a weekly basis and then bring the number to a single meal of junk food in a month. I know it sounds ambitious at first, but keep working at it and you will get there. The important thing to remember is not to starve yourself. When you are too hungry, you are weak and more likely to give into this urge. To keep these incidents to a minimum, always have a healthy snack nearby, and you’ll be less likely to go out and buy a hot dog or a hamburger.

      Banish all unhealthy foods and snacks from your kitchen

      First of all, junk food usually contains an unhealthy ingredient called trans fat, which is hard to avoid. The acceptable dose of trans fat for one day is 2 grams, but fast food with 0.5 grams of trans fat is allowed to be labeled as “trans fat free,” thus we can easily fool ourselves.

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      We’ve already talked about what foods should be avoided, but it would also be wise not to keep these foods in your house. Here is a full list of things that should never find their way in your kitchen or pantry — if they are accessible to you, you are more likely to make bad dietary choices.

      Don’t treat little moments of weakness like massive failures

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        The important thing to remember is that you should set your own pace and regime. A slow pace means you’ll be less likely to become disappointed or depressed. When we are sad, there is a high chance that we’ll turn to greasy fast food to lift our spirits, and we all know how that goes. So, set your own boundaries and be realistic. The more room you give yourself, the better. With every small achievement, your confidence will rise and you’ll feel more motivated to continue. Also, don’t delude yourself — this will be hard. You’ll have moments of weakness, but don’t allow them to break you. Just move past these incidents and do your best to make sure to learn from your mistakes. Good luck!

        Featured photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/anabadili/ via flickr.com

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        Aleksandar Ilic

        Blogger, Social Media Butterfly, Guitarist

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        Last Updated on October 15, 2018

        Why Am I So Tired? 10 Reasons You’re Extremely Tired And How to Fix It

        Why Am I So Tired? 10 Reasons You’re Extremely Tired And How to Fix It

        “Why am I so tired?” is a question that people ask themselves pretty frequently. Everyone gets tired at one point or another, particularly after something like an illness, a long night up with a sick child, or a busy week at work. When tiredness is persistent, however — when you feel tired as soon as you wake up in morning or when sleep doesn’t seem to help, no matter how much rest you get— it may often indicate a deeper, underlying problem.

        While there are a lot of possible reasons for tiredness, here’re some of the most common causes of fatigue:

        1. Dehydration

        If you want to boost your energy levels, first check whether you are dehydrated. The human brain is 85% water, and needs to maintain this level in order to perform its essential functions.

        If you fail to drink enough water, the brain extracts fluids from your blood to compensate for the deficit. As a result, the oxygen levels in your blood drop, reducing the amount of energising oxygen available to your organs and tissues. Fatigue and sleepiness set in rapidly, leaving you more vulnerable to the 2 pm post-lunch crash that many of us experience.

        You cannot cure this crash with caffeine – the only long-term, effective solution is to drink hydrating fluids throughout the day.

        2. Lack Of Exercise

        A workout will surely leave you feeling even more tired, right? Wrong! As counterintuitive as it may sound, physical activities have an energizing effect. Moving your body releases endorphins, increases your heart rate, and boosts your concentration.

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        Try to fit in at least 30 minutes of medium-intensity exercise every day. It’s easiest if you can make this part of our everyday routine, either as soon as you wake up or right after work.

        3. A Poor Diet

        The food you eat has a direct impact on sleep quality and the amount of rest you get every night. For maximum energy, stick to protein, slow-release carbohydrates, and a moderate amount of healthy (unsaturated) fats. The majority of your food should be plant-based, high in fiber, and low in sugar. These choices will prevent blood sugar fluctuations, which can leave you feeling exhausted.

        An easy way to make sure you stick to a good diet is through meal preparation. It’s easy to just get take-out when you’re tired after work, but if you have a meal ready for you in the fridge, you’ll be less tempted by pizza or cheese.

        Find out more about healthy meal prep here: 10 Meal Planning Apps You Need To Have To Get Healthier Easily

        4. Skipping Breakfast

        Physician Dr. Nerina Ramlakhan advises that eating breakfast is key to maintaining a good level of energy throughout the day. When you eat breakfast, you are sending calming signals to the areas of the brain responsible for avoiding danger, along with those that instruct the body to conserve as much energy as possible.

        Ingesting food signals to your brain that there is enough food available to ensure our survival. This encourages it to stay relaxed, which in turn, promotes restful sleep.

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        Some great ideas for a healthy, filling, and make-ahead breakfasts include overnight oats, smoothies, and freezer-friendly breakfast burritos.

        Or if meal-prepping isn’t your think, stock up on easy but healthy breakfast foods like multigrain cereal, yogurt, and fruit: 20 Healthy Breakfast Choices That Will Save You Time

        5. Poor Quality Of Sleep

        We all know that it’s important to wind down a couple of hours before bed. But did you know that it’s what you do throughout the day that promotes good-quality sleep? It’s not just about the number of hours you sleep, but how restful and deep that sleep is.

        TO feel rested, try to regulate your everyday routine to make your sleep deeper and better. Get up at a regular time in the morning to ensure that you get regular sunlight.

        Eat nutritious foods in moderate amounts, and make sure you stay hydrated. Go to bed at the same time. And before bedtime, avoid screens that can give off harmful blue light and also keep you stimulated when you need to prepare for a restful night.

        Read more about how to develop a routine that will get you better sleep: Poor Sleep Quality Comes from All the Things You Do Since Morning

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        6. Sleep Apnea (A Person’s Airways Get Blocked off While They Are Asleep)

        Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder where a person’s airways get blocked off while they are asleep, causing their oxygen levels to drop while they are asleep. This often causes people to stop breathing at night and then to jerk themselves awake (this can happen over 30 times an hour).

        Because of this, people with sleep apnea can feel short of breath and have low energy levels. Mouthpieces and other devices to aid in breathing as well as the use of a special breathing machine to keep oxygen levels in a safe zone.

        If you feel tired all the time and think you might have sleep apnea, consulting with a doctor is important. Do a sleep study, as this can often reveal if there is an underlying problem causing your tiredness — and once a diagnosis is made, treatment to help you get your energy back begins.

        7. Depression

        Depression is the most common mental health disorder in the United States (and in many other countries of the world as well). It is marked by persistent feelings of sadness or unhappiness but has physical symptoms, too. Apart from fatigue, people may also experience changes in sleeping and eating habits and difficulty concentrating.

        Treatment can often center on anti-depressants, counselling and lifestyle changes like stress management to help manage this condition. You can take a look at these 15 Ways To Overcome Depression And Sadness.

        Many people also benefit from activities like yoga and meditation, which help regulate both the body and mind.

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        8. Hypothyroidism

        If a person has hypothyroidism, their thyroid gland does not produce adequate levels of these important hormones— and the result can be a persistent and unrelenting fatigue, even if someone is getting enough sleep. Other common symptoms of this disorder include mood swings, weight gain and feeling cold all the time.

        Fortunately, simple blood work can reveal if there is a problem and it can be treated with artificial thyroid hormone pills like Synthroid. Check here for signs of having a thyroid problem. If you suspect that you might have hypothyroidism, talk to your doctor.

        9. Anemia

        People with anemia are not able to make enough red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout the their bodies. This is often due to a lack of nutrients like iron or B-12 and can be caused by problems such as heavy periods, bleeding in the digestive tract or pregnancy (due to the increased demands of the growing baby).

        However, in most cases, this can be resolved with treatments like changes in diet, iron supplements or B-12 shots.

        While here are some drinks you can try to relieve symptoms of Anemia, it’s best to do a blood test and consult your doctor in case of any hidden medical conditions.

        10. Cancer

        While you shouldn’t be freaking out about cancer just because you are tired, it is a fact that fatigue is one of the symptoms of cancer. Other common symptoms can include unexplained weight loss and the presence of palpable lumps or growths. This disease is marked by the abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells that can do damage to surround tissues and possibly spread to other parts of the body.

        Diagnosis is usually by biopsy and treatment often focusses on radiation, chemotherapy or surgery— and generally when a diagnosis is made early, the outcomes for the patient are better.

        Featured photo credit: Lily Banse via unsplash.com

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