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10 Amazing Tips On How To Eat Healthy

10 Amazing Tips On How To Eat Healthy

Learning how to eat healthy is something many people are interested in but also something that all of us have been frustrated with at some point in our lives. I’m sure you’ve wanted to throw your hands up at some point, and who could blame you? With all the advice out there surrounding dieting and learning how to eat healthy, it’s inevitable that we end up confused at some point or ready to give up. However, when it comes to eating healthy, sometimes we need to take a step back from the diet books, trends, and just keep some basic principles in mind. We also need to remember why eating healthy is important in the first place.

Why Healthy Eating is Important

A healthy diet filled with real food can mean better blood sugar levels, a longer life, better focus, less risk for disease, a healthier heart, better digestion, and a naturally healthy weight that we don’t always have to feel the need to manage. However, the term healthy eating means many different things to just about everyone and not one set meal plan will work for every single individual out there.

I’m a nutritionist who has experimented with a variety of diets, studied nutrition for over 10 years, and worked with clients from across the country. Here are 10 Amazing Tips on How to Eat Healthy that I advise to everyone I know and practice myself on a daily basis:

1. Always Start With Fresh Food

Fresh foods and produce should be a part of every single meal you eat. Going all day and subsisting on diet bars, shakes, fast food, and caffeine will set you up for nutritional deficiencies and leave you unsatisfied.  Select one, two, three or more produce items to add to each meal you eat, and remember that vegetables, greens, and fruits contain vitamins and minerals that other foods don’t offer. They also help hydrate us and satisfy us despite that they’re low in calories.

Experiment with different produce options at each meal to see which ones you enjoy the most, and don’t be afraid to try new things!

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2. Listen to Your Hunger

This may sound obvious, but most people miss this key part of the puzzle. If you’re hungry, eat. If not, don’t eat. While you should not go over 5 hours during the day without eating when you have a busy schedule, if you’re not hungry when you first wake up, wait until your body tells you it’s ready to eat. Have lunch at the time your body tells you it needs some mid-day fuel. Come dinnertime, don’t feel as though you need a huge meal to unwind after a long day or feel as though you need to restrict portions if you’re a little hungrier than others some nights.

Fill your plates with fresh foods and listen to your body’s hunger signals. This is one of the most important parts of maintaining a healthy mindset around food, relationship with your body, and a healthy metabolism for life.

3. View Food as More Than Calories

There are plenty of low-calorie diet items you can buy at the store these days, but packaged diet foods are not the key to living and eating healthy. Yes, calories do matter and just because quality calories are better than processed calories, it doesn’t mean you can overeat and stuff yourself. However, food is more than calories, and it’s ten times better to eat 200 calories from fresh foods and clean sources of protein than it is to eat a 100 calorie snack pack for lunch.

Give your body real food and learn to view food as more than calories. If you’re listening to your hunger signals, everything else will eventually take care of itself.

4. Remember the Importance of Blood Sugar

Your blood sugar can make or break your health. Refined carbohydrates like refined grains and all added sugars can spike blood sugar levels and lead to health issues like Type 2 diabetes or weight gain. When you eat each meal, keep your blood sugar in mind. Insulin spikes when we eat, and to keep insulin working properly, we need a balanced intake of lean protein, fiber, and some healthy fats. Think veggies, greens, lean protein, and moderate intake of fruits and healthy fats. If you tolerate grains, always go for whole grains like oats or quinoa for optimal blood sugar levels since they digest more slowly than processed carbs like bread or cereal.

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Here are 10 powerful foods that are great for blood sugar levels.

5. Skip Sugar

Many people believe that sugar is harmless, however, I’m not one of those people. Refined sugar—and even many natural, added sugars—usually lead to overeating as well as blood sugar issues. They also age the skin and trigger overeating or more sugar cravings. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your birthday cake or dessert on Thanksgiving, it just means that sugar in most all forms should not be a part of your healthy eating routine.

Throw out the packaged foods with added sugar and learn to read labels. There are over 57 hidden names for sugar that can appear on a label, so once again, fresh food is always the best choice when planning your meals. Natural sugars from fruit are fine in moderation, and if you need some sweetener for your coffee or desserts, try liquid stevia which is more natural than artificial sweeteners and free of calories.

6. Remember Fat is Not the Enemy

Dietary fat is something that most of us have been confused about. I’ve eaten a low-fat diet and a high-fat diet and neither felt so great in my body, however, I know many people that thrive on both styles of eating. No matter what way works for you, we need to remember that fat is not the enemy. Fat can satiate the body, keep the hair and skin healthy, and it also boosts mood and energy when we eat it in the proper amounts for our body. We don’t need to eat a stick of butter a day or tons of coconut oil to get enough fat, but we do need some sources of fat in our diets to thrive.

Focus on adding a little fat to each meal and see how you feel. Many healthy foods like wild salmon, avocado and eggs have fats as do sources such as flax, chia, hemp and a variety of nuts and seeds. My personal favorite sources of healthy fats are raw coconut butter, ground flax, and the occasional local egg. See which ones work for you, and don’t fear fat—it can be your friend!

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7. Keep it Simple

One thing that really helps most people I work with as well as me personally is to keep things simple. There’s no need to eat a different meal every single night or feel the need to spend an hour preparing it. Keep your meals simple and stick to the lean protein, fresh produce (veggies, greens, and fruit), and healthy fats at each meal. Experiment with whole grains and legumes as well which can be healthy options if your body tolerates them. Rotate your favorite meals through the week, and take advantage of kitchen appliances like a blender and slow cooker for quick meals and easy meal prep each day.

Remember, real food can be simple and quick to prepare. Don’t overcomplicate things!

8. Eat Mostly From Your Fridge

A pantry can be your best friend for storing canned items and some others like whole grains or herbs and spices, however, most people eat out of their pantry and their fridge is always bare. Your fridge should be what you eat from the most, but this doesn’t mean you should fill the fridge with processed foods or fill the freezer with frozen pizza.

Focus on filling the fridge with fresh foods, not reaching in the pantry when you’re ready to eat each meal. Skip the cereal, bars, and processed options which all usually have added sodium, processed fats, and added sugar. Ready-made foods are not as nutritionally dense as fresh foods are, so attempt to quit reaching for them every time you’re hungry. When it comes to condiments, they can be fine to add to fresh meals to make things more interesting. Just be mindful of the sodium, fat and sugar content in each one you buy. Some good options include mustard, hot sauce, no salt seasonings, and apple cider vinegar.

9. Purge the Pantry

Speaking of the pantry, do a little pantry purge. Make it a goal to only have whole foods in your pantry such as canned tomatoes, beans, lentils, whole grains, herbs and spices, and maybe some jars of nut butter (refrigerate after opening). Get rid of the chips, canned soups and sugary cereals, and donate those or throw them out. You’ll feel so much better without them in your life! Remember that processed foods are not the key to eating healthy. While they’re fine on occasion, they aren’t the solution to long-term health.

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10. Remember that One Size Doesn’t Fit All

One of the best pieces of advice I can give to anyone is to remember that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to health and what diets work best. All of us would benefit by eating less processed foods, eating as many plants as possible, eating a variety of nutrients at each meal, and being mindful of where we get our protein. However, after that, we need to remember that what works wonderfully for our parents, significant other, or best friend may not work for us. Just because someone you know thrives on one style of eating doesn’t mean that you will.

At the end of the day, our individual hormones, current health issues, our activity levels, gut health, sleep habits, and stress levels all affect our health just as much as food. Many of us will need more of certain foods while others will need to eat completely different diets. One size doesn’t fit all in the jeans department or the food department. Keep that in mind, choose real food, and do the best you can.

For more tips on how to eat healthy, here are 20 foods you can fill your fridge up to help you get started, and here are some tips for eating healthy on a budget.

Featured photo credit: Tella Chen/Flickr via flic.kr

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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

Video Summary

Why is it important to train up our core strength?

There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

One Exercise, multiple benefits

There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

What will happen when you start doing planks every day

    1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

    Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

    • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
    • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
    • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
    • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

    2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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      Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

      Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

      3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

        Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

        4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

          Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

          A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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          A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

          On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

          5. You’ll improve overall balance

            Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

            6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

              Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

              7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                How to hold a plank position

                1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                  How to improve your plank time gradually

                  1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                  2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                  3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                  Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                  Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                  You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                  • Prolapse
                  • After prolapse surgery
                  • Pelvic pain conditions
                  • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                  • Previous childbirth
                  • Overweight

                  Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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