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100 Small Changes You Can Make To Improve Your Health

100 Small Changes You Can Make To Improve Your Health

Not every change you make to live a healthier lifestyle has to be drastic. Many people go balls to the wall and cut out all their carbs or go from never running to training for a marathon.

The problem? Most realize how difficult such a drastic change can be and bail on their goal.

It’s better to take baby steps on your quest to build a healthier, stronger version of yourself. Pick one or two of the changes below and focus on those. Once you’re comfortable with the changes you made, pick up a few more.

1. Cut out soda.

2. Cut out juices.

3. Drink more water (8 8-oz cups per day).

4. Walk to work if distance permits.

5. Get a gym membership.

6. Come up with a workout plan that involves hitting the gym at least 3x a week.

7. Buy fruit instead of cookies and donuts.

8. Eat more vegetables. The fiber and nutrients will keep you full and prevent overeating.

9. Consume 25g fiber per day if you are female, 38g for males.

10. Drink less coffee so that you do not rely on caffeine.

11. Get 8-10 hours of sleep.

12. Go on a run at least once a week.

13. Read a blog on bettering your health and/or fitness at least once a week.

14. Plan your meals ahead of time so that you don’t give in to cravings when come meal time.

15. Purge your pantry of all junk (and no, not by eating it).

16. Try cooking healthy recipe instead of eating out.

17. Talk to someone new at the gym every week. Making friends will make you enjoy your time there and want to return.

18. Buy egg whites instead of only whole eggs.

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19. Try turkey bacon instead of pork bacon (I eat both depending on the occasion).

20. Keep an exercise log so you can see that you are making progress.

21. Invest in healthier snack foods such as nuts, fruit, snap peas, baby carrots, etc.

22. Set a goal and don’t stop until it’s achieved.

23. Set baby goals with corresponding rewards to encourage you along the way.

24. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, whether that be talking to a fit friend or hiring a fitness professional.

25. Understand your body. Figure out the number of calories you can consume daily to maintain, gain, or lose weight.

26. Avoid drinking to get drunk except on special occasions (it really shouldn’t be an end-of-the-week habit).

27. That said, restrict yourself to 1-2 alcoholic beverages when you do drink casually.

28. Increase your protein intake. It will keep you full and promote recovery from exercise.

29. Take a multivitamin. Most of us do not get the essential micronutrients we need day to day.

30. Take a fish oil supplement. Omega-3’s are essential for a strong heart.

31. Go on walks after eating large meals.

32. Wake up an hour earlier (given you slept enough hours) and get moving. You’ll be more productive if you start the day off with a little exercise.

33. Avoid movie theatre popcorn if you can. That stuff is dangerous. A large bucket can contain over 1000 calories easily.

34. Find and start a fitness program.

35. If you smoke, stop.

36. Pick up a sport you want to try.

37. Re-pick up a sport you stopped participating in.

38. Join health initiatives and challenges at the workplace.

39. If you’ve been sitting for over an hour, get up and walk around — like right now if it applies.

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40. Take your dog on a walk! If you have one of course. The exercise isn’t just for your pup.

41. Vacuum the house. It’ll get you moving and can burn up to 300 calories per hour!

42. Avoid artificial sweeteners. If you need one, try Stevia.

43. Drink skim milk instead of whole milk.

44. Incorporate a resistance training routine instead of only performing cardio. It promotes strong bones and faster metabolism.

45. Drain the bacon grease before frying your eggs!

46. If you are eat a salad, avoid dousing it in dressing. A single serving of ranch dressing can be up to 150 calories.

47. Trouble sleeping through the night? Decrease caffeine intake. Especially within 5 hours of bedtime.

48. Read a book. Stimulating your mind promotes physical health more than you know.

49. Choose baked chips or veggie chips instead of regular ones.

50. Avoid deep fried foods. Baked or grilled versions are better choices.

51. Buy fresh veggies over canned or frozen ones if possible.

52. Do not drink Fireball. Stuff has antifreeze in it.

53. When eating out, pick a healthier option. It’ll taste better than you expect.

54. Write your thoughts out every once in awhile. Keep a diary. Write an article. It helps relieve stress.

55. Talking to people also relieves stress. Get out there and be social. Don’t hold things in.

56. Choose leaner meats for your sandwiches and meals.

57. Don’t skip meals too often. Your body needs food for energy.

58. Start a running or workout group amongst your friends and/or colleagues.

59. Listen to music you enjoy. It soothes.

60. Buy whole grain breads and pastas over instead of white.

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61. Order brown rice instead of white rice at Chinese restaurants.

62. When your family or workplace orders donuts and you can’t resist, only take one.

63. Use low or non-fat versions of sauces. Those tiny little packets of Chick-Fil-A Sauce have 140 calories!

64. Rely less on Ibuprofen for hangovers and more on water and hydration.

65. Find a workout buddy! The extra accountability will keep you, well, accountable.

66. Take naps when exhausted instead of chugging more caffeine. Listening to your body goes a long way.

67. Substitute unsweetened apple sauce for butter when baking.

68. Sweeten with Stevia instead of sugar when baking. A 1:1 ratio works well.

69. Take a green drink supplement if you don’t get a wide range of vegetables and fruits daily.

70. Meditate. Occasionally taking a moment of silence to be inside your own mind and simply think can promote mental health and relaxation.

71. Eat until satisfied, not full.

72. Prep meals over the weekend so that you have healthy and readily available options throughout the week.

73. Snack less and eat more filling meals.

74. Do mini workouts during commercial breaks. Push ups, sit ups, crunches, planks, and squats are all prime candidates.

75. If pressed for time in the gym, perform compound movements that hit large numbers of muscles such as squats and pullups.

76. Wait 10 minutes after eating meals to make sure you’re actually still hungry before going for a post-meal snack. It takes time for your brain to catch up to your belly sometimes.

77. Read food labels. Knowing how much protein, fat, and carbs you’re consuming is key to understanding your nutrition.

78. If the nutrition label indicates any trans-fats, do not eat that food. Trans-fats clog your arteries.

79. Learn to refuse unhealthy foods when they are offered to you. Learning to say no is a good lesson to learn for every aspect of life. You can’t make everyone happy.

80. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

81. Get off the internet sometimes and go outside. We spend too much time on Facebook and Twitter and not enough moving around.

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82. Add lemon to your water. It aids digestion by clearing the digestive tract.

83. Stretch tight or sore muscles. Many of us have become immobile with age and lack of exercise. Stretching can get you moving and functioning properly again.

84. Use non-stick spray instead of butter and oil when pan-frying foods.

85. Drink your coffee black. Sugar and creamer add unnecessary calories and really add up over time if you’re a coffee drinker.

86. Consume 1 tbsp of Apple Cider Vinegar daily to prevent heartburn and acid reflux.

87. Get up to get the remote instead of asking for it to be passed to your lazy bum.

88. Incorporate a day to go hiking on your vacations. Hiking can burn anywhere from 300 to 600 calories per hour.

89. Sign up for a 5k or 10k. You’re more likely to do something if you pay for it. This also provides a sense of urgency because you can’t push back the date.

90. Stop waiting and take out the garbage before it overflows. Just another way to get moving. You’ll also get that bonus sense of accomplishment that comes with having a nice, clean, empty trash can (or is that just me?).

91. Request no butter and no oil at restaurants. Excess fats really pack on the calories.

92. Pass on the fries. They are high carb and high fat, which means extra high calorie. Save them for cheat meals.

93. Get some sun. Vitamin D deficiency is more common now than ever. Excess sun can be detrimental to your skin health, but most people don’t get enough.

94. Perform both high intensity and low-intensity exercises — anything from walking to burpees. This ensures that your body becomes efficient using both aerobic and anaerobic energy systems.

95. Hit the pool! Swimming for fitness burns more calories than running. Don’t believe me? Google Michael Phelps’ 12,000 calorie diet.

96. Pace during long phone calls. It may sound silly, but the extra steps really add up. I’ve paced over 1500 steps back and forth while talking on the phone. That’s almost an entire mile!

97. Load up a quarter to half of your dinner plate with veggies. Portion control helps prevent overeating.

98. Stop thinking and start doing. If you’re “thinking about” getting in shape or starting a program, JUST DO IT.

99. Use cheat meals instead of cheat days. A full day of cheating can throw off your progress pretty badly if you can eat a large enough amount of food. It’s difficult to do this with a single cheat meal though.

100. At Chipotle, get a bowl instead of the burrito.

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Drew Kocak

Online Personal Trainer / Fitness Blogger

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Last Updated on October 5, 2020

Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss (The Ultimate Weight Loss Hack)

Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss (The Ultimate Weight Loss Hack)

Intermittent fasting weight loss is a type of diet that’s rapidly growing in popularity and becoming the way to lose weight. Scientists and nutrition experts like it, too. New books and articles on the topic are being published daily. Intermittent fasting is also popular with followers of the Paleo diet since our ancestors appear to have eaten this way for thousands of years.

I’ve been following this type of diet myself for 2 years. Doing so helped me lose and keep off 70 pounds without ever having to count calories, limit carbohydrates, or eat 6 to 7 meals a day.

This article teaches you all about intermittent fasting weight loss and details why it is one of the best weight loss diet hacks around. Once you finish, you will be able to implement into your diet and experience the benefits it offers almost immediately.

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

As you may have figured from its name, intermittent fasting weight loss is a diet plan where you set fasting periods during the day. This is usually between 16-20 consecutive hours, but it can be as little as 12 hours or as much as 24 hours (or even 36 hours).

While fasting you can eat and drink low calorie or calorie-free foods. Think coffee, tea, water, and vegetables.

The more time you spend fasting every day, the better your results. You can do these fasts as often as you like. Again, the more often you do so, the better[1].

Getting Started With Intermittent Fasting

Following this diet plan is super simple. All you have to do is choose a period of time during the day that you will fast. This should be between 16-20 hours.

The longer you fast each day, the better. Don’t worry about calorie restriction or measuring carbohydrates. Just focus on going about your day until it’s time to eat.

It’s best to choose a set period of time to conduct your fast. I like to fast from 8 PM to 4 PM the following afternoon. I’ll then have my first meal of the day and a snack or two a few hours later. Once 8 o’clock rolls around, it’s back to fasting.

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My experience with intermittent fasting is that it’s best to start with a 16 hour fast (i.e. 8PM one evening to 12PM the next day) for the first 1-2 weeks. Once you are comfortable with this schedule, you can increase the amount of time you spend fasting. Do this by adding 30 minutes to each fast until you get to where you are fasting for 20 hours at a time.

You don’t have to fast every day in the beginning either. You may be more comfortable breaking in slowly with 2 or 3 days per week, or trying alternate day fasting. Add additional days of intermittent fasting as you become more comfortable with this style of eating.

Tips To Make Intermittent Fasting Easier

1. Drink Plenty of Water

Squeeze a little lemon or lime juice into your water to help get rid of any cravings you experience. You can also drink coffee, tea, or other calorie-free beverages. After a few weeks, you will find that intermittent fasting keeps you from craving sugar entirely.

2. Take in Caffeine in the Morning and Early Afternoon

The caffeine in coffee and tea may actually make intermittent fasting weight loss a little easier since it’s good for curbing your appetite. Be careful not to overindulge as this may lead to you feeling a little too wired. I also recommend these natural energy boosting tips to keep you going during the day.

3. Avoid Artificially Flavored Drinks

One type of calorie-free drink that should be avoided are diet sodas and other beverages that use artificial sweeteners like Splenda and Sweet & Low. Studies show that the can actually stimulate your appetite[2] like a drink that contains sugar and cause you to overeat.

4. Don’t Gorge at Your First Meal

The first meal after your fast should be the amount of food you typically eat. Binging will only make you feel awful and diminish the benefits you get from the fast.

To avoid this, try creating meal plans, at least for the first few weeks. This will help you get into the rhythm of eating regularly portioned meals during your eating window.

5. Minimize Processed Carbohydrates and Sugars

While intermittent fasting does make it possible to eat a little looser than normal, you should still eat as little bread, pasta, rice, etc. as possible.

Focus instead on eating protein from beef, fish, or pork, carbohydrates from vegetables, fruit, and sweet potatoes, and healthy fats from foods like almonds, avocados, fish, and olive oil.

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You can find some carb sources that will aid your weight loss journey here.

How Intermittent Fasting Helps You Lose Weight

Eating this way has many benefits with regard to weight loss. The first is that when you’re fasting, your body will be forced to use its stored body fat for energy. Burning calories this way, instead of from the food you’re eating throughout the day, will help you experience significant weight loss, but specifically lose weight from any excess body fat you’re carrying.

This means that you won’t just be thinner, but you will also look better and be much healthier than if you lose weight the old-fashioned way[3].

Intermittent fasting can help optimize the release of the key fat-burning hormones in your body. This is especially true for the two most important hormones: human growth hormone (HGH) and insulin.

Human growth hormone plays a key role in turning on your body’s fat-burning furnace so that it gets the calories you need to work and play from stored body fat. Studies show that fasting can significantly increase the production of HGH[4].

The influence intermittent fasting weight loss has on insulin is just as impressive and possibly more important. Keeping your insulin levels low and steady is key to losing excess fat and keeping it off.

Diets that are rich in processed carbohydrates (bread, pasta, rice) and simple sugars (candy, cookies, and soda) have the opposite effect. They cause your insulin levels to rapidly spike and then crash every time you eat one of these foods. The net result of this phenomenon is that your body will store more of what you eat as excess body fat instead of burning it off as energy.

Chronically elevating your insulin levels like this can also lead to the development of type II diabetes, obesity, and other chronic health problems. Intermittent fasting easily solves this problem.

One study found that men who participated in intermittent fasting had “dramatically lower insulin levels and significantly improved insulin sensitivity”[5].

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This happens because you’re not giving your body food, so it will not produce insulin, allowing insulin levels to balance out until you eat again. This helps your body stay in a calorie and fa-burning state. You’ll also find that it gives you more energy throughout the day.

Another great weight loss benefit of intermittent fasting is that hunger pangs and cravings that may normally plague you throughout the day will be reduced, if not altogether eliminated. This is probably due to its ability to balance your insulin and blood sugar levels and, in turn, help correct other hormonal imbalances.

Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss FAQs

Now that you know what intermittent fasting is and how to get started, it’s time to answer your other questions.

Below are answers to the questions frequently asked about intermittent fasting. These answers should help you and make getting started a lot easier.

How Much Weight Will I Lose?

The amount of weight you lose with fasting is determined by how often and long your fasts are, what you eat afterward, and other factors. Fasting for 16-20 hours a day can help you safely lose 2-3 pounds of fat every week.

While losing this much weight every week is great, it’s how it makes it happen that’s really cool. Losing weight with intermittent fasting means that you will never have to count calories or plan and prepare several meals a day.

Can I Work out While Fasting?

Yes, you can. In fact, doing the right type of workout while fasting will help you lose weight faster and even build muscle.

The best workouts to do while fasting for weight loss are 3-4 intense strength training workouts weekly. This means anything from standard strength training to kettlebell or body weight workouts.

Focus on doing 3-4 total body exercises per workout with as little rest as possible between sets. Doing this will help you burn more calories during and after your workout. You’ll also build muscle, which will help you look and feel better as the weight comes off.

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Won’t I Lose Muscle When I Fast?

First of all, you aren’t fasting long enough for your body to start breaking down muscle for energy. You have, perhaps, hundreds of thousands of calories from your stored body fat to use before that will begin to happen. Studies actually show that even after fasting for 3 days, no muscle is lost.

Is Fasting Safe?

As long as you are healthy, not pregnant, and aren’t taking medications, fasting is safe. Like all diets, you should discuss it with your doctor before beginning an intermittent fasting style of dieting.

I also feel that it may not be smart to follow this type of diet when you’re especially stressed. Since this diet can be a little stress-inducing at first, doing so when your ability to be relatively stress-free and rested probably isn’t a good idea.

Are There Any Supplements I Can Take to Make Fasting Easier?

As with any other weight loss plan, it’s a good idea to take a few nutritional supplements to ensure that your daily requirements are met. This includes a once or twice daily multi-vitamin, fish oil, and vitamin D.

I’ve also found taking 10 grams of branch chain amino acids before and after my workouts really helps, too. They’re great for giving you more energy during your workout and decreasing post-workout muscle soreness.

For supplements to specifically help with digestion, check out this article.

Conclusion

Now you know what intermittent fasting is and how it can help you lose weight quickly, safely, and pretty much effortlessly.

If you want to give it a try, find a fasting schedule that fits with you lifestyle and give it a go.

More About Intermittent Fasting

Featured photo credit: Toa Heftiba via unsplash.com

Reference

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