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Last Updated on December 3, 2020

15 Quick Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle

15 Quick Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle

That person seems to have it all. You hate to admit it, but their effortless fitness and healthy life drive you mad all year round! What do they have that you don’t? You’ve tried the diets. You’ve done the workouts, what gives?

But what if you could BECOME that person too?

Don’t believe that’s possible? Let me explain.

I have always been an all or nothing type of person. There was one year where I drank something made entirely out of veggies for dinner for a month – a month! You heard me: I’m talking about a puke-worthy smoothie made entirely of spinach, kale, broccoli, and spinach. Gross.

After a while, I began to realize something extremely pivotal to my fitness journey: being all or nothing doesn’t work with having a healthy life.

Our bodies are delicate! Too few calories and too many workouts will literally spike cortisol and prevent you from losing weight. Too many calories and too few workouts and well, we’ve all been there.

So what am I getting at?

My point is that there are several secrets that these seemingly effortless fit people incorporate, knowingly or not, that greatly contribute to their health and wellness. The good news is, you can incorporate those things too!

Adding these “secret formulas” into my life is what helped me start losing weight, live a healthy life, and stop running myself purposely into the ground.

Curious what those things are? You’re in luck because as it happens, that is exactly what I’m about to show you!

1. Make It Fit Your Lifestyle!

This one I can’t stress enough!! If you find healthy food to fit into your lifestyle, you’re already a step ahead of the rest.

The key to getting fit effortlessly is to make it fit your lifestyle in a way you LOVE!! If you enjoy it and it’s easy, you’ll find yourself reaching your goals without even realizing it.

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2. Eat Foods High in Volume and Low in Calories

The technical term is food low in caloric density, but being the casual type of person I am, we’re going to stick to my term. So, what does this mean? It means eating foods that are low in calories but extremely filling.

Think veggies for instance. You could eat a massive pile of veggies and likely consume no more than a couple of hundred calories. This is where you can get creative! You can switch noodles out for protein noodles or veggie noodles. You can swap wraps for cauliflower wraps or a lettuce wrap.

You can essentially still enjoy all your favorite foods and still live a remarkably healthy life! Want to hear one of my favorite tricks?

3. Jello!

This one plays into my “low density” trick. One of my greatest secrets is actually Jello! It’s high in amino acids, extremely low in calories, and by replacing sugar with stevia, you’ll feel like your indulging for hardly any calories at all! Who knew?

4. Vacuum

This one is for anyone looking for a tight and sucked in stomach (“sucked in,” see what I did there?).

The Vacuum is an exercise you can incorporate anywhere. You simply pull your belly button towards your spine for a minute. Hold, and release.

This is one you can do while driving, sitting at work, or doing chores, so it’s completely effortless. It’s a secret that bodybuilders and bikini competitors used to use for that pulled in stomach.

5. Go Cold Turkey With Sugar

I know this might not seem effortless, and it’s not. But once it’s taken care of, life becomes a whole lot more simple.

According to an article by HealthLine, sugar is more addictive than cocaine.[1] And I believe it.

Sugar becomes an entirely different barrier for this reason. While most foods you can absolutely enjoy in moderation, a little sugar with sugar addiction can trigger poor habits. If you’ve found that it’s impossible to slowly cut out sugar and it’s constantly causing you to rebound, cutting it out entirely might be the way to go!

But here’s the good news – and I’m speaking from experience – once you get over the initial detox symptoms you’re cravings will nearly disappear. This will make choosing a healthy life far easier in the long run!

Speaking of run, I know you’re curious to hear more about workouts!

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6. Incorporate HIIT

You’ve probably already heard of HIIT by now. It stands for high-intensity interval training and is the key to short and powerful workouts. It boosts something called Excessive Post Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), which basically keeps you burning calories throughout the whole day![2])

These workouts are insanely powerful at getting results and hardly take any time. The key is when you are in a “working zone”, you’ve got to work it hard!

Be prepared, because on this next one I’m going to take a swing to the opposite side of the spectrum.

7. Low Stress

I bet you didn’t expect to see stress as part of this article at all. However, it is extremely important if you want to have a healthy life.

Some people think that the reason stress is detrimental is because it triggers overeating. But that’s only a small picture of the truth. There is so much more to fitness than “calorie in vs calorie out” like many would like to believe.

In truth, hormones that control our metabolism can play a major role. As this article from Medicinenet suggests, it can be extremely difficult to stay in shape with high cortisol[3], and I can attest to that!

Remember that season of drinking veggie smoothies I told you about? Yeah, that was accompanied by brutal runs and workouts. Let me tell you this. I didn’t lose a single pound.

Do you know when I did? I just started relaxing and enjoying a healthy and active lifestyle! “Work smarter, not harder” applies just as much to fitness as to any other area of life.

8. Leave Your Workout Clothes by Your Bed

I love to start the day with movement! And this is important in having a healthy life.

Sometimes I go to the gym or do yoga, while other days it’s a brisk walk with my favorite podcast. Either way, the best way to get your mind prepped is by setting up your workout clothes right by your bed for the morning.

It’s far easier to resist the urge to hit snooze when all of yesterday’s intentions are literally staring you in the face. Another trick is to keep an inspiring photo by your bed for a quick glint of morning inspiration.

Whether your goal is to be more energetic for your kids, get ready for an event, or just to prove to yourself that you can, waking yourself up with a dose of purpose will get you eager to make those goals a reality.

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9. Don’t Starve

I’m sure you’re glad to hear that! I’m sure you’ve heard before that crash diets don’t work. And that’s true, partially for the reason I mentioned above.

Your cortisol levels (the stress hormone) will spike whenever your body is stressed. That means if you are overworking and undereating, your body will stop losing weight.[4]

Another reason is that while most people will lose weight initially, a good portion of what is lost is muscles, which is responsible for burning more calories. That’s why many people find themselves gaining back the weight and then some, after a diet.

One of the most important things that people forget to do is fuel themselves for workouts. It’s ideal to eat some simple carbs before a workout, like a piece of fruit, to give you a rush of carbs that you can instantly burn into energy. After that, you’ll want to follow up with at least 30 grams of protein and 30 grams of carbs to replenish.

I know you might be thinking “what about all my hard work burning those calories off?” Trust me, the after-burn effect will still be working for you, and those nutrients are essential for keeping your metabolism up and your cortisol low!

But if you want to know how to eat what you want, then you’ll love the one below!

10. Intermittent Fasting

How does this come into play when I just mentioned you shouldn’t starve yourself? Well, Intermittent fasting has nothing to do with starving yourself! It simply has to do with eating within a certain time frame.

The one thing to note here is that regular intermittent fasting might not be ideal if you are a woman.[5] There are several hormones to keep in mind regarding gender. However, for the most part, fasting can be extremely effective.

11. Eat off of a Small Blue Plate

This one sounds crazy, but it’s scientifically proven. First off, our minds can find it hard to resist food sitting in front of us. In other words, if we have a large plate full of food, we’re more likely to eat it all until it’s done.

But what does the “Blue” have to do with anything?

The color blue is actually scientifically proven to be an appetite suppressant. Essentially, eating off of a blue plate will help reduce your cravings and make you feel satisfied much sooner!

12. Be Social

Want accountability? It might not be much farther than your phone. Hop on the social media bandwagon and get people rooting for your goals.

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There are dozens of platforms where you can reach your goals with other people just like you. Hearing their inspiration or having them hold you accountable can be a gamechanger! Of course, you can always find a workout buddy as well.

However, the key is to find someone who has already proven themselves consistent and accountable to their goals. I’ve seen too many friend groups come to the gym only to give up a couple of weeks later. It can be too hard to reach a resolution if your accountability is too flaky.

13. Drink a TON of Water!

This is probably one of the most important keys to having a healthy life. I mean it! If you drink a lot of water, I can almost guarantee you will see crazy results! Add some tea bags or fruit to flavor it, use lemon and stevia to make lemonade, or just guzzle it plain!

The best trick is to ALWAYS have a water bottle with you and ALWAYS be sipping. I tell my clients to get one with a straw attached. It’s easier to just sip from a straw then risk dumping water from an open-top bottle all over you!

One quick note though, don’t buy the “flavored water” trend. Contrary to popular belief, most sugar substitutes will actually make you gain weight. The only ones I truly trust are stevia and monk fruit, and even those I only use in moderation.

14. What Are You REALLY Craving?

Sometimes, a craving might be your body telling you something! Our bodies are brilliant, and our cravings can often just be a sign that we are missing something important.

Often, people who crave chocolate are just low in magnesium. A constant need for red meat might mean low iron. Sugar cravings could very likely just be a blood-sugar response signaling a need for more protein and healthy fats in your diet.[6]

If you have specific cravings, then you might benefit from taking a look at the root cause of them. Don’t ignore it when your body is trying to get your attention, but don’t give in to its first reaction either.

Discover what your body truly needs, and fix the problem, not the symptom.

15. Enjoy the Journey

I’m going to end very similarly to how I started. Find enjoyment in a healthy and active lifestyle, and you will get to your goals! It’s okay if you don’t like salads or running.

Find something that works for you! Burning calories in a fun way and eating meals that remind you of your favorites will be a gamechanger for you! Make “copycat” recipes your best friend so you can enjoy those indulgences healthily. And don’t freak out about the destination.

If you are consistent with the process, I promise you will reach your goals in no time.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, 15 quick tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Some of them might be easier for you than the others, but the key is for you to be focused and determined in living a healthy life.

More Tips for a Healthy Life

Featured photo credit: NordWood Themes via unsplash.com

Reference

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Katelyn Delaney

Owner of Revifi -- Fitness Training & Life Coaching

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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss for Beginners (A How-to Guide)

Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss for Beginners (A How-to Guide)

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 it 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.

My experience with intermittent fasting is that it’s best to start with a 16 hour fast (i.e. 8 PM one evening to 12 PM 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.

Intermittent Fasting Schedules

There are several different fasting schedules you can choose from when you start an intermittent fasting diet. Here are some of the most popular.

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The 16/8 Method

This method of fasting involves fasting every day for 14-16 hours and eating during an 8-10 hour window. Many people who are getting started with intermittent fasting will find this the easiest schedule to keep. You can eat your last meal around 8 PM and not eat again until noon the next day, for example. This sounds simple, as you’re really only skipping breakfast, but you’re actually fasting for 16 hours in this case![2]

16/8 Method of Intermittent Fasting

    The 5:2 Method

    This fasting method involves eating normally five days each week and restricting calorie intake to 500-600 calories for two (non-consecutive) days. On fasting days, women should eat around 500 calories, and men should eat around 600 calories.

    5:2 Diet for Intermittent Fasting

      Alternate-Day Fasting

      As its name suggests, this type of intermittent fasting involves fasting every other day. As with the 5:2 method, some people find it easier to eat 500-600 calories instead of going on a full fast each fasting day.

      Alternate Day Fasting
        The Warrior Diet

        This type of fasting is considered by many to be the most difficult and follows a 20/4 eating schedule. For most of the day, you limit your food intake to small amounts of fruits and vegetables (low-calorie foods). For four hours each day, you eat large-portioned meals to get in your day’s calories.

        Because of the intense nature of this method, it’s only recommended for those who have been on an intermittent fasting diet for a while and feel comfortable with it.

        The Warrior Diet

          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[3] like a drink that contains sugar and causes 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.

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          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.

          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. After several hours of not eating, your body will use up its sugar stores, which will cause it to start burning fat for energy, a process known as metabolic switching. 

          Mark Mattson, Ph.D., a neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins explains this effect in simple terms:

          “Intermittent fasting contrasts with the normal eating pattern for most Americans, who eat throughout their waking hours…If someone is eating three meals a day, plus snacks, and they’re not exercising, then every time they eat, they’re running on those calories and not burning their fat stores.”[4]

          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[5].

          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[6].

          The influence intermittent fasting 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.

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          Chronically elevating your insulin levels like this can also lead to the development of type 2 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”[7].

          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 fat-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.

          One study published by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that average weight loss on an intermittent fasting diet was around 9lbs after 12 months, and weight loss was most successful in those who strictly adhered to their chosen diet[8].

          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.

          If you are a hardcore athlete who often exercises for an hour or more each day, intermittent fasting may not be the best choice for you as this amount of exercise requires fuel to keep you moving and build muscle. However, light to moderate intensity workouts 2 to 4 times a week should work with intermittent fasting.

          The best workouts to do while fasting for weight loss are strength training workouts. This means anything from standard strength training to kettlebell or body weight workouts. Combine these with lighter forms of exercise like walking, jogging, or yoga.

          You could also try this 30-Day Resistance Band Workout Challenge alongside your intermittent fasting diet. It will help you get into an exercise routine while easing into your new eating routine.

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          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.

          Remember, exercising can increase hunger, so try working out in the hour or two right before you are scheduled to break your fast[9]. Your body will be primed for a meal, and your hunger won’t get the best of you.

          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.

          If you’re trying to build muscle while fasting, you’ll need to ensure you’re getting enough calories, especially through protein, at each meal between fasts.

          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 diet.

          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 you aren’t able 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 make sure 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 branched-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.

          The Bottom Line

          Now you know what intermittent fasting is and how it can help you lose weight quickly and safely. If you want to give it a try, find a fasting schedule that fits with your lifestyle, and give it a go.

          More About Intermittent Fasting

          Featured photo credit: Toa Heftiba via unsplash.com

          Reference

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