Healthy Balance, Healthy Life

5 Tips for a Healthy Lifestyle Made Easy

Posted on: July 20, 2010

After having some practice with eating well, I’ve noticed what helps and what doesn’t help me stick with my goals…here are a few tips!

  1. Plan ahead! This is the most important. We’re all busy and we all have limited time so we need to make the most of it! For example, I had an hour and a half gap in between a meeting this morning and the rest of my work day this afternoon. If I wasn’t prepared with a bag of work out gear and a healthy lunch, I 1) wouldn’t have time to fit both a run and lunch in because I’d be figuring out what to do and/or making my lunch and 2) may have given in to the convenience of a less healthy store or restaurant bought meal (which is also pricier). Last night, I packed a bag of running shoes, running clothes, deodorant, make up, and anything else I thought I might need to run and get freshened up after. I also pre-made my lunch (tip: save the containers from the lunches you do have to go. I used a container specifically used for the pre-made salads in the grocery store.) and left it contained together in the fridge. That way I didn’t have to run around this  morning coordinating everything before my meeting and the day went smoothly.
  2. Pack snacks. This also ties into the planning bit. I also packed some snacks along with my lunch last night. It’s healthier to eat many small nutritious snacks through out the day to keep your blood sugar (and therefore insulin levels) constant. When our blood sugar and insulin levels are stable, we don’t get the sick feelings or hunger pangs associated with sugar and insulin dips. In addition to avoiding these negative experiences, it decreases the chance that we will grab for the first snack we see in a desperate attempt to satiate ourselves or feel better.
  3. Make extra food to ensure left overs. Surprise surprise this also fits into the planning ahead scheme! When you make a healthy meal and have left overs in your fridge, it’s convenient to eat healthy! I like making dinners with separate pieces so that I can pack the left overs in the fridge separately and make new meals out of them when I want quality food in a pinch. For example, I roasted a whole chicken for dinner last week and made separate sides and a sauce to go with it. After dinner, I sliced the left over chicken (white meat, please!) up and packed the sides and sauce separately. That way, I had the choice of re-living that dinner experience by combining everything and/or using the slices of chicken to make a sandwich, a chicken salad, or drizzle some balsamic vinegar over it and have it with veggies.
  4. Drink non caffeinated tea. On South Beach, we can’t have fruit the first two weeks in order to reduce the glycemic load our bodies are handling (more on glycemic index soon!) I LOVE fruit and I’m used to having it all the time so this has been really hard for me. Something that helps when I want something sweet. I have decaf fruit tea with a packet of splenda. It’s made from fruit, it tastes like fruit, yet it has no calories, carbs, anything! Drinking non caffeinated tea has the added bonus of filling your belly to make you feel fuller to help with portion control and is also hydrating.
  5. Don’t sweat the small stuff…sometimes. You can’t count on using this one all the time, it’s only for unique circumstances!  If you find yourself in a situation where it’d be a complete inconvenient stretch for you to stick exactly to your diet, don’t! Being so stringent will only stress you out, hate your healthy lifestyle (you don’t want that!), and make you less likely to stick with it. For example, I went out to eat with some friends the other night with great intentions. After perusing the menu I realized that restaurant food is not conducive to the strictest phase of the South Beach Diet (duh!). I could’ve asked the waitress to bring me a sad piece of boring grilled chicken but I didn’t want that, I’m out with my friends having a good time! So I ordered a big Caesar salad with grilled chicken, which with all the cream is not exactly an award winning meal but it was the best choice I had to satisfy both my taste buds and my health (protein and greens…check!). When it came to the table I handed the roll (surprise! I didn’t ask for that!) on the side of the plate to a friend. I promptly dug in, guilt-free, and savored the moment.

What has helped you? Please share!

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I am a 22 year old social work graduate student living in beautiful Burlington, Vermont. I love do-it-yourself projects, being active, and cooking delicious, healthy food! Feel free to leave comments or email me at AlixandraWest@gmail.com. You can also anonymously ask me questions at http://www.formspring.me/HealthyBalance1 I would love to hear from you!

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