The longer your years, the harder you may have to work to keep your body in good shape. But diet and exercise may not be enough to drop the pounds in this day and age, at any age. With the advent of GMO (genetically modified) foods, allergen-rich additives, and unscrupulous processing practices, chances are the food you’re eating isn’t really food; and your body knows it. A huge part of weight management is distinguishing between fat, muscle and inflammation. If you’re overweight, there’s a good chance you’re also inflamed. If you are just having trouble maintaining good muscle tone, some of the so-called health foods you’re eating may actually be getting in the way. So here are some smart eating tips to keep your body healthy and jumpstart a weight loss plan:
1. Eat Clean
Going organic is one of the easiest ways to ensure you body is getting all the nutrients it needs, and none of the junk it doesn’t. It won’t keep you slim and trim if you greatly exceed your recommended daily caloric intake for your height and activity level. But it will prevent you from ingesting toxic chemicals.
Going raw or raw vegan is another way to keep your system cleansed. It means only eating food that has not been heated above about 110 degrees F. And on the vegan side, no sushi or beef tartar either. Eating only raw foods for an extended period of time is labor intensive and expensive. Try the diet for a few weeks if you don’t have the heart to dedicate to the lifestyle. Your body will thank you.
2. Free Yourself
If you don’t know exactly what makes your system tick, go sugar-free, salt-free, gluten-free, wheat-free, corn-free, grain-free, dairy-free, and nut-free. Basically, this method is going allergen-free. Eliminating any combination of these from your diet is likely to have an impact on your waistline, and quickly. These usual suspects contribute to bloat and inflammation in many people, and are likely hindering your weight loss progress. When you eliminate these, you also bypass a lot of hormones, pesticides, antibiotics and other nasty additives.
3. Smart Carbs
Carbohydrates are an essential part of any balanced diet. The key is making sure they are complex and nutrient-rich. You should never go 100% carb-free, but should instead make an effort to avoid simple and refined carbohydrates, grains and processed foods. The ideals behind Paleo eating, for example, are sound, and following the diet for a few weeks will jumpstart your plan. But if eliminating everything you love like corn, green beans, potatoes, beans and other starchy veggies doesn’t suit you, there are plenty of ways to modify the program to your tastes.
4. Get hydrated
Water is a wonder of the world. Use it to your full advantage. Drink 8 – 16 oz of water right before and right after every meal to aid in digestion and keep you feeling fuller, longer. Proper hydration also creates a more fluid waste-disposal system, allowing your body to release toxins from your tissues and bloodstream more easily.
Replacing one or more meals a day with fresh vegetable and fruit juice, a protein shake, or a filling low-sugar smoothie will also leave you satisfied, hydrated, and on target for a reduced-calorie diet.
5. Go With Your Gut
Drinking probiotic beverages like Kombucha or other drinks you can find at the health food store will help eliminate toxins and create a favorable environment in your digestive system. You can also eat fermented foods like raw, unpasteurized sauerkraut or kimchi. Sugar-free yogurt is also a good food choice for probiotics. If you’d rather get your healthy bacteria in pill or powder form, you can take a high-potency probiotic or probiotic/digestive enzyme combo every day. These healthy bacteria and enzymes will improve your gut health; promoting better digestion, increased immunity, and provide great anti-oxidant benefits. All of this leads to better weight management. You might be surprised how much probiotics can positively affect your waistline.
Weight loss of course involves exercise of some kind. But a healthy body and mind starts with what goes into it. Only then will you get the best out of it. *Adopt a suitable exercise routine of at least 20 minutes 3 times a week to tone your muscles, increase bone density and improve your cardiovascular health.
*Always check with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.