Being active and eating well is certainly healthier than the alternative, but those aren’t the only reasons to get moving, energized with good foods. Doing so will:
Give you more energy.
Make you look better sporting the latest fashions.
Tone you up (AND keep your curves, if you have them.).
Keep stress, boredom and the blues at bay.
Make you feel good about yourself!
What to do?
Moving around can be fun! Find activities you enjoy doing and DO them, like:
or group sports or fitness classes, such as softball or Zumba! ™ or aerobics
Find a buddy, or buddies, with the same activity preferences. You can all have a good time, cheering each other on and celebrating goals reached and you can all feel more at ease when you are all outdoors. Find a local walking park or school track or join a recreation center or gym so you can work out or take a fun fitness class together.
You don’t have the time? No excuse! You can be active for short periods of time throughout the day and still benefit. Any movement is better than none. So try to be more active by making small changes to your daily routine:
Park further away from the entrance and walk a little more.
Walk the entire mall instead of just making just that one stop at your store.
Take the stairs.
If you live in a city with public transportation, get off one stop early and walk to your destination.
Put moving on your daily calendar. So, plan on hitting the walking park right after work, before you can get distracted by the kids or cooking dinner.
If you tend to avoid doing much physical activity because it will mess with your hair, try:
Pulling your hair back in a ponytail or braid, or wearing it up in a twist or bun.
Cutting your hair short and sassy
Getting a more natural hairstyle that requires less attention.
REMEMBER: Daily activity can cause salt to build in your hair. Shampoo with a mild, pH-balanced product at least once a week.
I’m hungry! Now what?
Eating right can be hard when you don’t have the time or inclination to cook and there’s a fast food joint calling your name around the corner. Here are a few things you can do a few things to help you in your quest to eat better:
Have breakfast. Every day. Include a protein source. Try fat-free or low-fat yogurt; a low-fat, whole-grain breakfast bar or whole-grain toast or bagel spread with a little peanut butter, jam, or low-fat cream cheese.
Increase the amounts of fruits and vegetables you eat, and when eating grains, choose whole grains (like 100 percent whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, or brown rice) leaving behind refined grains like white bread and white rice.
Opt for low-fat or fat-free milk rather than whole milk or even a milkshake.
Grab a plain hamburger (no sauce, no mayonnaise) or a grilled chicken sandwich (not fried). Choose a salad with fat-free or low-fat dressing instead of fries.
Go easy on mayo, creamy sauces, and added butter.
Don’t keep the cupboard stocked with sweets or soda! Too many sweets can crowd out healthier foods.
T weak your recipes. Rather than eliminate your favorite home-cooked foods, prepare them slightly differently: bake the chicken instead of frying it; use extra herbs during the cooking process rather than extra butter; and watch your salt intake.
REMEMBER: “Low-fat,” “reduced fat,” or “light.” does not necessarily mean low calorie. In fact, fat-free or low-fat muffins or desserts can contain even more sugar than the full-fat versions. So, fat-free does not mean calorie-free, and calories do count!
Is bigger better? We can up-size everything, including serving size, so now it’s easy to eat more than we need. Practice portion control. Eating smaller amounts will help you cut down on calories and fat (and might save you money too).
Yes, you can incorporate take-out and high-fat foods into your balanced diet, just don’t eat them every day and don’t eat too much of them when you do eat them. What are some sensible serving sizes for some favorite foods?
1 child’s order of French fries.
1 cup Shrimp Fried rice as a main dish.
1 large or 2 small slices of cheese pizza.
REMEMBER: Do you eat then you have nothing else to do? Do you eat plopped in front of the TV? Take stock of when, where, and why you eat, and try to eat balanced meals throughout the day. Instead of reaching for that cookie, do something else, like calling a friend or taking a walk.
Out on the Town
You can still make healthy food choices while spending time with your friends. Try these tips when you are out ‘n’ about:
Encourage those around you to make healthy choices with you. If you are all doing the same thing, it might be easier for you—and your friends—to avoid temptation.
Have a veggie pizza instead of a meat pizza
Skip the added butter and the candy and share a smaller sized popcorn at the movies… save money, too!
Grab a few vegetables or pretzels at parties rather than the fried chips and dip.
If you drink while out and about, limit yourself to one glass of wine, beer or other alcohol. Alcohol has lots of calories, but very little nutritional value.
You can do it!
Set goals you can attain, then work at achieving those goals at your own pace. Let family and friends help. Be reasonable. Allow for setbacks. Celebrate your successes. Keep trying—you CAN do it!
Compliments of Kshamica Nimalasuriya MD, MPH Preventive Medicine & Public Health
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