Hey, it’s Sara again, introducing another guest-poster. Gerry explains how to add 6 habits to your life to stay healthy for life. He pulls us back from worrying about diets, crazes and cleanses. Gerry emphasizes that being healthy is a long-term goal that requires long-term strategies, not quick-fixes.
The art of good habits has become a popular subject these days. There are some great books out there about this, like The Power of Habit and Smarter, Better, Faster, both by Charles Duhigg.
Duhigg’s main point is if we make small changes they become lifetime habits quicker than you think. Like two weeks tops!
Here are some ways to use that strategy to create new habits that help you to stay slim and healthy for life. From taking short walks after meals (postprandial walks, as researchers call them), to driving right by your favorite fast food restaurants without looking back, these habits work effectively.
Try adopting one for a day – or a week for a healthier you.
1). Leave something on your plate every time you eat
This one habit is highly effective and works for everyone.
Leaving a small portion of food on your plate and pushing away from that table helps you build confidence in yourself that you can resist food. It helps you to undo all those myths we’ve inherited about how we should always clean our plates.
We’re all eating quite enough both on and off our plates—and typically too much, at that.
What we need is to stop at the first signs that we’re getting full. Why? Well, wait 3 minutes and that feeling goes from “I’m partially full” to “I’m too full.”
We have to re-learn how to listen to our satiety signals. Many of us have ignored them for so long, we eat until we’re stuffed.
2-3). Say “no” to fast food and junk foods
Questionable preservatives are found in most of our modern convenience foods. They’re most common in hard-to-preserve foods containing unstable compounds that manufacturers have to find a way to keep stocked on the shelves forever.
Apparently, food manufacturers will resort to anything to keep us buying those packaged cakes, chips, muffins, cookies, and anything that comes in a bag, box, or jar.
It’s becoming obvious to all of us today, I believe, that fresh and local produce from trusted farmers or that we grow ourselves is the best way to go.
If you can afford organic, even better. Yes, healthy and organic food costs more than fast food. But so do all the medical bills you’ll rack up with cancer and diabetes. Think about that.
Fast food contains MSG, trans-fats, sugar, and sodium. Plus, fast food is fried in oils heated to extreme temperatures and contains other toxic compounds such as phthalates. Phthalates are chemicals used to soften PVC pipe and other plastics in industrial applications.
In a study published in Environmental Health Perspectives, researchers found a harmful and dose dependent level of phthalates in people who consume fast food.
Just say no to fast food.
4). Embrace healthy cheat foods of all kinds
There are so many ways to play with plant-based foods that keep you healthy (and satisfied) for life. Experiment and keep your diet fun and you’ll stick with it.
5). Eat nutrient dense to banish cravings
A variety of a whole rainbow of vegetables will help you get the nutrients and trace minerals you need to nourish body and mind. Plus, eating a variety of vegetables will help prevent food cravings.
See, a lot of those cravings you have for sweets and salty things are your body crying out in the only way it can – cravings and hunger – for nutrients. For example, cravings for lemon are often a sign of iron or choline deficiency.
But a lot of food cravings are for one nutrient none of us get enough of. It’s a nutrient that’s crucial for all bodily functions and for maintaining our crucial sodium balance in the body. It’s potassium.
Potassium, in my opinion, can be hard to get enough of. We need a whopping 4,700 mg per day. You won’t find this much potassium anywhere but in those dark bitter greens like kale, collards, beet greens, turnip greens, etcetera.
Beet greens are a wonderful way to get all your potassium on a daily basis. They’re packed with potassium and one just cup contains 37% of your RDA for this important nutrient. They are great sautéed with an onion and healthy, cancer-fighting garlic. Or try Carob Cherub’s easy Citrus Sautéed Beet Greens recipe.
You’ll be amazed at how you stop snacking between meals when you eat nutrient dense meals. Since the B vitamins are so crucial, getting more of these helps you resist cravings as well. To get more of the B vitamins and other minerals and phytonutrients that prevent cravings, I (Gerry) recommend nutritional yeast and high quality green drinks. They’re both packed with minerals, trace minerals, phytonutrients, and vitamins.
6). Make physical activity after meals the norm
Activity after meals is called “post prandial” exercise. Post-prandial exercise means no lying around or sitting around after eating and getting at least 15 minutes of some kind of exercise after meals.
Exercising after meals has proven to conquer insulin resistance and prevent diabetes. This is important for all of us to take note of because the CDC predicts that 1 in 3 people will be diagnosed with diabetes by 2050.
Tell yourself nobody just sits around after they eat – because nobody that’s healthy for life does.
Think about our ancestors. They were constantly roving for vegetables and nuts. They had to keep on the move to ensure they had a next meal. This is why I believe they were much healthier than we are. There’s that and they also never had the modern convenience foods. The convenience foods we created in the 20th and 21st century contributes to diseases like cancer to diabetes.
No matter how unhealthy your eating habits, it’s never too late to make a healthier future for yourself. Integrating habits like these are lifestyle changes we all need to prevent disease and keep slim and healthy for life.
About the Author:
Gerry Morton is the CEO of EnergyFirst, holds an MS in Nutrition and is an experienced athlete who has competed in 30+ marathons and 4 Ironman triathlons. Gerry claims to be an excellent source of information on nutrition, supplementation and exercise. EnergyFirst offers the tasty, high quality, all natural, premium nutrition products. Read his blog or visit his Twitter to learn more.