While we’d all probably love to be a size or two smaller, losing weight shouldn’t be the only goal in mind. Ultimately, the objective should be to live a day-to-day healthy lifestyle rooted in nutrition, fitness and eating principles. Transitioning healthy habits into your default lifestyle settings won’t happen overnight. You need to work towards achieving a maintainable lifestyle that supports optimal health, and eating right and working out are just the beginning.
Find out which habits you should incorporate into your daily life to ensure you lead a healthy lifestyle and make it stick! Make sure to use South Beach Diet as your resource for the best tips, tricks and principles to help you solidify your healthy lifestyle.
Try these 10 tips for upholding a healthy lifestyle for good!
1. Maintain a solid sleep schedule and wake up early.
Your sleep cycle can affect every part of your life, from your appetite and moods to your weight and metabolism. As shown by a study published by PLoS Medicine, people who sleep for shorter amounts of time are more likely to have increased appetites and larger BMIs. It’s also best to go to bed and wake up at the same times daily. A study published in the journal Sleep found that people who go to bed late and sleep in late are less active throughout the day and weigh more than early risers. Avoid the chronic sleep restriction that plagues our nation and make it a habit to get eight hours of shut-eye every night and rise early with the sun!
2. Eat breakfast every day.
For most of us, we often barely wake up early enough to eat, let alone eat a healthy and well-balanced meal. Eating breakfast truly is important when it comes to jumpstarting your metabolism, promoting positive brain chemistry and living an all around healthy lifestyle. Skipping breakfast is also associated with weight gain and increases the risk for obesity, as shown by research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Ensuring you eat within two hours of waking up means you’ll support your body’s healthy energy usage, so you don’t crash or overeat later on. If you don’t have time to cook in the morning, try any of the delicious South Beach Diet nutritional shakes, which you can enjoy on-the-go!
3. Make time for meals at home.
The ritual of the family meal with everyone gathered around the table is slowly losing its stake in our fast-paced world. It’s a good idea to try to eat some of your meals at home because it creates a structure for healthy eating habits and routines, rather than, say, eating fast food on the way home from work. A study, published in Public Health Nutrition, finds that meal routines and practices have a great influence on food choice and consumption amounts. The research suggests that there needs to be a “context” for mealtime that helps reinforce a routine with smart eating habits, such as preparing and cooking a healthy meal for the family while avoiding high-calorie foods from restaurants and vending machines.
4. Make exercise and fitness a part of your normal routine.
It goes without saying that physical fitness and routine exercise are essential to locking down a healthy lifestyle. In the long-term, if you avoid routine exercise, you will be at risk for obesity and a range of other health issues which could shorten your life. To live your best life, you want to look and feel good from the inside out. Regular exercise will help you feel better, lose weight and according to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, help you avoid premature death and prevent many types of chronic illnesses.
5. Stick to an eating routine with five small meals a day.
At South Beach Diet, we recommend eating five to six times a day to help solidify a healthy eating routine. You should always eat breakfast and make sure to try and eat something healthy every two hours to keep your energy levels up. Evidence revealed by a study in the American Journal for Epidemiology states that eating patterns and frequency have a strong connection to weight. In the study, people who ate four or more healthy meals a day were reported to have a 45% lower risk for obesity.
6. Eat more fruits and veggies.
We live in a country where fruit and vegetable intake is extremely low, and it’s detrimental to our health. Vegetarian diets have been long promoted since the 18th century, and it’s not hard to recognize why. Fruits and veggies are essential to obtaining optimal health because of their high concentrations of essential vitamins, nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. According to research, published in Advances in Nutrition, fiber intake is significantly linked to preventing cardiovascular disease and most likely obesity—since the two are often intertwined. Fruits and veggies are rich with everything our bodies need to achieve a positive health status and deter disease, so you should eat them every day to enjoy all the endless short-term and long-term benefits! And remember, on South Beach we recommend getting in at least three servings of veggies each day to pack in that fiber!
7. Follow South Beach Diet’s basic principles.
Leading a healthy lifestyle 24/7 may sound exhausting, but like everything in life, it’s easier with a little help. The right meal plan, like South Beach Diet, will not only help you achieve a healthy weight but also ensure you build a strong foundation for healthy living. South Beach provides you with a resource for the latest food, nutrition and fitness information right here on The Palm. You should choose a program that will help you reach your goals and maintain them in the long term. By using South Beach Diet’s core structure and basic principles for healthy living, you will learn how to cement healthy eating and exercise habits into your everyday life.
8. Drink mainly water and avoid sugary drinks.
Nutrition experts say you shouldn’t drink your calories, meaning you should avoid sugary, high-calorie beverages, such as sodas and cocktails. These types of drinks are just empty calories and offer your body nothing besides negative health side effects. Whenever possible, you should always opt to drink water, a critical component to healthy living. One study found that replacing sugar-sweetened beverages, juice and milk with water helped the body use energy better during the day. This information also supports findings that hydration helps lower the chances of obesity, chronic illnesses and other issues that can plague us as we age.
On our meal plan, we recommend drinking half of your body weight in ounces of fluid each day. However, please note that this is just a recommendation and you may need more or less fluid based on your activity level or other factors. Speak to your doctor to ensure you are hydrating properly for your specific needs.
9. Engage in mindful eating habits.
Mindful eating occurs when we are actively aware and present during food consumption to understand all the physical and emotional triggers eating evokes. Research, published in journal Mindfulness, explores the ways in which mindful eating habits can help us understand our relationship with food—whether it be healthy or unhealthy. The study found that participants who practiced mindful eating had significantly lower BMIs. Additionally, people who were inattentive to their eating episodes were more likely to use food as a way to counteract negative feelings. This information suggests that if you learn to observe your eating habits in a mindful way, you will learn to control cravings for comfort foods and avoid eating as an emotional crutch.
10. Practice meditation to destress.
In order to lead a healthy lifestyle, you need to achieve mental wellness in addition to physical wellness. Meditation courses have been studied for their positive effects on the body and mind, and they’ve even been found to positively affect brain chemistry in people suffering from clinical depression, according to Harvard University. Meditation has been growing in popularity recently due to our increased interest in self-care and desperate need to escape modern distractions. Practicing meditation a few times a week is a beneficial way to escape your hectic schedule and focus on breathing while you unwind, relax and relieve stress. Use meditation to regain a sense of calm and promote happiness to the benefit of your emotional and mental health.