Nutrition Tips to Up-Level Your Health and Well-Being – By Donne Railsback

There is usually a trigger event that motivates us to make significant lifestyle changes. It might be a health scare, an upcoming event or even a time of year that we associate with making changes. Changing our eating habits can be one of the most difficult lifestyle changes and for many, it is an ongoing struggle. Food is often built into how we socialize and how we cope. And it’s not something we can just stop doing. We need to eat! How can you change your mindset in order to change your relationship with food to make healthy eating part of a sustainable lifestyle? Here are 5 tips to help to embrace the change of your eating habits.

Educate yourself
Understanding how your body works and what it needs is the key to making the right choices. Many people eat mindlessly and thus make food choices without thinking about the benefits. Food is fuel for our bodies and finding the right types of fuel in the correct amounts will give you the energy to work through your day. Have you ever felt hungry, then ate some chips or crackers but then still felt hungry? The reason this happens is because your body is actually looking for a nutrient that it is deprived from. In order to prevent mindlessly eating understand to include all your macronutrients in each meal – protein, a vegetable, low starchy carbohydrate and a fat when you eat.

Eat
Do you ever go on a elimination diet and then when you go off it you gain all your weight plus some more back? Food is fuel to give your body energy to function, move, and think. When we decrease our calories to below what our body needs to simply function our metabolism slows down. So it’s important to eat enough nutrient dense foods to keep your body working like a strong machine. In addition, if you are eating the right amount of calories you won’t have the desire to eat later in the day and grab the ice cream or bag of chips.

Plan Ahead
Everyone’s busy. Plan your meals and prepare them ahead of time will help you during those busier times. Does this mean that you need to spend your entire Sunday cooking and cleaning? That can work for some people but not for everyone. The easiest way to keep healthy meals on hand for a grab and go is to make extra food on those nights that you have the time to make a meal. For example, if you plan on making tacos for the family triple the recipe and make taco salad bowls for your lunches for the next few days. Chop up your veggies and keep them where you can see them in the refrigerator – you will grab a veggie if you can see them. For breakfasts it easy to scramble up some eggs with sautéed spinach or prepare your shake ingredients in containers and put in the freezer for quick smoothie the next day.

Hydrate
Keeping hydrated is crucial for maintain our health and well being but most of us don’t drink enough. Our bodies are made up of about 60% water. Water is essential to lubricating our joints, flushing out toxins, boost skin moisture, maintain a healthy digestive system, regulate body temperature, and boosts performance.
Getting your day started with hydration really helps to get your metabolism and body functions going. The first thing we do when we wake up is go to the bathroom and thus flush out all the remaining water from our bodies. The next thing many of us do is drink a cup of coffee which is a diaretic thus depleting more water from our bodies. The best thing to do for your body first thing in the morning is to drink 10-12 oz of water before doing anything else. If you have digestive issues try some lemon in your water and it can help to get the bowel moving. This will hydrate your body from the moment you wake to set yourself up for success.

Sleep
Yes getting the appropriate amount of sleep every night will help you to manage a healthy diet. Our bodies need an average 7-8 hours of sleep to allow our bodies to recover and recharge to leave us refreshed and alert. Why is getting enough sleep so important to eating a healthy diet?
Most importantly when we are sleep deprived ghrelin levels increase and leptin levels decrease. These 2 hormones are hunger hormones released primarily from the stomach and thus this is why if you are tired from lack of sleep you feel hungry the next day all day.
Some tips to getting enough sleep is to make a bed time routine that will relieve your stress to relax you to find your zzzz. It’s good to have your room dark, the temperature at about 68 degrees and forget all stress by doing concentrating on your breath. Many people find doing a body scan will relax each part of their body to get them to sleep.

To set yourself up for success is to first not overwhelm yourself. Begin with baby steps and forgive yourself if you get off track. Simply eat good nutritious food, drink water, get some sleep and plan your meals and you will succeed in living a healthy long life.

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