(BPT) - If you’re looking to put health first, who better to turn to than a registered dietitian?
“When you’re figuring out what health or lifestyle changes you want to make, write out the pro’s and con’s of each change,” said Registered Dietitian Kelli McGrane, M.S. (@HealthyToast_RD). “Once you know why you’re choosing these goals, tape that list on your fridge or keep it on your phone for a boost of motivation anytime you need it.”
McGrane offers tips for boosting your health through a positive approach to food and exercise that supports your progress year-round:
1. Be mindful of what you eat
People are home more than ever and it’s easy to graze mindlessly through the kitchen. And as a result, the calories can add up quickly.
A simple way to monitor your calories is the Lose It! app — an easy, helpful way to track what you’re eating and get inspired with healthy recipes. Since 2008, over 40 million Lose It! users have lost a collective 100 million pounds — that’s 350 billion calories lost.
“The app is a great way to help track calories and it also gives you information on the quality of your diet overall,” said McGrane. "You can even use it to track your water intake and activity throughout the day."
2. Prep your kitchen
More time at home means more time near the kitchen. To avoid temptation, consider moving unhealthy snacks to the back of the refrigerator so you see the healthier choices first.
Also, stock up on colorful vegetables and fruits, choose whole grains and keep lean proteins on hand for snacks. When temptation strikes, try a handful of nuts or a hard-boiled egg, as protein is more likely than highly processed foods to boost your energy.
3. Find a support system
Whether it’s a friend with similar health goals, a group you can Zoom with or an online community, a support system is invaluable when working toward lasting changes. Not only can they cheer you on, but they may even join your efforts to get and stay healthy.
While everyone has limited their in-person interactions, there are also many digital resources to help you reach your goals.
4. Figure out what moves you
Everyone’s routines have been upended this year, and fitness is no exception. Now is the time to get creative and find an activity you love. Dancing to music, walking outdoors or using a stationary bike are all great ways to keep active.
“Not only can getting in some form of physical activity help burn calories, but it can also boost your mood,” said McGrane. “Even housework can be a fun workout if you turn up your favorite music while you’re cleaning.”
If you enjoy the outdoors during winter, try skating, skiing or snowshoeing. If you don’t like the cold, online exercise classes or active video games are great options for those without exercise equipment.
5. Get enough rest
People often forget that sleep is a critical part of weight loss and health. In fact, a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when people were starved of sleep, late night snacking increased.
“Being well-rested is important for having enough energy to exercise and make healthy food choices,” said McGrane. “And often people look to food for energy when what they really need is sleep.”
If you aren’t getting seven to nine hours of sleep a night, notice what’s keeping you from going to bed. Can you turn off the gadgets an hour earlier? A quiet activity like reading or meditation can help you wind down and get to sleep easier.
Staying healthy and fit is as easy as following these simple tips. For more information on meeting your health and weight-loss goals, download the Lose It! app.