As the year comes to an end, many women strive to be in better shape. Here are 12 simple changes to your diet and lifestyle that can help you feel more energetic, reduce bloating, and shed some weight. You don’t have to make all of these changes at once, pick one or two that seem most feasible, stick to them for a week or two, and gradually incorporate the rest. Here’s to a fantastic and slimmer year ahead!
1. Eat vegetables at every meal.
If you only eat veggies at dinner time, this tip is for you!
Include veggies at every meal, even breakfast.
Try mashed beans in your oatmeal or cucumber in your smoothie.
And instead of snacking on processed carbs like crackers, go for carrot chips to satisfy crunchy, salty cravings.
2. Include protein, fiber, and healthy fats at every meal.
This is the magical trifecta to help you feel full and satisfied and to stabilize blood sugar levels.
Choose lean proteins, whole grains, produce, and legumes for fiber and avocado, nuts, seeds, and olive oil for healthy fats.
3. Have one huge salad as a meal once a day.
Whether it’s a quinoa and black bean mason jar salad for lunch or a roasted butternut squash and kale salad for dinner, eating a salad for one meal not only helps you get your share of fiber and veggies, but since it’s low in calories, it’ll help you lose or maintain weight.
4. Make lunch your biggest meal.
Consuming more calories midday than at breakfast or dinner ensures you have enough time to burn all those calories.
Think of lunch as about 40 percent of your total daily calories.
5. Eat until you’re 80 percent full.
Down with the clean plate club! Instead of putting the fork down when your plate is empty, eat slowly, and pay close attention to how your belly feels so you can stop eating when you’re satisfied but not stuffed.
6. Go vegan once a week.
To encourage you to eat veggies, fruits, legumes, and whole grains, pick one day a week to go vegan.
Skipping meat, dairy, and eggs will allow you to focus on eating all those plant-based foods experts are always telling us to eat more of.
7. Swap artificial and processed sweeteners for natural sources.
Studies show eating artificially sweetened foods and beverages makes you feel more hungry, so you’ll end up eating more total calories.
As for refined white sugar, the more we eat it, the more we crave it – sugar addiction is real!
Plus studies show eating sugar actually ages you and has been linked to cancer, liver damage, heart failure, and other serious conditions.
It can also make you feel bloated and foggy-headed. Avoid the obvious culprits such as candy, desserts, and soda, and also avoid processed foods, as these contain tons of hidden sugars.
When sweet cravings strike, go for fresh or dried fruit or these healthy dessert recipes.
8. Be consistent about meal planning.
Choose one day a week where you can devote a few hours to plan, shop, and prep meals and snacks for the week.
You’ll not only save time and money, but you’re more likely to stay on the healthy path once you have that intention set for the week.
9. Put down the salt shaker.
Too much sodium not only affects your blood pressure, but it can also damage your organs and tissues and cause that bloated feeling that leaves you feeling sluggish and uncomfortable.
Aim for no more than 2,400 mg a day (under 1,500 mg is even better) by avoiding processed foods that are high in sodium – make sure to read the labels because even bread, dressings, and sauces can contain obscene amounts.
And don’t reach for the salt shaker out of habit. Season your food with fresh herbs or garlic instead. Also go for unsalted nuts and seeds and the butters made from them.
10. Indulge once a day.
Don’t give any foods up completely. Denying yourself the bites you crave can backfire, causing you to feel deprived, resulting in bingeing and feeling depressed.
So make a point to keep yourself happy and your cravings satisfied by allowing a small treat every day, such as a square of dark chocolate or a small glass of wine.
11. Walk 30 minutes a day.
Rain, shine or snow, make it a habit to go for a brisk 30 minute walk every single day.
You can do it after dinner, before dinner or anytime you like, but walk for the full 30 minutes.
A recent study showed that a group of women who walked for 30 minutes a day for 2 weeks lost on average 15% more weight than another group of women who were on the same diet but did not walk at all.
12. Have on-top-of-him sex every night.
Sex does burn calories.
Experts estimate 30 minutes of sex burns 85 to 150 calories.
Those calories could add up if you are having sex often enough.
And who doesn’t love the idea of sex as a workout strategy?
Imagine – have fun, have orgasms, burn calories, and get in shape – all at the same time. Perfect!