4 Tips for Tackling Your Toughest Health Challenges
With spring in the air, you’re probably inspired to tidy up the spaces around you. But although you don’t think twice about cleaning your closets, organizing your drawers or sprucing up your desk with colorful flowers, revamping eating and fitness habits might seem daunting. It doesn’t have to be. These four tips will help you overcome common challenges to create a more healthful and sustainable food and fitness routine for this spring and beyond.
Challenge 1: Eating when you aren’t hungry.
Whether you enjoy an extra piece of candy from the bowl on your colleague’s desk or have one too many bites of dessert at a business dinner, eating when you are already full can make you feel sluggish. It can also raise your blood sugar and alter your hormone levels in a way that accelerates aging and contributes to unhealthy weight gain. Plan meals and snacks ahead of time and keep some “I’m full” tools on hand, such as mouthwash, sugar-free breath mints or chewing gum.
Challenge 2: Wanting something sweet.
If you like to top off your meals with something sweet, there are plenty of options to quell a craving without derailing an otherwise nutritious diet. You can opt for a small piece (or half-cup) of fresh fruit, fresh berries dipped in melted dark chocolate, a small plain square of chocolate, a brownie bite or a half-cup of low-fat chocolate milk. The key is to find sweet foods or beverages that can satisfy you in small portions.
Challenge 3: Drinking to celebrate.
It’s OK for most people to celebrate happy occasions with wine or champagne. But if your spring calendar is packed with social obligations, too many toasts—and too much alcohol—can set you up for nutritional imbalances, ramp up tension and stress, promote dehydration, and depress immunity. Stay healthy by limiting intake to one or two drinks per day for women and men, respectively. One drink is approximately a 12-ounce beer, 5-ounce glass of wine or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirit. Eating before drinking, nursing beverages, and alternating with seltzer water or unsweetened iced tea can hydrate and satisfy you.s
Challenge 4: Fitting in fitness.
Although most of us can easily start a new fitness routine, many eventually give up because of boredom or external factors, such as a favorite class being canceled or family demands. Instead of thinking of fitness as all or none, start by identifying a few windows of time each day you can move more and sit less. Instead of ordering in, walk to pick up your meal. On your commute, exit public transportation a stop or two early so you can walk. If you drive to work, park in the back of the parking lot. Use stairs instead of elevators and escalators. Stand up during phone calls and meetings.
Related: How to Know If You’re Healthy Enough
This article originally appeared in the April 2017 issue of SUCCESS magazine.