The big three and I’m not talking about bench, squat, and deadlift.
93 million US adults are obese, according to the CDC. Being obese doesn’t just mean that you’re overweight, it means you are at risk for heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and the list goes on. Despite this startling truth, obesity is still on the rise.
I think there are several reasons people struggle with getting healthier. Some of those being: time, money, and lack of knowledge. I want to give you three practical ways to start working on your health right now. Three ways that do not include a gym membership that you will probably only use a handful of times, a “plan” from some online coach, a “cleanse” that will have you making frequent trips to the bathroom, or a crazy diet that doesn’t allow you to eat whole grains but encourages you to put butter in your coffee and eat bacon by the fist-fulls.
These three big things are simple, effective, and you can start doing them right now.
Not Monday, not next week, not next year. Today.
The number one is something you’ve already been told. Over, and over, and over again. Hydrate. 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. Some side effects of this are fatigue, foggy memory, irritability, headaches, and more. I will personally guarantee that once you are properly hydrated you will feel the difference and you will love it.
Here are some quick guidelines to get hydrated.
- Start by trying to get in half of your weight in ounces every day. If you weigh 120 pounds, drink 60 ounces of water daily; this is about 4 bottles. The more, the merrier.
- Use a straw. This sounds silly, but if you have a big tumbler with a straw, you will drink more.
- Get bored with water? Get yourself some water drops. You can get sugar free ones that are naturally sweetened at the grocery store. Or try some carbonation, Pellegrino is my favorite (plus it makes you feel fancy!)
This next tip of the big three is going to blow your mind: move. Move your body more. I’m not telling you to go get a gym membership or find some “6 moves to get a 6 pack” off Pinterest. I am telling you to move your body. Did you know that a sedentary lifestyle can have just as much of a toll on your mental health as it does your physical? Studies have shown that those with a sedentary lifestyle are at a greater risk for depression. Our bodies are made to move and not moving can literally make you sad.
Here are some ways to get moving:
- Take your dog for a walk.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
- Park further away at the grocery store (or any store).
- Take the long way to get to the bathroom at work.
- Go for a walk on your lunch break.
- Taking time to stand up and stretch while at work (maybe even get a desk that you can adjust to standing at!)
You are probably wondering at what point am I going to tell you to eat “clean”, right?
Well here is a shocker, I’m not. In regards to your diet, I am not going to tell you to cut out entire food groups, to drink a kale smoothie every day, or to sell you on any products. I believe overeating is the biggest problem that most people face and the last of the big three. We live in the era of “supersize,” “big gulp,” and “do you want fries with that?”
Fast food companies aren’t the only culprit for our overeating, though. The average dinner plate size was 7 to 9 inches just a couple decades ago, now it is 11 to 12 inches! One donut didn’t make you fat, one piece of pizza didn’t make you fat; however, all of these things in excess will. Losing weight is a simple equation of ‘calories in’ vs ‘calories out.’ When we eat calorie dense food in high volume, we have a slim-to-no chance of burning all of these calories; thus leading to weight gain. Your first step in trying to get your nutrition under control is to pay attention to your portion sizes.
Here are some easy ways to do this:
- Read the label. Often when we grab a candy bar or a bag of chips that we think is a “single serving” it can actually be 2-3 servings! These companies are getting tricky and making us think “oh, 150 calories a serving, that’s not bad!” when in reality that bag of chips is 3 servings
- Measure your food. Yes, I know off the top of my head that I can have 2 Oreo’s for 140 calories, or 13 Cherry Twizzler Bites for 110 calories. Count out a serving and then put the rest back in the pantry. If you sit there with your hand in the bag, you will overeat and you won’t even notice how much you’ve had!
- Buy single-serving packs. I enjoy buying things that are already sold as a single serving, that way I can grab and go and know that I am not overeating.
- Use a smaller plate! This way the appropriate portion will look like decent size unlike if you put it on our “dinner plates” that are about the size of a serving platter.
- Don’t feel guilty. If you want a cookie, have the cookie and then move on!
Don’t restrict yourself until you get to the point of binging and you end up eating a whole pack of cookies!
So now you know, hydrating, moving, and watching your portions are the three takeaways here. Our body desperately needs water, so drink up! Yes, you will have to pee 20 times a day. But that’s good because as we also discussed, you need to move more and that just means more trips to the bathroom! As for your food, remember to “enjoy it, don’t avoid it.” Have a single portion of your favorite treat and then move on.
These big three things cost you no money, no extra time, and I’ve now given you the knowledge you need to get going!