With so many different things pulling us in a million directions, most of us are pressed for time. It can be difficult to motivate yourself to get to the gym, but the reality is we all have 24 hours in a day.You have other options for staying healthy, getting rid of those love handles, and staying on top of your game. Here are five simple ways to be smart about your health when you just can’t get in a decent workout.
Track your food
Pay attention to what you’re eating! Over the course of a day, it can be easy to forget what you’ve already eaten, and that could lead to consuming more calories than you need. Check out MyFitnessPal.com. (They have an iPhone app, too!) It won’t just tell you the calorie count, but will give you a basic idea of how much you should eat a day and how long until you reach your goal.
Eat less red meat
I love steak, but eating less meat is one of the fastest ways to lose inches. You don’t have to stop eating meat, just don’t eat so much of it. And try to choose lean means. Confused on what’s the healthiest? Here’s a tip: the fewer legs the better! Stick with fish, chicken, and turkey. Pork and beef are higher in saturated fat and cholesterol. If you’re feeling adventurous try a few of the meat substitutes like GetLean or LightLife. They have just as much protein with half the calories of regular meat, and they taste pretty damn good.
Wheat bread vs. white bread
It’s important to make sure you’re eating whole grain bread. Even if the package says “whole wheat”, check the label. If the ingredients say “Unbleached Enriched Wheat Flour” it is NOT whole wheat bread! it must say “Whole Grain”. Unlike wheat, white bread is full of empty calories that offs you little nutrition and leaves you feeling hungry faster.
Know what you’re drinking
Liquid calories are a huge factor in weight gain. Many people drink more calories than they eat! If you’re chugging soda or Hawaiian Punch throughout the day, you’re packing on inches. Alcohol is high in calories, too, and pre-made coffee and tea can be packed with high fructose corn syrup and other sugars, adding hundreds of calories to your diet a day. Try drinking more water and brewing your own tea or coffee. When you are out partying try to stay away from the sugary or fruity mixed drinks and stick with hard alcohol with ginger ale or cranberry juice, even light beer (always 100 calories or less) is a better choice than a Mai Tai.
There is a direct connection with lack of sleep to higher fat percentages. While you sleep, your body produces a fat burning hormone, which increases during the first two hours of deep sleep. Not sleeping enough stops this from happening, and makes it easier for your body to hold fat instead of burn it. Lack of sleep also makes you stressed out, which further adds to weight gain and hunger cravings. Even if you have to hit the sack a few hours early, do it. Your body will thank you.