These are basic steps you can implement into your everyday life to help you optimize your health and also to feel and look your best.
Start your day with breakfast.
It's important to start the day with energy and it makes you less likely to overeat later on.
Make an effort to fit physical activities into your daily routine. If you work in an office or are busy at home, try to take a five to ten minute activity break every couple of hours. Climb stairs instead of taking the elevator. Try to be active for a minimum total of 30 minutes a day.
Set goals for yourself.
Write your goals down. Make them simple and specific. Whether it's to add three days of walking after work into your schedule, a target weight you want to hit, or a reminder to schedule an appointment to get your cholesterol checked, it's helpful to keep yourself accountable.
Snacks are an important way to keep your energy up and can prevent overindulgences. Plan ahead and make smart snacks that you can bring to work or grab throughout the day. Think low-fat, satisfying foods like vegetables and fruits, and nutrient dense foods like nuts.
Plan meals ahead of time.
If you have a busy week coming up or you know that weekdays often get crazy balancing all of your family's activities, set an hour aside to plan out the meals for the week as specifically as possible. Then, grocery shop accordingly. You'll be thankful for the time you took to plan when it get to mid-week and you don't have to wonder what to make for dinner.
Work up a sweat.
Make an effort to sprinkle more vigorous workouts into your exercise routine. Activity where you're breathing hard and sweating help your heart, gives you more energy, and can help you look and feel better. Consider taking a cardio class at your gym or community center, kickboxing or a jog through your neighborhood. Ideally, you follow this type of activity up with some strength building such as weights or push-ups. Remember to cool down and stretch.
Recognize that foods aren't good or bad.
Some foods may have more fat, sugar or salt while others may have more vitamins or fiber. There is a place for all these foods. What makes a diet good or bad is how foods fit together. It is important to be aware of what your foods do have more or less of so you understand what you're eating. Refer to the Nutrition Facts Panel on food labels to help you understand what nutrients are in a certain food and what you may need accordingly.
Balance food choices and ways of preparing food.
You don't have to give up foods like hamburgers, french fries and ice cream to eat healthfully. There are ways to prepare foods like hamburgers that make them lower-fat, such as grilling. And ultimately, you body needs nutrients like protein, carbohydrates, fat and many different vitamins and minerals such as vitamins C and A, iron and calcium from a variety of foods.
You can always eat more grains, fruits and vegetables.
These foods give you carbohydrates for energy, plus vitamins, minerals and fiber. Try breads such as whole-wheat, bagels and pita. Spaghetti and oatmeal are also in the grain group. Bananas, strawberries and melons are some great tasting fruits. Try vegetables raw, on a sandwich or in a salad.
Be active with others and try new things.
Take advantage of physical activities you and your family or you and your friends enjoy doing together—and eat the foods you like in moderation together. Be adventurous—try new sports, games and other activities as well as new foods and new ways of preparing your favorites.