Keepin It Simple – 4 Easy Ways to Stay on Track in 2015

keep it simple

Happy New Year! and Happy New Year Resolutions! What will it be this year? Losing weight, gaining health, getting fit, building muscle, exercise more, eat less. Whatever your goals, one of the best strategies for success is  to Keep It Simple.

Here are my four favorite tips for any health and fitness related goals –

1.  Don’t Stress Out!  Stressing out about “how bad” you ate over the last 4 days, or how little you exercised is NOT going to help you lose the weight.  Nope, in fact, stress can make you hold onto more fat and pounds.  So stop it!  Move forward and don’t look back at what you did or didn’t do last week or weekend.

2.  Exercise with intensity!  Workout hard!  It doesn’t have to be long, it just needs to be intense.  And who wants to spend hours exercising anyway? I was so busy with kids this week, I only got 10-20 minute at the gym each day. I made sure my intensity was maxed out, and I feel like I got a good, all be it short, workout.

3.  Drink water like it’s your job!  Yes, down that water to flush out what you are retaining from any over-indulgent eating.  Salt, alcohol, and excess sugar can lead to a lot of bloat, so drink your water to flush it out! Who cares if you go to the bathroom 12 times a day?

4.  Just eat sensibly.  Eat your lean proteins, high fiber foods, fruits, veggies, and healthy fats.  It won’t take many days to see the changes.

Sugar — How Much Should You Really Be Eating?

Feeling run-down, moody, and irritable? It might just be the sugar that you eat every day. Whether you eat sugary treats for a hit of energy during the day, or you have a fairly healthy diet, sugar is everywhere. It‘s sneaky and in almost everything.

I’m talking about added sugar — the kind that doesn’t occur naturally (like in fruit), but is added during food processing, preparation, or at the table.

The American Heart Association recommends that women limit their sugar intake to 100 calories (25 grams), or around six teaspoons a day. Men should limit their intake to 150 calories (37.5 grams), or nine teaspoons.

You are probably aware that candy, cookies, and soda are loaded with sugar, although how much sugar may come as a surprise. But most of us don’t think of things like hamburger buns and crackers, or canned fruit and pasta sauce when it comes to foods full with sugar.

So what’s the big concern about eating too much sugar anyway?

Eating a lot of added sugar is linked to almost every bad health condition you can think of. Okay, maybe not everything, but it certainly has a big effect on things like:

Excess weight, especially near your waist

Low HDL or “good cholesterol”

High blood glucose levels and/or insulin resistance

High levels of triglycerides (energy stored in fat cells) in your blood

Increased risk for high blood pressure

Increase risk for heart disease and stroke

General feeling of crappiness (no, I don’t have any medical studies to back this one up, but it’s true)

And because sugar only provides calories, with no other nutritional value, eating sugary foods and beverages can displace nutrients that are necessary for the body to function at its best.   

What are the biggest sugar culprits?

Regular soft drinks: 33%

Candy: 16.1%

Cakes, cookies, pies: 12.9%

Fruit drinks (fruit punch and fruit juices): 9.7%

Dairy desserts and milk products (ice cream, sweetened yogurt, sweetened milk): 8.6%

White Grains: (white bread, toaster waffles/pancakes): 5.8%

Big benefits — small actions

Added sugars have no nutritional value other than calories, and many of us can reduce our risk of disease and get to that healthy weight by decreasing the amount of sugar in our diets.

Don’t worry, I am not going to tell you to cut out all sugar, or do some sort of crazy detox or cleanse. The reality is that restricting yourself to the recommended limit might be difficult, since one 12-ounce can of soda has about 130 calories, or eight teaspoons of sugar. (On average, Americans consume 355 calories, or more than 22 teaspoons, of sugar a day, the equivalent of two cans of soda and a chocolate bar.)

You don’t have to eliminate all sugar from your diet, just use your allotment wisely. Know your daily numbers and make trade-offs that you can live with.  A friend of mine lost 30 pounds in just a few months by simply cutting out all soda – nothing else.

Here are some tips that everyone should be able to follow.

Use fruit to add a sweet flavor to cereals, yogurt, as dessert, and for snacks.

Cut back on candy, cookies, etc.  and sweetened sodas, teas, and flavored waters.

And read labels always. Know where hidden sugar hangs out.

Most importantly, help your kids learn that so much sugar is not necessary. Train their palates when they’re young to enjoy less sweet food.

And you can still have small amounts of sugar (even desserts), but only with your meals. Eating a full meal helps slow sugar delivery, which will help with any sugar withdrawal, and moodiness or irritability after the sugar high starts to crash.

Become aware about what you buy and eat, so you can make smart decisions both in and out of your home.

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