12 Keys to Looking and Feeling Your Best

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I’m 54 and feeling great! And I believe that I do because I have a healthy lifestyle.

Here are a dozen simple keys to looking and feeling your best too:

  1. Make up your mind. Decide that you are going to change your ways, accept the changes and make peace with them. Partial commitment leads to partial results and consistency is the key to success.
  2. Think before you eat. When choosing food, honestly assess what you’re putting into your body. Ask yourself, “Will eating this food help me reach/keep me at my goal?” If not, make a better choice.
  3. Eat for purpose, not solely pleasure. Eating for pleasure is a uniquely human experience. Be sure that the food you eat is good for your body, not just your taste buds.
  4. Create healthy habits. The food we eat is often part of our regular habits. Replace poor food choices with good ones regularly and you will create healthy habits. You’ll feel better when you eat properly and ultimately discover how less than optimal food choices negatively impact your energy levels and sense of well-being.
  5. Take your workout outdoors. There are multiple benefits of exercising in natural environments. Greater feeling of energy, lower blood levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and release of feel-good endorphins. My dog Champ (in the above picture) and I hike at least once a week!
  6. Don’t skip meals. To stoke our body’s furnace and keep the fire hot, it’s essential to eat periodically throughout the day (ideally every three to four hours). Drastically reducing calories and skipping meals force your body into starvation mode, decreasing your metabolic rate and reducing your energy levels as an automatic conservation mode. And overwhelming hunger can lead to poor food choices based on taste and convenience rather than optimal nutrition.
  7. Honesty’s the only policy. Be honest with yourself. We all splurge once in a while but denial about extra calories can lead to regular overeating. Even half a cookie has calories—count them!
  8. Weigh in for one week. One of the most valuable tools for successful weight management is the weighing and measuring of food. While you may think you know exactly how much you are eating and what the calories and macronutrients are, our portion sizes tend to increase gradually over time. Dust off the scale and your food journal and keep track of what you eat, when and how much for just one week.
  9. Move it to lose it. Daily activity is essential for optimal health. Incorporate movement into your daily activities by parking a little farther away from work, taking a short walk during lunch or after dinner, washing your own car—the opportunities are endless. Of course, moderate exercise (30-60 minutes per day) is ideal, but these activities of daily living can really boost your body’s calorie-burning abilities and your body’s ability to move as you get older.
  10. Take your multi. No matter how great your diet is, you just can’t get the nutrients you need from food alone. Take a balanced multivitamin and mineral formula to make sure your body gets what it needs when it needs it.
  11. Mix it up. Most of us have certain routines or exercises that we really enjoy because they’ve just become second nature. Unfortunately, when you get good at something, your body adapts. And when your body adapts, it burns fewer calories while doing that activity. So be sure to keep your body guessing by changing up your routine every two weeks or so.
  12. Your health is forever. Remember that to maintain a healthy weight, you must eat properly, consistently and include movement into your life forever. Your goal should be life-long changes, not quick fixes.
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Successful Weight Loss: Lose Fat and Gain Muscle

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Lose Fat and Gain Muscle is CriticalWith optimal diet and exercise programming, you can lose weight and keep it off.

For the best weight loss results, follow a personalized program that teaches skills and techniques to make permanent changes in eating habits, with food choices that are flexible and appropriate for you, coupled with physical activity.

The ultimate objective in losing weight and keeping it off is to do so by building more muscle and losing fat, but it’s difficult to do both at once. Controlling both aspects is essential for creating the desired changes in your body.

When someone gets on the scale and notices that they are losing pounds, they assume that they are losing fat because this is what all diets do, right?

Unfortunately, loss of pounds may include the loss of precious muscle from all over the body. The ideal rate of weight loss should average 1 to 2 pounds per week per week for a woman. Much more than that can indicate muscle is lost.

This loss of muscle is apt to happen if a person is not exercising and making a mistake with their diet.

Muscle is valuable because:

  • Muscle burns more calories at rest.
  • Muscle gives the body shape and is aesthetically attractive.
  • Muscle protects joints, internal organs and other tissues.
  • Muscle helps maintain better posture.

Adding exercise to a caloric restriction diet is the most successful way to lose weight and keep it off.

The results of a study indicated that “diet alone”, unfortunately, resulted in a 2.4 pound LOSS of precious muscle but the “diet plus exercise” resulted in a 1 pound GAIN in muscle and the most fat lost. In another study a group of participants that did cardio and weight training lost the most fat, lost the most weight and increased the most muscle. In yet another study, a “30 minutes of cardio only” group lost a total of 3.5 lbs.; 3 lbs. of which was fat and a half-pound was muscle loss. On the other hand, the “15 minutes of cardio + 15 minute weight training” group lost 8 lbs. with an actual fat loss of 10 lbs. and an increase of 2 lbs. of lean body weight. Adding exercise to a caloric restriction diet is the most successful way to lose weight and keep it off, but especially if strength training is included.

Moderately intense exercise, especially strength (weight training), is critical in the battle to prevent muscle loss, especially while dieting. If you need help, let me know and together we can focus on developing a plan that revolves around enjoyable, healthy eating and an exercise plan, that you can really live with.

 

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Healthy Main Dish Salad Inspiration

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For a list of lower-calorie salad dressing go to this post.

Barbecue Chicken Chopped Salad

Grilled Chicken Breast, Bbq Sauce, Chopped Romaine Lettuce, Black Beans, Cubed Jicama, Corn, Diced Tomatoes and Red Onion. Serve With Lowfat Or Reduced Fat Ranch Dressing or Cilantro Dressing.

Chicken Fajita Salad

Sautéed Chicken Breast, Sautéed Onions, Garlic And Red Pepper Strips Served Atop A Generous Mound Of Crisp Mixed Greens, Reduced Fat Sharp Cheddar, Black Olives, Salsa, Reduced Fat Or Fat Free Sour Cream And Avocado Cubes.

Garden Salad

Crisp Mixed Greens (Your Choice Of Spinach, Romaine, Red Leaf) Carrots, Red Cabbage, Tomato, Cucumber And Thinly Sliced Red Onions. Add Cooked Shrimp, Chicken Or Salmon. Serve With A Reduced Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette.

Caesar Salad

Fresh Crisp Chopped Romaine Lettuce Tossed With Reduced Fat Caesar Dressing And Shredded Parmesan Cheese. Top with Grilled Chicken, Shrimp Or Salmon.

Harvest Salad

Grilled Chicken Breast, Berries (Blueberry, Blackberry, Raspberry Or Strawberry), Low Fat Feta Crumbles, Toasted Chopped Walnuts Served Atop A Generous Mound Of Mixed Greens. Serve With A Reduced Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette Or Raspberry Vinaigrette.

Cobb Salad

Crisp Mixed Greens, Small Cooked Shrimp Or Chopped Cooked Chicken, Chopped Hard Cooked Egg, Avocado, Tomatoes, Black Olive Slices And Chopped Red Onion, Chives Or Green Onion, A Smidge Of Crumbled Roquefort Or Blue Cheese With A Dijon Red Wine Vinaigrette.

Spinach Salad with Mandarin Oranges
Spinach, Sliced Mushrooms, Mandarin Oranges, Toasted slivered almond, red onion rings tossed with a sweet vinaigrette.
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