Transform Your Health by Implementing These Five Easy Habits
By Dr. Linda Meade, Brazos Weight & Wellness Medicine
We live in an age of information. It’s readily available at our fingertips. For those searching for ways to lose excess weight or improve their health, the amount of information can seem overwhelming. There’s a multitude of advice on diets, supplements, and ways to eat. Is there any consensus at all?
While there are differences in opinion on some points, in general, most experts would agree that implementing these 5 habits into your daily routine is a great start to improving your health.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables.
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans put out by the US Dept of Health and Human Resources recommend 2 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of veggies a day, but it’s estimated that only 1 in 9 adults get this much in their diet. Fruits and veggies are nutrient-rich giving us fiber, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals. The more variety, the better. It’s been shown that diets high in fruits and vegetables can decrease disease risk such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and cancers. They also help to give us a healthier gut microbiome which is closely linked to weight regulation and inflammation.
- Get enough sleep.
Sleep has a significant effect on all your body’s functions. Lack of sleep will change your body’s metabolism, and studies have shown weight gain and other health risks. Aim for 7-8 hours of restful sleep a night.
The average adult consumes 77 grams or 19 tsp of sugar a day, adding up to over 60 pounds of sugar a year. This may be the worst ingredient in the modern diet today due to the abundance and easy availability of it. There is a difference between natural sugars found in fruits and veggies and added sugar in the form of table sugar or high fructose corn syrup. The natural sugars are not the problem. It’s the added sugars which provide calories but otherwise are of no nutritional value. High intake of these added sugars have been linked to diabetes, heart and liver disease, weight gain, and tooth decay.
Decreasing consumption of sugars can prevent or reverse these issues. Learn how to read labels, it’s required on packaging now to list added sugar amounts.
- Move everyday.
Regular exercise can improve balance, mood, weight, diabetes, decrease your fat storage, relieve stress, improve sleep, and so much more. For general health, the US government recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week along with 2 days a week of strength training. You will need to do more if you are working on weight loss. Don’t let the amount discourage you. If you are not used to exercise, start slow and build up. Find ways to add movement into your day. You can also monitor your progress with smart trackers to help you stay motivated.
- Manage your stress.
Long term chronic stress can lead to weight gain, depression, heart disease, hypertension, and many more problems. It’s important to find ways to manage the stress level. Learn about deep breathing exercises, journaling, spiritual study, and enlist support from others. These methods may help along with the other tips listed above. Good nutrition, sleep, and exercise are also very beneficial in stress reduction.
Want more information on how to improve your health? Whether you’re looking to lose weight, optimize your nutrition, prevent disease, increase your energy levels, improve your well-being, decrease pain, contact Dr. Linda Meade at Brazos Weight & Wellness Medicine in College Station, TX.