Celebrate National Nutrition Month this March by incorporating healthy living into your daily routine. Eating healthy is a key component to losing weight, but the greatest results are achieved when eating healthy is paired with frequent exercise — the two go hand in hand! Forming habits of healthy eating and exercising will help you achieve long-term results.
1. Don’t Mistake Fad Diets for Healthy Eating
One should not mistake healthy eating with dieting. Diets often push individuals in the wrong direction, causing some to think that diet trends like calorie deficits and fasting are efficient ways of losing weight. While this may work for some, those who take part in unhealthy diets miss out on essential vitamins and nutrients for key body functions, according to Livestrong.
2. Don’t Skip Breakfast!
A well-balanced diet can go a long way in helping your body nourish itself and obtain the necessary vitamins for daily activity. It’s no secret that starting your day off right with a nutritious breakfast will keep you energized and focused throughout the day. According to Harvard Health Publishing, your chances of obesity, diabetes and heart disease are lowered if you eat a healthy breakfast regularly. During the hours of sleep, your body starts to lose the key nutrients it needs to function at its highest capacity. Starting your day off by eating a healthy breakfast can replenish things like blood sugar, which helps with muscle and brain function.
Harvard Health Publishing also mentions that, on average, those who eat a healthy breakfast in the morning are thinner than those who skip the most important meal of the day. The Mayo Clinic states that eating a well-balanced breakfast is beneficial because it can reduce hunger, helps you start making healthier choices related to food and gives you more energy so you can burn more calories throughout the day.
3. Give Your Body the Right Pre-Workout Fuel
Before a workout, be aware of the food with which you are fueling your body. You might feel adverse effects, like fogginess or stomach aches and cramps, if you eat certain foods that are unhealthy and harder for your body to digest before a workout. Healthline highlights key foods that will help you be the most prepared for your workout.
- Bananas are full of potassium and magnesium which can help provide you with natural sugars for an efficient workout.
- Berries, like blueberries, have anti-inflammatory properties that can help with muscle damage, aiding in the strength regaining process.
- Grapes help expand blood vessels by enhancing nitric oxide levels in the body. Expanded blood vessels mean blood moves smoother and faster during your workout.
- Oranges provide carbohydrates and vitamin C that will help repair your muscles during exercise. Oranges also carry lots of water to help keep you hydrated during your workout.
- Nuts are full of healthy fats and protein that can help you sustain energy and nutrients during your workout.
- Nut butters are packed with protein and carbohydrates that can be eaten alone or paired with foods like apples, bananas and whole wheat bread. Peanut butter, almond butter and soy butter are all great options for pre-workout snacks.
4. Get 150 Minutes of Exercise Weekly
Now that you have the right fuel, all you need to do is get your body moving! Even just 30 minutes of exercise five days a week can help you meet the physical activity levels recommended for adults ages 18 and over. The CDC suggests that healthy adults should be getting on average 150 minutes of exercise a week. Short 15-minute workouts can be just as effective as longer ones, as long as you are maintaining the recommended form, giving it your all and fueling your body with necessary nutrients beforehand.
A study published by the Journal of the American Heart Association identifies the importance of heart rate in relation to workout times. Your heart rate should be elevated for at least 10 minutes in order for exercise to be categorized as beneficial. In order for your heart rate to reach an elevated level, exercise intensity must reach moderate to vigorous levels. Exercising at home is easier than ever with simple guides to help you reach exercise levels for optimal heart rate elevation.
- Do the first six exercises for 1 minute each.
- Do 2 rounds, resting for 1 minute in between rounds.
- Rest 1 minute, and then do the finisher exercise for 1 minute.
1. Jumping Jack
- Start standing upright with your arms by your sides.
- Jump both legs out while raising both arms above your head until your hands meet.
- Return to starting position.
- Continue this movement for 1 minute.
2. Squat to Curtsy Lunge
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, toes slightly turned out, arms at your sides or in front of your chest.
- Engage your core and keep your chest lifted and back flat as you shift your weight into your heels, push your hips back, and bend your knees to lower into a squat.
- Drive through your heels to stand and squeeze your glutes at the top.
- Then, step your right foot diagonally behind you and lower your right knee until it almost touches the floor. Your front knee should bend to about 90 degrees.
- Drive through your left heel to stand back up and return to the starting position.
- Continue this movement, alternating sides for the curtsy lunge each time, for 1 minute. (If the curtsy lunge bothers your hips or knees, try doing a reverse lunge instead, Hidalgo suggests.)
3. High Knees
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
- Run in place, bringing your knees up toward your chest as high as possible. You can either hold your hands in front of you to meet your knees, or pump them along with your legs.
- Keep your chest lifted, core engaged, and land lightly on the balls of your feet.
- Continue for 1 minute.
4. Push-up to Shoulder Tap
- Start in a high plank, shoulders directly above your wrists, hands shoulder-width apart, palms flat, legs extended behind you, core and glutes engaged.
- Bend your elbows and lower your body to the floor. Drop to your knees if needed (keep your core engaged even in the modified position).
- Push through the palms of your hands to straighten your arms. Now tap your right hand to your left shoulder, and then your left hand to your right shoulder. Engage your core and glutes to keep your hips as still as possible so that they’re not swaying from side to side.
- To make this easier, try separating your legs a little more.
- Continue, alternating between a push-up and two shoulder taps, for 1 minute.
5. Plyo Lunge
- Stand with your feet together. Step back about 2 feet with your left foot, landing on the ball of your left foot and keeping your heel off the floor.
- Bend both knees until your right quad and left shin are parallel to the floor, your torso leaning slightly forward so that your back is flat. Your right knee should be above your right foot, and your butt and core should be engaged.
- Push through both feet to jump straight up, swinging your arms overhead to add momentum.
- In the air, switch legs, so that your right foot is now behind you and your left is in front. As you land, lower into a lunge before immediately jumping again.
- Continue this movement, alternating legs, for 1 minute.
6. Sit-up to Glute Bridge
- Start lying on your back with your hands at your sides, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor hip-width apart.
- Using your abs, roll your body up until you are sitting upright. You can either cross your arms in front of your chest or hold them straight out by your sides. Slowly lower back down to starting position.
- Squeeze your glutes and abs and push through your heels to lift your hips a few inches off the floor until your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.
- Pause and squeeze your glutes at the top, then slowly lower your hips to return to the starting position.
- Continue this movement, alternating between sit-ups and glute bridges, for 1 minute.
Finisher: Broad Jump to Burpee
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms by your sides.
- Bend your knees into a squat and jump forward about a foot, landing in a squat.
- Reach forward to place your hands on the floor, shoulder-width apart.
- Kick your legs straight out behind you into a high plank with your hands stacked underneath your shoulders.
- Bend your elbows to lower your chest to the floor.
- Push your body back up to a high plank and jump your feet toward your hands so your lower body is in a squat. Backpedal to the starting position.
- Continue this movement for 1 minute.
Even with these techniques of pairing healthy eating with exercise, weight loss is different for everyone. If you’re struggling to lose weight, our professionals at KC Wellness can help. Our medical weight loss program is customized to fit your needs by examining lab results that help us tailor a program specific to you. Call us at 816-214-5276 to learn more about how KC Wellness can help you on your weight loss journey!