5 Simple Ways to Live Fit & Healthy

So… you want life a healthy lifestyle. Or maybe you already are making changes to live well (good for you!), but you find that there is an information overload on eating healthy, exercise, and weight loss. Needless to say, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. It’s impossible to follow every piece of advice out there. To make matters worse, oftentimes diet fads and health crazes have little scientific research to back up their claims.

Fortunately, we have good news: practicing healthy living can be simple and achievable! We caught up with Ilanit Blumenfeld, our in house nutritionist,to share her top tips on how to make being fit (dare we say it) easy. Ilanit is a Master of Public Health, consults multiple clients, and teaches nutrition at the university level. Without further ado, here are her tips on how to achieve your health and fitness goals!

Follow the 80/20 Rule

If you follow this mantra, you will eat healthy for a lifetime! The idea behind this is that 80% of the foods you eat should be healthy, functional foods such as vegetables, fruits, legumes and lean meats; while the other 20% can be whatever you choose them to be (including your favorite chocolates or crackers!). Diets that are too stringent where some foods are always off limits don’t work well. It's only a matter of time before you over-splurge on your favorite indulgences and end up eating too much of it, as opposed to enjoying treats moderation.

If you love eating healthy foods and don’t typically have the urge to splurge daily, you might want to use the 80/20 rule a little differently. Perhaps once a week when you frequent your favorite restaurant, you will allow yourself to order whatever you crave. The recipe for success is right here - follow the 80/20 rule and enjoy all the foods you love (but in the right quantities) and you'll never have to go on a diet again!

Stay Active

We know that being physically active is important at any stage of life. Exercise has many health benefits - including weight loss and maintenance, muscle growth, stress-reduction, and disease-prevention. Now thanks to new studies by the National Cancer Institute, Harvard University, and others, researchers have found more evidence that exercise decreases early mortality. Put in simple terms, the more we exercise the longer we live!

Here's the breakdown of the results: researchers found that those who didn’t exercise at all had an increased risk of early mortality. Those who engaged in physical activity but less than the recommended 2.5 hours per week, had a 20% decreased risk. Those who met the recommended 2.5 hours per week had a 31% lower risk of dying prematurely, and those who tripled the exercise, with 7.5 hours per week, had a 39% less risk of early mortality.

Clearly, exercise is key to prolonging life. Be sure to do something that you enjoy - you should have fun while exercising for added benefits. So hula hoop, go for a walk, take a dance class - whatever suits your fancy! Make exercise a habit by incorporating it into your weekly routine, and you are on your way to a longer, happier life.

Plan Ahead

Let’s face it, our lives can be super busy and hectic. Balancing work responsibilities and family obligations alone can be tough. But, if you master the art of planning, you will be ready for any storm that comes your way. Planning is a major step to success in all aspects of life - and the same is true for health and fitness.

Meal planning and scheduling workouts ahead of time is much more effective and efficient than just winging it in the moment. Plus, you’re more likely to hold yourself accountable if a workout is penciled into your calendar. So stock your refrigerator with tons of fruits and vegetables to snack on, wake up early for a workout before a hectic day, or check out the menu for healthy options before arriving at a restaurant. Planning ahead only takes a few extra minutes, and most importantly, it allows you to make good choices.

Prepare Meals at Home

Learning how to cook and prepare foods is also key to healthy eating. It is important to have 5-10 go-to healthy foods such as salads, legumes, and lean meats that you learn how to make yourself. When you cook, you can control what ingredients go into the foods you make, and can easily keep track of the fat, sugar, and salt content of each meal.

Keeping healthy foods available at home allows you to make good choices when you are hungry, as opposed to snacking on less healthy foods because there was “nothing to eat” (this point ties in closely with planning ahead as well!). How nice would it be to have your refrigerator full of containers filled with vegetables, cut up fruit, and grilled chicken for when you are hungry. Being equipped with delicious healthy meals and snacks makes it easier to make good choices any time of the day.

Kick late-night snacking to the curb!

Listen up late-night snackers - the next time you want to grab that bag of chips or even rice cakes while watching the tube or hanging out with friends in the wee hours of the night, you might want to reconsider.

It’s as simple as this: Food = Energy. It’s likely that your body doesn’t really need fuel late at night when it is at rest. When you continue eating after you have had dinner (and possibly dessert), ask yourself if you are engaging in an activity that requires energy. Instead of late night snacking, make a pact with yourself to brush your teeth after dinner and leave the kitchen. Out of sight out of mind.

Read the next: 3 Muscle Building Moves That Boost Metabolism as We Age

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Posted by: 
Ilanit Blumenfeld, MPH Nutrition
Date of Article: 
Friday, August 21, 2015