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Our country is currently experiencing an obesity epidemic, with more than a third of Americans being overweight. "Obesity is one of the biggest drivers of preventable chronic diseases and health care costs in the U.S." according to The State of Obesity public health project.
Many case studies have found a strong link between being overweight and many health complications like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even some cancers. Overhauling an unhealthy lifestyle is something many wishes for but never know where to begin. Making drastic changes to your eating habits can be tough, especially after so many years of driving by fast food diners and filling yourself up with sugars and processed foods.
The key to a successful transition is breaking down your ultimate goal into smaller steps. Don't rush yourself and understand that your current unhealthy habits didn't form overnight, so your results will being to show gradually.
Ditch the Junk Food
Whether you're overweight or not, a healthy lifestyle does not include junk food. Ash they say, "Out with the old, in with the new; Out with the bad, in with the good"- The first step to improving your overall wellbeing is getting rid of all the foods that are high in fat, high in sugar and have too many processed ingredients. You will not only lose weight but you will begin to feel more energetic and have a more positive outlook on life. Indulging occasionally isn't a sin but eating a cheeseburger every day is a sure way to keep the doctors concerned.
Watch What You're Drinking
Fat and calorie intake is not only in food; drinks can also have a negative impact on your health. Besides limiting the amount of alcohol, you should start looking into what your daily beverages are. Staying hydrated is important but unrealistic to think that water will be the only thing you drink. Forget about soda and juices high in sugar. Instead, stick to low sugar teas (hot or cold), natural fruit beverages, and soy milk. If you're not a fan of soy, try low-fat milk or skim milk.
Smart Grocery Shopping
This will take some practice but after throwing out all the junk from your home, you will need to fill it up with more nutritional foods. Make a checklist of the foods you should be eating and stick to the list once you get to the market. When you go grocery shopping without an organized list, it's easier to just grab whatever your eyes gravitate to and throwing it inside the cart; increasing your chances of eating unhealthy food.
Your Grocery List Should Include
Lean Proteins: skinless chicken, ground turkey, pork loin, fish, eggs, and beans.
Fruits Low in Sugar: strawberries, cantaloupe, raspberries, and peaches.
High Fiber Vegetables: Green peas, kale, carrots, spinach, and broccoli.
Whole Grains: Brown rice, wild rice, and dark rye bread.
Healthy Snacks: nuts, wheat crackers, and NutriWise Protein Chips (which are high in fiber and low in calories)
Most people don't understand how critical physical activity is to the body. Being healthy is not just about the amount of fat your body may or may not have. Being healthy means that you should also maintain your joints, your bones, and your muscles. Did you know that although your heart is an "organ", it is considered a "muscular organ"? The heart is what pumps blood and provides your body with the oxygen and nutrients it needs to stay alive. You don't need to be a triathlon champion to be active but sitting around and living a sedentary lifestyle will affect your heart and weight. Find some activities that keep your body moving. Whether you walk for an hour a few times a week or dance for 30 minutes every day, integrating more physical activities can help feel better about the positive lifestyle changes you are making.