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Six Habits of Healthy People
(Part 2 of 2)

In my last article, I shared two simple things you should turn into habits to improve your health. Here are four more ideas.

Number three: Use a pedometer. I have watched people drive around the block looking for a close parking space when they're going to the gym to do cardio.

We take escalators and elevators instead of stairs. We'll sit in line at a fast-food drive-through for 15 minutes, instead of parking the car, walking inside and ordering in 5 minutes.

Get a pedometer and use it. Figure out how many steps you take on a typical day, then add 2,000 to 4,000 more. That's about 30 minutes of walking. Do that regularly and you'll find dozens of little ways to add a few steps in your day. You can park a couple blocks away from work and walk, take a stroll during lunch or go on a walk break while others smoke cigarettes.

Number four: Buy smaller plates to eat from. I was in an antique store the other day and saw a set of dishes I really liked. They were in great shape, but it looked like the main course plates were missing. When I asked the clerk about it she laughed and told me, "The average size of serving plates has grown over the years. What you thought were salad plates are in fact the dishes that were used for the main course."

Increasing plate size has been a contributing factor to obesity. No matter what size plate we're given, we expect it to be full of food. Researchers found that when you finish eating, subjects were equally satisfied if it was a 9-inch plate full of food or a 12-inch plate. Of course, the 12-inch plate has 40% more calories on it. When people did nothing more than take out the large plates and replace them with smaller ones, they ate less and were just as satisfied.

Replace your large dinner plates with dishes that are no more than 9 inches across. If you want even more details about what to put on them, there are also plates with instructions. Sold under names like Portion Pals or Portion Doctor the plates have directions printed right on them, or dividers to restrict each serving to a specified size.

Number five: Eat breakfast. I've probably made that suggestion more than any other because it's so important. When you first get up in the morning, your body hasn't had any food for 8-12 hours. You're literally starving for nutrition. Without food in your stomach, your body burns muscle for energy and hangs onto fat.

When you eat breakfast, you are BREAKING the FAST from the previous night. It wakes you up, revs your metabolism and helps prevent binges later. Make a plan to eat a healthy breakfast (no donuts or pastries) every morning for a month. If you're in a hurry, a bowl of low sugar cereal with fat-free milk or one of the lower sugar instant oatmeal packages can be ready in less than 120 seconds.

Number six: Snack your fruits and vegetables. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), we should eat 9 servings or 4.5 cups of fruit and vegetables daily. Eat them as a snack, a couple hours after breakfast and the second a couple hours after lunch.

Crunchy vegetables like broccoli, baby carrots, cauliflower florets, celery and green beans are all packed with fiber and nutrients. Dip them in a small (1/8 cup) of fat-free dressing if you want to enhance their flavor a little.

An Apple, banana, bunch of grapes, orange, peach, pear or plums can all be conveniently carried around and consumed without utensils. Remember to bring along napkins if they get a little juicy.

Each of these suggestions requires a little planning and effort when you start, but they pay off handsomely as time goes on. Do you want to be healthy?

Part 1 2

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