Eating right and exercising regularly can be difficult for many people. Time constraints and convenience often dictate what we eat and how active we are. We have been trained to consume certain foods, and giving them up can be very difficult, but in order to increase our vitality, we must sacrifice taste and convenience. Whether you are stuck in a dorm and on a meal plan or sitting at a desk all day, there are a few ways to live a healthier lifestyle.
One of the biggest problems with diet today is that many people drink their calories. By drinking beverages loaded with sugar, people do not satisfy their hunger and often eat just as much as they would if they were drinking water instead. By eliminating or reducing these beverages from our diets, we can live much healthier lives and shed a few pounds. Whenever you ingest sugar, your body absorbs it immediately because it is already broken down, so if you do not burn off that sugar it will be stored as fat. If you are in school or work, chances are you aren’t burning off the energy from that sugar rush. I’m not just talking about soda; most fruit juices have almost or the same amount of sugar as soda. A can of Arizona ice tea contains 72 grams of sugar – more than a 20 ounce bottle of Coca-Cola. Minute Maid orange juice has 48 grams of sugar in a 16 ounce bottle. It would be very difficult to burn all that energy with a busy schedule. It may be hard to stop drinking these beverages, but switching to water will not only make you feel better, but you can shed quite a few pounds from this one change.
This second change that I propose must be the hardest for all of us – eliminating processed foods from our diet. Processed foods make convenient meals – you can use the microwave or stove to heat up food instead of making a meal from scratch, and these foods are cheaper than their organic counterparts. Convenience and price aside, processed foods are terrible for our bodies. There are over 6,000 artificial ingredients used in these foods that provide texture, color, flavor, and act as preservatives. These ingredients are toxic and damage our bodies, harming our digestive organs and skin especially. Processed foods also tend to have high amounts of salt and sugar to give them a strong taste, making them unhealthier than their organic counterparts. Processed foods also contain synthetic vitamins and minerals to compensate for their low nutritional value. Synthetic vitamins and minerals will not be absorbed by the body as well as their natural counterparts, and vitamins and minerals help absorb food energy into our muscles.
Speaking of vitamins and minerals, eating fresh fruits and vegetables regularly will allow you to lose weight and feel better. As a society, we often focus on our macronutrients, which are proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, but we forget about our micronutrients – our vitamins and minerals. Vitamins and minerals help us absorb our macronutrients and use them effectively. These micronutrients aid our digestive processes and speed up our metabolisms. Eating fruits and vegetables also clears out toxins from our bodies, so they can flush out all the chemicals we ingest from processed foods. Of course many fruits and vegetables contain a lot of sugar, but they also contain fiber which stops you from processing that sugar all at once. This will give your body time to absorb that sugar gradually.
Following these tips can be very difficult, but by drinking less sugary drinks, eliminating processed foods, and eating more fruits and vegetables, you will lose weight and feel better physically. You can even eat the same amount of calories as you do now as long as you get those calories from healthy food sources, and you will still lose a considerable amount of weight. If these tips seem too hard to incorporate into your lifestyle, adapt to them gradually. You do not have to make these changes overnight. Even if you cannot give up these foods completely, the slightest change will help you live a healthier lifestyle.