Most Americans want to live a healthier lifestyle. Gym memberships skyrocket in January as people try to lose the holiday pounds or make New Year’s resolutions. Many people also try fad diets. But extreme diets and exercise routines don’t work. What you need, whether your goal is to lose weight or simply be healthy is a plan that you can stick to.
Some Health Diets
The foundation of such a plan is a sensible diet. Here are some healthy options that you can choose from.
The Paleo Diet
This diet is based on what our hunter/gatherer ancestors ate. No processed food, no dairy and no sugar. Honey and fruits are allowed if you crave sweets. Meals center around pastured meats and vegetables. You can also eat pastured eggs, fish, nuts and some oils. Root vegetables like sweet potatoes are allowed, and some variants allow ancient grains like einkorn and millet. This diet is not low carb but is focused on whole foods.
The Mediterranean Diet
Traditional Mediterranean cultures tend to be healthy and long lived. While there are many factors responsible for this, the diet has been proven to control blood sugar. This helps prevent many diseases. The diet is also easier to stick to than many others because you are allowed a good amount of fat in the form of olive oil. This promotes satiety. You can also eat whole grains, meat and fish in moderation. You eat a variety of vegetables with each meal and only have sweets on special occasions. This diet promotes gradual weight loss.
The Keto Diet
A modern version of Atkins, this is the best diet for rapid weight loss. However, it’s harder for many people to stick to. It’s high fat, moderate protein and extremely low carb. In fact, during the first month, you typically only eat 20 grams of carbs. This is supposed to put your body into ketogenesis, which means it burns fat for fuel. Over time you can gradually increase your carbs to 30, 40 or even 50 grams, depending on your insulin resistance. Unfortunately, some people find that they must stick to 30 grams or less to get good results. Because of the restrictiveness of the diet, it’s hard to find good keto recipes. By using good keto recipes, you will make it easier to stay on the diet.
Other Factors to Consider
The three diets above, while different in many ways, all have a few things in common. They focus on whole foods with no artificial colors and flavors. The message is clear – if you want a healthy lifestyle, avoid processed foods.
In addition to a good diet, you also need to make sure you get enough sleep, exercise and drink plenty of water.
Drink Enough Water
Experts recommend at least 64 ounces of water a day. If you live at elevation, or consume caffeine or alcohol, you should drink more water. If you have a hard time staying hydrated, you can find phone apps that will remind you to take a sip.
Exercise Every Day
Most doctors recommend at least a half hour walk each day for good health. For optimal fitness, though, you should aim for more. If you can incorporate a few high intensity intervals into your aerobic routine and also lift weights a couple of times a week, you can really increase the health benefits.
Get Enough Sleep
What about sleep? Everyone needs a different amount, but in general, you should try to get to bed by 10pm. Studies have shown that you are more likely to get good REM sleep if you don’t stay up late.
Hopefully by following these tips you can enjoy a healthier lifestyle and shed any excess weight that you’ve put on during the holidays. The first thing to do is to find a diet that works. Then, make sure to stay hydrated and get plenty of rest. Add some exercise and you’ll be healthier and happier well into the New Year!