Are you wishing on a star for greater health?

March 8, 2013

Joni Rampolla

I have clients telling me that all they want is to lose weight to look better, gain health, feel confident, love their body or participate in a certain activity. When asked what they are currently doing to reach their goal, often there is silence. Goals without actions are wishes! Are you spending your time just wishing?

If you aren't as healthy as you would like to be, you can alter your lifestyle choices. Here are some simple actions to improve your health and turn your wish into a reality.

1. Drink calorie-free beverages. Research has shown that our body doesn't signal us to eat fewer calories when we drink a carbohydrate-laden beverage such as soda, juice, or sports drinks. So, if you drink 500 calories in the day, you will not eat 500 calories less in your day. Therefore it can be an easy area to snip some calories away. If you are not a fan of plain water, try unsweetened tea. There are some great health benefits to drinking tea as well. Bottom line is to keep hydrated without the calories!

2. Eat 5 or 6 smaller meals throughout the day. If you are trying to control your weight by skipping meals you may be doing your metabolism an injustice. Have smaller portions of frequent meals (or snacks) throughout the day to maintain energy and prevent over-eating. A small meal can be cheese on an apple, natural peanut butter on celery, tuna on a salad bed, or hummus and pita triangles.

3. Get adequate sleep. Routinely getting less than 7 hours of sleep each day can alter your hormones and increase ghrelin, the hormone that makes us feel hungry. When you are raiding the refrigerator, usually it is not broccoli that you grab but rather high fat, high calorie foods.

4. Sit less. Moving more is important but if that seems hard, start with just sitting less. Most of us spend the majority of our day sitting or lounging (driving, in front of a computer, eating our meals, watching TV). Stand when you drink your morning coffee or sip water throughout the day. Stand anytime you are talking on the phone. Suggest the work meeting is conducted standing or a meeting in motion as you walk and discuss.

5. Enjoy mindful meals. Have you ever been in the movie theater and wondered where that whole big bag of popcorn you were holding went, or watching TV when you realized you ate a ½ gallon of ice cream, or been driving while eating your meal without tasting a bite? If you focus on the food you eat, and notice the flavor, texture, mouth-feel, you are more likely to gain enjoyment from your food and also eat less of it.

Simple steps each day toward your goal will keep you moving in the right direction. You can be on the right track but if you are standing still and not moving forward, you still can be hit by a train! Turn your wish into reality and identify the steps needed to help you achieve a happier, healthier life.

Joni Rampolla is an energetic registered dietitian who has her own weight management practice. Joni has extensive experience helping people adopt behaviors that will help them live healthier, happier, more productive lives.

Originally published Mar 8, 2013 10:00:00 AM.