To truly become healthier and fitter, you must make some significant lifestyle changes that will complement and support your overall new lifestyle goals. Improving your lifestyle is the key to accomplishing your goals and maintaining whatever progress you’ve experienced and continue to experience as time goes on.
There are many aspects of a lifestyle that can be modified for the better. The following areas are some of the most important lifestyle changes needed for a healthier, fitter and happier life.
Start reducing the following toxic foods to start seeing not only weight loss results but an increase in energy and a better mood!
Eliminate the Toxins
One of the first things you should do when creating a healthier lifestyle, is to examine the harmful things that you put into your body. This can include things like fast food, too much candy, alcohol and smoking.
Those are the obvious toxins. You’ll learn more about the hidden, not so obvious toxins in a minute. Most people understand the side effects of eating too much fast food and candy.
However, they seem to overlook the impact that alcohol has on a diet and exercise. Alcohol can slow down your reaction time, coordination, can lead to dehydration during exercise, slows down the burning of body fat, and interferes with creating muscle growth.
Basically, alcohol destroys most things that you are trying to accomplish when working out, including losing weight.
Not to mention, it also wreaks havoc on your diet with empty carbs, unhealthy calories, added sugars and more.
Beer, as an example, is not even regulated by the FDA so the guidelines and safety is not strictly overlooked. The Treasury Department is who really regulates beer.
If you think that’s bad, smoking is even worse. Smoking can cause the following damage:
Reduces the amount of oxygen transported and absorbed throughout the body.
Can lead to obstruction of the airways.
Can lead to heart damage.
Decreases oxygen intake when exercising.
Decreases aerobic and anaerobic endurance.
If you participate in drinking alcohol or smoking, you should seriously consider the negative effects it has on your health, diet and fitness goals. Try to limit your alcohol intake to once a week.
Now here are some of the not so obvious foods that you should avoid that can cause serious harm to your health.
9 Foods To Avoid At All Costs
Just about every processed food in the aisles of the grocery store contains gluten. This includes crackers, canned soups, processed meats, cookies, crackers, salad dressings, cereals, pancake mixes, and many other foods.
It’s best to avoid these foods and swap them out for delicious whole food recipes. The cost of all these unhealthy snacks can really add up on your waistline. Eliminating processed foods from your home and your cart the next time you go shopping can save you hundreds of dollars.
Another note I want to add is to avoid foods labelled “Gluten Free”. The reason these foods are unhealthy for you is because they’re loaded with sugar and flours that result in you to store fat. The gluten free flours that are used include tapioca starch, potato starch, and corn starch.
These flours can spike your blood sugar levels just as high as gluten does. Even though gluten is not present to cause inflammation, your blood sugar will spike causing your body to produce the fat storing hormone insulin.
2. Low Fat Foods
These foods include yogurts, waffles, cool whip, salad dressings, chips, crackers, peanut butter, ice cream, and the list continues.
There are some low fat foods that are good but for the most part 99% of low fat foods are toxic and harmful to your health. The reason for this is because low fat foods are pumped with sugar to make them taste better.
3. Tomato Sauces
Did you know some brands of tomato sauces have 7 teaspoons of sugar in them per serving? Make sure you check and double check food labels to make sure sugar is not lurking around in your food.
A common trick used by food manufacturers is making the serving size of the food smaller. Sometimes you’ll see that the nutrition facts say 4g of sugar but if you calculate the whole jar it could add up to 80g of sugar if the jar had 20 servings.
4. Diet Soda
Diet and regular soda is horrible for your health. Diet soda being worse than regular soda. The reason diet soda is so bad is because it contains lots of toxic chemicals and artificial sweeteners. They contain zero calories but contain lots of toxins.
These toxins can trick your body into storing more fat. They can surge your cravings and cause you to eat more and more causing you to pack on the pounds!
5. Sports Drinks
These drinks include vitamin water, Gatorade, power ade and any other flavored sports drinks that you can find at your local grocery store.
These drinks contain tons of sugar and high fructose corn syrup that will transport straight to your liver and add belly fat on to your body. Artificial sweeteners, colorings, and natural flavors are also popular chemical ingredients in these drinks that will result in weight gain.
6. GMO Foods
GMO stands for genetically modified organism. It’s the process of genetically modifying the DNA strand of a crop such as soy, corn, wheat, cotton, and sugar beets. These crops are the most popular for genetic modification.
There is also another layer of GMO you should be aware of. Cows that produce milk, meats, and poultry can also be GMO because of the food the animals have eaten. To cut costs many farmers use GMO soy and wheat to feed their animals, which then adds GMOs to the nutritional profile of the animal.
So what does this mean for you? You’ll need to buy organic dairy, meats, and poultry to avoid consuming GMOs. You’re likely thinking it’s expensive to buy organic foods but would you rather pay to keep yourself healthy now or pay for your medical bills later? The medical bills later will likely cost many times more than the food you buy now.
Not to mention all of the suffering you will cause yourself in the future.
The scary thing about GMOs is that they’ve never been tested for the long term effects on humans. Studies on rats are showing shocking results though. Mice who were fed GMO diets developed large tumors and lived shorter lives.
Do you eat cereal for breakfast? I hope not because this is one of the absolute worst things you can eat for breakfast. Most cereals, even the healthy ones put your body into fat storing mode, causing you to store more fat on your body.
Cereals spike your blood sugar levels and force your body to store fat. The worst part about cereal is that it will cause you to crash an hour or two later after the steep fall of your blood sugar levels occurs.
Choose eggs, oatmeal, and nuts instead to avoid an aggressive spike in blood sugar.
8. Snack Mixes
Peanuts, raisins, and macadamia nuts are usually in these snack mixes and there is nothing wrong with nuts themselves. However, it’s the way these nuts are processed. I was watching my mother one day as she was reaching into a bag of nuts and I was curious.
I’m always reading food labels and checking to make sure everything is healthy without any added ingredients and to my surprise, when I was reading the label I saw some mind boggling ingredients.
The ingredients listed almonds, macadamia nuts, cotton seed oil, and salt. I couldn’t believe a simple bag of mixed nuts would contain added ingredients like this.
The lesson is check the food label no matter how healthy a food may seem. You may be surprised to see what you read.
One of the worst feelings is thinking you’re eating something healthy for yourself and then finding out a month later that you’ve been eating toxic ingredients.
My recommendation is to find nuts that are not processed and that contain just the plain nut and some sea salt if you prefer. Plain nuts are the healthiest!
9. Fruit Juices
This is a huge misconception that fruit juice is healthy for you. The fruit juices at the grocery store have been treated by perfume companies to perfect the taste, shocking right? Never drink orange juice from the grocery store.
Choose an orange juice that is fresh squeezed that contains some pulp. Drink orange juice sparingly though. Once in a while it’s ok to drink but drinking too much orange juice can really add to your waistline.
The reason for this is because the fiber has been removed from the fruit, which causes the sugar from the fruit to be absorbed very quickly by your body. Once you drink the juice, your blood sugar levels will spike and the fat storing hormone insulin will activated to come in, to lower your blood sugar levels by storing the sugar as FAT.
If you’re an active person or an athlete your body can use this sugar for energy but if you’re going to sit at a desk and do some work or watch TV then you’re going to store it as fat.
Even if you’re an athlete burning thousands of calories a day, you can still store fat by drinking orange juice because of all the sugar it contains.
As an athlete drinking sports drinks was a common thing among team mates and some become fat and overweight from drinking too much sugar.
Stress can be a silent killer as it can cause a variety of serious health issues like hypertension. There are some eye opening numbers related to stress that you may be unaware of: Up to 90% of all doctor visits are stress related, over 40% of adults suffer health problems from stress and it’s over a 50% chance that you can experience an emotional disorder due to chronic stress.
In regards to diet and exercise, stress can cause major problems for both, destroying all of the progress you have made. Stress releases a hormone called cortisol that causes the following problems: impairs the digestive system, can lead to weight gain and can also cause some people to make terrible eating decisions. Stress can lead to emotional eating and unwanted weight gain.
Have you ever heard of the term comfort foods? This is when people eat a certain food, like pasta, bread, or ice cream, to deal with whatever issues they are stressing over. Obviously, this will damage your new lifestyle.
It’s important to learn how to manage your stress. Ironically, exercise is a good way to manage stress because it releases endorphins, which make you feel better, help relieve your anxiety, and take your mind off things that may be causing the stress in the first place. Endorphins are neurotransmitters in your brain that make you feel happy.
In addition to exercise, the following items may help you to better manage your stress:
Meditation, our community forum, getting enough sleep, praying, acupuncture, positive reinforcement, and positive thinking are great ways to alleviate stress.
For me personally if I get stressed, exercising or going to the movies gets my mind thinking about other things and puts me back into a happy state.
Figure out what clears your mind when you’re stressed and use it next time so you can reduce the production of your stress hormone cortisol.
Are You Getting Enough Sleep?
Getting a good night’s sleep is very important for your overall health. Additionally, it also plays an important role in allowing your body to recover from your prior workout session or hard day at work. However, the one area where people don’t truly realize the impact of sleep deprivation is on their diet.
A recent study came out that found poor sleeping habits lead to poor eating habits. Lack of sleep means you can stay up longer and eat more. Additionally, the study found that those who were sleep deprived made poor choices in selecting healthy foods to eat. If you have trouble sleeping, then use the following tips and try them out for yourself:
Set a consistent sleeping routine or schedule
Staying on a schedule can keep you in a regular routine that helps you stay consistent with your new eating routine and lifestyle!
Try not to eat or drink any type of stimulant before bed
Stop eating by 8PM. The closer you eat to going to sleep, the higher the chance your body will store more fat. Your metabolism runs the slowest when you’re sleeping.
Make sure you have a comfortable environment
If you’re uncomfortable at night when you’re going to sleep then you’ll miss out on having a great night’s sleep. Make sure your room is not cluttered and doesn’t have anything that can keep you awake.
Stay off your computer or tablet 1 hour before bed
This is a big one and I always run into this problem. Staring at a bright screen can tell your body that it’s not time to sleep. Make sure you stay away from your computer, iPhone, tablet, and TV an hour before bed.
If you have any computers in your room you’ll want to remove them because they can have charging and blinking lights that can keep you awake. The fan is also loud if you keep your computer running constantly.
Decrease nap time during the day, 10 to 30 minute cat naps
Naps are great but you’ll want to keep them at a minimum of 10 – 30 minutes, so that you don’t take away from your sleep for the upcoming night.
Taking naps too often can keep you awake during the night tossing and turning.
Reduce your stress
Before going to bed, meditating is a great way to decompress and relieve stress. Taking deep breaths and clearing your mind will help you sleep better each night. If you keep your mind running while you’re getting into bed, then you’ll toss and turn all night thinking.
Consistently participate in physical activities
Staying active and keeping your body in motion is very important. You don’t want to go to bed stiff and worn out from sitting all day. It can be uncomfortable.
Stay active as much as you can to keep your life and body balanced for optimal health and sleep.
If you are experiencing a severe amount of sleep deprivation, make sure you consult your physician so they can examine to see if there are physical ailments causing these poor sleeping patterns like sleep apnea.
Accountability and Motivation
Accountability is a significant factor in just about everything we do. Having someone hold you accountable will help you to stay on track with your new lifestyle goals. Additionally, an accountability partner can also help motivate you. These two attributes go hand-in-hand and they are high priorities when exercising and getting back into shape.
There are several options on how to implement these aspects into your life, including reading this book. Choose someone like a friend, family member, or relative to keep you accountable with your new lifestyle change. Perhaps, find someone that will actually start a new lifestyle with you. Additionally, start communicating with fellow members and Slim Down Smart staff.
If you’re not a member of our community then it’s a great way to stay in touch with likeminded people and we have members along with myself writing every day! You can learn more about it in the community. Click Here To Access The Community!
Lack of motivation and accountability can cause you to slack on your new eating habits and not workout. Additionally, lacking in accountability and motivation can cause you to be lazier in your new lifestyle and revert you back to the old you.
A powerful tool that will help you to succeed with your goals is journaling. Additionally, it can also help to keep you motivated and accountable. Writing down what you eat on a daily basis will give you a better idea of the food choices you make and a breakdown of the nutrients you have eaten.
A food journal can also help open your eyes to potentially bad eating habits that you may have not noticed before. It’s amazing when I have clients fill out the daily log for a week to track everything they eat. Every time I review the log there is a food on the list that they didn’t realize they were eating so much of.
This can help you dramatically clean up bad habits and start manufacturing new habits that can keep your body in fat burning mode!
To download the daily log worksheet, click the download now button under daily log on the left.
A workout journal is similar in regards to helping you to keep track of your progress, which is a powerful motivator. Sometimes you may experience progress in non-visual ways like strength or endurance instead of just in weight loss. A workout journal will show you this progress and it will also help you to see what the next step in your overall workout program is.
Both the exercise and food journals will help you to prepare for the next step in your overall lifestyle transformation. The first thing I would do not to move to the next step of success is to download the daily log so you can track you’re eating habits starting today.
Remember your eating routine will account for 85% of your weight loss and exercise will account for 15%. Grab the daily log and start filling it out for 7 days.