The key to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is to exercise regularly and have good eating habits. Some people believe that using and following good eating habits requires a lot of effort and planning, but this is not true. The best way to change everyday habits is by making small changes that will gradually become part of our daily routine.
We all know what it means to make changes in our daily lives that are now firmly established in our lifestyle —for example, we have all learned to brush our teeth and are used to doing so several times every day. Here’s the information you need to make other healthy changes just as easy for you.
Teens should do 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Note the word “activity”: as long as you make your body move, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do complicated exercises or go to the gym daily. The important thing is that every week, you do activities in a balanced way, including aerobic, strength, muscle, and flexibility exercises. It turns the task into a habit by scheduling some kind of physical activity every day.
On days when you have football training or aerobics class, it may not be hard for you to exercise for an hour or more. But most of us are very busy, and 60 minutes of daily physical activity can seem like a long time for us. The good news is that you can divide those 60 minutes into shorter periods of physical activity distributed throughout the day.
Just as you take a healthy snack to kill the worm, “exercise snacks” can help keep your energy level high. For example, get up 15 minutes early and do several stretches or yoga exercises. Keep up the pace, or go jogging at lunchtime. And do the same when you leave your school —or go home by bike or on foot. If you add to this by going up the stairs instead of taking the elevator, gym classes and walks between classes, you will probably get to 60 minutes of physical exercise every day.
Here are ten simple ways to make lifestyle changes to exercise regularly:
- It starts today. Go for a walk.
- Go upstairs instead of taking the elevator.
- Instead of driving or using public transport, go on foot or bike to places like your school or a friend’s home.
- If you drive and you have to go somewhere by car, do not park right in front of the destination, if it is safe to do so, and then walk there.
- Vacuum your room, wash the car, or mow the lawn. It’s not housework; it’s exercise opportunities!
- It limits the time you spend watching TV, using your computer, or playing video games —and when you play video games, try to select interactive games where you have to move.
- Even in the privacy of your room, letting yourself go by your personal rhythms can help you burn more than 300 calories an hour!
- Think about what kind of exercise you’d like to practice and then try it. Take it easy if it’s the first time. And if you’re embarrassed to start alone, find yourself a friend to go with you. You’ll find it easier to stay motivated if you do something you like.
- If you get bored or lose interest in things quickly, various alternate types of activities so you don’t get tired of doing the same thing all the time.
- Make sure you include some activity that accelerates your heart and breathing and makes you sweat.
Healthy eating habits
Eating well does not mean dieting or diet over and over again. Studies have shown that diet often does not work —and weight loss diets can have a rebound effect, since a lot of people when you stop dieting, gained even more weight than you had before you go on a diet.
One of the reasons diets don’t work is because they urge people to think that there are “good” and “bad” foods when the truth is that everything is okay if taken in moderation. Also, most slimming diets should stop eating certain foods, which favors the “cravings” of these particular foods. And many diets and regimens cause essential nutrient deficiencies in the body. Young people should follow a varied diet, and there is nothing wrong with allowing themselves some tasty, but not nutritious delicacy from time to time. For example, a candy bar has a more particular flavor if we take it from time to time than if we do it every day.
The best way to stay at a healthy weight (or lose weight if necessary) is to make healthy choices as far as food is concerned every day. For some, this will involve changing the mindset as now as food is concerned. Instead of thinking about food in emotional terms (for example, as a reward for getting a good grade on an exam or a way to deal with stress), watch as it is —a practical way to fill your body with fuel. Here are ten tips to make healthy eating a part of your life:
- It replaces soft drinks, fruit juices, and sports drinks that are rich in sugar with water, semi-skimmed milk, or sugar-free drinks.
- Take at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day. The fiber will satisfy you, and you will get the nutrients and flavors that your body needs to feel satisfied.
- Eat food from all groups. Apart from fruit and vegetables, it includes whole grains and lean proteins in each meal.
- When you eat at a fast-food facility, make healthy choices as much as possible. Choose a delicious hamburger sandwich (one-story) instead of a huge one (multi-story) and accompany it with a salad instead of fries. Always choose standard rations —not super or extra-large! And even better: avoid fast food establishments whenever you can.
- Always keep healthy foods at hand. If your home kitchen is still full of healthy foods, such as celery, raisins, or peanut butter, you will have far fewer chances to jump on a packet of pasta (you may need to teach your parents a couple of things about food to make sure they buy you good things!)
- Take home your snacks to avoid the temptation of using the vending machines of food or go into a supermarket. Try taking carrot sticks, pieces of fruit or muesli made by you instead of a packet of cookies, a bag of chips or other industrial-made food, which are usually loaded with fat and calories.
- Eat when you’re hungry. If you’re tempted to bite something out of sheer boredom, try to find another way to occupy the time.
- Eat healthy breakfast every day.
- Don’t make the main meals or have snacks watching TV because you’ll probably end up eating more than you need.
- Look at the size of the portions. If one part is too large, cut it in half and leave the other half for later or share it with a friend.
Use your creativity to find ways to introduce regular exercise and healthy eating into your life in a way that works for you. We’re all different. Maybe your best friend would instead sign up for a gym while you have an infinitely better time playing in the park at the flying disco with your dog. If you have fun, everything will be so much easier for you!