Whether you take a brisk walk on your lunch break or hit the gym for an intense work-out, exercise is beneficial not only to your body, but your mind as well. Working up a sweat can help manage physical and mental stress by increasing concentrations of norepinephrine, a chemical that can moderate the brain’s response to stress. Exercise also releases endorphins, which create feelings of happiness and euphoria. By getting physical, we may be able to cultivate a greater appreciation for the body and how it takes care of us. In turn, we will be more likely to take care of it. Often we think of exercise as something we have to trudge through, but getting moving doesn’t have to be an hour in place on the treadmill. Put on some groovy tunes and dance around the house while you vacuum. Get out in the garden and pull some weeds. Hit the trails for an invigorating hike. Look for pick-up games of soccer or basketball at local parks. If you’re moving, you’re exercising! In support of weight loss, mind-body activities are also particularly beneficial.
Foods to Love and Foods to Avoid
1. Choose low-glycemic index foods: Diets that emphasize choosing foods with a low glycemic index, such as vegetables and whole grains, have been shown to help control appetite in some studies.
2. Feast on fiber: Fiber adds bulk to the diet and tends to produce a sense of fullness, helping people eat fewer calories.
3. Try a low-carb, high protein diet: low-carb, high-fat diets are popular among people trying to lose weight. Some research suggests that their effectiveness is due to the fact that people eat fewer calories while on them.
4. Cut back on calories: People who have successfully lost weight report eating fewer snacks of low nutritional quality and eating breakfast regularly. They also report getting fewer calories from fat and more from protein.
5. Find a diet that fits: For long-term success, choose a healthy diet that you can stay with. With each weight fluctuation, it becomes easier to gain weight and harder to lose it, so make changes that last.
6. Avoid the Extras: Choose foods close to the Earth and straight form the source. Fresh fruits and veggies, grass-fed meats and cheeses, whole grains and legumes. Stick to the perimeter of the grocery stores and steer clear of processed, packaged foods.