Pulling It All Together
Beyond the basic six small protein-rich meals, learning to manage stress, getting enough high quality sleep, eating fewer processed foods and promoting a healthy microbiome are things that can be done to live healthier lives and keep weight in check. And guess what? A few basic lifestyle habits can help you achieve all of these.
Exercise is a habit that is intertwined with many areas of good health. It helps to lower stress hormones, increases energy, improves mood, improves sleep quality, burns calories, builds muscle –increasing metabolism, and promoting strength, flexibility and balance. Set aside time each day for exercise—whether it is 20 minutes on the treadmill first thing in the morning, the gym on the way home, walking at lunch or any activity that you can do consistently. It all adds up to a healthier you.
Shut off the TV and computer and head to bed. Set a regular bedtime and routine and then stick with it. Sleep should become a higher priority when you realize that shorting your shut-eye causes weight gain.
Try out some stress management techniques to find one that works for you—yoga, meditation, deep breathing, regular exercise, or guided imagery. Then practice it regularly so when you really need it, you’ll have the skill down pat.
Start preparing fresh, unprocessed food at home and take it with you when you leave the house. Without hyper-rewarding processed foods in your diet, you won’t feel as driven to overeat. You’ll also promote healthy bacteria in your gut with fresh or lightly cooked vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and fermented foods (tofu, miso, cottage cheese, yogurt, and kefir).
Take supplemental probiotics. They may help you to manage stress better and increase weight loss. In one study with gastric bypass patients, those taking a probiotic supplement lost more weight during the year following surgery.