Eating less or “dieting” isn’t the only way to change how your body feels, looks and performs. Whilst the crux to healthy living, eating well isn’t the only way to properly look after yourself on all levels – whether that’s mentally, physically and spiritually.
With that, check out the best tips on how you can live your best and healthiest life without dieting in the slightest. Spoiler: you still have to eat veggies.
1. Keep a food diary
The act of logging what you eat makes you more aware of what and how much food you’re eating. Buy yourself a mini notepad or use apps like MyFitnessPal. Tracking your food can even help people who suffer from acne or digestion issues. Writing stuff down lets you get a big picture view of your diet, which can allow you to fill in the gaps.
2. Eat with other people (not with your phone)
Steer your eyes away from screens and your body and mind will thank you in the long run. “Distracted eating” or watching TV scrolling through your smartphone and even working while eating can lead you to eat, more studies show.
There are many benefits to eating with other people, including teaching children social skills and allowing you to decompress after a long day. Research also shows single people eat fewer servings of vegetables a day in comparison to people who are married or live with others.
3. Foam roll
Recovery time is just as important, if not sometimes more valuable, than a workout itself. Foam rolling isn’t a cure-all but it has been proven to help increase your range of motion, increase flexibility and help with muscle soreness. If you can stomach it (pun intended) roll your lower abs to help with digestion.
4. Eat slower
Slow it down, so you can savor and enjoy all the flavors and textures of your food. This act of mindfulness will help you feel full faster and allow your body to digest and absorb all the nutrients. Hard in practice (especially when you have a bowl of pasta in front of you), but worth it in the long run.
5. Drink more water
Hydration – a buzzword among the health-conscious community – has earned its status with good reason. Water actually makes up 60 percent of your body weight. Getting the recommended amount of H2O in you can benefit your skin and your body’s overall equilibrium.
6. Eat more veggies
Eating your vegetables is known to reduce your risk for heart disease and protect against certain types of cancers. Veggies are jam-packed with vitamins and minerals that aren’t easily found in other more processed foods. Add to your diet rather than taking away. When you do it, finish with your veggies before moving onto the main course of the main course.
7. Go to therapy
There are physical benefits to going to therapy as well as the more obvious mental ones. Marian Margulies, PhD, a psychologist in New York City, speaking to Forbes said: “When people do not express feelings but swallow them and keep them buried and out of conscious awareness, one’s body often reacts.”
She added that people may symptoms like ulcers and headaches as our body reacts to stress or mental pain. Consider speaking with a therapist to help sort through your emotions, without putting your body under unnecessary stress.
8. Have packed lunches
Making your own lunch is another great way to make sure you are eating healthily. This is a similar tip to keeping a food diary – you’re allowing yourself to be more aware of what you’re eating. Brown bagging your lunch allows you get to decide what you’re having and not have to line at your favorite salad shop, or the overpriced food truck across the street.
9. Stop eating when you’re full, not stuffed
Learning your hunger cues is a major step towards eating more intuitively. The Washington Post reported that by adulthood, we need to re-learn these hunger cues because our relationship with food has made us well-practiced at ignoring our internal cues of hunger and fullness. Eating out of boredom, rewarding yourself with food or eating to get through emotions is all too common. That’s why taking control of your food will help you feel more satisfied.
10. Eat fruits instead of drinking them
Although juice cleanses are all the rage, the practice leaves your body without the health benefits of whole vegetables and fruits. Juicing can also lead to a lot of food waste, you’re better off eating the whole fruit.
In addition to fiber, another essential nutrient lost in the juicing process is fat which, according to the Daily Beast, the body needs in order to absorb vitamins. Be careful with carton fruit juice too: what goes for 100 percent fruit juice is little more than sugar water.
11. Go to the sauna
Treat yourself to a spa day, including a session in a sauna. Siting in a sauna has been proven to keep the heart healthy and reduce stress. It can even provide some of the same benefits as strenuous exercise, according to many sport science journals.
Now you can live your best life and still enjoy your food to the fullest. Who knows, you could be brimming with so much positive energy, Guy Fieri could ask you to host the next Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. We can only help.