Water boosts energy, improves skin elasticity and moisture, and prevents mental and physical fatigue. Drinking water 30 minutes before meals helps you feel more satisfied with less food. Dehydration, on the flip side, triggers headaches. Your water needs depend on your size, physical activity, sweat rate, and the temperature and humidity where you live. Drink 10 glasses a day as a starting point (you can also divide your weight (lbs.) in half and that should tell you the number of fluid ounces of water to drink a day). Pale urine color is another indicator of proper hydration. Try adding two glasses of water to the amount you currently drink and see if you feel any better. Drink 30 minutes before or after meals as well as throughout the day, drinking alongside meals can interfere with digestion.
2. Improve Your Sleep
In addition to looking and feeling exhausted, lack of sleep wrecks the hormones that control appetite. When sleep deprived, the body produces less of the hormone that makes you feel full, and more of the hormone that makes you feel hungry. The result is increased appetite and insatiable hunger. Plus, when low on energy, you’ll reach for quick energy boosters like sweets and carbs. All of these can make you put on extra pounds or make it difficult to lose weight.
Most adults need 7-8 hours of high quality sleep. Do you need more hours of sleep or does your sleep need to be more restful? You might need to create a calming bedtime routine, remove electronics from your bedroom, or avoid caffeine in the afternoon to improve your sleep.
3. Pick a New Healthy Habit
Establishing just one main healthy habit will set the tone for an overall healthy lifestyle. It helps you focus your energy, and the effect will trickle down to other parts of your life. How about a daily lunch salad or a daily green vegetable smoothie for breakfast? You can download my free Healthy Salad and Smoothie Builder for different ideas here http://www.nourzibdeh.com/healthybuilders/
4. Eat 5 Servings of Vegetables Each Day
A serving is one cup raw or a half cup cooked vegetables. It’s not impossible to eat that much! A cup of raw spinach with your breakfast smoothie, two cups of raw salad vegetables for lunch, and another cup of roasted broccoli for dinner is five servings. Add another cup of cut-up veggies for a snack and you’ve already had more than five servings. Vary the type and color of vegetables you eat to help benefit from more nutrients and antioxidants.
5. Eat Every Three to Four Hours
Skip one meal and you’ll graze mindlessly the following few hours and over eat at the next meal. I recommend spacing meals and snacks three to four hours apart to balance hormones and allow your digestive tract to cleanse naturally and properly. While each person’s schedule is different, I suggest breakfast at 8am, lunch at 12pm, an afternoon snack at 3pm, and dinner between 6pm and 7pm.
Nour Zibdeh, MS RDN CLT, is a functional nutritionist who helps people with digestive diseases and discomfort, weight loss, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, food sensitivities, migraines and headaches, hypothyroidism, and chronic fatigue. Nour sees clients in her office in Herndon in Northern Virginia and by phone. She shares many free resources including recipes, and articles on her website at www.nourzibdeh.com. You can also download her free ebook, 40 Tips to Spend Less Time Cooking Without Eating Junk here: 40 Tips to Spend Less Time Cooking