April is Employee Health & Fitness Month (EHFM), an international observance of health and fitness in the workplace. In recognition of EHFM, University of Michigan Frankel CVC Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist Martha Weintraub shares 5 healthy lifestyle tips.
If you’re looking for ways to improve your health, you probably already know that lifestyle changes can make a huge difference in healthy outcomes. But with so many possibilities and so much free advice everywhere you look, sometimes it’s hard to know where to begin. Because it’s important to start with goals that are achievable, here are 5 easy changes you can make today to help you reach your goal of a heart-healthy lifestyle.
1. Eat more vegetables.
Vegetables can naturally help you with portion control if you aim to make them half of both your lunch and dinner. Choose a variety of different colors of vegetables since each color represents different vitamins and minerals the plant has produced. Vegetables are rich in nutrients with very few calories, so enjoy a rainbow of choices!
2. Hydrate without calories.
Sugary drinks can provide a huge number of extra calories without giving you a feeling of fullness. This can make it difficult to reach or maintain a healthy weight. In addition, sweetened beverages have been linked to a number of health problems. Save your money for delicious food instead. Eat your calories and drink water!
3. Track your intake.
If you’re interested in losing weight, or in looking for patterns to help you avoid pitfalls and make more healthy food choices, writing down what you eat or using an online program or app to track your food intake can be extremely helpful. Tracking food intake has been shown to help with weight management and may provide you with clues about your own obstacles and successes.
4. Move more.
If you’ve never exercised, start with simply trying to move more. Use the stairs rather than an elevator, park farther from your destination and walk the extra distance, and get up from your chair more often simply to stretch and move around. Adding an exercise routine to your day can help you manage your weight, increase your muscle mass and improve your strength and flexibility.
5. Eat mindfully.
Eating mindfully means that the foods you choose and how much you eat are decisions you make intentionally. It’s difficult to fully enjoy your food and to pay attention to how much you are eating if your mind is on something else. Instead of reading, watching television or using the computer while eating, focus on how the food looks, smells and tastes, and on how your hunger changes as you eat. Eating mindfully can increase the enjoyment of the food and help you notice when you are satisfied without overeating. Choosing what to eat and how much to eat means that you are in charge of your own behavior, which is always a good place to start in the journey toward improving health!
Take the next step:
- Watch a video about shopping your local farmers market.
- Schedule an appointment with a U-M Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. Call 877-885-8444.
The University of Michigan Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center is a top-ranked heart and heart surgery program among Michigan hospitals. To learn more, visit our website at umcvc.org.