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Consistency beats intensity when it comes to health

Posted by jason on June 24, 2014 No responses

We’ve all been guilty of opting for the quick fix over the long-term solution. We know it’s not right, but it seems easier than tackling our bad habits once and for all to alter and improve our lifestyles.

When it comes to health at wellness though, consistency beats intensity. Further, it’s not as difficult as it seems to consistently make healthier choices so that you’re not opting for that last minute extreme diet or fitness plan.

Today, commit to a long-term and sustainable healthier you by incorporating these five easy diet alternations:

1. Make it convenient. The reason we eat fast food is because it’s fast. Make fruits and vegetables fast and convenient so when you’re hungry, it’s easy to reach for the good stuff. For instance: Chop your carrots into sticks so they’re perfect for snack time, slice your cucumbers and marinate them with onion and vinegar to create an accessible salad, cut and deseed your watermelon so it’s ready to eat when you’re craving it. Preparation is your best defense against poor diet choices.

2. Eliminate diet drinks. These are especially menacing to your health because many assume diet drinks are a healthy option and in turn, drink several a day in place of water. The label may boast zero calories but fake sweeteners actually increase your appetite. Further, artificial sweeteners are, well, artificial. You don’t want to fuel your body with a handful of chemicals you can’t pronounce. * Substitute your diet drinks with herbal tea or water. If you need to add flavor, add lemon, lime or even a bit of Stevia or Agave nectar.

3. Sneak in veggies. It can be tough to consume your daily recommended veggie intake. Get creative. For example: Add frozen spinach to your spaghetti sauce or smoothie. Toss cauliflower into your food processeser and transform it into “rice” or “mashed potatoes.” Rethink vegetables to enhance your diet.

4. Curb sodium intake. Americans consume twice as much sodium as we’re supposed to. The American Heart Association says if we cut just 400 milligrams of sodium a day, we’d have 250,000 fewer heart disease cases and 200,000-plus fewer deaths over the next 10 years. Further, decreasing sodium will decrease the number on your scale. Sodium makes us retain water which causes bloating. No thanks.

5. Switch to whole grain. Refined white grains are devoid of the fiber, vitamins and minerals that their whole grain counterparts are full of. From now on opt for bread, pasta and cereals that are unrefined or whole grain. Don’t take it from me. According to a University of Washington study, switching from white to whole wheat bread can lower heart disease risk by 20 percent.

The cool thing is, one healthy choice leads to another. Once you start making healthier choices, you’ll feel so great, you’ll want to keep going. Take one small step to better health today and you’ll thank yourself tomorrow.

*Originally published in the Tennessean Examiner.

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