(StatePoint) Setting big health goals can be a double-edged sword. While many of us feel inspired to improve our health, happiness and wellbeing, we often find the changes hard to sustain, and sometimes end up reverting back to old practices.
Check out these tips for starting and maintaining a healthier lifestyle.
Many people hoping to improve their fitness routines and eating habits quickly become discouraged when results aren’t immediate. Instead of cancelling your new gym membership and opting for a box of chocolates, set achievable and realistic goals to stay on track.
If losing weight is the objective, aim for 10 pounds instead of 50. If you succeed at losing the first 10, celebrate and make a new goal.
Instead of adopting an extreme diet, cut back on one snack a day or incorporate a smoothie as a healthy meal replacement. Use ingredients like fresh fruit, dark leafy greens, flax or chia seeds -- even savory vegetables like beets -- the possibilities are endless.
Fuel Up to Get Fit
Sticking to fitness goals takes the right fuel. Eating whole foods instead of processed foods will give you more and longer-lasting energy. Plus, a whole-food diet is more simple and sustainable than restrictive calorie counting or elimination diets.
Powering your body with snacks like low-fat yogurt topped with granola, fresh hummus and whole-grain pita, or an apple and peanut butter, will carry your body through a workout and help you feel fuller longer. To make delicious homemade nut butter, throw three cups of roasted, unsalted peanuts or cashews into a high-powered blender like a Vitamix machine and blend for a minute or so. The result is a gooey, good-for-you treat that will provide ample energy for healthy pursuits.
While grocery shopping, stick to the outer perimeter of the store and pick up nutrient-rich and versatile ingredients like avocados, chickpeas, bananas, nuts and spinach, that can stand alone or be mixed into everything from healthy salads to frozen desserts.
Indulge Your Sweet Tooth
Being healthy and eating whole foods doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your sweet tooth. Before you plunge into a tub of cookie dough, consider other ways to curb cravings. Make your own, customized whole-food ice cream without artificial colors, flavors or preservatives using a blender. Varieties like apple pie and spiced strawberry will delight without guilt.
Or try a simple sorbet: blend two peeled oranges, two tablespoons sugar and four cups of ice. Use a blender with special settings for this purpose, such as the Vitamix Professional Series 750. Its Frozen Dessert program, one of the machine’s five pre-programmed settings, allows you to make an easy, healthy dessert in minutes.
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