How to Mindfully Eat to Lose Weight: A Step by Step Guide

How to Mindfully Eat to Lose Weight: A Step by Step Guide

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Instead of focusing on restricting foods, when you mindfully eat, you focus on having high quality, relaxed and pleasurable eating experiences. With Mindful eating, you learn to eat only when you are hungry and only when you are truly enjoying your food. This means you would avoid grabbing a chip from a serving bowl at a party or while cooking dinner. When I am not focusing on mindful eating I sometimes grab food from my toddler’s unfinished plate. Afterwards I think why did I even do that? Cold chicken nuggets are not even tasty! Whenever I do this mindLESS grabbing, I am never really enjoying my food.

I had a client once tell me that the last bite on her plate always tastes the best because that is the only bite she notices. She then always wants a second helping because she didn’t pay attention while she was eating the first serving. So how do you know if you are mindlessly eating? If you are grabbing bits of food here and there and eating from the serving bag or bowl, you are probably mindlessly eating. Are you are scooping up your next bite while you are still chewing your first bite? If so, you are probably mindLESSly eating. If you are a fast eater, then you are probably mindLESSly eating? So what are the steps to mindfully eating?

(Remember, for every step of the eating process, from preparing, plating, and tasting your food, you should focus on being aware of the moment you are in.)

Step 1: Preparing your food

cooking photo

When preparing, don’t taste and nibble while you are cooking. You should always sit down and eat from a plate.

Step 2: Plating your Food

When plating your food, be conscious of how much you are plating. PAUSE and ask yourself is this a reasonable amount of food? Do not starve yourself. Don’t eat so little at one meal or throughout the day that you binge the next day. Just look and ask yourself is this a reasonable amount of food. Think about a healthy plate vs. an over-the-top plate. How does your plate compare? If you want to see examples of a healthy plate check out myplate.gov plate below.

One technique that may help in combination with Mindful eating is to plate your food on a smaller salad plate. If you use a smaller plate but have issues with piling your food too high; grab another plate, turn it over, and use it as a lid. If the rims of both plates do not touch, you may have piled the food on too high.

Or you may want to mindfully plate your food using a portion control plate which includes a lid. You can use the lid to make sure you are not piling the food on to high. One type of preportioned plate is the Precise Portions 2-Go Healthy Portion Control Plates, Pack of 2, BPA-Free, 3-Section Plate with Leak-Proof Lids, Dishwasher & Microwave Safe, Helps Manage & Lose Weight, Metabolism & Blood Sugar. This plate includes the lid so that you can be sure you are not piling the food on to high.  (If you would like more of these tips to use in combination with Mindful Eating, click here.) Before sitting down, PAUSE to make sure you were not mindlessly piling on the food. You will notice pausing is crucial to the Mindful eating process.

myplate photo
Photo by USDAgov

Step 3: Eating your Food

Remember to sit down and eat from a plate. Before putting a bite in your mouth, PAUSE. Really notice the food. Thank God for this time to enjoy your food. Notice the color, textures, and smells before your first bite. Continue to do this for every bite. Put your fork down between each bite. DO NOT PREPARE the next bite until you have swallowed and taken a sip of drink. Take a sip of drink between each bite. During the meal, PAUSE occasionally to notice if you are full and ask yourself questions. Ask questions like “Am I full?”; “How does this bite taste?”; “Am I enjoying my food?” “Am I hungry or emotionally eating?” Asking these questions helps you stay mindfully aware throughout the meal. You will be surprised at how full and satisfied you will be on less food. The key is pausing before you put food into your mouth.

Step 4: Snacking on Food:

Just like with a meal, PAUSE before and during the snack to ask yourself if you are mindfully snacking. Before putting a bite in your mouth, ask yourself “Is this mindLESS eating?” If the answer is ‘yes’, then don’t do it. Save your food for when you can truly enjoy your food. No sense in wasting your allotted calories on food you are not enjoying.

Examples of mindLESS snacking are during cooking, store samples, social nibbling, dinner clean up, and (my issue) cold toddler leftovers. If the answer is ‘yes, I am mindlessly eating’, then ask youself why? Are you bored, stressed, or tired and wanting to eat even when you are not physically hungry? If you are not hungry, tell youself you can wait until the next meal, which is only BLANK hours away. Usually you only have 30 minutes to 2 hours before the next meal. If you would like more of these tips to use in combination with Mindful Eating, click here.) If you ask yourslef the question, “Are you hungry?” and you are hungry, get a plate, sit down, and follow steps 1 through 3.

Step 5: Eating at Restaurants

Ask the waitress for a box as soon as your food arrives. Mindfully, fill the box with food from your plate until your plate looks like an appropriate meal. Remember mindfulness is being aware of what you are doing at each moment. Be aware of what you are leaving on your plate. Then, follow step 3 to eat your food.

restaurant photo

Why does Mindfully Eating Work?

By eating this way, you will notice that you are full on less calories and are even craving more high quality foods.

Still not convinced that mindful eating can drastically change your calorie intake? Let me put it to you this way. Let’s say you are eating a meal with a big athletic young football player. Of course he will need AND eat much more than most so he scarfs down 3 plates full of food in 45 minutes. You use the Mindful eating techniques and only eat one appropriate plate but it also took you 45 minutes. You chewed slowly and really tasted each and every bite while he gulped down his food.

If you think about it, you had your food in your mouth and were tasting your food the same amount of time as the football player who ate 3 times as much as you. He ate more, but you had food in your mouth and tasted your food the same amount of time as he did. So you were able to enjoy it for as long as if you had quickly eaten 3 plates full.

Develop Your Own Weight Loss Plan

In another blog post, I discuss that we all have reasons for our gain weight. If we don’t understand our reasons, then we won’t be able to develop solutions. Mindful eating can often be used exclusively to help with many of your weight loss barriers or in combination with other techniques.

If you would like to learn more about mindful eating, you may want to read The Mindful Diet: How to Transform Your Relationship with Food for Lasting Weight Loss and Vibrant Health by Ruth Q Wolever, P.h.D and Beth Reardon, MS, RD, LDN with Tania Hannan.

Have you had success with Mindful Eating? When do you mindlessly eat? What are your barriers to weight loss? Were you able to find solutions to those barriers?

*If you would like to evaluate your own diet and determine which tips work best for you, please take the free DIY Diet self assessment and evaluation developed by a registered dieititian.

 

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The ONE Thing I Did to Lose Weight AND Strengthen My Walk with God

The ONE Thing I Did to Lose weight AND Strengthen My Walk with God:

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The Weight Loss Journey

Middle school is tough, especially when you are on the heavier side. Fortunately by 8th grade I had lost all of my excess weight. In fact, my weight struggle is what inspired me to major in nutrition in college. I managed to keep off all the weight all way through high school, college, and grad school; and learned the best practices for weight loss and nutrition in college and grad school. When I practiced what I preached, I was able to keep the weight off, and I kept the weight off until I got married….

After I was happily married, the weight began to creep back on. For the first time since middle school I was overweight again. Using my training and dietetic counseling skills on myself, I was able to muster enough will power to lose the weight again. (You can read more about my weight journey and training here). Four years later, I had a baby and managed to muster up the motivation and willpower to lose the baby weight again.

break room photo

 

Mindfulness was Life Changing

As I began getting older, the weight was harder and harder to keep off. I noticed cheat days had much more of an impact. When I became pregnant again, I didn’t want to gain as much weight as I did with my first child. However, I didn’t want to diet while pregnant. I decided to use only one weight loss technique. I decided to simply mindfully eat. For the first time, I did not need willpower. After the birth of my daughter, I continued with the mindful eating, and the weight just dropped off. The. Easiest. Weight. Loss. Ever!

yoga outside photo
Photo by StevenSimWorld

I didn’t deprive myself and didn’t even feel the need to have cheat days. I discovered the most important component of mindfully eating, for me, was to PAUSE before eating. That pause or lack of the pause was the determining factor for whether I would mindfully eat or not at that particular meal. So why is this pause so crucial?

When I pause, I remind myself to take my time, notice my food, notice if I am eating an appropriate amount, and most importantly, I thank God for the food. During this pause, I remind myself to eat God’s gift of food for enjoyment and nourishment. I remind myself to take the time to pay attention to my food instead of over consuming without even noticing that I am eating.

Mindfulness Did so Much More than Help with Weight Loss

This one pause before the meal was crucial for my nutritional health, but I also began to notice how crucial the pause was in every aspect of my life. The Bible talks about praying continuously. In a way, the pause in life helps me pray more continuously.

prayer photo

I began to notice the impact of pausing and praying before entering any new environment whether the new environment is a park, a friend’s home, or the grocery store. Pausing and praying, was life changing. I began to notice the importance of pausing and praying when I felt angry, or before saying something difficult, or before even talking with my children. I noticed the importance of not only pausing and praying before meals and snacks, but also before bed and before getting up in the morning.

When I forget to do this, I notice the difference in MY actions and my strength to endure life. On the days that I do a better job of pausing, I notice God’s presence and God’s guidance more. When I pause more, I feel like I am truly letting God lead me, and I am reminded that no matter what happens, God is right there. I can feel God’s presence in the very room with me, and I feel I have the strength to focus on God’s will instead of my emotions. We don’t have to rush into every situation, and we don’t have to rush to speak. We can and should PAUSE and take our time in life.

Want to Learn More About Mindfulness?

To learn more details about how to incorporate mindful eating into your life click here. If you would like to do your own nutrition assessment and develop your own weight loss plan, click here.

You can also get some great mindful eating for weight loss techniques by reading The Mindful Diet: How to Transform Your Relationship with Food for Lasting Weight Loss and Vibrant Health.

Have you ever tried pausing more often in life? Or before meals? Did you notice and appreciate how amazing God is more often?

*If you would like to evaluate your own diet and determine which tips work best for you, please take the free DIY Diet self assessment and evaluation developed by a registered dieititian.

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Emotional Eating and Weight Loss

Tips to Avoid Emotional Eating

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    1. Identify the emotions that make you eat, and do something else to cope instead.
    2. Picture your goal weight the next time a trigger strikes to help you resist temptation.
    3. Find another joy/hobby to do that can help you when you are feeling emotional. Before eating a meal remind yourself of something you really enjoy doing and tell yourself you will do that after you finish eating. That way you won’t feel like your favorite hobby (eating) is over after you eat. You will have something else to look forward to instead of eating more food.

      stress eating photo
      Photo by ginnerobot
    4. If sadness is an emotional trigger, do something else that makes you happy. For example watch a funny movie, when you feel sad, and don’t eat while you watch it. Or pray or call a friend when you are sad.
    5. When a trigger or craving hits, reward yourself or comfort yourself right away with something else you enjoy. Ex: dance, read, other hobbies, shop, call a friend, see a movie, Take deep breaths or baths, go to spas, get messages, read a devotional, pray etc. These are great ways to reward yourself for not caving into the emotion.
    6. Visualize success.
    7. Pause and pray every time you are experiencing a strong emotion.
    8. Watch a movie when you are snacking due to boredom. This works better than TV, because you may want to eat while watching the movie at first, but soon you will be so into the movie you will forget about food. TV doesn’t work as well because you will start thinking about food during commercials.
    9. When stressed, exercise instead of eating. Exercising is one of the greatest ways to ease stress. Remember exercise suppresses appetites. Exercise also generates energy, relieves stress, and improves moods.

      exercise photo
      Photo by Sole Treadmill
    10. If you like to snack when you are busy, stressed, or studying, have healthy raw veggies on hand.
    11. You can even have your snacks already portioned out ahead of time in snack size containers like Steelware Snap Seal Leak-proof Stainless Steel Snack Size Lunch Box Containers for Adults and Kids (12 oz. each).
    12. If food is your only source of pleasure, make sure to reconnect with other things you enjoy like sports, music, volunteering, or movies.
    13. Take up a hobby so that you can enjoy another activity in your leisure time besides eating. People who succeed at weight control tend to develop new hobbies, interests, and friendships.
    14. Accept your feelings.
    15. Don’t keep tempting comfort foods in the house. If you know you will eat a high calorie food when you are upset, don’t keep that food in the house.
    16. If you tend to eat when you are tired, try doing something relaxing instead like closing your eyes, taking deep breaths, and praying.

*If you would like to evaluate your own diet and determine which tips work best for you, please take the free DIY Diet self assessment and evaluation developed by a registered dieititian.

Copyright © 2017 Mindfulness in Faith and Food.

You are free to retain any and all content here for personal use, but need permission to use it anywhere else on the internet.

Photo by hang_in_there

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Weight Loss Tips for Parties and Social Gatherings

How To Stick with Your Healthy Lifestyle Goals Even at Social Gatherings

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  1. Drink a glass of water before you leave your house; then drink a glass of water before taking your first bite of food. You could use a water bottle that helps you keep track of your water intake like 30oz Inspirational Water Bottle With Time Marker and Measurements (Think Positive Aqua)
  2. Instead of stressing about calories, focus on slowing down and enjoying your food. Make sure you put your fork down, slowly chew your food, and finally  take a sip of your drink before picking up your fork to prepare your next bite.
  3. Eat a healthy snack before you go to a party so that you are not starving when you get to there.
  4. Don’t try everything at the party. Select small samples of the best at the table. Look at everything and rate the food before deciding what to get. If food isn’t a 10 then pass.buffet photo
  5. When people are bringing food, bring your own healthy food option for everyone to enjoy, and eat only your healthy food.
  6. If the party is at your house, prepare only delicious healthy foods by using lower fat versions for ingredients or using a healthy cookbook.
  7. Volunteer to help so that you can do something else besides eating (Ex: blow up balloons)
  8. Practice saying, “No thank you.” before hand.
  9. Don’t stand near the food.
  10. Pay attention to other joys around you, such as family and friends and the decor or environment.
  11. Keep your hands busy by holding and sipping on a glass of water; sometimes we eat at parties just to be doing something or we feel like we want something in our hands.water photo
  12. Limit the alcohol; again hold a glass of water, diet soda, or diet lemonade.
  13. Eat slowly from a plate. That way you won’t run out of food on your plate and go back for seconds. Just very slowly nibble food from your plate while you enjoy the party.
  14. Sometimes you will eat more at a social gathering. Often times the problem is not how much we ate at the party, but more that we give up and overindulge as soon as we have eaten just a little bit more than usual. Sometimes we have an all or nothing approach. If a social gathering throws a kink into your routine, don’t just throw in the towel. Instead, focus on mindfully eating and enjoying your food slowly. You can be proud that you ate healthier than usual at a party even if you eat more than you usually do on a daily basis. For more information about mindful eating click here.

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How To Stay Motivated To Lose Weight

  1. When you need some encouragement, check out success stories on Pinterest. I am always rejuvenated whenever I watch others making healthier lifestyle changes.
  2. Pray before you eat and pray when you are experiencing emotions like stress that are tempting you to emotionally eat.
  3. Join a weight loss message board or challenge group. Nothing helps re-motivate like hearing other success stories. Alli and Beachbody have a great message boards. With Beachboy, you can even have an online coach available for encouragement and motivations. If I am craving something I like to go to a weight loss message board. Before I know it, my cravings are gone and my motivation is sky high. You may get discouraged.
  4. Place motivational quotes around your kitchen or make a motivational playlist of songs, and listen to inspiring music whenever you need a motivational boost.

    diet quote photo
    Photo by Conny Sandland
  5. Use meditation to help you cope with chronic stress.
  6. Tell a family member or friend you goals and your plan on how to reach them. Have your friend check up on you, hold you accountable, and encourage you. One idea is have a sticker chart. Every time your family member sees you do something well, they put a sticker on your chart. Every time they see you slip up, they take a sticker away. When you fill up one sticker chart, you get to get a reward or prize.
  7. Partner up with a family or friend who want to lose weight as well. Make it a competition and have a fun prize for each other when you reach your goals. Be sure to tell each other your goals and plans. Have regular check-ins with each other, hold each other accountable, and encourage each other.
  8. Take a photo of yourself throughout your weight loss journey to see the changes.
  9. Place reminders around your kitchen. Place a reminder on your cabinet like, “Eat fruits and vegetables for your snack,” or “Remember to pause before you eat.” (See Mindful Eating).
  10. Weigh yourself only once a week on the same time and day each week, no more and no less. Weighing in helps keep you accountable. However, weighing in too much can distress you because weight can fluctuate on its own throughout the week due to water and hormones. People who regularly weigh themselves are more likely to lose weight.
  11. When you lose weight, donate your bigger clothes to help you stay motivated.
  12. Focus on the process, not the end result. Be proud of your actions and don’t agonize over the weight. If you followed your plan, ate healthy, and exercised that day or that week, then rejoice. You did it. You are doing what you need to do to lose weight and that is all that you can do. Just think of it like this, if you were fit and healthy that day, then tell yourself, “I was fit and healthy today!” The past is the past. You did it today!
  13. Celebrate success by treating yourself to a favorite activity or outfit or a small trinket. Try not to use food as a reward. You can celebrate reaching a weight goal, but also be sure to celebrate just for following your diet plans regardless of weight.
  14. Expect setbacks and forgive yourself. Setbacks are part of the process.
  15. Be realistic. Slow, moderate weight loss is the best way to lose weight.
  16. Every cheat you have to add 10 minutes of activity.
  17. Put a smiley face sticker on every day of your calendar that you did well. You will be so proud of yourself when you can see all those stickers on your calendar.
  18. For a quick motivational boost, whenever you are feeling like you are tempted to eat something you shouldn’t, pump your fist and say to yourself, “I can conquer this!”   This may be just enough to pump you up.
determination photo
Photo by Dana Lookadoo – Yo! Yo! SEO
  1. Use go-to phrases. The minute we start to feel weak and want to cave, we start finding ways to talk ourselves into eating.   We want to rationalize and find a way to give ourselves permission to fail. You might say, “I’m really stressed today and just need to splurge this once”, “I deserve this because I had a hard day,” or “I will just eat less tomorrow.”   If you start this kind of self-talk, you are probably going to give into your temptations. The minute you hear yourself starting this kind of self talk, immediately change what you are saying to yourself. Instead of saying, “This one time won’t hurt,” say “I only have to wait (BLANK) days until my free day,” or ask yourself “Am I hungry or is this something else?” (See the step-by- step guide to mindful eating.) A lot of mindful eating is about eating slowly and taking the time to ask yourself questions like “Am I hungry?” Other positive self-talk you could say are, “I only have two weeks until that wedding, beach, weigh in or until I can buy that dress as a reward for eating healthy.” When you know a difficult moment is about to occur, plan how you are going to talk to yourself ahead of time. Think of how you might rationalize to convince yourself to overeat, and then plan how you are going to talk yourself out of it. One of my favorite go-to phrases is “be mindful of God’s presence while I eat”. Eating becomes an act of worship for me. I remind myself I am taking care of God’s creation (me). I want to glorify God by eating slowly and nourishing the body God made. I remind myself of 1 Corinthians 10:31 which says, “so whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Wow! What a great reminder!  1 Corinthians 6: 19-20 reminds me that my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit and that I should glorify God in my body. When I mindLESSly eat, I miss the opportunity to be in awareness of God’s presence.
no one ever got to the top photo
Photo by symphony of love
  1. Set up two-week increments as your mini-goals. Think of it as you only have two weeks until you can give yourself a small break. However, when you get to the end of the two weeks, have one free day; then, immediately start another 2-week mini-goal for the consecutive 2 weeks.
  2. When you are wanting to graze or can tell you are giving into unhealthy snacking temptations tell yourself “I can’t wait to relax and enjoy a healthy meal.” Learn to see your healthy meals positively. Eat slowly so that you can enjoy your food for the same amount of time as when you were eating a larger portion. Sometimes, especially when we are emotional eating, we want to eat large portions because we don’t want the meal to end. (see the step by step guide to Mindful eating).
  3. Share your goals with someone for moral support and accountability.
  4. For maintenance, establish a weight threshold. In other words, continue to weight yourself regularly and decide your weight limit. Tell yourself, “I will gain no mire than five to ten pound.” Have a set plan of action for if you hit your upper limit. Your plan could include re-doing your Diet Self Assessment from this blog. When you reach your upper limit of your weight threshold, reevaluate your diet or add another tip. Make sure you haven’t loosened up your lifestyle changes or not letting yourself eat larger portions.
  5. Find a daily routine that works for you. We are less likely to error if our days follow a similar routine. Eat the same time and way every day. Write down specifics for your routine like, “I will only eat out two days a week and those days will be Friday and Saturday.” Add something fun to your routine everyday. That way you will have something to look forward to besides eating food. Also, your routine will not get too monotonous or boring.

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Weight Loss Tips for Vacations and Frequent Travelers

How do I still lose weight even on Vacation?

Vacations can be hard. Once I gained 12 pounds on a week and a half vacation. It took me 6 months to get those 12 pounds back off. Now I try to follow some of these tips whenever I vacation.

  1. Walk the beach instead of sunbathing.
  2. When traveling, bring healthy snacks instead of stopping at fast food places.
  3. Do the eating out tricks found in the “Eating Out for Weight Loss” post during your vacation.travel photo
  4. Splurge for one meal every other day.
  5. Eat healthy for breakfast and lunch and splurge a little at dinner.
  6. Take a walk around the terminal while you are waiting for your flight
  7. Do crunches, push-ups, and stretches everyday in your hotel room.
  8. Plan fun physical activities for your vacation like hiking, swimming, canoeing, skiing, walking while sightseeing, etc.
  9. Stay at a hotel with a fitness room.
  10. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

If you would like to evaluate your own diet and determine which tips work best for you, please take the free DIY Diet self assessment and evaluation developed by a registered dieititian.

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Exercises You Can Do with Your Children

 

How do I Exercise When My Kids are Always Around?

kids playing photo

  1. Plan a daily physical activity you can do with your child.
  2. Make your weekend family outings physical ones like biking, swimming, or miniature golf. Go to an amusement park, or a park and play on the playground. Go canoeing, rock wall climbing, hula hoop, fly a kite, ice-skating, or jump rope. Go to a bowling alley, batting cage, or hit golf balls at a driving range. Set up fun obstacle courses using fun outdoor toys, play outdoor games like catch or tag. Play laser tag or ultimate Frisbee,
  3. Walk around your yard while you kids play outdoor games.
  4. Play with your kids 30 minutes a day.

    kids playing photo
    Photo by donnierayjones
  5. Buy a set of hand weights and play a round of Simon Says with your kids. You play Simon Says with the weights; they play without weights.
  6. Swim with your kids.
  7. Walk the dog with your children.
  8. While watching child’s sporting events and practices, walk during time outs, half times, etc
  9. Play a physical Wii game with your children
  10. Play Twister with your children.
  11. Take a family walk after dinner.
  12. Push a stroller.

    moms with strollers photo
    Photo by Serge Melki
  13. Exercise or go for walks while you are waiting for your children at practices like dance, soccer, or piano practice.
  14. Exercise while child plays at park.
  15. Walk in the pool with your child or while your older child plays.
  16. You can even do sitting exercise when you are trying to be subtle like flexing your stomach or legs. Hold your legs just above the ground to strengthen you leg muscles.
  17. Go for a run with your stroller
  18. Do exercises with your stroller like squats, lunges, and jogging.
  19. Take the stairs with child.
take the stairs photo
Photo by laverrue
  1. Set timer at home and dance with child before and after meals.
  2. Walk the perimeter of the playground while your child plays.

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How to Lose Weight When You Are Too Busy to Exercise

When I AM Too Busy to Exercise…

take the stairs photo
Photo by laverrue

Our goal should be a minimum of 30-60 minutes of daily activity a day; but many of us just don’t have 30 minutes to an hour to spare everyday. The good news is that you do not have to do all 30 to 60 minutes consecutively to reap the weight loss benefits. These 30-60 minutes can be split up into smaller segments each day.   See the tip below on how to sneak physical activity into your day.

  1. Do sit-ups in front of the TV or march in place during commercials
  2. Actively clean to music.
  3. Make a goal to climb 5 extra flights of stairs a day.
  4. Stand while doing things instead of sitting. Standing an extra 2 hours can burn around 300 calories a day (Examples: stand while checking emails, playing with your children, reading, talking on the phone, etc)
  5. Put the remote away from the TV so that you will have to get up to change the channel and turn up the volume.
  6. March in place while cooking. Or do a few jumping jacks or bicep curls with canned food while you are waiting for your water to boil or while you are waiting for your food to finish cooking in the pan, etc.
  7. While in a rocking chair, push off the floor with your feet.
  8. Sit on an exercise ball at work or in front of a TV. This burns more calories and tones more than sitting in a chair.
  9. Walk while talking on the phone. Twenty-five minutes of brisk walking can burn 100 calories.
  10. Instead of carrying everything to a room or up the stairs at one time, take several trips. Turning one trip up the stairs into 4 you could go from burning 10 calories to burning 40.
  11. Do some kind of exercise several times for 5 to 10 minutes throughout the day.
  12. Set an alarm to go off 3 times day, and walk 5-10 minutes each time the alarm goes off. This is a great idea for workdays.exercise shoes photo
  13. For every purchase you make at the mall, take another lap around the mall.
  14. Take several 2-3 minute walking breaks.
  15. Walk during lunch, and eat a bag lunch at your desk.
  16. Walk the mall.
  17. Take a walk after dinner instead of watching TV.
  18. Every time you come home and as soon as you enter the house, do some exercises of your choice. Examples: do 10 jacks, 10 crunches, and 10 push-ups (this gets a few exercises in several times a day). Do it before you sit down or before you start anything else when you get home. After work, make sure you do something before you sit down. If you are tired, you probably won’t get back up after you sit down.
  19. Bicycle or walk to the store instead of driving.
  20. Take a walk or do desk exercises instead of a cigarette, coffee, or snack break.
  21. Take small trips on foot. For example: Instead of calling or emailing a co-worker, walk to their desk or take the stairs instead of the elevator at work.
  22. Keep a pair of comfortable walking or running shoes in your car and office.
  23. Park far away in the parking lots.
  24. Always take the stairs instead of the elevator when stairs are an option.
  25. Stretch before bed to give you more energy when you wake.
  26. Break up your physical activity into 10-15 minute sections throughout the day.
  27. Aim for at least 30 minutes total a day.
  28. Walk your dog.walk the dog photo
  29. Walk to work.
  30. Take up a physical hobby like gardening.
  31. Rake leaves.
  32. Wash windows.
  33. Get off the bus one stop early if it is safe.
  34. Walk instead of driving whenever you can.
  35. Walk to your place of worship instead of driving.
  36. Walk your children to school.
  37. Replace a Sunday drive with Sunday walk. Or replace some of your other leisure activities with physical leisure activities.
  38. Go for a half-hour walk instead of watching TV or walk in place while watching TV.
  39. Walk instead of sitting around. Examples: Walk while on the phone, or walk while reading a magazine.
  40. Take your dog on longer walks.
  41. When walking, go up the hills instead of around them.
  42. Take a quick 10-minute brisk walk before lunch or dinner. Not only will you get in some exercise, you’re less likely to choose something unhealthy after being physical active. Sometimes exercise actually decreases your appetite.
  43. Get a FitBit or a pedometer can help keep track of your steps. If you’re not getting 10,000 steps a day, you’re not moving enough. 2,500 steps equals 1 mile.
  44. Whenever you have to climb stairs in your home, climb your stairs an extra time. You could climb your stairs every time you walk in your door before you sit down. You can use indoor or outdoor stairs. If you have only a few entry steps, then climb them several times.
  45. Watch no more than two hours of TV a day. Exercise or do something fun instead.

    watch tv photo
    Photo by David Boyle in DC
  46. If you have stairs, climb your stairs one time every time you are about to eat a meal or a snack. You can use indoor or outdoor stairs. If you have only a few entry steps, then climb the several times.
  47. Walk to the restroom furthest away. Go to a restroom on another floor if that is an option.
  48. Set an alarm for 30 minutes, and clean your house as fast as you can. Don’t stop to think, just clean whatever you see as you go.   I work up a great sweat doing this. I don’t think. If the next thing I see is a dusty desk, then I run get a duster and start dusting. If I notice floors next then I RUN to get a broom and sweep. If I see something that needs to be put up I grab it and go.
  49. Do 2, 5, or 10 minutes of exercises every morning when you get up. Example: 10 sit ups, 10 push ups, 10 crunches, 10 jumping jacks, and hold a pike leg stretch for 20 seconds. You can add more or less depending on your time.
  50. Include sex with your spouse in your life. This is a fun and healthy exercise, and great for your relationship.
  51. Use hand tools instead of power tools
  52. Plan fun physical activities with your friends instead of eating and TV activities.
  53. Do some kind of volunteer labor like walking dogs at an animal shelter, participating in litter clean up, or building and repairing projects.
  54. Get an active dog that forces you outside.

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Exercise Doesn’t Have to Be Boring. Check Out these Physical Activity Ideas

Try these Ideas if Exercise is Getting Boring:

  1. Run with a friend
  2. Ride a bike
  3. Dance
  4. Jump ropejump rope photo

5. Find different places to walk: visit museums, zoos, farmer’s markets, parks, malls, or in a pool.

6. Swim

7. Take an aerobics class

8. Play a sporttennis photo

9. Go for a hike

10. Jump on a trampoline

11. Mow the lawn (don’t use a riding lawn mower)

12. Golf

13. Take a karate class

14. Take a dance class: ballroom, jazz, ballet, tap, clogging, contemporary, line dancing

15. Watch you tube or music videos and try to learn the dances

16. Take kickboxing

17. Do an aerobics video

18. Yoga

19. Palate

20. Canoe

21. Kayak

22. Standing/cast fishing

23. Try fitness pole dancing

24. Take water aerobics

25. Try Zumba

zumba photo
Photo by JBLM MWR Marketing

26. In the pool, walk in deep water

27. Join and go to a gym

28. Wash your car

29. Play racquetball

30. Play basketball with friends

31. Skate

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Developing an Exercise Plan

Tips for Developing a Exercise Plan

exercise photo

  1. Find an exercise app like the Fitbit app or the myfitnesspal app and follow the daily provided exercises. You can find exercises that fit into any schedule
  2. Drink water before and during workouts so that you won’t “Hit the wall” or get as tired; therefore, you can work out harder and burn more calories
  3. Choose an activity that fits into your daily life and make sure you plan or schedule your exercise into your week.   For example, if you need to set your alarm an hour early so that you can workout before work, then do it! People often do better with their eating throughout the day when they have started the day off well. After you have had a hard exhilarating workout, you are motivated to keep going the rest of the day. The same goes for getting an early start during the week. If you do well on Monday with your exercise and eating habits, chances are you will stay motivated for the rest of the week; however, slipping up on Monday can slow down your motivation IF you let it.
  4. If you hit a plateau, increase your exercise.
  5. Ask a friend to exercise with you.zumba photo
  6. Exercise with a video if the weather is bad.
  7. If you find exercising difficult after work, try exercising before work.
  8. Choose activities you enjoy and you will be more likely to stick with them.
  9. Explore new physical activities.
  10. Vary your activities for interest and to cause muscle confusion, which keep you from plateauing.
  11. Stay active in the winter.
  12. Make walking one morning a week a group habit.
  13. Include strength training. Muscle more calories than fat, so try twenty minutes of strength straining two to three times a week. Strength training also reduces injury, improves balance, and helps maintain your bones.
  14. Take up a physical hobby or learn something new: (See here for ideas)
  15. Pick a different activity to do each day. One day you could aerobics and another day you could wash your car.

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