Getting in shape is certainly a multi-faceted enterprise and many factors will need to be considered if you’re going to improve your health. However, that said, whilst they’re not the absolute be all and end all of wellbeing, to a large extent there are two questions you need to ask yourself: “How many calories am I consuming?” and “how many am I burning?”
Unfortunately, as many of us work jobs of a largely sedentary nature and have an over reliance on high-salt, high-fat convenience foods it’s only too common to find that the answers to these questions are “too many” and “not enough”.
In terms of burning more calories, we all know that, aside from finding a miraculous way to raise our metabolisms (there isn’t one, despite what you might read), the only option is to exercise more. On the other hand, people can be a bit less savvy when it comes to figuring out how to cut down the calories they’re taking in, and it’s not uncommon for certain sources to get overlooked completely.
For example, when it comes to the question of getting rid of a few pounds, most of us are able to point to the foods we eat and identify elements of our diet that are perhaps less than helpful. Unfortunately, people are usually less self-aware when it comes to figuring the calories they consume through alcohol into the equation. In reality, for many of us, alcohol is probably one of the key factors contributing to our poor health.
As well as the serious risks posed by addiction and the other health conditions that come with it, even going slightly over your recommended amount of alcohol can have a big impact on you if you are doing it too regularly. You also have to remember that whilst the drink itself is harmful in over the top quantities, it will also make you more likely to indulge in other bad habits, from smoking cigarettes you wouldn’t normally crave, to needing a fried breakfast to help with your hangover the next day.
It does not take a binge for your drinking to reach an unhealthy level. For instance, in the case of women, you’ll have already exceeded the upper limit of your daily recommended unit allowance by the time you’ve finished your second glass of white wine. Perhaps more surprising is the news that you’ll have also just had 20% of your recommended amount of calories for the day. By the same token, the average pint of larger is equivalent to a packet of salty crisps.
If you are going on a health drive you should definitely consider drinking less. Good ways of limiting yourself include only taking a set amount of money with you on nights out, going for smaller drinks (bottles as opposed to pints) or trying variations of your preferred tipple that come with a lower ABV%.
Cutting back on your drinking will not only help you slim down, but it can also help stop your immune system from weakening, helping to protect you from infectious diseases and bugs doing the rounds. This can help keep you from being laid up in bed and being forced to skip out on your exercise routine.
Another good way to keep on top of the calories you are consuming is to stick to a pre-planned eating plan which you can either draw up yourself using the internet as a reference point or that you can buy in book form from many of the experts. One that springs to mind is the anabolic cooking cookbook by Dave Ruel which is tailored to those who want to build more muscle while burning more fat – it is high in protein and low in fat while combining all the essential vitamins and minerals.
Unfortunately, illness and fitness issues aren’t the only barriers to getting enough exercise. Many of us may feel like we simply don’t have the finances to get fit. After all, gym memberships tend to be costly and, frequently, the foods that are the worst for us are also the most affordable. Don’t forget that you can exercise for free at home, in the park or by simply going for a walk when you need to be somewhere instead of taking the car.
When it comes to eating better on a budget remember that fruit and vegetables are usually cheaper when they’re in season. By picking up things closer to their sell by date you can save, but perhaps the best way to reduce the cost of healthy food is to work on your culinary skills. The more you can make from scratch the healthier and cheaper your meals will be.