Modern days have it that convenience trumps everything else.
We live an (extremely!) busy life balancing family, work, and other tasks that too often, our health goals get pushed down to the bottom of the priority.
But getting healthier doesn’t have to be hard or time-consuming.
In fact, there are many simple steps you can take with minimal effort to improve your health.
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Here are 5 incredibly simple ways to get healthier with almost no effort.
1. Use a Smaller Plate for Portion Control
Counting calories takes diligence and time. It’s those essences of calorie counting that hinder many busy people from managing their diet and improving their eating.
Luckily, there is a better way – the effortless way.
By switching your plate from a 12-inch dinner plate to a 10-inch salad plate alone can cut your calorie intake by 22% according to a study led by Brian Wansink from Cornell University.
If you are currently eating about 2,000 calories a day, that’s an automatic reduction of 440 calories, leaving you with a total of 1,560 calories a day.
For many of us, that’s more than the calorie cut needed to lose weight and achieve better health.
The trick is in the power of optical illusion where we think things are larger compared to a small thing (as in the case of a smaller plate here) and vice versa. So it’s not the matter of the portion you are eating per se, but in relation to the plate size, how big it looks.
We can easily trick ourselves to feel satiety when we make the serving size look fuller and more in volume. And you can do that by simply employing a small plate.
2. Fill Your Plate with Veggies First
After you grab yourself the right sized plate, how you fill it can also easily boost your health.
For best results, fill at least half of your plate with veggies – specifically the non-starchy ones like leafy greens, asparagus, sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower.
For most veggies, that should be about 2 servings of veggies.
Since healthy adults are recommended to eat 3-5 servings of vegetables a day according to diabetes.org, eating 2 servings per meal ensures that you are well nourished and satisfied with your daily requirement.
Related: Healthy Snacks for a Healthy Heart
Not only that, this easy and simple plating rule allows you to balance your calorie and carb intake since non-starchy veggies are typically far less calorie and carb dense than their starchy counterparts like potatoes and corn.
Non-starchy vegetables tend to also be rich in fiber, water, and nutrients that bring satiety, further preventing you from overeating.
This also helps you balance your macronutrient by limiting the heavy carb, starch, and less than stellar quality protein and replace it with healthy vitamin packed with complex carbs like quinoa.
This simple trick frees you from worrying about your calories, serving sizes, and unbalanced macronutrient ratio.
3. Drink Your Coffee Black
It’s no secret coffee is a daily ritual many of us swear by.
And that’s ok as long as it’s not hindering your calorie budget and overall health. Coffee, in fact, contains elements that can even help with weight loss and metabolism.
But if your go-to coffee sounds anything like “Caramel Frappuccino Coffee with Whip”, it’s time to rethink your daily habit. A coffee drink such as that can have up to 400 calories per drink, which in itself qualifies as a meal when thinking in calories.
Even if you don’t go overboard with your coffee, research shows a majority of Americans actually add sugar, milk, cream, or other additives to their coffee. Not surprisingly, these added ingredients don’t come too cheap for your health and diet.
So if health is of your concern, leave the fancy coffee drinks behind. Take your coffee black or with a drop of plain nut milk. That’s over 400 calories in savings without cutting back on your lifeline. Caffeine that is.
4. Stay Hydrated
When 60% of an adult body and 70% of the brain is made up of water, it’s obvious that staying well hydrated keeps you healthy and performing at your peak.
According to the University of Connecticut, drinking plenty of water can translate to healthy brain function, concentration, and even a positive mood. It can even help you lose weight by bringing satiety, preventing overeating, and burning greater calories.
Even if you are not used to toting a water bottle around every day, that’s ok. You can simply start by drinking a glass before each meal. This will ensure you get a least 3-4 glasses of water a day, which is far better than your current 1-2 glasses.
5. Get Quality Sleep
It’s true. Not having enough sleep at night affects your weight and overall health. In fact, it leads to a vicious cycle for weight gain and poor health.
The chances are that even when you think you are not short on sleep, you may well be.
According to a new study, losing just 30 minutes of sleep per weekday can leave long-term impact on metabolism and weight and raise your risk for diabetes and obesity.
There are a number of scientific reasons as to why poor sleep makes you prone to weight gain, but here is the bottomline.
Related: Practice Mindfulness Meditation and Protect Yourself from Chronic Diseases
When you are deprived of sleep, it negatively affects your brain’s cognitive ability, impacting your reaction time, memory, decision-making, and impulse control. Which perfectly explains why you are more prone to give into sweet cravings when you skimp on sleep and less likely to have enough willpower to choose kale salad over fatty, high-carb comfort foods – all are contributing factors to weight gain and obesity.
The first effortless way to stop this cycle is to get more quality, adequate sleep. 8 hours is ideal, but aim for at least 7 hours before your alarm goes off. If you are under stress, you may need even more sleep.
There you have it! 5 effortless ways to improve your health. While most weight loss and health improvement tips are time-consuming and hard to commit to, not all require much investment. Here are 5 super easy, minimal effort ways to instantly boost your health. Use these seemingly insignificant tricks to start achieving better health and hit your weight goal.
This post was written by Misato Alexandre, a health and fitness blogger and the co-founder of Fitwirr.com, a health and fitness website providing free and incredibly effective tips on weight loss, workouts, and awesome fitness motivation for people of all levels.
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