Posted on Monday 17th of December 2018 at 10:05 AM
Eating less, or "dieting," isn't the only way to change how your body feels, looks, and performs. Self-care goes beyond eating right and involves taking care of your body on all levels — whether that's mentally, physically, and spiritually.
Here are some of the best tips on how you can live your best and healthiest life, without dieting.
1. Keep a food diary.
For people who suffer from things like acne or digestion issues, tracking can help determine what the potential cause is. Writing it down also lets you get a big-picture view of your diet, which can allow you to fill in the gaps.
"Food diaries can be very helpful in weight control for individuals who are willing to do them carefully," Jeanne Goldberg, professor of nutrition at the Friedman School of Nutrition, Science, and Policy at Tufts University in Boston told The Wall Street Journal.
This tip isn't about restricting your food or eating less, but being aware of what you eat and how what you eat affects your individual body.
2. Eat with other people (not with your phone).
Steer your eyes away from screens and your body and mind will thank you in the long run.
"Distracted eating" or watching tv, scrolling through your smartphone, and even working while eating can lead you to eat more. A report published in the America Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when you aren't paying attention to what you eat, you snack more later on.
There are many benefits to eating with other people instead of eating alone, including teaching children social skills or decompressing after a long day. In addition, research shows single people eat fewer servings of vegetables a day in comparison to people who are married or who live with other people.
3. Foam roll.
Recovery time is just as important, if not sometimes more valuable, than a workout itself. Foam rolling isn't a cure-all, but it has been proven to help increase your range of motion, increase flexibility, and help with muscle soreness.
4. Eat slower.
Getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep for young adults while working, going to school, or just living your life can be challenging. But it's a challenge you should accept.
Not sleeping enough can "reduce and undo the benefits of dieting," according to a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine as reported by Shape. Sleeping well can impact your ability to learn new things as well as your emotional well-being.
So cut out your pre-sleep social media scrolling and you'll find you have more time for some shuteye.
6. Drink more water.
Hydration — a buzzword among the health-conscious community — has earned its status with good reason. Water actually makes up 60% of your body weight.
7. Eat more veggies.
Eating your vegetables is known to reduce your risk for heart diseaseand protect against certain types of cancers. Not to mention the fact that vegetables have vitamins and nutrients that aren't easily found in other more processed foods.
Think about adding to your diet instead of taking away from it: When eating, start with your veggies first before moving onto starchy carbs and lean proteins.
8. Go to therapy.
Besides the obvious mental health benefits of going to therapy, there are physical ones as well.
"When people do not express feelings but swallow them and keep them buried and out of conscious awareness, one's body often reacts," Marian Margulies, PhD, a psychologist in New York City, told Forbes. She added that people may experience symptoms like ulcers and headaches as our body reacts to stress or mental pain.
Consider speaking with a therapist to help you sort through your emotions, without putting your body under unnecessary stress.
9. Strength train, stretch, or walk.
Many people sit at a desk for the majority of the workday so it's important to move around as much as possible.
You don't have to exercise at the gym — there are tons of other options to get your heart rate up and work your muscles. Walk outside, follow along to a YouTube workout video, or practice a few yoga poses in the grass. Some movement is better than no movement.
There are too many benefits of exercising to list, but if you really need a push, exercise keeps your bones strong, boosts your energy, and can even improve your sex life, according to Psychology Today.
10. Wear sunscreen.
Wearing sunscreen is a tried but true tip for your overall well-being. Make sure to apply and reapply during the summer months and don't forget to also apply during the winter. Be sure to cover as much of your body as possible — there are even clothes with built-in UV protection.
Skin cancer is a real issue — 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime — so protect yourself.
11. Brown bag your lunch.
Making your own lunch is another great way to make sure you are eating healthily. This is a similar tip to keeping a food diary — you're making yourself more aware of what you're eating.
Plus, you get to decide what you're having, not the line at your favorite salad shop or the overpriced cafeteria in your office building.
12. Stop eating when you're full, not stuffed.
Learning your hunger cues is a major step towards eating more intuitively. The Washington Post reported that by adulthood, we need to re-learn these hunger cues because our relationship with food has made us "well-practiced at ignoring our internal cues of hunger and fullness."
Some people start eating out of boredom, reward themselves with food, or eat just to go through the motions. That's why taking control of your food will help you feel more satiated.
13. Eat your fruits instead of drinking them.
Juicing is a quick way to eat your vegetables, right? Not so fast — your juice habit isn't actually making you healthier. Although juice cleanses are all the rage, the practice leaves your body without the health benefits of whole vegetables and fruits.
Juicing also can lead to food waste. The Daily Beast reports that a basket of fruit juiced serves half the amount it would have if eaten whole. In addition to fiber, another essential nutrient lost in the juicing process is fat which, according to the Daily Beast, the body needs in order to absorb vitamins.
Fruit juice is another culprit of being labeled as "healthy." The Washington Post goes as far as to call 100% fruit juice: "little more than sugar water."
Meditation has a reputation for helping people stay calm, cool, and collected. It's been proven to change our body by way of our brains, according to The Huffington Post, as well reduce blood pressure in addition to improving anxiety and cognitive function.
15. Go in a sauna.
Treat yourself to a spa day, including a session in a sauna. Sitting in a sauna has been proven to keep the heart healthy and reduce stress.
It could even provide some of the same benefits as strenuous exercise, according to a new study in the Journal of Athletic Training.
16. Measure your portions.
Taking the time to measure your portions doesn't necessarily mean you will be eating less — you'll just be eating the number of servings your body needs. Certain foods are calorically dense and pack more calories than you think.
Marion Nestle, a Paulette Goddard professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at NYU, told The Atlantic why portion control is so important.
"Large portions make you eat more," she said. "If I could teach just one thing about nutrition, it would be this: Larger portions have more calories."