When it comes to the human body, we are our own worst enemy. Diseases are most often the result of a person’s own choices. Thus, many illnesses and chronic conditions are preventable.
Undeniably, what you put in your body matters most. But people seems to be struggling with what to do. “I’ve had many clients who want the quick and easy approach to eating healthy,” Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in the New York City area.
Still, all hope is not lost. It’s no secret, or even a surprise anymore, that two-thirds of the U.S. population is overweight or obese. “I do believe that at 30 most people are becoming more aware that they need to start taking care of their bodies ‘before it’s too late,’” Nicole Simonin, a health and fitness expert at Shape it Up, says. It only takes a second to shift your choices, she adds.
Achieving weight loss or fat loss has to be a priority and a lifestyle, Simonin says. “This is one of the reasons I have designed my Get Fit program.” The workouts are between 20-30 minutes but if you can’t do the whole workout, you can just do 5 minutes. “Even 5 minutes is better than nothing and, generally speaking, if they do 5 minutes they tend to continue and complete the whole workout,” Simonin says. There is an all or nothing mentality that stops you. It can be “a little something,” too, she adds.
There is a misconception about how much your metabolism actually decreases as you age, Simonin says. “Your metabolic rate only decreases 1-2 percent per decade.” The reality is as you age you tend to be less active and yet continue to eat the same way you always have. This will decrease your metabolic rate which will cause you to gain weight, Simonin adds.
The people who do not have an exercise routine have not made their health a priority, Simonin says. There are simple ways to incorporate more movement and avoid the harmful effects of too much sitting. People should be exercising more frequently at intermittent times throughout the days; for two minutes right after waking up, for five minutes during your mid-morning break, for 20 minutes after lunch.
“We are in a technology age where people are sitting during most of the day,” Simonin says. Compare that to earlier years, when people had more labor intensive jobs and less fast foods, she adds. Work was their exercise. People are exhausted when they come home from work. “I believe people need a mental shift; ironically enough, when you sit at work and then sit at home you become more tired. If you are more active you have more energy. An object in motion stays in motion,” Simonin says.
The more yo-yo diets they do the more they are destroying their metabolism, Simonin says. A common mistakes is hoping for the most weight loss in the fastest time. It is unreasonable and unsustainable when too much weight is lost too fast. The body doesn't have time to adapt to the change, so it craves the calories. It is not healthy for the system and eventually leads to weight gain.
“I believe most people think that the basics aren’t enough,” Simonin says. The more complicated and ridged a diet is the more people want to jump on the bandwagon, she adds. “Everyone wants results yesterday, [but] if you want lasting permanent results, it takes time, consistency and (most importantly) patience.”
There’s definitely no rule that says you have to spend hours a day preparing food, Gorin says. People who are time crunched can certainly come up with ways to make quick, healthy meals at home. “I try to get [client] to realize that spending a few minutes in the kitchen for dinner is going to be quicker than ordering and waiting for takeout.” For instance, you can toss together some pre-cooked brown rice, some canned beans, and some frozen and fresh veggies for a quickie vegetarian rice dish, she adds.
Hydration is key for good health. “Many people don’t drink enough water, and being dehydrated can cause side effects like headaches that just don't make you feel good and may make you feel less inclined to want to eat healthy ad exercise,” Gorin says. If you don’t like water, tea also counts toward your daily hydration goals, she adds.
What you should know is that as you get older, your muscle mass decreases and your body fat percentage is likely to increase because of that, Gorin says. “Muscle, after all, burns more calories than body fat.” You lose about 10 percent of muscle mass each decade after age 45, she adds. “So it’s important to begin a routine of strength-training exercise if you haven't already to help minimize the muscle loss.”
Sometimes people eat nutritious foods but maybe don’t eat enough filling protein-rich foods, such as chicken breast, tofu, and beans, Gorin says. “Or maybe they’re not including healthy fats—such as avocado, olive oil, and olives—which are important for heart health.” Gorin recommends eating a lean protein, healthy fat, whole grain (such as brown rice or quinoa), and fruit or vegetable with every meal.
“The worst habit I tend to see is women in their 30’s (who have kids) is that they eat whatever is left over on their kids plates OR they are feeding them hot dogs and other foods that are just not good for setting up healthy habits for kids,” Simonin says.
Sometimes skipping the intense workout program you have scheduled for the day is a good idea. Sometimes the “less is more” expression perfectly describes the way to your ultimate fitness goal. The body needs rest. Your joints, tendons and central nervous system need it, too.
Some people rest for too long and others don’t stop at all. The body's ability to replenish is crucial for optimal performance. Muscular endurance and stabilization and hypertrophy adaptations are best developed with relatively short rest periods, depending on the load, volume, and the current fitness level of the client. Maximal strength and power adaptations are best achieved with relatively long rest periods, generally 3–5 minutes.
Companies marketing dairy products have ingrained in us that we “need” milk, Simonin says. The biggest “fear” they claim is that we need milk for calcium. You can get calcium from other food sources such as sardines, salmon, spinach, kale and white beans to name a few, she adds. Want to build stronger bones? “Weight train.”
“I don’t like it when I see people skipping meals or going for a very long stretch without eating,” Gorin says. “I suggest eating every three to five hours—if you don’t, you could easily get ‘hangry’ and overeat when you do get around to grabbing food.” Eating regularly helps keep your blood sugar stable and helps you make better food decisions, she adds. One snack she really likes is a KIND Protein Bar, which supplies 12 grams of mostly plant-based protein, to help keep you fuller for longer. Another good snack option is two Tablespoons of nuts paired with a banana, Gorin adds.
Sometimes people are exercising but they’re not doing a balance of workouts, Gorin says. For instance, maybe you’re very into cardio but not doing any strength training, or vice versa. “Both types of exercise are important for good health.” The recommendation is to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, as well as moderate- to high-intensity strength training at least twice a week.
The few times you’d actually go to the doctor, you tend to hide some things. This is the most common habit doctors see in patients. This is a terrible habit – and one that can cause a lot of pain and anguish in life. Some people lie because they are afraid of what people will think.
It’s common for people to not realize they are stressed out. Often people minimize the stress they are under, the affect it has, and don’t take action. But the effects may be long-lasting, enormous, and certainly bad for your health – brain fog, weight gain, difficulty sleeping, hair loss, hypertension, and weak immune system.
Taking care of your mental wellbeing should be a priority for women in their 30s, Simonin says. “I think the biggest mistake is not setting aside time to take care of yourself. Whether that be a physical workout, eating healthy or just being quiet with your thoughts.” Many people find that they’re able to clear their heads through exercise, while others prefer activities like reading, Gorin adds. Find what works for you, and prioritize making the time to de-stress.