The prevalence of obesity (defined in this source as individuals with a BMI of 30 or greater) of adults in America was a staggering 42.4% in 2017-2018 (1). Many Americans have fallen victim to the false advertisements and marketing of “quick fixes” like juice cleanses, pills, fad diets, and weight-loss devices or machines to lose weight. While some of these “quick fixes” will appear to work in the short-term, they will not help you sustain weight loss long-term or a healthy lifestyle.
My advice to you: Stop looking for the next “quick fix” and start by building healthy habits. In turn, these healthy habits can contribute to so many positive downstream benefits like improved body composition, an increase in energy and self-esteem, a reduction of stress and mental illness, and improved cognition.
If you are ready to put in the work required to prioritize your health, keep on reading for ways to incorporate healthy habits into your daily life, and get you on track to becoming unstoppable.
- Prioritizing Protein
Besides carbohydrates and fats, protein is one of the three sources of fuel and energy required for our bodies to function properly. Protein’s main function is to build and repair body tissues and structures. The Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range for protein intake for an adult which allows for differences in an individual’s goals and activities is 10% to 35% of total caloric intake (2).
You have likely heard it before: building muscle requires protein and having more muscle burns more fat. Getting enough protein in especially when you are physically active and doing strength training is important to maintain your muscle mass and promote muscle growth. Another side effect of people who focus on getting enough protein in their diet each day is that they improve their satiety by keeping them more full with less food (3). This is partly due to protein reducing your level of ghrelin, a hunger hormone.
Start by replacing some of your carbs and fats with more protein and focus on getting enough protein in each meal. It may be as simple as reducing the amount of rice and having a few extra bites of chicken in your meal or opting for an omelet instead of cereal in the mornings. If you are someone who struggles with getting enough protein in from food sources alone, protein shakes and bars can be another option to increase your protein intake.
This is a topic for another day, however, my one recommendation if you plan to supplement your diet with protein shakes and or bars is to do your research on the company and products before you use them since most supplements are not FDA approved and some can even cause adverse side effects.
- Drinking Lots of Water
When cells do not maintain a balance of fluids your muscles will fatigue faster, and your performance can suffer. That is why it is critical to ensure you are drinking enough water before, during, and after exercise.
However, water consumption is important beyond when you are working out or dripping sweat. As a minimum guideline, sedentary men and women should consume on average 3.0 L (approximately 13 cups) and 2.2 L (approximately 9 cups) of water per day, respectively (2).
Water intake should be increased if you are more active throughout the day or are participating in a fat-loss program. Like getting in enough protein, drinking water throughout the day helps you feel full. Many people mistake thirst for hunger and end up overeating. Next time you feel hungry try drinking one or two glasses of water and then wait for 15 to 30 minutes. You may find yourself no longer thinking about food but if you are still hungry afterward, then go for that snack.
One of my favorite water bottles I like to use is the Hydro Jug. Holding approximately 2.2L, this jug carries the minimum recommended amount of water that I need to get in daily.
It is dishwasher safe, has a wide mouth lid which makes it easy to add ice, and comes with a nice handle. You can also purchase a sleeve that helps insulate your jug, includes a pocket to keep your keys or other small items, and include a carrying strap. Use TFITT10 for a discount!
If you’d like something smaller, two other water bottles I love to use are:
Hydro Flask is more expensive but will keep your fluids cool! The Pogo BPA-free water bottle is lightweight which makes it perfect for traveling, and the clear plastic (similar to the Hydro Jug) makes it easy to see how much fluid you have already consumed.
- Remaining Consistent
Consistency is key. We all have days where we skip a workout, don’t get in enough water, or overindulge, but as long as you remain on track the majority of the time, there is no need to sweat it! It is what you do most of the time, not what you do sometimes. This is why it is important to choose physical activities and nutrient-dense foods you enjoy so that you can sustain healthy long-term habits. Logging your food or workouts can help you stay on track and visually see if you are staying consistent.
Some of my favorite food tracking apps are MyFitnessPal and My Macros+. I like to use Google Keep or just an old-fashioned small notebook to log my workouts.
- Be Prepared
This is one I personally struggle with, but it goes along with being consistent: being prepared. People who are the most successful in meeting their fitness goals are prepared. This is a bit easier now that most people are stuck longer in their homes due to COVID-19, however, do not assume that there will be a healthy option when you eat away from home.
Check out the restaurant menu ahead of time or eat something small beforehand so you are not starving and can make better food choices. When you are not at home for an extended period of time pack healthy snacks (e.g., protein bars, fruits, vegetables, almonds, etc.), bring a lunch, or bring a healthy dish to share if you are going to a party where you are unsure of what food will be there.
This same concept should apply to your exercise routine. Don’t waste time in the gym “winging” your workout. Take a few extra minutes before you go and plan out your workout including your exercises, amount of sets and repetitions, and rest breaks. Not only will this save you time, but you’ll likely find that your intensity will be kept at a higher rate.
Other ways to be prepared include carrying a water bottle along with you everywhere you go so that you stay hydrated, setting out your workout clothes the night before so that it’s one step easier to actually doing your workout in the morning, and grocery shopping, planning and prepping your meals (or at least prepping some ingredients/foods) so that it’s easier to stay on track with your nutrition.
At the end of the day, YOU are in control of your health. It isn’t anyone else’s responsibility to make sure there is something nutritious for you to snack on or motivate you to move your body.
- Not Making Excuses
Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Don’t let obstacles get in the way of your plans and goals. Try to adapt or come up with alternate solutions. For example, if you are traveling for work or vacation and you cannot get to the gym for your workout, try to keep up with your routine by doing a different type of workout. There are many workouts you can do with just your body weight, outdoor items (e.g., park bench). Or pack minimal equipment, such as resistance bands or a TRX strap.
A few resistance bands that I love from Amazon include:
While you travel don’t forget you can always look up a workout online, or go for a run outdoors. There are endless resources for fitness on the go; it just takes a little creativity and planning. The same goes for nutrition. Don’t have enough time to meal prep or “eat healthily?” Try ordering food online ahead of time with store pick-up to save on time or look into getting a meal subscription.
Set goals and steps to get there and then execute those steps by finding a way to get it done each day. This will get you to achieving #3, consistency.
I am not going to sugarcoat it and tell you it is easy because trying to change habits to live a healthy lifestyle is not easy. Living a healthy lifestyle is something that takes practice and patience, just like any other long-term goal you may have. But if you slowly build up healthy habits over time, work at it one day at a time, and be consistent, you will set up a foundation for success.
Hales CM, Carroll MD, Fryar CD, Ogden CL. Prevalence of obesity and severe obesity among adults: United States, 2017–2018. NCHS Data Brief, no 360. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2020
Manore MM. Exercise and the Institute of Medicine recommendations for nutrition. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2005;4(4):193-198.
Thomas L. Halton & Frank B. Hu (2004) The Effects of High Protein Diets on Thermogenesis, Satiety and Weight Loss: A Critical Review, Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 23:5, 373-385, DOI: 10.1080/07315724.2004.10719381
My full name is Kristina, but I have gone by my nickname, Tina most of my life. I’m just a regular human, trying to better myself each day and I am so excited to be a part of the Hunkiedoriee team! In this blog, I’ll be sharing my experience, tips, and favorites for fitness and travel. I am a National Academy of Sports Medicine – Certified Personal Trainer (NASM-CPT). My goal is to inspire you to get out of your comfort zone, put yourself first, love who you are, and live a happier life.
Some of my favorite things besides traveling and fitness, are coffee, fashion, red wine, the ocean, dogs, steak, smiling, sleeping in, talking.