J. E. Hinners, MD MPH
I just got engaged over this last week 🙂
So I thought the timing was appropriate to compile my personal list of little (and healthy) tips to work towards the best version of your own body to enjoy on the wedding day and beyond–whether you’re the bride, the groom, or a guest!
Let your best body be your fitness goal
I’d like to emphasize “the best” version of your body rather than “the thinnest” version. I believe a truly healthy body is not necessarily the skinniest one, per se. And I’m not a fan of many quick fixes out there to lose weight, as many of them can wreak havoc on your body and are simply not sustainable for the long-term.
Having said that–by following some or all of these tips, you will also *work* in the direction of being your trimmest self. You should let your goal be working towards the best version of the body you were born with.
Good things come at a price
And yes, having the best version of your body does take some “work,” but the wonderful thing is that when you make these 33 tips an ongoing and regular part of your everyday life, eventually you’ll be able to unconsciously incorporate many of these changes on a daily basis without it feeling like much work at all.
These tips may seem insignificantly small when taken into account individually–but even minor lifestyle changes can add up and amount to meaningful physical improvements when the changes are practiced with consistency.
33 Tips for Obtaining Your Best Body
- Work out! Mayo clinic recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate physical exercise or at least 75 minutes per week of vigorous physical activity. You need your body’s calorie expenditure to equal or exceed your calorie intake if you want to maintain or lose weight. Give your body at least one day off in the week to let the muscles and mind recuperate and be better prepared for sustaining a workout routine. For more on crafting a realistic fitness regimen for yourself, read more here.
- Consider shortening the length of your workouts!
- Park your car farther away from your destination and walk more.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Get up and walk around frequently during your long periods of sitting for work or play. People who fidget burn more calories.
- Do some cleaning or chores around the house.
- Get outside and do yard work.
- Walk your dog instead of sitting at the dog park.
- Incorporate strength training in your workout to burn fat even during your resting states. My personal favorite way of doing this is through Barre workouts which usually attempt to cover all major muscle groups from head to toe with strength training followed by stretch. The result is a body that gets sculpted in places that your jogging or cycling routine just can’t reach!
- Try to workout at least once every 48 hours to allow the body to seamlessly sustain the fat-burning benefits of “excess postexercise oxygen consumption.”
- Find a high intensity interval training workout routine that works for you to maximize your body’s ability to burn fat. You can read more about high intensity interval training here.
- Avoid eating for 2 hours after you work out; instead, get your workout energy from eating prior to working out. For about 2 hours after you work out, your body produces higher amounts of human growth hormone which accelerates the fat-burning process. When you eat, your body releases insulin which alternatively stores food and fats. If you want to maximize human growth hormone’s fat-burning benefits, you might consider waiting to eat until at least 2 hours after working out. Instead obtain your workout energy from pre-workout protein and complex carbohydrates (lentils, beans, starchy vegetables, whole grains).
- Consume coconut oil, coconut water, or coconut flakes in your diet. Coconut helps your body burn fat better. Coconut was at one time added to cattle feed in order to fatten cows until it was discovered–on the contrary–that coconut actually caused the cows to lose weight!
- Eat foods with healthy, omega-3 fats to improve your general health overall (fish, fish oil, nuts, seeds, cloves, broccoli, etc.).
- Eat more protein foods in your diet.
- Incorporate whey protein into your diet. Whey protein shakes are one tasty way to do so.
- Regularly consume fiber in your diet to quicken the feeling of being full and to promote intestinal health (oat bran, flaxseed, fruit, vegetables, etc).
- Find excuses to fill up more with these specific foods shown to be friendly for weight loss: full-fat yogurt, chia seeds, cruciferous vegetables, grapefruit, whole grains, chili pepper, nuts, avocados, apple cider vinegar, cottage cheese, tuna, beans and lentils, soup, boiled potatoes, lean beef, chicken breast, salmon, leafy greens, and eggs.
- Minimize or cut out fried foods.
- Minimize or cut out your intake of soda and fruit juices–replace these drinks with water, tea, or raw juices (especially raw vegetable juices). Sugar turns into fat, and sugar-filled drinks add heaps of sneakily silent calories into your body. Juice may come from fruit, but it’s an ultra sugar-loaded way of getting your fruit nutrition. Better to just consume actual fruit rather than consume fruit juice. Try variations of club soda mixed with ginger, lime, lemon, raspberries, mint, honey, etc. to get the bubbled flavor you crave rather than turning to soda.
- Monitor the quantities and frequencies of any additional fats and sugars you are consuming. Little choice changes can add up and make a difference. Let your cheese, mayo, and fast food meals be occasional splurges rather than daily staples in your diet.
- Swap your junk fats for healthier fats–coconut or olive oil instead of palm kernel oil; dark chocolate or fruit instead of candies loaded with high fructose corn syrup; avocados or nuts instead of Twinkies; homemade popcorn instead of french fries.
- Make sure you incorporate your favorite food indulgence into your diet–just make sure the indulgences are in moderation! If you don’t allow yourself any food indulgences, you won’t be able to sustain an indulgent-free diet for the long run. And if you are generally disciplined with your diet and exercise, you should be able to enjoy these moderate food indulgences guilt-free because you’ve already “budgeted” them into your diet!
- Listen to your stomach. Try to only eat when you’re actually hungry, and stop eating when you’re full. The exception to this guideline would be for those who experience difficulties having any hunger at all. Consider using chopsticks or eating more slowly for better food portion control.
- Add a hot condiment or spice to some of your meals: black pepper, red pepper, mustard, cinnamon, and ginger.
- Drink water!
- Drink dandelion tea to help your body get rid of toxins and excess water weight your body may be retaining. Dandelion tea is a natural diuretic and will increase your urine output, so make sure to drink extra water if you try this trick and consult your healthcare provider first if you have any medical conditions or are taking any medications.
- Drink mint, fennel, and licorice tea. All of these teas contain digestive herbs that help encourage healthy bowel movements. Mint also helps to give you a feeling of fullness sooner than you might otherwise experience.
- Quit smoking. Not for weight loss, in particular–but for a vastly improved overall health and quality of life. Easier said than done, for some people. If you struggle here, you have my respect and compassion. You need to love and respect yourself enough for this goal to be personally motivated and upheld. Your body will thank you. This article isn’t meant to sufficiently address how to achieve such a feat, but here and here are some helps for getting started.
- Avoid excessive alcohol. While the evidence directly linking alcohol with weight gain is not overwhelmingly conclusive, it appears that heavier drinkers of alcohol and spirits, in particular, may be more susceptible to weight gain while light-to-moderate wine drinkers may actually experience a small protective effect against weight gain. Weight gain aside, however, consider cutting your alcohol intake down for overall improved health. Here is one list of helpful resources for taking steps to address this aspect of your life.
- Take a quality multivitamin and consume antioxidant-rich foods to maximize your body’s energy and immune system and to even possibly reduce appetite and encourage loss of body fat.
- Get your beauty sleep!
Not all of these tips are for everyone. Some might be intolerable or unrealistic for you to maintain with any consistency. Some might not be suitable if you have certain medical conditions. When in doubt–please do run this list by your own healthcare practitioner who can better tailor the list to your specific health conditions.
Small but consistent steps!
If these changes are completely new to you, then it’s better to start with small steps and just pick a handful of changes that you can regularly maintain.
If you’re getting confused or overwhelmed by the long list, then just stick by this one basic but effective principle: Your body’s calorie output needs to be greater than the amount of calories you are consuming (if you want to lose weight) or equal to the amount of calories you are consuming (if you want to maintain weight).
In other words, the combination of sufficient physical activity plus wise diet choices and calorie restriction matters immensely!
The real key to seeing change in your body is to practice these lifestyle habits with consistency.
Kudos for making your health and body a priority, and may your own enjoyment of the fruits of your labor compel you towards healthy habits that last for a lifetime!