February is just around the corner. While February is most known for Valentine’s Day it also happens to be American Heart Month/National Heart Month. I wanted to share 8 heart healthy habits with you today.
1. Watch and Control Portion Size. Everything these days is super sized. The portions we need to keep us full are actually much less than we eat. Try using smaller plates. If you are eating out, try eating half your order and packaging the rest for another meal (this is also great for your wallet). Or consider sharing an entrée with someone. Something I TRY to remember (but I am not perfect by any means) is that our stomach is the size of our fist.
2. Eat more fruits & veggies. You knew that one was coming right. And trust me, I am not a veggie fan. You don’t have to like ALL fruits and veggies. But you should aim for 5-7 servings (or more) per day. And again – a serving isn’t a HUGE amount. Try adding an additional serving every day for a week or two. Then, add another one. Love smoothies? Try throwing some spinach in. Seriously. You won’t taste it.
3. Sleep. Don’t forget to get your Zzzzz. Your body requires a certain amount of sleep (best to aim for 7-8 hours). This gives your body time to recover from the day. Aim to go to bed and get up at the same time each day. Don’t short-change yourself during the week and try to catch up over the weekend.
4. Choose protein wisely. I am certainly not going to tell you to never eat red meat when I crave it quite often. But choose your protein wisely and watch your portions. Fish, chicken, turkey are always excellent choices.
5. Move. You knew this was coming. EXERCISE. This doesn’t have to be running marathons. Walking 30 minutes per day will work. Or maybe you love to dance – try Zumba. Or maybe you love to bike – try outdoor cycling or indoors try spinning. Just get up and MOVE. This includes standing and moving during the day if you have a desk job. My Apple watch reminds to me stand at least one minute every hour.
6. Reduce your stress. I know this is easier said than done, but try to reduce your stress levels. Learn to say NO. “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Learn to plan your week. Include work, sleep, appointments, time for exercise, and time for fun. Create a list of go to heart-healthy meals and snacks. Make sure that you have healthy options available for when you get hungry. Create a fun list as well. If you get stressed, pick something off that list.
7. Stop smoking. If you smoke, STOP. If you don’t, don’t start. Enough said.
8. Treats in moderation. Am I going to tell you to never have a cupcake? Nope, not me. Treats are okay, but in moderation. Go with the 80/20 or 90/10 rule. If you put food completely off-limits, there is a good chance you will at one point binge on them.With February being National Heart Month, here are 8 Heart Healthy Habits. #FitFluential Click To Tweet
Which heart healthy habit do you need to work on?